Band: Flogging Molly, Skinny Lister
Date: Saturday, March 25, with doors at 6 p.m.
Venue: O’Daly’s Irish Pub, 564 Dauphin St., www.odalysirishpub.com
Tickets: $32.50 advance/$39.50 day of show; available through Ticketfly
O’Daly’s Irish Pub is keeping the raucous spirit of St. Paddy’s Day alive for one more weekend with performances by Flogging Molly and Skinny Lister.
In its early years, Skinny Lister performed a hybridized rock sound influenced heavily by British folk, which it captured on albums such as “Forge and Flagon” and “Down on Deptford Broadway.” However, the heavy indie influence found on the band’s latest effort, “The Devil, The Heart, The Fight,” is evidence Skinny Lister is evolving.
Taking a break from packing for the band’s United States run, vocalist Lorna Thomas phoned from across the pond to discuss the band’s changing sound, and what Skinny Lister has in store for the Azalea City.
Stephen Centanni: How do you prep to go overseas and tour in the U.S.?
Lorna Thomas: I’ve never given it a thought! I pile up my dresses and take them to my mum’s to iron my dresses. She irons my dresses. Then, I put the flagon in the case, and we’re ready to go. It takes me about an hour to pack.
Centanni: How would you compare your American audiences to the ones back home?
Thomas: I wouldn’t say that they’re very much different. They’re equally rowdy and fun.
Centanni: How would you describe Skinny Lister?
Thomas: Skinny Lister are a group of friends who have great fun playing music, having a party and traveling the world together.
Centanni: Where did the band name come from?
Thomas: The band name is boringly and basically a nickname that Dan (Heptinstall), who plays acoustic guitar, gave to a skinny kid in his class whose name was Stephen Lister. He just thought he’d borrow it for some reason.
Centanni: I’ve been listening to the new album, and really enjoy the songs dedicated to specific people like the songs “Geordie Lad” and “Charlie.” With songs like that, I always wonder who served as the inspiration. Who are these songs about?
Thomas: Well, “Geordie Lad” is a song about our first bass player, who left after Warped Tour. I guess it’s like an open letter to him to see how he’s doing, because we don’t speak as much as we perhaps should. So, his name is Dan Gray, but he’s from a place in the north of England called Newcastle. If you’re from there, you get called a “Geordie.” It’s a nickname for somebody from that particular area. It’s kind of a heart-on-sleeve: “What are you doing?”/“I hope everything is good.”
Then, “Charlie” is about a childhood friend of Dan’s. They grew up on the same council estate. One year, Charlie wasn’t doing very much. Then, the next year, he was moving out to Hollywood. Dan wrote the song about him just as flew out to Hollywood. Since then, he’s done some great things. Yeah, that’s Charlie.
Centanni: One thing I’ve also noticed about the new material is that Skinny Lister has evolved greatly since your album “Down on Deptford Broadway.” Some of your band members have backgrounds in indie rock, and this album seems to have more of an indie rock edge to it. Was that a goal or just creative evolution?
Thomas: I think it’s creative evolution. I think the first album is very folky and pastoral. When we got together, we were playing in folk sessions together in London, and we were going to festivals and playing quite traditional music. I think they’re the beginnings of mixing Dan’s pop sensibilities with the folk that Sam (Brace), Max (Thomas) and I kind of grew up with. So, it was it the beginnings of a merging of styles.
With “Down on Deptford Broadway” we went on Van’s Warped Tour, we went on tour with Flogging Molly and we went on tour with the Dropkicks (Dropkick Murphys). So, things got a little bit rowdier. We added the drums to be more dynamic. When we had the drums, writing would take us to different places. Yeah, I guess it’s just evolved naturally.
“The Devil in Me” on the latest one was definitely an experimental track. I think with our mix of instruments we can afford to push the boundaries a bit and try different things. There’s that element of folk within us, but why not vary it up and make it fun and experiment a bit.
Centanni: The new album made me think about all the British songs over the years with that British folk influence. What do you think it is about those influences that make them still resonate throughout British rock?
Thomas: Well, for us, we used to play some of Dan’s songs that were quite separate from the folk stuff. We basically used to go busk down on the Thames where it is quite touristy and things. We would also play at house parties. We found that when we would play the traditional English tunes, everyone would start dancing, tapping their feet, dancing and clapping. It also goes hand in hand with the drinking and the party. It’s kind of tribal, I guess. It’s within us. We found that was a good way to get people dancing, and we wanted to play festivals. So, it just kind of all merged in together, really. I just think there’s something about folk music that speaks to something within, really.
Centanni: What do you have in store for your audience in Mobile?
Thomas: I would say that it’s going to be very energetic. We fully encourage and endorse crowd participation. If you get to the front, you might be lucky enough to taste my flagon of rum, which I pass out to everybody in the crowd. We want everyone to dance and sing and come and have a great time.