James Skelly and The Intenders LIVE @ Dingwalls 12/6/2013

Camden’s Dingwalls seems to be leading the way in terms of the race to be among the finest small venues in Britain. Noel Gallagher played there recently with Jake Bugg as support and not too long ago Foo Fighters did an intimate showcase.

Noel Gallagher, this time, however, was off duty and relaxing around the bar, and greeting the mods who approached him. He dealt well with being mildly mobbed and was in high spirits. The former-Oasis guitarist has long been to known to be a fan of The Coral and so like the rest of the audience appeared ready to see what James Skelly could do with his new band, a band that he has formed during his current hiatus from being the front man of The Coral.

To warm up the evening were The Circles, the first of three Merseyside bands to perform. They embodied the ’60s influences that their mod dress sense and retro stage equipment indicated. Noel, being a guru of the appropriation of ’60s guitar sounds, showed his appreciation toward The Circles by holding a newly-purchased cd between his teeth.

The Sundowners were the second and final support band and they played an upbeat set of jangly pop reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane’s sunniest side. Their confident stage performance and party mood helped the audience unfold their arms. The catchy single ‘Hummingbird’ was a highlight.

By the end of final support set, the tightly packed venue was brimming with anticipation. Respect for James Skelly’s contribution to British guitar bands is high and the atmosphere was ecstatic.

Skelly’s intention with his new band, he revealed to the Liverpool Daily Post, is to create a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, or a Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band style of performance. Spectacularly, this was managed. There were eight band members on stage, the band swapped instruments, changed guitar for every song, and had four part harmonies at times.

Despite all this bravado, the evening’s performance was made outstanding because of the chemistry between James Skelly and Ian Skelly (drums), his band mate in The Coral and brother. The pair’s harmonies were moments to treasure. There was chemistry between James Skelly  other members of the band, but not to this extent.

‘You’ve Got It All’, and the classic Coral song ‘Dreaming Of You’, and a cover of Ray Charles’ ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ stood out, but with such a great back catalogue, due to James Skelly as a songwriter, arguably, being one of  finest in this country, any other combination of songs from the set could be labeled highlights. James Skelly and The Intenders can be added to the long list of great artists to have graced the stage at Dingwalls.

Cai Trefor