By Mollie Mansfield
Bouldering onto the stage knowing that everyone in Birmingham knows his name, Mike Skinner was decked in all black – but for only three songs.
Stripping off when ‘Sharp Darts‘ arrived, topless Skinner warned the crowd to take their thermals off in danger that they’d overheat with the energy of their 3000 hometown hype men.
With lukewarm beer being tossed around like confetti – the frontman pleaded with the crowd for someone’s pint. And even when it took him six songs to get just a sip, Skinner still took it in like a mother’s card on Valentine’s day when none others arrived.
‘Has it Come to This’ was echoed with shouts of “Original Pirate Material”, whilst ‘Everything Borrowed’ gave everyone a minute to recover.
Finally hydrated, Skinner attempted to get everyone to raise their lighters for ‘Never Went to Church‘ – followed by a complaint that only five people did – despite them being on sale at their merch stand.
‘Dry Your Eyes Mate’ left grown men clutching one another before Skinner momentarily left the stage – to return for the encore decked in a balaclava.
Although the final twenty minutes included five tracks, the crowd were eagerly awaiting the arrival of ‘Blinded by the Lights‘ and ‘Fit But you Know it‘ – and weren’t disappointed with the result.
Skinner boasted pride in the first night of his sold-out 16-night tour – and no one was questioning why that was the case.