Live: The Streets in Newcastle - 3rd November 2023
A week after the release of his sixth album, The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light, Mike Skinner brought The Streets to a bouncing Newcastle City Hall.
It’s safe to say that in the 22 years since Mike Skinner introduced The Streets to the world, there’s been some ups and downs. It’s hard, though, not to see this tour and the accompanying album (and movie) as something of a victory lap. Demons have been faced down, and Skinner is creating some of his most inventive work to date, with critical and commercial success to boot.
It’s Friday night in Newcastle though, so of course there’s the absolute stone cold bangers. Has It Come To This, Blinded By The Lights, Don’t Mug Yourself and Fit But You Know It stand up still as testaments to Mike Skinner’s songwriting prowess, and they’re peppered liberally throughout the set tonight. They’re accompanied by rave breakdowns and introspective anthems in equal measure, and Skinner spends as much time getting up close and personal with his audience as he does onstage. The result is a cathartic, exuberant affair led by an artist who knows the battles his people are facing, because he’s faced them himself.
And therein lies the appeal of The Streets. Skinner’s relatability is the key. He’s fucked it up more times than most of us care to count, but he’s still up there, and he’s better because of it, and that’s got to give us all hope.
Words and photos: Thomas Jackson