Skinner in the Underworld

Going Through Hell is Mike Skinner’s first single from his last album as The Streets. It’s an oddly poetic title that has a lot of resonances, including echoes of the Greek myth Orpheus when our titular hero walked through hell to return his wife, Eurydice, to the Land of the Living. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was completely intentional, Mike Skinner strikes me as a smart guy.

The image of a Greek hero is also apt, an all-conquering hero after many trials and tests returning home but finding this his hardest test yet is an old rote. It was, after all and as he kept reminding us the last time he would be performing in his home city. And I don’t use the word ‘hero’ lightly. The gig tonight was a story of someone facing adversity, and overcoming it with aplomb. The adversity being the crowd. When I first got there the crowd was notable by its diversity, a massive age range. But as the venue started filling up, the mid-twenties gym rat started to swell the ranks, polo-shirted skinheads stinking of Lynx deodorant. In the half an hour between the support acts and The Streets starting things were already getting unruly, plastic cups being launched and people leaving the dance floor with worried and angry looks. At the point where two guys were carrying a obviously paralytic girl to get some air I knew something was up.

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