Ugly Pop Trio Returns to Old Stomping Grounds
Returning to the scene of their very first public show, former Okies Skating Polly played to a sold-out house at OPOLIS on Saturday. The show was the first stop in a 15-city tour promoting the release of their fifth full-length album The Make It All Show. Vice Magazine calls it
rip-roaring, saying the album will
knock your socks clean off, and into the nearest oncoming traffic.
Expanding to a trio after their brother Kurtis Mayo joined them last year, step-sisters Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse have been performing since they were in middle school — they are in their eleventh year as a band — and show no signs of flagging. As Kelli told me when I interviewed them five years ago,
[We] don’t see us doing anything else with our lives; this is really the […] thing we’re dedicated to.
For their opening number, the band played “Pretective Boy,” from their previous full-length platter, The Big Fit. Kelli jumped around the stage like water dropped in hot grease, punctuating her antics with the occasional roundhouse kick. She’s grown her hair out since the band’s last Oklahoma appearance, and it flew around her head in a continual halo that caught highlights from my on-camera flash quite nicely.
Over the course of the set, Skating Polly played the entirety of The Make It All Show, along with a second song from The Big Fit, “More Than a Body.” When it came time for them to play “This Vacation,” Kelli announced that it would be the band’s first time to perform the song in public and there would be a 99% chance she would f*ck up the guitar part. [Sidenote: She did not f*ck up the guitar part.]
The presence of a keyboard on the stage (something I haven’t seen them bring to a show since early 2014) prompted one audience member to repeatedly request the title track from their sophomore release, Lost Wonderfuls. I would have liked to hear it, too, but it turned out the keys were for the wistful closing track from the new long-player, “Don’t Leave Me Gravity,” sung with heartbreaking vulnerability by Peyton.
According to the set list, the band intended to play “Alabama Movies” during the main set, but they elected to play it as an encore instead, leaving the planned encore choices unheard. Those songs were “Perfume for Now” and “Oddie Moore.”
Opening for the band were local favorites Poolboy and L.A.-based punk rockers Potty Mouth. [Sidenote: Potty Mouth were joined by guitarist Kate; at her request I have not published her surname. She appears on stage right (house left) in the three gallery images of Potty Mouth.] The latter were featured in the 2014 NPR Austin 100 playlist with their song “Sleep Talk.” More recently their song “Cherry Picking” was featured on NPR’s Heavy Rotation.
Gallery: Album Release Show
Gallery: The Make It All Show Tour Kickoff
After obtaining permission from the band to use on-camera flash, I captured the show on the quintessential rock ’n’ roll film, Kodak Tri-X. The results are below. Technical details follow the gallery.
- Leica MP Classic
- Zeiss Biogon T* 21mm ƒ/2.8 ZM
- Zeiss C Sonnar T* 50mm ƒ/1.5 ZM
- Leica Tele-Elmarit-M 90mm ƒ/2.8
- 1⁄50th second
- Exposure Index
- Yongnuo YN560-III Speedlite (mounted on camera flash bracket) with LumiQuest 80 – 20 Pocket Bouncer
- Kodak Tri-X 400
- Adox Adonal (Rodinal) 1:100
- ~60 minutes semi-stand in a Paterson Super System 4 daylight tank
- Epson Perfection v850
- Adobe Lightroom and NIK Silver Efex Pro
The set lists were photographed with a Leica M9-P and the “nifty fifty,” a Zeiss C Sonnar T* 50mm ƒ/1.5 ZM lens.