LIVE REVIEW: The Interrupters, The Skints and The Bar Stool Preachers – Live @ the Marble Factory, Bristol (21/08/22)

Three amazing bands on one bill, The Interrupters, The Skints and The Bar Stool Preachers, playing The Marble Factory, Bristol.

Any one of these bands can pull a crowd on their own, and I have seen all three as headliners on several occasions. So when the tour was announced, it was just a question of which venue I was going to catch them in.

The Marble Factory in Bristol is a new venue to me, I’ve not been there before. The site had originally been a gas works back in the 1800s, becoming the home of the Marble Mosaic Company in 1960. In 1983 they moved out and the building became a skateboard park. With the onset of the twenty-first century, it slowly morphed into a nightclub and music venue, with the skate park being finally removed in 2016. Although it was only briefly a Marble Factory, I do think it is a better name for a venue that ‘the Gas Works’.

Queue for the outside bar

The building is now home to two venues, Motion and The Marble Factory. The main focus is club nights, but clearly, they host the odd gig – or I wouldn’t be here tonight.

The building is currently owned by Live Nation, an American music promotion company that merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 to create an all-round ticketing, venue and artist management company. About as far away from a grass-roots venue as you can get.

With three class acts on the list, I make sure I arrive early. But as I park up just after seven, I can already hear the Barstool Preachers on stage. No point rushing though, there is a huge queue snaking it’s way over the bridge, around the corner, and into the industrial estate. With the thought of the long queue in mind, I nip down to the riverbank for a sneaky pee. This is, of course, anti-social, but given the number of empty cans, bottles and laughing gas cannisters on the riverbank, I think I actually improved the site a little.

“Hurry up, the bar Stool Preachers are already on!”

In fairness, the queue moves quite quickly. This might be explained by the fact that, as far as I could see, no one was actually having their tickets checked. I certainly didn’t, I just walked straight in.

The venue is a listed building and they have kept much of the ‘industrial’ feel of the building. I like that, although the cynic in me wonders if that is an artistic decision, or just cost cutting by Live Nation. Probably a mixture of the two. The certainly haven’t wasted any money on air conditioning.

They have, however, invested in a heavy-duty steel balcony around the main hall, a decent stage and good quality lighting and PA system. I quite like the venue, although it is rammed and sweaty – which I’m getting too old for these days – particularly when I struggle to find a spot to actually see the band.

I initially work my way towards the front but staying to the side. There’s a reasonable view of the band, all be it obstructed by a steel girder. I’m also next to the doorway into the bar, so there is a steady flow of foot traffic to contend with. After a few numbers I spot the stairs to the balcony and head up for an arial view. I still have to look over people, but at least I can see the band. I hadn’t planned on going not the mosh pit anyway.

bar Stool Preachers – from stage left

It’s about time I started talking about the music.

TJ McFaull is a natural born frontman. He realises what a surprisingly large number of performers don’t – you have to connect with the audience. He encourages participation, reaches out to each and every one of the crowd and makes them feel part of the show. Sometimes that sort of thing can feel contrived, but not TJ, he is just a natural born performer. The rest of the Barstool Preachers are not exactly shoe gazers either.

In the run up to the gig I had been wondering what the running order would be, although secretly accepting that the Skints are ‘bigger’ than the Preachers. Third on the bill does not really do them justice, these guys are the business. To be honest, seeing them on the bill was the clincher for me in terms of enticing me over the Severn Bridge. These were the band I wanted to see the most (So why the hell don’t I drive over earlier?)

They rattle through their back catalogue of high energy ska-punk and have the now full room bouncing. Apparently when they kicked off there were only a dozen or so people in the building and they had watched from the stage as the room slowly filled up to capacity.

If there was anyone in the room that had just rocked up early for the other bands and not been familiar with the Preachers, they were now converted.

The Gods look down on the Bar Stool Preachers,

As their set draws to a close, I contemplate nicking myself a prime position when the mad rush to the bar starts, but it is hot and sweaty. I need fresh air. Outside there is a nice size courtyard with tables, a bar and a food stall. I rock up the food stall.

I note they have tasty looking Veggie Burgers on the menu, but as I wait in queue my eyes wander all over the menu and I note small print at the bottom of the sign which says “Chicken, vegetarian and vegan products all cooked in the same oil”. In other words, they don’t have any vegetarian or vegan items for sale. I’m pretty pissed off with this deception, if I hadn’t been bored in the queue, I wouldn’t have noticed it. I wonder how many people have been caught out by this. I suspect it is not deliberate, just total ignorance – but there is no excuse for that when selling food. It is a basic thing, like knowing that you should not use piss to make tea and coffee. If they get this wrong, what else have they got wrong?

I grab a bottle of water and head back in to find a decent view. There isn’t one really. Despite there still being around a hundred people in the courtyard, the venue is now heaving. I find myself a spot upstairs again, and discover there is a can bar at the back without much of a queue. With only a bit of tiptoes involved I can see most of the stage.


The Skints have changed a bit over the years. When I first saw them supporting Sonic Boom Six they had more of a ska-punk edge to them, but I remember thinking at the time that they seemed to have a reggae sensibility to them that was uncommon for a band their age. Fast forward over a decade and their mastery of reggae has magnified, but they do seem to have drifted away from that original ska-punk vibe.

Their bass lines shake the walls but their harmonies hold everything together. Marcia never ceases to amaze, playing keyboard, melodica and saxophone, whilst also laying beautiful lyrics over everything. Proof that there are exceptions to every rule – in this case, the ‘nobody likes a smart arse’ rule

I notice small platforms on the stage, which Marcia and Guitarist Josh regularly jump onto to add to the choreography of the show (and helping those at the back see what the hell is going on). Safer and less expensive than jumping on the monitors. Having seen the Interrupters before, I assume they are part of their touring gear.

The heat is now becoming unbearable and I head out into the bar area which is much cooler. You have to stand on one leg and lean over to get a view of the stage, but that is preferable to boiling like a lobster.

Put your hands in the air like you just don’t care

The bar doubles up as an area for band merch to be sold and for most of the night there is a long and polite queue of people eager to exchange their hard-earned cash for CDs, vinyl and T-shirts. The Barstool Preachers actually staff their stall themselves. I like that. ‘Men of the people’.

As I stand there, the Skints dust of a few of their old ska-punk numbers and the hardy souls up the front bounce and skank.  When they finish, I am in pole position to make it out into the courtyard for more fresh air. I’m not the first out there though, it is quite busy with others inhaling fresh air – and some inhaling smoke.

It is an interesting crowd. It seems to be populated by the age range of thirty to sixty, with very few in their twenties. There are lots of band t-shirts on display, but with very few exceptions, no traditionally punky looking characters. There are a few old school skins around though. What really made the crowd interesting though was the number of kids around – I don’t mean teenagers; I mean kids that looked ten years old or younger. I’ve been to a few ‘14+’ events, and kids are obviously in abundance at festivals, but I’ve never seen children at proper indoor gigs before. I hasten to add, there were only a handful of them and there were all with grownups, but it’s something I have not seen before.

Back to the gig.

Once more I head upstairs to look down upon the band, literally, if not metaphorically. I had hoped to beat the crowds but upstairs is now well and truly full, and no sign of the Interrupters. I note that the circus tables that the Skints had used are now gone, replaced by strategically placed flight cases and stepped platforms that are on the verge of being classed as step ladders.


When they finally burst onto stage with ‘Take back Control’ the crowd goes as wild as a crowd, that has already spent three hours in a sauna, can. Despite this tour being to promote their new (fourth) album, ‘In the Wild’, most of the set it made up of ‘oldies’. If a band that has only been around ten years can have ‘oldies’.

Rock and Roll is a funny old thing. If I mentioned The Interrupters in work, up the pub, or to anyone walking down the street, I’m pretty sure no one would have a clue what I am talking about. Yet here we are with sixteen hundred people singing along to every song; knowing exactly when to skank, when to jump up and when to participate in communal clapping. Even the children behind me.

I spend the set wandering, trying to get a variety of views, sometimes upstairs, sometimes as close to the front as I can get, sometimes outside cooling down. Everywhere I go people are dancing – except on the stairs where people seem to be collapsed in a pile getting in other people’s way.

interrupters from the back

The band run around as if they were impervious to the heat, jumping up and down on various props and eventually we get tunes from the new album. There is also a moment when they do a medley of cover versions by stablemates on the legendary Epitaph Records – such as Rancid’s Ruby Soho. It’s a strange medley though, they stop every time they change song, to see if the crowd are keeping up with them. (They are.) Perhaps this is why they call themselves the Interrupters.

Closing the show, we get the tune that first hooked me on the band, ‘She’s so Kerosene’ and confetti explodes over the crowd. At this point I am loitering in the bar watching through the door, but a wide grin cracks my miserable face. I head for the exit to beat the rush, but poised ready to rush back in depending what the encore is. There is no encore and I am off out into the night to put the air condition on in the Iguana Mobile.

the only place to see the band that is a reasonable temperature – outside!

My lasting memories of the night will be how fucking hot it was in there and how packed it was, with very few easily accessible viewing points. Also, cooking vegan burgers in the same oil as chicken is like a turd in an elevator – wrong on every level.

But if we take those things out of the occasion, my thoughts are that 1) I quite like the venue, even though it is owned by Live nation and it was too full 2) all three bands put on immaculate shows – from what I could see. Others pouring themselves out of the gig are chatting with each other, commenting on how amazing the gigs was. Whilst this cynical old git was more concerned about how bloody hot it was, I couldn’t actually argue with them.

*This is one of those venues that don’t allow proper cameras in – so the blurry pix are from me phone