Not long ago, I went to see Kate Nash, who rocks my world. I don't know why I was so startled by how amazing her opening acts were, as that is how Kate rolls. The first group to take the stage were these two kids I had seen milling about. I was surprised they were an act, simply because they were so young; there were also only two of them, and I kept waiting for more people to show up.
But no one else did, and these two kids just opened themselves up, all alone up there on that stage, and put everything they had into their music, and I fell in love with Skating Polly.
Peyton Bighorse and Kelli Mayo are stepsisters who started playing music together at the very young ages of 14 and 9 years old, respectively. They are now pros with a dedicated following, and they aren't even old enough to buy alcohol. To say I am impressed would be a gross understatement - I am blown away.
Peyton and Kelli have all the confidence I wish I'd had when I was their age. I've learned, by growing older, that old-soul wisdom doesn't necessarily constitute success, and typically it takes some growing up time to figure out how to tap into the deeper meanings in life. Not so with the girls of Skating Polly.
I don't know that they realize exactly what it means to have achieved so much at such a young age, but they certainly know how fortunate they are to have such supportive friends and family. Their gratitude for those who love and cheer them on is palpable, and makes them all the more likable. They are a team people genuinely want to cheer for, and when Skating Polly succeeds, it makes people happy.
Drawing from hardship experienced very early in life, Peyton and Kelli have a sophistication also quite rare for their ages. It comes from not only having had some of their own negative experiences, but from recognizing pain and suffering in others, and being able to empathize with humanity at large. For the record, neither of them specified anything abusive in their past, but they did acknowledge there were things one or the other had gone through that they both learned from.
They describe performing as a way to release things you can't otherwise feel, and I totally get that. Their musical genre is Ugly Pop, something I find similar to a band a discovered years ago called Mary's Danish. I had a very hard time growing up, and when someone handed me this tape by this group I'd never heard of, I found a voice for my pain.
Two decades later, listening to Skating Polly, I immediately go back to the liberation and empowerment I experienced with Mary's Danish. It is the same emotional validation I get from Pixies, Jane's Addiction, and of course, the lovely and amazing Kate Nash. Atlanta music enthusiast Delaney Ramsey describes Skating Polly as unrefined and raw, and those are probably the most appropriate words I've heard applied to them.
Emotions are unrefined and raw, and Skating Polly expresses a purity of emotion that resonates very deeply with people who acknowledge that life is not centered around materialism and apathy. Taking unrefined and raw emotion and creating something artistic from it, and then putting it out there on display for the whole world to see, is bravery in it's truest form.
After touring with Kate Nash, Skating Polly was invited to play with Babes in Toyland, of whom they are HUGE fans. They are playing with L7 this week at The Fonda Theater in Los Angeles. They also just announced upcoming performances with JD McPherson, who was on Conan a couple days ago. The people and groups Skating Polly associate themselves with may not be on the lips of every American housewife, but they are certainly well-established professionals with credibility and clout.
Skating Polly's Facebook page says they are taking over the world; from what I've seen so far, I believe them.
Many thanks to Skating Polly for the interview, and to Kate Nash for putting them in front of my face!