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Friday 31 January 2014

The View From The Back Of The Room: Skindred

Skindred, Soil & Viza O2 Academy Bristol

So once more over the bridge to Bristol and after a few coffee's (your intrepid traveller was not at his best) and into the already crammed O2 for the final parts of Viza who sound a lot like System of A Down with the whole American/Armenian shtick mixed with nu-metal, good enough for two songs but I can't give them an unbiased review so onto band 2. 


So Soil returned with Ryan McCombs in 2012 and since then they are picking up where they left off after 2004's Redefined. The band came out to the normal opener Breaking Me Down from their debut and then straight into Loaded Gun from their latest release. I must say I didn't notice the join between old stuff and new stuff as Soil are one of those bands who just do what they do, this is Southern groove metal. The band are driven by heavy bass lines, chunky riffs and McCombs great vocals. The band moved through their tracks from the McCombs era albums and threw in a cover of Ram Jam's Black Betty which wasn't needed but was still pretty good. The band were very professional and played their set with aplomb, after a particularly long changeover. The finale came with that staccato riff of Halo which started the mass sing-along and left the capacity crowd on a high. 7/10


Skindred always known as one of the best live bands on the circuit and as the intro tape of Thunderstruck and the Empire Theme from Star Wars blared through the P.A the band made their way to stage, bedecked in their Skindred branded suits and moved headlong into the rush of Rat Race which was followed up by the shout along of  Stand For Something both tracks keeping the fans jumping, moshing and pumping their fists with glee, this followed into Doom Riff and it's "whoa" chorus before the first song from the new album came in the shape of the excellent Ninja. With those first 4 songs Skindred showed that they have more talent and can generate more excitement from frontman Benji's sunglasses than many bands do in their entire set. The band throughout were on fire with Mikeydemus providing the riff rock riot (sorry) and Dan Pugsley driving the rhythms on his bass, special mention has to go to drummer Arya Goggin and DJ/Samples Dan Sturgess who I'll mention later in detail. Still the band's driving force is Benji who oozes charisma and is somewhere between Freddie Mercury and Del Boy Trotter (if he was from Newport of course!) his between song banter is second to none and you genuinely don't know what he will do next. The Ragga was brought to the front on State Of Emergency and Selector and the dub infected Cut Dem which led into oldie Babylon and the heavy as hell Bruises which destroyed that dared to pit. So after this was mid set intermission which involved a drum solo mixed with a sample mash up section which saw House Of Pain, The Beastie Boys, Queen and The Prodigy mixed together and turned the O2 into a club like atmosphere and allowed Benji to return to the stage after a costume change before moving into two new ones with Kill The Power and Worlds On Fire set to become future set main stays, after another mash up of Macklemore with metal the band started to play Sad But True which moved into the classic double whammy of Trouble and Pressure. The final part of the night is where things went a bit strange, the band played Saturday from the new album which just seems to be a bit made for radio and sounding like weak pop-punk, not the music Skindred should be making at this point in their career and it shouldn't be played this late into the set especially when it was followed by the still venue levelling Nobody which ended the main set. So 11pm and the band were running over a brief intermission another costume change and then they arrived back on stage with newbie We Live which seems was better in the live arena, but it does seem to be a rare misstep for the band as it does sound like AOR (and not in a good way) still all this was washed away with the final hurrah of Warning which featured the now legendary Newport helicopter and a wall of death. With the final chord echoing throughout the arena the opening strains of Carly Simon's Nobody Does It Better rang through the O2, it is hard to argue with it as the band get better every time. Not bad for a band that are perfect!! 10/10     

1 comment:

  1. I'm so gutted that I couldn't get to the gig. I love the new album, it's their best yet. Saturday is perhaps one of the weaker tracks but We Live is destined to become one of their classics.

    No denying though that Skindred are the best live act in the UK at the moment. Class, and honed perfectly.