Skindred live at Manchester Academy, 2nd February 2014

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Skindred 2013

Skindred have built up a reputation as one of the best live bands in the country, and tonight is the final date of their headline tour for their latest album Kill The Power. First up were LA band Viza (8) who brought along a very unique brand of gypsy punk. Whilst surprising a lot of the fans at first it didn’t take long for Viza to get a lot of the crowd dancing along. The bands energy is infectious and as their set went Viza won over more and more of a crowd. They were a great choice of openers for Skindred tonight.

Next up were Nu Metal veterans Soil (8), who take everyone watching back to 2001 for the duration of their 45 minute set. Soil keep the whole room bouncing with a setlist heavily focused on their 2001 album Scars. It’s very clear that Soil are incredibly happy to still be around after all this time and this is apparent in the energy they put into their performance. Towards the end of their set they throw in their cover of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty” which gets the entire crowd singing along before closing with “Halo” which see’s Ryan McCombs joins the fans in the pit for a final sing-along which ends their set on a massive high and shows that even in 2014, Soil can still put on a great show.

Finally it was time for Skindred (10) to take to the stage and opening with “Rat Race” gets everyone jumping along and singing, and this doesn’t stop for their entire set. Benji Webbe controls the crowd with such ease and shows why he’s seen as one of the best front-men around. Whether it’s getting the crowd to bounce along with songs, sing or lead them in chants and an improvised rap about Manchester he constantly keeps the crowd engaged. Skindred fill their hour and a half set with classics, a few new songs and even some remixes of pop songs, they make it very clear that this is more than just a metal gig. The energy levels from both the band and the crowd never drop meaning there was never a dull moment in Skindred’s set. Skindred end their set with Nobody which see’s the biggest pit of the night open before playing an encore consisting of new song “We Live” and finally “Warning” which features Skindred’s trademark Newport Helicopter, not before Skindred pull a lucky fan on stage to witness the helicopter from their perspective and join Benji on vocals for the end of the song. Based on performances like this it’s no surprise that people call Skindred one of the best live bands around.

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