It would be really easy for me to write ‘Skindred are still the best live band on the planet’ and have this review done in one sentence. The trouble with me doing that is that I would be doing them a massive disservice in the process and I’m not about to do that.
It’s a cold and miserable night in Portsmouth (As if you can imagine any other kind of night in Portsmouth) but there is a shining beacon of hope and that is the 10 legged party machine known as Skindred who have rolled into town as part of their ongoing extensive UK tour.
If you have ever seen Skindred live then you will know full well what to expect, but for the uninitiated, it’s certainly something you have to see for yourself. By the time Skindred hit the stage, The Wedgewood Rooms is already fit to burst and everyone is raring to go. The familiar strains of The Imperial March (albeit a remixed version) ring out through the venue walls and we have now hit fever pitch.
Skindred explodes onstage to a deafening cheer and launch head first into Big Tings, the title track from their most recent album and from that moment forward it is most definitely ON. The crowd erupts from the first note and doesn’t stop until the last one in symbiotic energy exchange between band and fans, seemingly both trying to outdo each other in the who can go off harder stakes.
Ripping through a greatest hits set that most bands would give their whole career to write, with bombastic versions of Rat Race, Pressure and Nobody being rolled out like they were no Big Thing (or should that be Ting?) weaving newer tunes Machine and That’s My Jam into the set seamlessly with them both already sounding like old classics.
Most bands usually stick to their own material when promoting a new album or doing a headline show but Skindred aren’t most bands and tonight they casually toss in an extended version of Outer Space by The Prodigy during Kill the Power which sets the crowd off nicely adding extra fuel to the party fire in the process.
Ending with the obligatory encore of Warning featuring Jayce Lewis subbing in for Jacoby Shaddix. Halfway through the crowd are made to sit down and then jump up on command, which they are more than happy to oblige with, its a moment we have seen many times but it’s still a lot of fun to witness live. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Skindred show without the obligatory and rather enthusiastic Newport Helicopter which sees the gig ending on the highest of notes.
Skindred is one of the most reliable bands in rock and they continue to be the greatest live band on the planet. Benji Webbe is one of the greatest frontmen in the game, capable of getting a crowd of metalheads waving like The Queen one second and igniting a vicious pit the next. The rest of the band are no slouches either full of manic energy and on this night musically they are tighter than Brexit negotiations. Skindred has a reputation for a reason and tonight they more than lived up to it.