If you’ve seen them before, you know what to expect from a Skindred show, however it’s a time honoured format that time and time again works wonders and draws an eclectic crowd, and an eclectic line up.
First band on at the recently re-opened Wulfrun Hall in Wolverhampton was local metallers Left for Red. Considering they’re from Dudley, I’d never had the chance to see them perform live so I was looking forward to it. They’ve amassed a decent following and with their single ‘Kneel before You Die’ becoming TNA Impacts theme tune it’s no wonder that the chants of “Left for Red” were loud and proud. They’ve had some pretty impressive support slots to date and Monday night was no different. Opening for a crowd the size that Skindred can pull is no mean feat.
Personally I had a few issues with vocalist LCs voice not quite reaching the notes he was striving for, but after about track 5, he seemed to warm up and found his feet a little more. Bassist Dan Carter has some serious moves as he grooved behind his bass. Overall, there were some decent parts and some not so great, but they’re clearly doing something right judging by the crowd’s reaction and the chants as they left the stage.
Following their reformation at the tail end of last year, next up were London punk outfit The King Blues. With their own brand of political punk poetry and spoken word, their message is almost subliminal, sugar coated in their bouncy happy sound.
Their storming opener ‘Let’s Hang the Landlord’ set the bar high as they played through what seemed like a “Greatest Hits” set mainly from their Save the World, Get the Girl release. ‘I Love My Life’ was the very clear message given by front man Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox and their soulful ska had everybody moving. With crowd favourites like ‘The Streets are Ours’ getting the whole room skanking and recent single ‘Off With Their Heads’ shows that they still mean business. Ending with the uplifting ‘Save the World, Get the Girl’, The King Blues are definitely a band I will be keeping my eye on!
With their usual intro kicking in with AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ as the lights blacked out, the crowd erupted. Their mix of ‘The Imperial March’ welcomed them to the stage as they ploughed straight into ‘Under Attack’ from their latest release Volume. Vocalist Benji Webbe is as humble as they come as he thanked the crowd for coming out to see them and regaled stories of their early gigs at the Little Civic in front of 4 people, to their support slots for Steel Panther and the like.
Covers of House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ and a piss take of Justin Beiber’s ‘Sorry’ was a simple moment of comedy genius as Webbe conducted the crowd with chants of “f*ck this shit!”. ‘Trouble’ featured a snippet of Metallica’s ‘Sad but True’ for what just seemed like the hell of it, before we saw Webbe’s softer side in acoustic track ‘Saying it Now’, which was dedicated to a friend who he never had the chance to say goodbye to before his untimely death.
Personal favourites ‘Kill the Power’ and ‘Nobody’ bought their set to its peak with the crowd literally begging for more. As always, their encores are far from the norm as they came back onto the stage with a ‘War Pigs’/’Iron Man’ mash up. Before long the band were joined on stage by Skye Sweetnam from Sumo Cyco and Whit Crane from Ugly Kid Joe (who were performing at the Slade Rooms the following evening) for ‘Warning’ and the obligatory Newport Helicopter. On the count of 4, the Wulfrun quite literally blew up. I couldn’t see one person stand still as t-shirts were flung into the air and sent flying around everyone’s heads. As mentioned before it’s nothing new, but something everyone needs to witness at some point.
Carly Simon’s ‘Nobody Does it Better’ played over the speakers as drummer Arya Goggin threw his sticks into the crowd and the band bid their farewells. It really couldn’t have summed their show up any better.
Review and pics by Jo and Mark of Amplified Gig Photography.