When you’re my age and you see a co-headlining gig go on sale featuring Skid Row and Ugly Kid Joe, your immediate reaction is to locate the nearest point of ticket sale, contact them and scream down the phone “TAKE MY MONEY!!!”. In return for which you receive a couple of flimsy bits of paper and the promise of quite a decent evening’s entertainment.
Despite the moderate ticket price and the small venue, the show didn’t sell out in advance although it was definitely busy with more than a few people being there in time to catch the (unadvertised) openers Dead City Ruins.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, these mad bastards have been self-funding their career to date with one album and a good number of tours under their bullet belts. Somehow they’d managed to get the cash together to fly all the way over here to follow the two main bands around Europe. On top of that, they did a hell of a job of showing that they were deserving of such a hallowed opening slot.
Being a support band can’t be an easy job, especially when people aren’t expecting you to be there. Dead City Ruins pretty much didn’t seem to give a damn and just rocked the place as if they had every right to be there. By the end of their set I think the entire audience agreed that they did.
Great rapport, good fun, audience participation, jumping into the crowd and singing whilst stood on the shelf which runs along one wall of the club (dude, next time get a wireless microphone…), cracking tunes and everything else you should be expecting from a bunch of entertainers.
If you’re going to another date on the tour, get there early enough to see these guys and give them your support.
First of the main bands, though, was Ugly Kid Joe. I have never seen these guys live before, yet still know the words to most of the many singles they released around twenty years ago.
They had what was pretty much the summer hit of my youth with “Everything About You“. One of those songs you just know would be great live, but back then I just never had the chance to see them.
I have to say they were well worth the wait. Playing quite a selection from America’s Least Wanted reminded me what a damn fine album it was – and still is. I’ve not listened to it in over a decade, if I was to guess, yet I remembered the words to so many of the songs.
“Cat’s in the Cradle” had the entire room singing along, “Neighbor”, “So Damn Cool”, “Milkman’s Son”… and a handful of others.
Of course, they finished with “Everything…”. Actually, no. They didn’t. They managed to top that with one more song, but I won’t spoil it in case you’re going to see them. So don’t look at the setlist image below either!
The band played well, had fun, got the crowd going mad and looked like they were having every bit as much fun as the audience. And that there was the key word: fun. Non-stop, classic, quality, memory-jogging, dream-fulfilling fun.
Oh, but please – will someone buy drummer Zac Morris some trousers? Please?
With a surprisingly short set change, Skid Row ambled on stage with plenty of time for a lengthy headlining set. Featuring the “classic” strings section of Rachel Bolan, Snake and Scotti Hill, new addition Rob on drums and long-standing vocalist Johnny Solinger this is a band that’s been on the go for an awful long time. Back when I was a kid they were superstars selling millions.
Then they released [amazon text=Subhuman Race&chan=default&asin=B000002J3W], Seb Bach left and they pretty much vanished into obscurity. What surprised me was seeing people on facebook who had only just heard the gig was on being upset that they’d not be able to see Seb at the Garage, or meet him at the Solid Rock where the bands were chilling out the night before.
People – he left the band in 1996. Not last year when you may not have heard about it! He’s been a solo artist for years and there’s as much chance of him rejoining Skid Row as of a Pantera reunion with Phil Anselmo.
Anyway, Johnny’s been with the band for longer than Seb was which must count for something. He’s a hillbilly at heart and seemed to revel in getting the crowd to give him a huge “YEE-HAW” between tracks.
The set list was awesome. With two great early albums from which they could have plucked any number of songs, some well known covers, the recent mini-album United World Rebellion Part 1 (which Johnny plugged a numerous times!) and the surprisingly good album of 10-or-so years ago Thickskin, this was bound to be a set full of great music.
No disappointment. Just look at the list below.
The new material went down pretty well, but the crowd screamed themselves hoarse to the classics. OK, speaking for myself there. Whispering, actually. Croakingly. Bolan even got his go as he sang lead on the cover of The Ramones’ “Psychotherapy” as he did for the recorded version.
A super evening’s entertainment, but the agreement on the way out was that Ugly Kid Joe actually just stole the evening. Skid Row had the edge with the songs, but UKJ took it by a nose by simply being that tiny bit more fun. Not that either band had anything to be disappointed about.
I know the audience didn’t.
- New Band of the Day: Dead City Ruins (moshville.co.uk)