Skindred + CKY + Danko Jones @ o2 Institute, 29 April 2018

Opening the set was the incredible Danko Jones, the crowd roared with amazement and excitement as he and the band entered. The atmosphere inside was electric, the strobe lighting accompanied by the blood, sweat and passion of the ever-growing crowd. Danko, his guitarist and the drummer were constantly engaging with the energetic crowd, mosh pits broke out halfway through the set.

They have an interesting style and were a great  warm-up for Skindred

Next up we had the thrilling CKY, who played through several tracks from their latest album “The Phoenix”, which the crowd adored. Throughout their set, the room was dark,  backlit almost, making them silhouettes, before bursting out with light for the last track of their set, the almighty “96 Quite Bitter Beings”, of course a fan favourite, the pace of the venue soon raised into a flurry of metal madness.

Last but not least, the breath taking Skindred. Lead guitarist, Michael Fry, Arya Goggin on the drums, Daniel Pugsley on the bass guitar, and who could forget the lead singer, the man of the moment, Benji Webbe.

A master of puppets it seems, from the moment he entered the stage, he had the crowd eating from the palm of his hand. His raw ability to get the crowd moving, jumping, crouching, taking off their shirts, was nothing short of astounding.

The band opened with one of their latest tracks “Big Tings”, which sent the crowd into an uproar, with mosh pits breaking out from the very start. Halfway through the set, some other classic songs appeared, including “California Love” originally by Dr Dre and Tupac, with Webbe pulling the strings, and breaking the crowd in half with different commands.

Next up came an interlude of “Outta Space” originally by The Prodigy, another big hit with the jam-packed crowd. Then came a slightly softer interlude, with Webbe and lead guitarist Michael Fry performing an acoustic song, dedicated to a friend of Benji’s who had recently passed from cancer.  We can sense and hear this a very touching moment.  The crowd all clapping simultaneously with Benji’s heartfelt story and life experience, it was a moment that brought everyone in that room together, music can be powerful when shared this way.

The last two tracks performed were fan favourites “Kill the Power” and “Nobody”, accompanied by the band leaving the stage and returning for a four song encore, RRR/ Trouble, the infamous Rate Race seeing the crowd lower to the floor to all jump together at the hit of the beats and the awesome Warning to close.

It is almost like a bomb of energy actually did erupt in there, how anyone had anything left including the band is incredible!  It was the perfect way to end their tour, in style, in Birmingham the birth city of Heavy Metal.  At this point Danko Jones, CKY re-group on stage to thank the fans and have a group shot with everyone in on the action, thanking all the fans for an incredible tour.

All in all, the event itself was absolute insanity, non-stop heavy metal madness from start to finish.   You know when you hear the name Skindred its going to be one hell of a show and every time they live up to that expectation.  It’s a one of a kind show.  If you don’t know them, you should check them out!

Reviewer: Jimmy Haggan

Photographer: Chris Bowley

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