It’s always a party when Welsh Ragga Metallers Skindred are in town, and with three other bands supporting them on the bill tonight including the mighty Crossfaith things were looking good.
While not doing anything particularly wrong, the generic dual-frontman metalcore sound Yashin offered up didn’t get things off to a great start for me. The formulaic clean-unclean-clean-repeat vocals and uninspiring riffs provided little to keep my interest after the first couple of tracks.
Even though Hed(PE) have been touring the UK for a number of years, tonight was the first time I’d seen them. Kicking off with their rendition of Ghost Town, accompanied by some very interesting down tempo popping by lead singer Jared Gomes, they launched into their eclectic set. The set took us through a myriad of musical styles including ska, punk ad metal. Featured attraction for the set had to be drummer Trauma who’s amazing afro was only overshadowed by his skill with his sticks.
I’ve yet to be disappointed with a Crossfaith live set and tonight was no different. Their industrialised dub-metal sound, led by the vocals of Koie Kenta and keyboards/samples of Tamano Terufumi is unmistakably theirs and rarely fails to get a crowd moving. Monolith and Countdown To Hell both sounded immense, but the real treat was the “ultimate collaboration” of Crossfaith with Benji Webbe on new track Wildfire.
The now almost infamous dub remix of the Imperial March welcomed Skindred to the stage, Benji looking his usual dapper self in his red sequin jacket and spiked mirror shades. After smashing through Under Attack and Roots Rock Riot, Benji took a moment to check in with the crowd, to make sure they were at a rock shown and hadn’t just come to “stand around and watch a band”, his thick South Wales accent adding to his charisma.
Reaction throughout the set was fantastic, both during songs and with the asides Benji shared with the crowd, always touching on the themes of inclusion, anti-racism, anti-homophobia and an invitation to everyone to be part of the Skindred family.
Not losing pace for a second things rounded up with Kill The Power and Nobody before the band were joined on stage during the encore by Koie Kenta and Jared Gomes for Warning. While it took a little while to get warmed up, this evening was a true success. A success owned by a masterful performance by Skindred, with Crossfaith’s ever remarkable set nipping at their heels for a close fought second place.
Roots Rock Riot
Stand For Something
Sound The Siren
Cause Ah Riot
Kill The Power
Playing With The Devil
Review and photographs: Steve Kilmister