Sunday, 2 February 2014
Skindred @ The Junction, 31/01/2014
Due to traffic and rain we only got to see about half of Viza's set, which was annoying as they were kicking up a storm with their traditional Greek styled hard rock. For a band that no-one had heard of they were doing incredibly well, and by their last tracks the first few layers of the bit were bouncing and most folks I could see at the back (colds and pits really don't mix) were nodding along with approval. They impressed me enough that I got their latest album and I hope to be seeing a lot of them in the press.
Soil were up next, which surprised me as I'd thought they split years ago. However they are still very much an ongoing concern, sufficiently popular to have brought along a decent chunk of their own crowd, and their take on rocking groove-metal proved entertaining enough. The tracks were a little 'by the numbers' for me but I'm not going to deny the reaction they got, nor the skills they showed off. The only thing I would question was the singers decision to got down to audience level during the final track, as from anything but the front row it looked like he just disappeared before the end of the set.
Talking of questions: just before main act went on the lights were dropped and "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC was started at full volume. What appeared to be entrance music was then played in its full, accompanied by an impressive display of lighting synchronization. Yet no band, just sound and lights. Answers on a postcard please.
Then a dub version of the Imperial March kicked off and Skindred walked on to conquer all with their high energy metal-meets-reggae-meets-punk-meets-dub-(meets-occasional-touch-of-dubstep) sound. It's difficult to not use the word "unique" when describing what their music is like, so for full reference just checkout their discography. Let's just say that it sounded fantastic, that all musicians were at the top of their game, and that if the tunes didn't get you moving then you were dead to the world. To top it off Benji Webbe, resplendent in dredded up business suit and union jack hanging from his microphone, soon had the audience in his hands, getting every moving and swaying just as needed. The positiveness of his message was unmistakable: it's not common to have a frontman demand everyone live "meaning lives", but when he says it you know its a serious command rather than crowd pleasing platitude. Never pious though, as proven by asking who in the audience smokes dope and then playfully threatening to tell the police on them. There was also a fair amount of 'start song, stop song, tell crowd they have to do better, then start up again' (possibly a little too much) and sing-along fun to be had, all of which gave a great sense of community and togetherness. And then the final song was played, and everyone realised they had to go home in the rain. Still, totally worth it!