A night of fun music and Newport Helicopters 8/10
Skindred have toured pretty heavily this year in support of their new album Big Tings and the lineup tonight is a very decent one.
Opening act Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics are incredibly entertaining and perfect in their role of warming up the audience. Buchanan himself is an incredible performer with moves like Jagger, just oozing charisma with a voice somewhat reminiscent of Freddie Mercury – if Adam Lambert leaves Queen then Brian May needs to give Aaron a call. If their own songs weren’t enough for the crowd then their roaring medley of My Sharona, The Trooper, Paranoid and others certainly won the audience over. The only thing that let the down a little was Aaron’s microphone being a little too low in the mix.
Those Damn Crows are from nearby Newport so they understandably have a large following in the crowd for their rip roaring energetic rock. The sound is a little better for them which helps in riling up the crowd who are loving them. Their melodic songs are a little formulaic but they are very good at what they do; their drummer Ronnie Huxford looked like he was trying to beat the kit to death. Shane Greenhall’s vocals oddly sound like James Hetfield and Dave Draiman on times in the way he delivers lines, not a bad combination at all. They end their set with the anthemic sing-a-long Rock N Roll Ain’t Dead setting up Skindred nicely.
Benji Webbe is a clever guy, as a former DJ he writes songs to be dance floor fillers and he’s a veteran with 20 years of performing live. Skindred’s warm up music is the Imperial March from Star Wars before they start with the infectious Big Tings. The huge groove and “woah-oh-oh-oh-ohhh” lines are perfect hooks and work beautifully live. We’re then deep into the back catalogue with Selector and Pressure. Benji is still a great frontman and also being from Newport no doubt helps here as he’s essentially homegrown. Machine gets the crowd singing along and we’re treated to an acoustic piece in the form of Saying It Now. Kill The Power saw the band stopping in order to play some of The Prodigy’s Outer Space as an interlude which was disruptive to the overall flow.
To finish Aaron Buchanan joins them on stage for a rousing performance of Warning with Benji encouraging the crowd to take their shirts off and swing them, also known as the Newport Helicopter. Skindred are fair better live than they are on recordings – a somewhat bemusing, but very entertaining, spectacle.
Words by Delyth Williams and Morgan Evans. Photo (c) Delyth Williams.