Ugly Kid Joe live at The Globe, Cardiff 09/09/18

Americas Least Wanted Anniversary TourUgly Kid Joe

Has it really been 25 years since Ugly Kid Joe’s debut album ‘Americas Least Wanted’? Since those cocksure Californian long haired lads hit the ground running with the bratty Everything About You? Nope, their platinum selling EP As Ugly As They Wanna Be came into my life in 1991, before turning up in the classic soundtrack of Waynes World and then came the album. Bloody hell. I’m old.

Despite being a huge fan, to my shame I had never seen them live. I always have the niggling doubt that a band that re-forms from my youth is never quite the same (especially certain American heavyweight acts with personnel changes ahem Skid Row/ Motley Crue/ LA Guns/ Love/Hate.) But this was different as a good friend pointed out- it’s the same lineup. With a shrug and low expectations, I purchased tickets.

I have not seen a crowd for the first support band like that for a very long time. Opening the evenings entertainment Yellowcake took to the stage with confidence, unsurprisingly since it’s fronted by UKJ frontman Whitfield Crane with guitarist Jeff Curran (Dallas Frasca). Heavier than UKJ, with their Black Sabbath influence and bombastic style they soon whipped the audience into a frenzy leaving everyone wanting more after their brief 30 minute show. Thankfully CASSETTES were available (review to follow)

It was a tough act to follow, even more so for duo Haggard Cat. But this was no ordinary duo, this was Matt Reynolds (guitar and vocals) and Tom Marsh (drums) half of punk/ thrash noisemasters HECK! This was not “White Stripes Wannabe Bullshit Hipster Pseudo Rock” (Haggard Cat, ‘About,’ Facebook) but a rhythmical powerhouse wall of sound. The wizardry in creating such a fat, heavy, dirty, bluesy live onslaught cannot be understated.

By now the Globe had become a sweatbox, the excitement had reached fever pitch and it was even rumoured that Newport royalty Benji from Skindred would be joining Ugly Kid Joe on stage. The moment arrived and the band took to the stage opening with ‘Neighbor’ the crowd surged, the rapture arrived and not one soul was disappointed. There was new material strewn among the classics but this was an audience of true fans, not hipsters and the crowd joined in with gusto. Cat’s in the Cradle was incredibly moving and it was a real treat to see guitarist Klaus Eichstadt take the mic for Mr Recordman, the absence of Rob Halford on Goddam Devil’s backing vocals was not missed and the band seemed surprised by the enthusiasm of a Sunday night crowd in Cardiff.

When Whitfield asked the audience to make some ‘Welsh’ noise, the inevitable chant of Oggy, oggy oggy was met with much amusement- have you ever considered this chant to be similar to that of the ‘winkies’ from Wizard of Oz?
Thank you Whitfield, rugby will never be the same again! There were no ‘lame’ encores, the racket raised justified three further songs a rousing rendition of ‘Ace of Spades’ and ending with ‘Everything About You’.
I should have kept track of the set list, but I was having too much fun! Benji, too. He was there to enjoy and was not going to join Ugly Kid Joe on stage. I did however get to experience the ‘Newport Helicopter’ up close and personal with a bandana!

It was worth the entry price alone to hear the support acts live, UKJ delivered and did not disappoint. I’m sorry for doubting them! I would recommend going to see every band on the bill, it’s been a while since I can say that.

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