Skindred w/ SOiL and Viza. 27th January 2014 at Glasgow O2 ABC.

I thought this picture looked a lot better when I first took it.

The fact that Skindred aren’t the biggest band in the world right now is a tragedy.  However, it is reassuring to look out over the Glasgow ABC and see that while it isn’t sold out, they have pulled one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen them play to outside of festival bills.  Maybe the message is finally getting out there about these incredible performers.

Opening up proceedings are Viza, who I’ve got to be honest I only catch the last song of.  They sound fun enough though and might be worth having a look at.  Up next are SOiL who do exactly what you’d expect them to.  Their music is made to be played on American rock stations and I don’t think it’s unfair to say you can tell by just listening to it.  The likes of new track “Hate Song” are pretty awful but they do still have some catchy riffs and nice choruses.  “Halo” gets the biggest reaction of the night but it’s telling that the second biggest goes to their cover of “Black Betty”.  It has to be said however, that lead singer Ryan McCombs is obviously struggling with his voice due to illness and he does an admirable effort to soldier on.

All of this is just a warm up to the main event.  It’s become a cliché to call Skindred the best live act in the world right now.  Yet, as they drop into “Rat Race” you can’t help but think it.  It takes all of seconds for Benji to have nearly ever person in this place bouncing along like a child at Christmas.  The fat that he is basically a fat Welsh bloke in his pyjamas makes it even more amazing when you realise he is the coolest person in this room.  Every command is followed to a tee and every song crackles with the kind of energy that is usually reserved for energy drink fuelled insanity.  “Stand for Something” is a mass sing along while new track “Ninja” could inspire a rave in a hoedown.

It’s not the only new track aired tonight and it’s clear that Skindred’s future is in safe hands with Kill the Power (which I bought at the gig so expect a review shortly).  With “We Live” in particular providing a new look Skindred, with Benji singing, what is probably the closest they will ever come to a ballad, with enough passion to let a song, that I’m sure many will find a bit of a shock, stand up for itself.  While any radio station that doesn’t soon have “Saturday” on rotation is only hurting themselves.

As usual the night ends with the insane “Warning” and a massive Newport helicopter, before everyone heads for the doors with a grin on their face.  I don’t care whether you like hip-hop, pop, R and B or death metal you would enjoy Skindred live.  This is a band that have perfected what they are doing and the world should be their oyster, let’s just hope that this time, that really is the case.

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