Review by Paul Davis and Photos by Russ Tierney
Skid Row are on tour so they must have a new album to promote, right? Well, kind of, but rather than releasing a full length album, the band are releasing a series of EP’s over the coming months, starting with United World Rebellion Chapter One which arrives in May.
Before Skid Row, British metal band I Am I warmed up the crowd with varying degrees of success. They feature former Dragonforce frontman ZP Theart and it’s a very melodic form of metal that they play. It’s a shame that Theart’s powerful vocals are completely lost during the first song because it’s a great voice that deserves to be heard. Fortunately the gremlins are sorted out pretty quickly and it’s not long before the singer goes walkabout in the audience in an attempt to fire things up. Although songs like ‘Stay a While’ and ‘Pave the Way’ from their Event Horizon debut album sound great it’s their brilliantly executed cover of John Farnham’s ‘You’re the Voice’ that really impresses before ‘Silent Genocide’ brings their set to a close.
The lights go down and the sound of The Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ fills the Assembly. A good intro but it’s another gang that we’re waiting for tonight. ‘Slave to the Grind’ is the opener, title track from the second album and from a time when Skid Row were multi-platinum big hitters in the world of rock and metal.
Whatever you may think of Johnny Solinger, and there’s some that still don’t accept this version of the band, he’s now in his fourteenth year fronting this band, longer than the last guy. As for the three originals, Snake, Bolan and Hill are as effortlessly cool as they ever were. As one might expect, most of the show consists of songs taken from those first two albums, with a couple of excursions to the Solinger era album Thickskin.
There are a couple of songs on the debut album that still stand up as all-time classic rock anthems and ’18 And Life’ is one of them. Amongst the classics there’s also the new material, songs which have the Skid Row sound you would expect with the heaviness of Slave to the Grind and Subhuman Race. Rachel Bolan takes a moment to thank the loyal fans who have supported the band since they first came to Britain in 1989, then it’s time for a bit of ‘Psycho Therapy’ from the man that always brings the punk influence to Skid Row.
When the acoustic guitar arrives on stage everyone knows what’s next and of course, it’s the huge hit ballad ‘I Remember You’ before guitarists Snake and Scotti Hill share centre stage on ‘Monkey Business’. Skid Row end the night with ‘Youth Gone Wild’, perhaps inevitable but no less glorious as even the forty-somethings sing along and punch the air with delight.
There’s been talk about a reunion in recent years, a lot from Sebastian Bach himself. The nostalgia factor might shift a few tickets, but it’s not something that the band or their former singer really need. If you don’t think it’s Skid Row without Bach, then do yourself a favour and check them out when they return to the UK, you might just change your mind.
See more of Russ’s photos of the show here;