Skid Row @ The Mill, Digbeth, Birmingham – Sunday 8th December 2019


New Jersey rockers, Skid Row, brought their current UK tour to an end at The Mill in Birmingham on Sunday night, headlining a well quartet of bands. Matt Mitchell & The Cold Hearts opened the evening and Crashdiet followed with their brand of Swedish Glam metal going down well to the now packed Mill. The Quireboys have shared many a stage with Skid Row over the years and the two bands have become friends. The downside of three supports though is that they only have 45 minutes on stage, so it’s a short but sweet set that takes in the early hits of ‘Hey You’ & ‘Seven O’Clock’ with more recent favourites ‘Mona Lisa Smiled’ & ‘The Original Black Eyed Son’.

Skid Row

Since recruiting ex-Dragonforce frontman ZP Theart over three years ago, Skid Row have been steadily rebuilding their reputation as a live act. Theart is yet to record with the band, although we are told to expect new material in 2020. Consequently the majority of the set focuses on the first two albums, Skid Row & Slave To The Grind.

The set kicks off with ‘Makin’ A Mess’ and the omens are good. There’s a great vibe in the room and the sound and lighting is spot on too. The twin guitars of original members Dave ‘Snake’ Sabo & Scotti Hill are particularly on form, and it makes you realise that they probably don’t quite get the recognition that they deserve. ZP Theart is a good fit who has more than settled into his role. He has suitable stage presence, but isn’t the overbearing frontman. As a band they are relaxed and there is much camaraderie on stage. While the money may be there with a Sebastian Back fronted band, you get the feeling that their enjoyment of the gig takes precedence.

’18 & Life’ is a highlight which comes fairly early on in the set, and it makes you realise just how many good songs Skid Row have in their cannon despite having only released 5 full length albums in their 32 year career. Many would have to reserve such offering for the encore but the quality doesn’t let up with ‘Thick Is The Skin’ and ‘I Remember You’ following in quick succession. Rachel Bolan then takes over lead vocals on the Ramones ‘Psycho Therapy’.

Skid Row

Dave Sabo pulls Spike back up on stage for a drinking contest to see who can down their bottle of beer the quickest. Snake wins, but while laughing admits that as Spike walked off he whispered ‘I let you win’ in his ears. He then apologises in advance if he messes up the start of ‘Monkey Business’. He doesn’t, of course, and it sounds fantatsic.

‘Riot Act’ & ‘Slave To The Grind’ sound as good as ever and there’s no holding back from the audience joining in. You’d never guess it was a Sunday night and I bet some would be nursing sore heads and throats at work the next morning. With an earlier delay, it seems that they chose to ignore the charade of leaving the stage to come back for an encore, instead playing through to ensure we ended on a high with ‘We Are The Damned’ and the timeless ‘Youth Gone Wild’ while balloons are released adding to the party atmosphere.

A great evening and one that whets the appetite for some new material from this line-up.

Makin’ a Mess
Big Guns
Piece Of Me
Livin’ on a Chain Gang
18 and Life
Thick Is the Skin
Psycho Therapy
I Remember You
Monkey Business
Riot Act
Slave to the Grind
In a Darkened Room
We Are the Damned
Youth Gone Wild