O2 Guildhall, Southampton


Tonight the Skindred machine rolls in to Southampton for the second night of their UK tour. The band are about to release their seventh album “Big Tings” and by the sounds of the three taster tracks that have been drip fed, it is going to be a corker. The band’s popularity has continued to rise on the back of their notoriously fine live performances with the word continuing to spread with the vast majority of tickets for tonightís gig being snapped up in advance. A pair of bands; both from across the Atlantic – one from the USA and one from Canada have been brought along on the tour, to warm up the crowd ahead of the headliners taking to the stage.

The first of these is highly experienced rock trio “Danko Jones”, who have been together since 1996 and really know how to open a Rock n Roll show. The band are helped along by a fair amount of supporters who vocally give the band plenty of encouragement. We are treated to some great rocking tunes such as “First Date” and “Had Enough”, with the band delivering them with masses of enthusiastic energy. One of the highlights of the set is a slightly risky tune about Oral Sex called “Lover Call” which opens with a killer bassline and clever lyrical delivery. The band leave the stage after a solid 35 minutes with plenty of positive noises coming from the well-entertained crowd.

Danko Jones
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Next up are all American trio “CKY” featuring Chad Ginsburg (Vocals/Guitar), Jess Margera (Drums) and Matt Deis (Bass/Vocals). These guys seem much more familiar to the Southampton crowd and get a warm welcome as they confidently stride out onto the large Guildhall stage. They have always been a band that is difficult to pigeonhole as their songs show a wide range of inspiration from all areas of music. Tonight they continue the high momentum set by Danko Jones, really impressing with some new material from their latest album “The Phoenix”. This includes a tune called ‘Replaceable” and a monumental tune called ‘Head for a Breakdown’ which features some stunningly skilful guitar work.

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The band’s efforts are rewarded as the crowd starts to move with a large moshpit forming in the centre. The band’s most well-known number “96 Quite Bitter Beings” famously played extensively by MTV gets by far the best crowd reaction with its unmistakable infectious guitar sound. After a well delivered GG Allin cover “Bite it You Scum” the band head back to the 2002 album “Infiltrate Destroy Rebuild” for their final number with the epic “Escape from Hellview” bringing their set to a perfect close.

The unmistakeable sound of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and the Star Wars Imperial March signals Skindred’s imminent arrival. The atmosphere in this large hall is one of sheer excitement as Benji, Mikey, Dan and Arya stroll on stage getting themselves a huge warm Hampshire welcome before even playing one note. Kicking off with the title track of the new album “Big Tings” the dancefloor turns into a huge moshpit and the crowd start to move to the infectious sounds of this new tune. It kicks in with a huge drum sound, some seriously bone-shaking bass and the unforgettable chorus that had the crowd joining in from the start. The characteristic lead vocalist “Ringmaster Dread” Benji leads from the front keeping a close eye on every member of the audience, making sure each and every one is getting involved. He whips up the audience into an excited frenzy while delivering some really top class vocals.

The next new tune “Machine” is a cascade of dance meets metal with huge guitar riffs, hooks aplenty and a sing-a-long chorus that is so suited to a live audience…..”Rock and Rock saved my soul” was chanted loudly by virtually every member of this audience in beautiful unison. It is hard to take your eyes off the stage for one minute, there is so much going on what with the fantastic light show and some great costume changes. The band keep the momentum high until a rare acoustic tune which sees Benji and Mikey dueting on an emotional “Saying It Now”. The tune is about a friend of Benji’s who lost his fight with cancer and about regretting not telling him the things he wanted to do before it was too late. The band then all return with the continuing fast pace of the show with the epic “Kill the Power”.

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The encore sees the band revisiting the past with some tunes from the “Roots Rock Riot” album and despite it being over 10 years old, the tunes sound really fresh and relevant. The final tune of the evening “Warning” is no real surprise but it is an event during each show that everyone so looks forward to. The band keep us waiting right to the end and when Benji announces it’s time for the “Newport Helicopter”, everyone dutifully strips off their shirts holding them high in the air – and on the count of 4, they are spun around the heads of every audience member creating an incredible sight. The band take their bows and end an amazing night in Southampton taking the plaudits from the continually growing, faithful legion of fans and as Carly Simon says “Nobody does it Better”.

Set List
Intros: Thunderstruck (AC/DC) & Star Wars Imperial March Remix
Big Tings
Stand for Something
Sound the Siren
That’s My Jam
Saying It Now
Kill the Power

Roots Rock Riot / Trouble
Rat Race
Destroy the Dancefloor
Outro: Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better



Words, Pictures & Video by David Chinery (Chinners)