Friday night in the city and another great evening of music awaits, this time in the shape of the Jägermeister Tour at Brixton Academy. Headlining this event is none other than the incomparable Skindred, along with Therapy?, Black Spiders and The Defiled. This is the first time I have seen most of these bands (expect Skindred) and so I was there early at the front, waiting for the arrival of the first band; The Defiled, wondering what this band would bring. Suddenly, the room darkens and the band enters on stage.
The Defiled’s stage set was certainly interesting with two black death style figures complete with beaks, long black cloaks and sticks positioned on stage. This alone made me interested in seeing the show. There was a fairly lengthy introduction before hitting the main part of the song, but seeing as how the room was quite empty, it gave sufficient time to call others from outside into the main area. Soon into the set the audience numbers rose greatly and everyone looked to be really enjoying the themselves. The Defiled are a very entertaining band to watch, both for their music and for their stage presence. Especially the keyboard player who is constantly moving about and playing the keyboard in, it seems, as many directions as possible by leaning the keyboard in various directions, against the front of the stage, and then lifting it over his head. Energy is certainly not something this band lacks.
‘Black Death’ is their new single and when this begins you realise that the hooded figures are in fact real as they begin to move about the stage, working with the crowd and band members. The costumes are great for this song, though I think there may be a bit of creative licence going on in the costume design as I don’t recall there being women in hot pants and cut out bras (I use this term loosely as there really wasn’t any cover at all) worn during the black death – though I could be wrong. I have no doubt that such outfits delighted many in the crowd, though I think there were one or two winces as the performers began to staple tiny fake rats to themselves; I counted thigh, stomach and chest. The figure on my side of the stage then pulled the stapled rat off her stomach. This is certainly very unique, and surely a bit painful?
Their music is good to move your head to as well as for bouncing about and it was great to be able to see the drummer as the drummer is normally hidden away at the back like a naughty school boy. Needles plays the drums with serious intent and anger and is great to watch.
Overall I really enjoyed this band and would recommend them. However, I cannot write a true review without also saying that the behaviour at the end of their set reduced them in my estimation a good deal and actually made me a bit angry. Whilst I have no issue with a band smashing their instruments on stage (such as a keyboard) I do take issue to the said keyboard being smashed against the front of the stage as this results in shards flying at those in the first few rows and made a few of us concerned for our own eyesight. I also take severe issue to a very large part of the same instrument being then thrown into the audience. Though people tried to jointly catch it, it still smashed onto a young girl’s head leaving her understandably in pain and shock. I was only about a metre away and managed to move in time to escape it but that did scare me. Yes, smashing your instruments can be entertaining but throwing nearly half a keyboard into the audience was simply a bloody stupid thing to do as was smashing it on the front of the stage. We go to gigs to be entertained, not blinded and knocked out. Perhaps an apology to the female concerned is in order?
Call To Arms
After a short beer break, the stage begins to darken again for Black Spiders. I had heard only good things about this band and the crowd must have been in agreement given the cheer they got before even coming on stage. I have to say the introductory music was great, it began with an organ which was very reminiscent of the Phantom of the Opera, but then changed to a western theme (see below) prior to them coming on stage. It definitely left me wondering what was going to come next. Which, as it turns out, was ‘fuck you Black Spiders’ which it appears is something of a tradition for the band to get the crowd to yell back. First time I’ve ever seen a band happy with the audience yelling fuck you whilst giving them the finger! They get my vote for that alone. After getting us to yell that at them a few times we were told to do better as it appears we weren’t the loudest of the tour so far and the top slot was still up for grabs – so we did. I can’t say what the other crowds were like, but we certainly upped the volume for the last one.
Their second song ‘Stay Down’ was a good combination of metal and rock and whilst not a full head banger of a song, it got you moving about. Those of us with camera phones were then asked whether we wanted to be part of their next video, and if so to film their next song and email it later on. I got nearly the whole song, though given the height difference between me and the guys in front of me, I’m not sure how much good it’ll do them, but I’ll send it along anyway. Following this was ‘Just like a woman’ and ‘Wolves’ and then all too soon the band announced it’s their last song – seriously, where did the time go? Perhaps not in bouncing about, as Pete ‘Spider’ Spiby says to us that we must be drinkers and not dancers, asking ‘Does our music not make you want to move? – This song goes out to all the warriors in Brixton!’.
‘Blood Of The Kings’ is a more metal sounding song then previous ones, giving you beat enough to move your head whilst also making you want to move your hips as well. Black Spiders are definitely a good time band and one I would be very happy to go see again.
Intro (from The Good The Bad and Ugly)
KISS Tried To Kill Me
Just Like A Woman
Blood Of The Kings
A few years ago I had been due to see Therapy? for the first time at a festival, but due to, shall we say, drink related sleepiness, I missed their set. I have been annoyed at that ever since so I was extremely excited to be able to have this chance to see them now. Having listened to them for quite some time and sung some of their songs I had an idea of what to expect, but men in suits was not one of them. Coming onto the stage looking like actors from Reservoir Dogs, they looked like they had just strolled out of the office and onto the stage – definitely not what I was expecting. Though, from the moment they began to play, that image was transformed as they just owned that stage and, apologies for saying this, but I for one think all drummers should wear suits from now on – that was a nice view.
Straight away there is just a wall of sound coming from the speakers, the crowd moves, someone starts surfing and someone’s shoes goes flying – this is just immense and still so at odds with their suits. This night was especially good for the band and some of the crowd as it was 17 years ago to the night that Therapy? played the same stage while there were riots outside. One of my mates was there and he agrees that that was a fantastic night (even if he did feel a bit old at the mention of this being 17 years ago). This was followed by ‘Die laughing’ which was dedicated to Black Spiders, among others, which is a great song and really got the crowd moving, though not as much as ‘Isolation’ which brought the pit into being. The dedications continued with ‘Get Your Dead Hand Off My Shoulder’ going out to David Cameron and ‘this poxy government’ which I personally found very amusing.
Their new single ‘Living In The Shadow Of A Terrible Thing’ came next. This is a great song and the first time I had heard it but I more than joined in with everyone else screaming the title right back at the band; it’s a heavier song with good deep guitars. ‘Nowhere’ was next and dedicated to Skindred and everyone in the audience as without them/us there would be no road show. This was followed by ‘Screamager’, which I had been worried was not going to get played, but no, they didn’t let me down. I have listened to this song so many times and I didn’t think it could get better, but live was just immense. I obviously was not the only one who had been waiting for this song as the whole place literally erupted in cheers at the first few notes. This was one of the best songs that night and I was definitely bouncing around like an over excited bunny. I still wish I had seen them at the festival all those years ago, but they were completely worth the wait!
Fantastic band, fantastic set.
Before You, With You, After You
Isolation (Joy Division Cover)
Get Your Dead Hand Off My Shoulder
Living In the Shadow Of A Terrible Thing
Finally the main act of the night came on stage; Skindred. What were they like? Awesome! It is Skindred after all. I chose to move further back this time so that I could get a better view of the whole stage and though where I ended up lacked the pure energy that only the front can deliver, there was no shortage of appreciation going on further back. Why? Because everyone there was excited to be watching them and to see what they would deliver, and they delivered in bucket loads.
No matter where you were you felt the energy from the stage and this had people shouting, cheering, head banging, dancing and yes, bouncing about. From the look of some revellers after the show there was a lot of moving about at the front. With the large banner of the lion from their ‘Union Black’ album cover hanging at the back of the stage, and the long introductory build up I was getting a real sense that this show would be even better than their Hammerfest set. The Imperial March from Star Wars comes over the speakers and as the band comes on stage the screams from the sea of people is just deafening!
‘Roots Rock Riot’ was first and everyone started moving; the rhythm of this song is great and already you feel immersed in the set and it feels like they have been on stage for several songs. Since coming back from Hammerfest I have spent a great deal of time listening to ‘Union Black’ and was very happy to hear ‘Cut Dem’ played. I love this song and it’s even better live. There was a lot of dancing going on throughout the room and even at the back of the room you could really feel the beat from the drums; just awesome! As Benji said, this is about unity and the crowd was certainly united in their enjoyment that evening and the next example came in the form of ‘Doom Riff’; another great song. What followed was definitely unexpected; an intermission to Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’, though I did enjoy the moves from everyone, and bizarrely enough sang along.
We’re then told that the first gig they played was with Therapy? and that this was an honour that they couldn’t explain. Tonight had 4 ‘wicked’ British bands and we were watching a dream come true, and if someone out there tells you you can’t do something you want to do you tell them a Welsh man told them to *** off: keep pushing forward.
Just like at Hammerfest their set comes to an end far too quickly, but after a short break they head back on stage again. Their last song ‘Warning’ is an absolute favourite for me and just an amazing song to hear live, not only for the song itself but also for the sheer audience participation. If you’ve never seen Skindred before stand up, whip your top off and whirl it around your head, helicopter style, and you’ll know what I mean. The evening ends to the sound of ‘Nobody Does It Better’ and I would have to agree. In my opinion, there is no other band like Skindred and what they do, they do it bloody well.
Roots Rock Riot
Stand For Something
Destroy The Dancefloor