Review of Skindred at Hammerfest IV, March 2012

After a weekend of interviews I was very happy to be booted out of the press area and told to go and enjoy watching some bands – and where did I go?  Stage 1 to see Skindred of course!  Well ok, first I went to have some beer and then I headed over to see Skindred’s set.  After interviewing the lovely Mikey earlier that day I was very much looking forward to this, especially as I had never seen then live before.  I admit also (though I suspect this may damage my credibility as a reviewer of metal) that I hadn’t really heard many of their songs either.

Given this I was not prepared at all for what was in store for me at Stage 1.  For those like me that have never seen or heard Skindred play, it is hard to adequately describe for you the sheer mix of styles that combine to create their songs.  First there’s Benji, who quite frankly looks like an American rapper and sings with a reggae style groove at times.  Don’t be confused…this is metal.  But its metal you can raise your horns to as well as jump and dance about.

Normally when I review a set I take lots of notes, analyse the crowd’s reaction, etc but I completely failed to take any notes for this one as I was far too busy enjoying myself.  My notes basically consist of ‘Skindred Rocks!’ and ‘F*** me that was good’ – if that’s any use to you at all.

As you can see from the set list below this was one long set, very possibly the longest set I have ever seen at a festival, so again something very unexpected (and also good value for money J).  However, this is something that I think is very much Skindred, in that they put so much into their performance that having a set lasting about 80 minutes is just one of those additional factors.

I know, I know, you want me to tell you details about what it was like.  Well, I was towards the front near the left-hand side of the stage and I can tell you that all around me was just a sea of people who had come to ‘get on down’ to the headliners.  (Can you ‘get on down’ to metal?  If it’s Skindred – yes you can!)  I was absolutely caught up in every song with the beat, the guitars, bass, and Benji’s voice egging you on all the way. There was a lot of bouncing going on from all those around me with Benji calling for more about 40 minutes in.  Hang on, I thought you said you didn’t take any notes I hear you cry.  Well yes that is still true, however I believe I also told you I’d gone for some beers, and so had to make the decisions we all do at gigs at times; bounce less or go now.  After realising I still have at least another 40 minutes left I snuck out and then happily managed to find my way through the throng of people back to my old spot and began bouncing even more furiously then before.

Before I knew it the band began playing their last song ‘Warning’ – and warning is right as above my head swung swirls of hoodies, jumpers and other garments helicopter style.  It seemed that those around me came prepared with extra tops for this, however I have it on good authority that at the back things were a very different story.  Again, another good reason to be indoors at that time of year.

This was by far my favourite set of the whole weekend not only for the sheer entertainment of it all but also because their unique style of music enabled me to shout and jump about, as well as showing off my funky dance moves.  Again, not something I expected to be doing this weekend.

This is indeed a serious good time band and I don’t think there was anyone there watching them that could disagree.  They were quite simply awesome. They were so good that after leaving work on my first day back after the festival I went straight to the shops and bought their album ‘Union Black’.  I am jealous of those who will get to see them again soon and will waste no time in buying my own tickets the next time I see tickets on sale. This is one band I shall never miss play again.


Cheers guys!



Set List:

Rat race


Cause a riot

Doom riff




Cut dem






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About Rowena

Interviewer, Reviewer, Radio DJ (Metal Nymph Presents) and Digital Media Wizard at Planetmosh.
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