Following energetic performances from supporting groups Viza and Soil, the bar had been set high for Skindred to deliver a memorable performance. Entering the stage to a drum & bass remix of the Star Wars Imperial March, Skindred launched into their set with Rat Race, and it immediately becomes clear that this will be a night to remember. The somewhat narrow architecture of the Wulfrun Hall resulted in a slightly saturated sound mix, but it’s a minor smudge on what was otherwise an outstanding performance. Benji Webbe’s prowess as a front-man cannot be understated. His elaborate costumes and studded sunglasses cannot hide his passion for entertaining the crowd. From Freddy Mercury style call-and-response chants with the audience to initiating a wall to wall Newport Helicopter, Webbe’s seems to feed off the energy of the crowd, and vice versa. The floor of the hall shook as spectators bounced in unison to Skindred’s anthems, including a selection of tracks from newly released album Kill The Power.
The massive bouncy riffs shake the building, and the crowd embraces the new songs as much as the classics. The band’s appreciation of music from so many styles manifested in the clever construction of the setlist, which rather than being a simple song-after-song affair, worked more like a live DJ set, teasing and sampling to blend between songs. Queen, Macklemore, Willow Smith, Kanye West, House Of Pain and The Beastie Boys, were amongst the many artists referenced throughout the show. A live rendition of The Prodigy’s Invaders Must Die and a crushingly heavy Sad But True by Metallica provoked the biggest response. The whole show felt like a celebration of music in all its forms, and everyone was taking part in the party atmosphere as much as the band on stage. From front to back, there wasn’t a moment when the crowd stopped moving, and Skindred have cemented their place as one of the UK’s finest live acts in years.
COMPLETE SET LIST:
Stand for Something
State of Emergency
Niggas in Paris / Intergalactic / Jump Around / Don’t Stop Me Now / Omen / We Will Rock You
Kill the Power
Worlds on Fire
Trouble (With snippet of Metallica’s Sad but True)
Nobody Does It Better