© George Pennock
Photos by George Pennock
Live Gig Review by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Skid Row and Ugly Kid Joe both have long musical legacies, attaining their commercial peaks in the MTV era of the eighties. Although Ugly Kid Joe played as recently in Belfast as last year,we have to go way back to 1991 for Skid Rows last appearance in Belfast. There was a strong air of anticipation as soon as this gig was first announced. Personally I like many others was eager to see Sebastian Bach’s successor for the first time in a live setting. However despite Bach having exited Skid Row 17 years ago, I was actually shocked to find many gig goers that still expected him to be fronting the band. Guess they must not have ventured to a gig since those halcyon days, and haven’t been privy to recent changes in the Internet era. Unfortunately due to a regular club night in the same venue, the gig had to be scheduled for an early start. This however did give me the opportunity to catch up with the bands before the show, and have a chat with them. Joining the double headlining acts were fresh faced upcoming Australian band Dead City Ruins.
Dead City Ruins have been carving their own path in the world of Hard rock. Starting out in London England and making their way home to Australia whilst playing as many down trodden, hole in the wall pubs and clubs as one band can fit into a seven day week.
Splicing the musicianship of 70’s and 80’s metal and the soul catching riffs of bluesy rock with the intensity and “f*ck ‘em all” attitude of punk rock, Dead City Ruins have left crowds from London (ENG) to Melbourne (AUS) reeling for more and asking themselves where the hell this band came from 2013 brings the release of the long awaited (‘self titled’) second album and a tour of Europe and the UK.
Dead City Ruins
Photos 2-4 © Melanie McNair
Unfortunately the band have already experienced some difficulties so early into the tour with several different issues with their transport. Due to excessive ferry costs the 2 headliners had offered to let them ride shotgun on their own tour buses for the two Irish dates. It was a pleasant and novel experience to witness this act of kindness to their lowly tour support from the established headliners. Scheduling issues ensured that they had to start their set just as doors opened, which meant that only a small portion of the audience witnessed their show. However this didn’t detract from the band fully giving their all in an enthusiastic and energetic albeit a short set. Harnessing that classic heavy rock sound but forged with their own identity I feel that this is truly a band destined for great things.
The venue was starting to fill up now as the concert was close to a sellout. Last years visit by Ugly Kid Joe marked my debut seeing them, and I had been very impressed. Considerably more powerful than their”hit”singles would have you believe I had left totally seeing them in a different light. The band appeared to have benefited from their hiatus, and returned refocused and fully rejuvenated. Indeed there seemed to be as many audience members here for Ugly Kid Joe as Skid Row. Focusing on a no frills and tight set mixing newer tracks from the Stairway To Hell EP, together with their commercial hit singles”Cats in the cradle”, and “Everything about you”it was well balanced and fully satisfying. Singer Whit Crane, and original members Cordell, and Klaus were joined by touring members Sonny Mayo on second guitar,and Zac Morris on drums. These have integrated well into the lineup, indeed they both actually played on the last Ugly Kid Joe UK tour. Once again the band fully delivered and left the Belfast audience, drained and exhausted. The band finished their set looking as if they had really enjoyed the feedback of the Belfast audience. Skid Row would truly have their work cut out to even match Ugly Kid Joe’s performance.
Ugly Kid Joe
Opening up with “Lets Go”from the bands new United Word Rebellion”Ep I thought that singer Johnny Solinger had proved a solid and competent replacement for the much missed Seb Bach. The real test for me personally was how he would measure up on the old classics. Well I didn’t have long to wait as the hits started coming thick and fast.”Big Guns, Makin a Mess, and the long standing classic ballad “18 and Life”I think that there was no doubting the caliber of the mans pipes, but visually I felt he did come up short in matching Seb’s charisma on stage. Having seen Skid Row several times over the years with Seb , I was still surprised that the band still featured a standard cover version of that era. I would have liked instead of the eternal “Psycho Therapy”being wheeled out, perhaps another track of the EP such as “This is Killing Me”for example would have been more representative of the modern era of Skid Row.”In a Darkened Room” did sound particularly satisfying in a live setting though. The three original Skid Row members appeared to be enthused to be returning to the Belfast stage, and their friendly nature shone through in their interaction with their die hard fans both from the stage and when meeting them earlier in the day. Hits continued to flow culminating with the eternal anthem of mine and many other audience members with”Youth Gone Wild”
In conclusion I left fully satisfied, with the musical quality of the three bands, from the established and long standing eighties giants to the new pretenders. Both Skid Row and Ugly Kid Joe continue to deliver quality live performances to a new generation of youth, to go wild to. Older fans can also feel that the band continue to deliver the goods.