Live Photos Credit: Anna Zurek Live Gig Review Credit: Dave Winkler
The sign above the venue’s entrance reads “UNDERWORLD – SKID ROW – SOLD OUT”. I guess this is not a huge surprise. A band that were once main support to Guns N’ Roses at the Ninety-Thousand capacity Wembley Stadium, albeit missing two of the five original members, are playing a place that barely holds five-hundred.
The Las Vegas
Due to some early evening commitments I managed to miss The Last Vegas. 7.30pm is a tough call on a Tuesday night, but reactions to the band were very positive, according to many friends who saw them. I arrived just in time for Sister’s 8.15 set. With an image akin to Black Veil Brides and Generation Graveyard, they have boundless energy and enthusiasm, but a lack of great songs or hooks to my ear. But they appear to go down a storm with a large portion of the crowd, so what do I know. Maybe I’m getting too old!
Skid Row have lost none of the intensity in the decade since I first saw this revamped and reinvigorated line-up. Johnny Solinger has always had a tough act to follow since the departure of Sebastian Bach nearly twenty years ago, walking a tightrope, injecting enough of his own personality into the vocal performance whilst still staying faithful to the spirit of the songs. At some previous shows his banter has been a bit hit and miss in my opinion, but tonight he’s on top form, effortlessly connecting with a packed and sweaty Underworld.
Kicking off with ‘Lets Go’, a track from last years United World Rebellion – Chapter One, instantly followed by the classic ‘Piece of Me’ They waste no time in whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Scotti Hill in particular is energised as ever, throwing some serious shapes whilst knocking out some blistering solos on ‘Riot Act’ and the soaring ballad ‘In A Darkened Room’, a highlight that has been missing from the set for so many years.
It’s also a nice touch to see Rachel Bolan say a few warm words to the crowd prior to launching into Ramones cover Psycho Therapy, now a regular in the set, and Dave Sabo also shares a moment after the acoustic outro of I Remember You, a touching moment before they plough into the classic ‘Monkey Business’ to bring the main part of the set to a climatic close, leaving the audience chanting for more.
Opening a four song encore section with ‘We Are the Damned’ highlights how well the newer tracks fit among the old classics. Though there may be fewer sing-along moments for the older fans, there is still plenty of power, with the band leaning towards the more aggressive songs of the United World Rebellion saga in this particular set. A punkier cover of ‘We Will Rock You’, based on the late 70s Live-Killers version, is a fun surprise before the staples ‘Slave to the Grind’ and ‘Youth Gone Wild’ conclude the proceedings, leaving smiles on everyone’s faces.
It’s the third time Skid Row have played London in less than two years, and they say they will be back soon. If there’s any justice based on this performance, they’ll sell out a venue twice the size next time.