Friday, 15 November 2013

Ugly Kid Joe and Skid Row at Concorde 2, Brighton

When I went to see Dinosaur Pile-Up at The Hope, I said that it was a relief to finally have a show to review after six weeks of total giglessness (sure, that’s a word). Well that was back in July. July! So you can imagine my happiness last Monday night to be on my way to Concorde 2 in Brighton for a musical threeway with Ugly Kid Joe and Skid Row.

I saw both bands at Download in 2012 (actually I didn’t see Skid Row, but I saw Sebastian Bach perform 18 and Life so near enough!) and I was excited to see them again, especially at this particular venue. Concorde 2 is a Victorian building, originally used as a tearoom in the 1800s, that has retained a lot of its original character. It’s a nice size, the sound is always incredible and although it doesn’t have any kind of camber, it’s pretty easy to squeeze your way to the front for a good view. (Having said this, a serious error in judgement meant we spent the first couple of songs wedged in the entrance to the toilets…. Classy.)

First up were California boys Ugly Kid Joe sounding as good as ever. For a band that hasn’t changed its style, and that garnered much of its original following from a borderline gimmicky song, they are undisputedly credible. Honest to God they sounded as good as you remember and belted their way through a setlist that included So Damn Cool, Neighbourhood, Cats in the Cradle and of course, Everything About You.

I think Whitfield Crane might have discovered the fountain of youth, he really hasn’t aged much. He still has the long hair, the shorts and the boundless enthusiasm of a puppy with ADHD, which was never more apparent than during a frenetic cover of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. Despite a lengthy split from 1997 to 2009 they are back on form, and seeing them live again has made me feel a bit guilty that I still haven’t listened to their 2012 release, Stairway to Hell. Time to dig that out me thinks!

Next up were Skid Row, or at least the current incarnation of Skid Row. Although as lead singer Johnny Solinger pointed out, he has had the job for 14 years now since Bach’s departure in 1996 and the brief hiatus that followed.

Now Skid Row really is gimmicky – a living memorial of hair metal’s eighties heyday – and honestly that’s fine with me. They have some bloody great songs and if these come with a side order of long hair, bandanas and theatrics then so be it. Anyway, if you can’t appreciate a genre that encompasses Motley Crew, Van Halen and Poison then you’re probably taking life a bit too seriously! So yes they are looking a lot older and yes it was a tad cheesey, but I got what I came for – a good old singalong to 18 and Life, I Remember You and Slave To The Grind. Sebastian Bach would be the icing on the cake, after all, their best songs are arguably on their 1989 debut album, but credit to Solinger – he’s doing Skid Row proud.

All in all it was a great night and a welcome blast from the past. Hopefully this spells the end of the painful gig drought – up next are Silverstein at Underworld, which I couldn’t be more excited about, and Tenacious D.... and I’m very much looking forward to a date with KG and JB that doesn’t begin in Nando’s!
© Rock & Runway

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