08 February 2014 (gig)
12 February 2014
Skindred pounced on crowds at The Forum last night like a reggae panther. Fusing metal, reggae, punk and hip-hop seamlessly into a set is no easy feat but it was one effortlessly completed by the Newport based band.
Having seen Skindred at two British summer festivals previous to this occasion I waited in anticipation as the support acts SOiL and Viza built up hype and rallied the crowd into a writhing mass of sweat and dancing bodies. Opening with ‘Ratrace’ was highly appropriate in these circumstances, with frontman Benji Webbe skittishly scampering across the regal stage of The Forum projecting his witty fast-paced lyrics into his mic.
The set included tracks from Union Black and the band’s earlier material as well as new single ‘Kill the Power’, which was accepted with optimistic uproar and praise. The energy never subsided below 100% throughout the evening, even in slower tunes fans continued to mosh and dance, the vibe of the night really encompassing Skindred’s desire to “to bring unity and spread a message of LOVE” throughout their British audience.
DJ Dan Sturgess (a.k.a. Brixton / Sanchez) slipped in contemporary hip hop tracks into the set including Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’ and House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’, which surprisingly were accepted by the metal crowd, whose clear intentions were not discrimination but all enveloping unity and enjoying themselves.
The night concluded, as it always does at Skindred gigs with ‘the Newport helicopter’; an act involving crowd members removing an item of clothing and spinning it around their heads to the tune of the band’s most famous track ‘Warning’. I can only feel sympathy for the girl standing to my left, who spent this entire experience texting on her iPhone. I personally found it impossible to take my eyes away from the on-stage action all evening and felt privileged to be part of the army of Skindred fans who showed nothing but affection and good humour throughout the set.