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Skindred - O2 Institute, Birmingham 01.10.2021

It's Friday night in Birmingham and Skindred have rocked up to bring the party. This is my first gig back behind the camera since Covid, so it's a special one for me - I'm sure it's the first gig back for many in the crowd too, so tonight has a lot to live up to. One thing is for sure, you can always rely on Skindred to deliver! Being my first gig back I am a bit nervous when I step into the photo pit, but those feelings are swept aside as soon as Raging Speedhorn take to stage as they go 0-100 real quick! Vocalists Frank Regan and Daniel Cook both put their stamp on things by letting the crowd know they mean business. The songs are loud, heavy and all up in your face, I think it's safe to say this a good way to get the crowd warmed up nicely. The two highlights of the set for me come in the form of 'Doom Machine' and 'Hard To Kill', both of which are off of the new release, which is the latter songs name sake. I really wasn't sure what I was going to get with Raging Speedhorn but they absolutely did themselves no harm, the audience loved them and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for them. As we wait for the headliners the crowd are already in full party mode as the whole venue is singing along to the likes of Slipknot, Queen and ACDC which is blasting throughout the room. And when Skindred arrive to a backing track of the Imperial March from Star Wars (cool as fuck by the way!!) of course things only get amped up even more, as they delve right into 'Stand For Something'. Straight from the get go frontman Benji has the crowd in the palm of his hands, the whole room is bouncing along with him.

As always with Skindred - everyone is on top form, guitarist Mikey Demus (looking as cool as ever) rips through track after track, with 'Sound The Siren' and 'Doom Riff' standing out in particular. Daniel Pugsley on bass and Arya Goggin on drums also bring their A game, there are no passengers in this band, everyone is vital to putting on an amazing show.

I take a step back just to soak everything all in properly, live music is back! And this isn't just your usual gig either, this is one big party. Skindred have a knack of making everyone feel like family, I really felt for a moment like I was friends with every single person in attendance tonight, and we were all just having a damn good time together.

Just as I thought things can't really get more bonkers, Benji stops the show to challenge a crowd member if they can eat a sandwich in under 30 seconds, with a pair of tickets at an upcoming festival Skindred are playing up for grabs. Needless to say, Isobel out of the crowd didn't quite manage it, or to put it as Benji said it "That was fucking pathetic!". Isobel still got a free t-shirt for her troubles. I can't help but wonder how many fans have been able to pull that challenge off this tour, it doesn't look easy!

We get a couple of covers in the form of 'Jump' by Van Halen which quickly goes into 'Jump Around' by House of Pain, you can really see what they were going for there, can't you? It's a nice touch though, Classic Rock or Hip-Hop are no problem for Skindred, they can't be put under just one genre, they just do what they want.

If you've ever been to a Skindred show before you will know what happens when final song 'Warning' kicks in, we of course are treated to the famous Newport Copter, with has the whole room swinging their t-shirts over their heads like a bunch of maniacs. It never fails to look amazing, whether it be at a huge festival or in a cramped venue.

Seriously, what a show! I couldn't have picked a better gig to get back into the photo pit for, long live the mighty Skindred!

Photos & Review - Sam Robinson Photography


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