Skindred are on a UK tour to promote their fourth album “Union Black”, with this Brighton gig being the opening date. They’ve been compared to Bad Brains for their ragga/punk/metal sonic assault, but the main difference is that Bad Brains would play a reggae tune then a punk tune whereas Skindred touch a variety of musical styles in the space of one song, from dubstep to drum ‘n’ bass to metal to punk. They’ve been around since 2000, and formed after Benji’s previous band Dub War split up.
They take to the stage to the “bong” of Big Ben from the old “News at Ten” theme tune and are met with huge cheers from the crowd. It’s mosh pit heaven from the off, with the new songs on the album played loud and fast. There’s plenty of older material in there too, and songs like “Set it off”, “Bruises” and “Nobody” still sound pretty huge. Non stop mosh pit action from the sold out crowd added to the good vibe on the dancefloor and Benji said that he loves playing in Brighton but he probably says that in every town he plays in :-).
He’s got a powerful voice though has Mr. Benji Webbe. Perfectly suited to his style of scattershot chatting and raw singing that he employs over the Skindred powerhouse riffs. This time around, they’ve also got someone on keyboards triggering samples and playing their dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass patterns, something Benji used to do but now he stays firmly at the front of the stage.
Halfway through the set, he leads the crowd in mass robot dance and a load of glow sticks are thrown into the audience resulting in the front third of the crowd holding them aloft for the rest of the set in a late 80’s rave stylee. An absolutely rocking show and a good set of new songs on the latest album. Stand out tracks being “Cut dem”, written after Benji’s 16 year old son was stabbed (thankfully not fatally) and “Living a lie” with it’s crushing dub step rhythms. They encore with ‘Stand for something’, ‘Pressure’ and ‘Warning’ to complete their blistering, crowd rocking set. I don’t ask for much more from a band than an entertaining show like this.