If there is one band in the UK right now who can put together a show with the ultimate party atmosphere, it is Welsh rockers Skindred; and on this tour they have created double the party by inviting along lively Japanese metalcore outfit Crossfaith as support.
As Crossfaith burst onto the stage; it is clear from the offset that the five-piece are not going be outshone by their headliner pals without a fight. Introduction System X was more than enough to get the audience jumping to their techno infused metal as they moved effortlessly into a flawless performance of opening track Xeno. Fan favourites Monolith and Devil’s Party really seemed to kick up a buzz in the room; but before I knew it, they were topping what had already been a fantastic set so far by bringing out Skindred frontman Benji Webbe for guest vocal duties on Wildfire. Rounding up their set with a fun cover of The Prodigy’s Omen; which saw the band leaping around the stage like mad men and front man Kenta Koie showcasing some particularly hefty growls and yells; the audience were clearly exhausted, but still wanted more. Fortunately, their final song for the night; Countdown to Hell, brought their set to a close with a bang.
Now; if you’re going to choose songs to prep an audience for a set, you should do it with style, right? This is something that Skindred got completely correct tonight, opting for AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, followed by the ultimate track of villainy; The Imperial March from Star Wars. Taking to the stage; front man and master of ceremonies, Benji Webbe, commanded the full attention of the audience simply from his confident ensemble of a red sequined jacket, boots and black spiked shades. If there was one thing for sure, we were in for one hell of a crazy journey through the wacky world of Skindred tonight.
As everyone cheered for their heroes, the band launched into their siren-driven opener, Under Attack, and the party was more than under way. What followed was a high octane set consisting of tracks from both their new album Volume and older releases alike, which the whole band passionately performed to keep the party energy pumping from start to finish. Songs such as Ratrace, Sound The Siren, Kill The Power and Nobody proved to be absolute crowd pleasers as the audience went mad for them. During the encore, Kenta Koie from Crossfaith rejoined them on stage to repay the favour of guest vocals during Warning; meanwhile the audience participated in a Skindred tradition, The Newport helicopter. For anyone who doesn’t know what this is; it’s when Benji gets everyone to hold an item of their clothing in the air and wave it around like a helicopter propeller. Overall, a stunning and entertaining end to the concert which proved that they were the true stars of the night. Despite the party atmosphere, there also seems to be a caring side to the band which is refreshing; as throughout the concert Benji delivered inspirational messages throughout about equality and love. These messages seemed all the more apt after the concert when I saw the terrible news about the Paris bombings.