Gig review: SKINDRED/SOiL – Manchester Academy, 2 February 2014

Skindred - Manchester Academy, 2 February 2014 3 bands, 3 music styles and 1 outcome, one awesome night of entertainment. It’s the last night of the UK leg of Skindred’s ‘Kill The Power’  tour before they head off to Europe and beyond for the next few months spreading the word, filling venues and blowing audiences minds with Newport’s finest reggae metal.

If you haven’t seen then before then you really need to as you will come out as one of the many followers who now understand what the Newport Helicopter is!

Viza - Manchester Academy, 2 February 2014 Anyway on to the Viza, LA based rockers who mix styles and add instruments like an oud to produce a vocal driven, very lively, latin influenced sound;  similar in to Serj and SOAD and it’s of no real surprise to find that they are on Serjical Strike Records.

Indeed there first song ‘Viktors Vanguard’ had been performed with Serj as guest in the past but alas not tonight!.  Highlights of the set for me were ‘Trans-Siberian Standoff’ and the final song in the set ‘Forward March’. Do not miss these guys if you are going to any of the other gigs.

SOiL - Manchester Academy, 2 February 2014 The next band on are for me a big fave as I have followed them since the epic album ‘Scars’ was released back in 2001. Since then the SOiL lineup has changed over the years but on the 10th anniversary of Scars the original vocalist Ryan McCoombs rejoined and they have been touring ever since reliving the best of the past albums and touring the new album ‘Whole’.  Now down to a 4 piece (Ryan, Tim, Adam, Mitch) they still produce their original nu-metal and it still sounds as good as when it was released.

SOiL - Manchester Academy, 2 February 2014

Kicking off with ‘Breaking Me Down’ the band and the audience are on form singing back and along with Ryan who as usual is parading and clinging to his unmistakable Shure SM55 mic.  Next in to ‘Loaded Gun’ from the new album ‘Whole’ which sees the band back to the top of their writing form.

The final two songs have become classics for recent SOiL gigs, their rendition of the Ram Jam song ‘Black Betty’ which always goes down a storm with the crowd and then the highlight that everyone has been calling for all night. As the first beats of ‘Halo’ ring out the crowd goes wild.  Truly an awesome end to a set from a band that are again at the top of their form in both writing and performing.

Skindred - Manchester Academy, 2 February 2014 Skindred certainly are busy pushing reggae metal on us, currently touring their new album ‘Kill The Power’ Benji and the crew have been in the road for the past few months with appearances  last year at HRH in Pwllheli  and now this current tour which is set to spread the vibe about them worldwide.

The lights dim and the familiar sound of AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ and the ‘Imperial March’ drift over the PA, then the band emerge and the place goes wild as they kick straight into ‘Rat Race’, ‘Stand For Something’ and ‘Doom Riff’, the energy this band puts out is infectious and the crowd are loving it, Benji has honed his style to a tee now and it’s almost like he’s commanding the audience like a bandleader, whipping them up into a frenzy.

Skindred - Manchester Academy, 2 February 2014

After shredding through ‘Ninja’ and ‘State of Emergency’ and a few more the band drops into a DJ set consisting of ‘Niggas In Paris’, ‘Intergalactic’, ‘Jump Around’  -  which get the immense reaction as expected from the ever-willing crowd – ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, and ‘Invaders Must Die’.   All this is followed by the new single ‘Kill The Power’.

Skindred - Manchester Academy, 2 February 2014

As the set rolls to a close the calls are going out for ‘Warning’, now infamous with Skindred sets as this is when Benji gets the crowds to hold T-shirts etc up high and then swing them round mimicking the helicopter blades, hence the Newport helicopter takes off.

A Skindred gig is more than just a gig – it’s an event orchestrated for maximum crowd excitement and enjoyment – Carly Simon’s ‘Nobody Does It Better’ is one last statement from Benji and Skindred and very true it is.


Viza: Viktor’s Vanguard , Alabama Song (Whisky Bar, Doors Version), My Mona Lisa, Trans-Siberian Standoff, Midnight Hour (Dingle Rock), In Coins, Forward March

SOiL: Breaking Me Down, Loaded Gun, My Own, Redefine, Hate Song, Unreal, Black Betty(Ram Jam cover), Halo

Skindred: Thunderstruck (AC/DC song), Imperial March (John Williams song), Rat Race, Stand For Something, Doom Riff, Ninja, State of Emergency , Selector, Cut Dem, Bruises, Babylon, Niggas In Paris/Intergalactic/Jump Around/Don’t Stop Me Now/Invaders Must Die, Kill The Power, Worlds On Fire, Trouble, Pressure, Saturday, Nobody  Encore: We Live, Warning,  Nobody Does It Better(Carly Simon)

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