The Skids are nine dates in to their 40th anniversary tour when they arrive in Leeds tonight. It’s a gig I’d been looking forward to since the tour was announced.
I wasn’t disappointed.
The night opens with Arthur & The Invincibles, a four piece indie-punk band from Leamington Spa who hit the stage bouncing with energy. Barely pausing for breath throughout their 40-minute set, singer Arthur Byrne is the perfect frontman.
Eye-catching, animated and constantly bouncing around he pumps out his vocals with an accompanying Sid Vicious stare. Great rhythm in the form of thumping drum beats and heavy bass lines from Tom Gedney and John Priestly together with catchy guitar riffs from Keir Sayce all add up to a band that hold your attention and get your feet moving.
Four track ep Cash, Gold and Radio Controlled – Volume 1 is played in full. Listen to ‘The Reaper’ ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ or ‘Party For Two’ and it’s a guarantee you’ll be singing along after the first listen. Melodic guitar intros suddenly exploding into full on noise is the name of the game. But it’s noise with an infectious beat. Indie-punk it is. It’s also poppy-punk in the best possible way. Arthur and The Invincibles – another band that makes you realise there is decent music around for the youth of today.
I’d heard good things about recent Skids shows. Friends who saw them in Holmfirth and Manchester earlier in the week raved about them. But I wasn’t prepared for just how good the Skids would be. Reforming for their 40th anniversary the band is now made up of Richard Jobson, original bassist Bill Simpson, drummer Mike Baillee who joined the line-up for their third album ‘The Absolute Game’ and guitarists Bruce Watson (Big Country) and his son Jamie.
Tonight the Skids are on fire. It’s a perfect set drawn from the first three albums. Opening with the anthemic ‘Animation’ the crowd are with the band from the start. And it’s a band that are clearly having an absolute ball. Jobson, despite his claims that he might end up in A&E due to the enthusiasm and energy being put into the songs, looks great. A superb frontman constantly jumping around, ‘dancing’ in his trademark way just like he did all those years ago. He owns the stage, never still and with a voice that brings back all the classic songs as if you had heard them for the first time just yesterday. Bruce Watson’s guitar playing matches perfectly those trademark licks of original member Stuart Adamson. Backed by the super tight rhythm section from Baillee / Simpson and additional guitar and backing vocals from Jamie Watson the Skids have rehearsed these shows to a faultless precision.
The hits are played. ‘Working For The Yankee Dollar’, ‘Masquerade’ (Jobson’s favourite Skids song), ‘Charade’. Enormous songs with those unforgettable, catchy, get in your head and don’t let go guitar riffs. The bass intro to ‘Into The Valley’ before the band, and the crowd, erupt into one huge bouncing mass of energy never fails to raise the adrenalin levels.
‘Of One Skin’, ‘Melancholy Soldiers’, ‘The Saints Are Coming’, ‘Circus Games’. All delivered flawlessly. Anthems that could fill stadiums.
Early classic ‘Charles’ still sounds great after 39 years. ‘A Woman In Winter’ has the crowd joining in with complete enjoyment and enthusiasm. A real highlight. And of course ‘TV Stars’ is blasted out as part of the encore much to everyone’s delight. New song ‘A World On Fire’ bodes well for upcoming album ‘Burning Cities’ and hopefully the possibility that this won’t be a one off tour but the first of many.
Tonight the Skids are superb. Passionate, energetic, powerful. There’s still time to see them on this tour and I recommend that you do. They also headline Rebellion Festival in August and The Great British Alternative Festival (Skegness) in October where they will dominate both events.