Having only seen these guys do their full band electric set I was interested to see their reggae and ska influenced punk done acoustically. It takes a lot to hold a crowd acoustically and they do it with ease. This was a great opening set, their songs as strong and engaging as ever, with 2 guitars complementing the melodic bass and vocal harmonies.

They have some thought-provoking lyrics and no problem addressing the big issues through tracks like ‘Religion’ and songs from their album ‘Stand Well Back’, such as title track ‘Stand Well Back’, ‘People’ and the excellent ‘Green, Gold and Black’.

They make no secret of their Clash and Joe Strummer influences, and ‘Punk Rock Warlord’ is an excellent tribute to a man and a band that changed their lives and mine too.

I must see them again soon.

The Skids

This tour marks the Skids 45th anniversary and the gig mixes new and old tracks and a preview into what it to come from their new album.

Richard Jobson was as engaging as ever, telling stories, and goading the audience, making sure everyone paid attention. He was thrown a Glengarry which he accepted but did not wear. Having complained that he had never been thrown a bra, one appeared which he seemed to be more comfortable in as headwear.

Banter aside, the Skids are a class act who were never a straight 4/4 three chord punk band and their songs have some amazing structures, hooks and guitar work.

They kick off the set with ‘Charade’ ‘Of One Skin’ and pay tribute to Stuart Adamson before launching into first single ‘Charles’ which is as good as ever. New track ‘Destination Dusseldorf’ follows and provides a glimpse of what the new album might sound like with this line up.

The band are on top form as they take us through their greatest hits with Bruce Watson doing his former Big Country bandmate proud as he and his son complement each other brilliantly with their duelling guitars on tracks such as ‘The Saints Are Coming’ (it’s still their song). ‘Working for the Yankee Dollar’, ‘Melancholy Soldiers’ a brilliant versions of ‘Out of Town’ and ‘Masquerade’.

As the show progressed there were people jumping around to the tracks they can never forget and a guy in front of me was going mad to every song as he held aloft his Dunfermline scarf with ‘The Pars’ across it. ‘Hurry On Boys’ then produces a mass singalong.

Despite being left with one guitar in ‘Circus Games’ the band undeterred close this section with the classic ‘Into the Valley’ with Bruce Watson on guitar and his son providing backing vocals.

Richard Jobson quietens the crowd as he does his version of ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ perhaps bringing a moment of reflection and the audience need no invitation to join in the chorus.

In the encore we are treated to ‘TV stars’ complete with ‘Boris Johnson, what a wanker’ and the crowd shouting Albert Tatlock at every available opportunity. To end the set the Skids pay tribute to one of their biggest influences with ‘Complete Control’ by the Clash with Jamie Watson as guitar hero.

A great end to a great night.

Destination Dusseldorf is released in March 2023 catch the tour in June and July.

This is a great proper music venue, well run with friendly staff and a great sound system. Long may it continue.

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