The Jagermeister Music Tour
@ Brixton Academy, London
13th April 2012
Review by Ollie Thomas
Photography by Michelle Murphy
Headliners of the Jagermeister Music Tour are Newport crossover kings Skindred; fronted by the ever charismatic Benji Webbe the band mix metal, punk and reggae to get a sound that not many others could even come close to imitating. Skindred have released four studio albums to date, and are currently still touring in support of 2011 release, Union Black.
The opening slot on this tour has been something of a revolving door, each being only a one-night stint from an established/up and coming local band from the area.
Tonight’s support comes in the form of London based five piece metallers, The Defiled.
The Defiled [3.5/5] are playing to a far emptier room than they deserve tonight, possibly the Skindred fans are too busy at the bar or simply didn’t bother to check them out, luckily for those lucky enough to be in the room this does little to put Stitch and his crew off their pace.
They kick things off with the anthemic “Call to Arms” and have Brixton rocking.
The sound is perfect tonight, sounding as close as possible to a studio recording as possible without arousing any suspicions of foul play.
The crowd picks up slightly as they also bring out latest single “Black Death” and trademark set-closer “The Ressurrectionists” and a few small pits even form.
Keyboardist AvD is known for being something of a character onstage, and does little to change that image as he makes rather suggestive gestures to members in the crowd, lifting his keyboard aloft, before bringing it to the ground and drum riser with a series of devastating slams, sending bits of plastic flying around everywhere.
He follows this up with an action that could well land them in hot water, it remains to be seen… when he throws his spent keyboard out into the crowd, nearly taking out a small section of the crowd especially a woman who catches it right on her head.
Newest recruit to the band, Needles, Is still not very far into his time with the band but has fitted in perfectly and actually looks like he has been there since day one.
A highly energetic and encouraging show giving yet more indication of their potential and where they should be in the near future, at the forefront of British metal.
First of the permanent fixtures on this tour are Black Spiders [3/5]
Touring extensively at many British festivals, including Bloodstock and Sonisphere, as well as supporting Airbourne and Volbeat have seen them in London more than many other bands at the moment. Usually a good live band, but with the frequency of their shows you have to wonder what new they can bring to their live show. The opening hints that the answer to that question could be not much.
They start off sounding flat, tired and repetitive, very much looking like purely going through the motions. Things do pick up as they urge the crowd to participate in the filming of their latest video for “Kiss Tried to Kill Me” asking them to record the song on mobile cameras and send in the clips.
This does give the raised momentum of the song a very staged feel to it. Luckily this momentum continues throughout, making for a very entertaining show from the Sheffield mob.
Therapy? [2.5/5] are next on the all-British line-up.
I couldn’t believe what was to come, a group of Irish men who just looked like they’d rushed to the academy straight from work. Making one hell of a din in suits. Apparently today is 17 years since the Brixton riots kicked off, or so we’re told. I think this little factiod went over the heads of most of the audience despite the 18+ age limit.
There’s only so much of this I can take, so I go for a smoke and to get some drinks in. However, sections of the crowd do seem to enjoy it, so they do have that on their side.
I can only speak for myself on this, I don’t know how well the other Skindred fans took it. Therapy? may well have gained some extra fans tonight, but personally the only lasting impression left were the beginnings of a migraine.
Thunderstruck plays to an academy-wide sing along, before Skindred (5/5) come on to Star Wars’ Imperial March.
The crowd goes wild for Benjii Webbe when he makes an appearance in a sparkling white suit waving a red bandanna around. Surely the only man in metal who could pull off such a look without a tonne of haters and ridicule, he makes it look fucking metal. They’re not pulling any punches on the setlist as they open with Roots Rock Riot, following it up with Ratrace. Powering through all the classics, Nobody, Trouble, Pressure, Destroy the Dancefloor, you name it it’s in there.
They also manage to include snippets of Back in Black, Raining Blood and have the crowd dancing along to Beyonce’s Single Ladies. After over an hour of Benjii having the entire building out of his hands, a tonne of trademark orange Jagermeister bandannas are thrown out into the crowd and they launch into the new fan favourite Warning.
This is not the last we’ve seen of the bandannas as the Newport Helicopter explodes, the whole room full of black and orange swinging around as t shirts are ripped off and bandannas held high. Skindred are regarded as one of the best live bands on the planet right now, and with good reason. Benjii and his gang have such charisma behind them that they can make any show seem like they’re playing to fill arenas and stadiums.
It’s impossible to take your eyes off Benjii as he steals your attention and fascinates you every single minute he’s up there owning the stage; firmly planting the Welsh flag in the metal scene and staking his claim to the best British frontman since Bruce Dickinson.
Not many bands could headline a fully sold out Brixton Academy and produce the electric performance Skindred do after just 4 albums, but it could easily have been Wembley, Donington or Knebworth. Everyone here tonight should feel extremely privileged to have seen such an amazing show.
Intro – Thunderstruck/Imperial March theme, Roots Rock Riot, Ratrace, Cut Dem, Stand for Something, World Domination, Doom Riff , Destroy The Dancefloor, Pressure (Snippet of Back in Black), Intermission (Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)), The Fear (Rudeboy For Life outro), Game Over, Trouble, Nobody (snippet of Reign in Blood), Encore Duality Remix, Warning.