@ The Underworld, Camden
28th October 2014
Review by Caitlin Smith
Photos by Inty Malcolm
For a band with such a long history that have retained strong popularity 30 years on, it seems strange that Skid Row would be booked to play a venue as small as the London Underworld that evening. Any fan hoping to purchase a ticket on the door would have been severely disappointed with the gig long sold out. Perhaps it was the reputation of the first band, or maybe everyone was out to party that night as walking into the Underworld I was greeted to a packed out room, a rare sight on a school night.
Opening up the night were The Last Vegas [2/5], who somewhat surprisingly were based at the other side of the continent in Chicago, Illinois. Sporting tight, patched jeans, clothing littered with studs and precision hair, it was perhaps not hard to predict where this band were going. On that front we were not disappointed.
Turning out 80s style cock rock songs with hints of Motley Crue in places, this band had a good consistent sound that echoed with influences from the glory years of glam. There wasn’t much variety between songs however and it quickly descended into a slightly repetitive, formulaic sound that struggled to maintain the attention of the room.
With a stirring rendition of ‘When Johnny Came Marching Home,’ Swedish sleaze/punk band Sister [3/5] enter the stage.
Forming in 2006, the guys have already begun carving out their own space in the scene. Since the release of their first full-length album in 2011 Hated there has been no stopping this band, and its testament to their work and success that they head up main support for Skid Row that night.
Heading over to the UK on the back of sophomore effort Disgusted Vulture released at the beginning of the year, it’s obvious that this band have already made a strong impression as the are greeted to a full room and a warm welcome.
Faces painted and costumes donned, it’s certainly a dramatic scene that greets the audience from the stage. While its obvious their performance, costumes and makeup have been carefully crafted, there’s a certain devil may care attitude to this band that makes them oddly appealing.
They obviously care about the performance, right down to the detail, but they know how to have fun, and its hard not to become infected by this. Ripping through a mix of songs off the albums, Sister’s heaviness is the perfect counterbalance to onslaught of hard rock from the other bands performing that night.
With almost 30years of history behind them, glam band Skid Row [3.5/5] have certainly been through some ups and downs. With the shadow of Sebastian Bach, vocalist during the most formative years of the bands existence, forever hanging over them, it might have been tempting to live off older work.
This has not been the case however and while still more memorable for their original work with 89’s self titled album and 91’s Slave to the Grind, their recent work continues to attract praise from fans and critics alike. This commitment to continuing on and producing new and exciting albums seems to have paid off, with the crowd a solid mix of older fans and new ones alike.
Frontman Johnny Solinger seemed a little stuck in the past, still donning the clothes that were worn by the younger version of the band, but with such a long career you can forgive them for that. It was heart-warming to see that after all this time and with all the chaos that came with the early days, the guys seem to really be enjoying themselves onstage.
Despite their success, they seemed genuinely well grounded, a band still playing for the love of music rather than becoming distracted by the money or bogged down in egos like so many other bands from the era.
Fresh off the back of their new EP Damnation Army pt. 2, it might have been expected that the band relied heavily on more recent tracks to fill the set. This was not the case however and we were treated to a mixture of tracks from across the years, relying heavily on older favourites.
Opening with ‘Let’s Go’ it’s a quick decent into older songs ‘Big Guns’ and ’18 & Life’. While most songs keep up the energy, the band are not afraid to throw in a few slower numbers in between to mix up the pace, which receives as much love from the enthusiastic crowd as heavier tracks.
It’s a long wait for crowd pleasers ‘Slave to the Grind’ and ‘Youth Gone Wild,’ but despite being over an hour into the set, the tracks had been well worth it.
While glam rock may not be for everyone, and it certainly rarely hits my own playlists, Skid Row really are masters on the stage. Bursting with energy and charisma, its hard not to get infected by their endless enthusiasm. While the majority of the audience may be slaves to the grind most of the years, for one Tuesday night at the Underworld they were once again the youth gone wild.