The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
SKID ROW AND UGLY KID JOE AUSTRALIA 2014 REVIEW

SKID ROW & UGLY KID JOES LIVE AT METROS FREO APRIL 25 2014

SKID ROW & UGLY KID JOE

METROS, FREMANTLE WA, AUSTRALIA

APRIL 24 2014

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After co-headlining across Europe recently Skid Row and Ugly Kid Joe brought their brand of Hard Rock and Metal to Western Australia, and for Skid Row it was their first visit to Australia’s West.

SKID ROW SETLIST: Let's Go | Big Guns | Makin' a Mess | Piece of Me | 18 and Life | Thick Is the Skin | Kings of Demolition | In a Darkened Room | Psycho Therapy | I Remember You |Psycho Love | Get the Fuck Out ENCORE: Monkey Business | Slave To The Grind | Youth Gone Wild

 

Support for tonight’s show comes in the form of Melbourne’s’ Dead City Ruins, who we catch the tail end of a set that sounds like it contains plenty of new material, it’s a little ironic that we have a Melbourne band supporting Skid Row given that local Hard Rocker’s Ragdoll will be opening up for the same band in LA at the Whiskey to kick off their latest North American Tour in just a few weeks! Not that we’re knocking DCR – they are a find band and the new material if anything sounds a little more refined than the last time we caught them in Perth’s Rocket Room last year.


It catches many by surprise (given the posters and advertising locally) that the next band to take the stage is Skid Row, but to many it’s great that they can get to rock out to one of the finest exponents of eighties rock before we get the nineties Metal of Ugly Kid Joe, a band that were always refreshingly heavier live than the radio singles they put out back in the day.


For many tonight though this is either their first time with Skid Row full stop, or at the very least their first show with ‘new boy’ Johnny Solinger (a veteran now of 14 years of the 25 of Skid Row’s existence! This actually marks our tenth Skid Row show and our third with Solinger, and I have to say this is probably one of the best yet.


Thankfully where I’m stood there’s no one talking about Skid Row’s original singer, just a lot talking about what a great frontman Johnny S is. Sure he may not have the pipes of the previous incumbent, but then who has? As someone who saw Skid Row back in those early days and can remember some of those rants it’s actually great to have a band who still look like they are enjoining themselves.


It’s great also to hear Rachel Bolan telling us that the band may well have never been out to Perth before, but they will be back. Between classics like ‘Big Guns’; ‘Making A Mess’ and ‘Piece of Me’ from that classic first record it’s great to feel the love in the room with Solinger reminding us of the 25 years since that first release and Bolan marvelling at the variety of Rock shirts in the audience before stumbling across someone wearing a Steel Panther shirt and having a gentle dig!


’18 and Life’ raises the biggest sing-along so far before we are treated to a rousing version of ‘Thick is the Skin’ which may well have some re-evaluating that album; and the opening track from the latest EP ‘Kings of Demolition’ which shows that there is plenty of life in the band yet.


The set proper is rounded out by the traditional Bolan0led Ramones cover ‘Psycho Therapy’before Solinger dedicates ‘I remember you’ to the ANZACs on the eve of Australia’s ANZAC dau. It’s a touching moment and a song that sees everyone in the room singing along.  


Both Snake and Solinger get to say a few words, with Snake thanking everyone here for the love and support and Solinger donning his Texan hat for the ‘encores’ which to give them that extra shot of tiome with us, doesn’t see the band leave the stage.

 

As it’s the band’s first time in Perth we get a triple encore starting off with the classic opening singles from the second album: ‘Monkey Business; and ‘Slave to the Grind’; its raw aggression that has lost none of its power over the years and by the end of the set you come to find that Solinger’s vocal actually works great with the backing from Sabo, Scotti and Rachel.  

 

“You got time for one more Perth?” Solinger asks us as the lights go up momentarily. And when the crowd roars their approval the answer is our course that anthem of eighties rock “Youth Gone Wild” which of course sounds amazing. It’s the sort of set that leaves you wanting so much more and wondering how on Earth UKJ can top that!

UGLY KID JOE SETLIST: Intro | V.I.P. | Neighbor | If You Want Blood | Jesus Rode a Harley | C.U.S.T. | Panhandlin' Prince | So Damn Cool | No One Survives | Devil's Paradise | Cat's in the Cradle | I'm Alright | Milkman's Son | Goddamn Devil | Everything About You | Ace of Spades

 

Ugly Kid Joe is such a good live band they just get up, go crazy, jump around and do their thing like they are the only band on the planet and that’s a huge part of the appeal! By the end of the first song Whitfield Crane is motioning to me down in the pit to get up on the stage and join the party, I resist until he keeps doing it at the start of the second song and make my way to the side only for the road manager to send me back to the pit. ‘Whitfield invited me onstage’ I tell him rather unconvincing and he looks at me like ‘Yeah right!’  but it’s all smiles and I get off a few shots before getting back in the pit.

‘V.I.P.’ and ‘Neighbor’ inject the set with such an energy that it’s hard not to get drawn into the party onstage, and even those in the crowd that probably thought they were going to get the radio hits and a bunch of songs in a similar vein, look suitably impressed by the energy and the heaviness of the setlist.

“We were walking round Fremantle” Whitfield tells us “We went to see Bon Scott’s grave and pay our respects, we’ve not been here for 21 years and boy this place has grown” The band then fittingly launches into a blistering version of “If You Want Blood” – that we are getting here tonight for the very first time onstage. It’s a great tribute, before the mayhem starts up again and we get to delve into material from ‘Menace to Sobriety’ in ‘Jesus Rode a Harley’ and ‘C.U.S.T.’ before Whitfield dons a giant rabbit head that we saw watching Skid Row from the balcony earlier.  We don’t know why but it just somehow feels like the right thing to do.


It’s a set that maintains the madness and intensity till the inevitable first huge single rears its head in the form of the cover of ‘Cats in the Cradle’; and while it make take the tempo down onstage , it doesn’t dip the  intensity off of it.  


In a set that seems to fly by before the inevitable ‘Everything About You’ which is nicely juxtaposed with Motorhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’ its clear that Ugly Kid Joe has lost nothing over the years. And yes the drummer was just wearing underpants.


Perth needs more shows like this, great acts from a period in time where music was powerful and could be just as much fun. Let’s hope they make their way back soon.

 

 

Photos and words by Mark Diggins April 2014

 

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