It had been way too long since I last got to see the mighty Skid Row play live and with some new material in their set. It’s no wonder that the band’s current United World Rebellion tour seems to be selling out wherever they play. The show at The White Rabbit in Plymouth was the second leg of their UK tour with Buffalo Summer and I Am I.
The night started with a young band from South Wales called Buffalo Summer who have only been in existence for a couple of years but are already being hotly tipped to hit the big time. I would describe their sound as a mix between The Black Crowes and The Answer. They are blues meets hard rock and their live set is full of energy with the exuberance of youth. With a certain swagger, they set about warming up the sold out crowd but unfortunately many were at the bar and missed their very impressive display. For a four-piece band with just the one guitar, they had a fantastic, full sound and with the powerful yet soulful voice of frontman Andrew Hunt mixed with the subtle guitar licks of Jonny Williams, it’s clear to see why they are making a name for themselves and I, for one, wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone.
Up next was I Am I, a band put together by ex Dragonforce vocalist ZP Theart who has assembled a good mix of musicians to create a face melting, guitar driven rock band who fit perfectly around his blistering vocals. With a rapid change of pace from the show openers, I Am I turned the heat up another notch and let rip. It was obvious that these guys have toured for years in different bands and their experience in working the crowd was there for all to see.
The dual guitars intricately soloed away as if there was no tomorrow and ZP Theart had the crowd eating out of his hand as he belted out the vocals to an audience who seemed to like what they were hearing. Playing tracks from their debut album, Event Horizon, they removed any cobwebs the venue cleaners had missed but slowed things down for a sing along with an interesting cover version of “You’re The Voice” by John Farnham that had the whole venue singing along. Their set, however, could have done with being longer but perhaps when they headline their own tour later in the year, we will get to see more of them.
With two great bands having entertained the audience, it was now time for the main event. As the house lights were turned down, the expectant crowd started to chant, “Skid Row, Skid Row, Skid Row!” over and over until their heroes took to the stage and the whole place erupted. The atmosphere was electric and it was as if Skid Row had never been away. They went straight into the first song of the set, “Slave To The Grind,” followed rapidly by “Big Guns” before taking time to soak up the vibes of the venue, full to the brim with fans eager to catch a glimpse of their childhood icons. Their set had everything from crowd surfing to mosh pits and lots of them posing for the cameras. These guys obviously love what they do for a living. Skid Row vocalist Johnny Solinger has steadied the ship somewhat since his arrival some fourteen years ago and the band seem more balanced as a result. I would say he is a more versatile singer than original frontman Sebastian Bach but that’s just my opinion.
The band added several new songs to the set and like the rest, these will one day join the band’s other well known live hits. The new songs give you some idea of what direction the band are headed in and if the other material they have is as good as the material they played, I fancy all Skid Row fans are in for a treat. They continued with more old hits like “Piece Of Me” and “I Remember You” before The Ramones’ classic, “Psycho Therapy,” for which Johnny left the stage to be replaced on vocals by Skid Row bassist Rachel Bolan. Once more the crowd went berserk. Johnny rejoined his bandmates for a couple more songs before the whole band left for the dressing room and waited for the crowd to call them back out for an encore. It didn’t take long and they were soon back for a couple more before the set was over and once more the band left the stage, for the final time, leaving their guitars feeding back on the stage.
Yet another big name at The White Rabbit and let’s hope they continue to keep putting on such great gigs. The bands were very polite afterwards; they made time to speak to as many people as they could and were more than happy to have their photos taken with fans and sign autographs. You would be surprised how many bands don’t seem to respect their fans and just clear off on the tour bus; it’s always good when a band are down to earth and make time for the people that buy their products. I would love to see Skid Row again so let’s hope they come back this way soon. If you get the chance to see them, grab it as you will not see a better live band. I Am I frontman ZP Theart said, after the show, that he and the band will be touring later in the year so look out for that. Buffalo Summer will also be around, playing at the Steelhouse Festival amongst many other gigs this year.