I’ve recently had the pleasure of seeing both Skid Row and Ugly Kid Joe, who have both been touring in support of new EPs but to see both on the same bill is a rare treat and one I had been looking forward to since I had bought my ticket. On arriving at the venue I was informed that the young Australian rockers, Dead City Ruins were also on the bill and had the opening slot for all the European tour dates.
Doors opened at 7:30 and I joined the queue of people waiting in the pouring rain to enter the venue. Only those with tickets in hand went straight in as the others had to wait in the slow moving line. At 7:40 Dead City Ruins’ set started but I, like many others, had to listen from outside the venue as we were still waiting to get in. Things got even more frustrating when I was made to wait even longer as no photo passes had been left at the box office. By the time I eventually got into the venue, I only caught the last song and a half of Dead City Ruins set.
The Lemon Grove was packed and all seemed to be enjoying the Dead Ruins’ performance from what I had heard from outside and now inside, I could see why. The band’s hard and heavy rock sound verges on the edge of thrash metal at times to a much more mellow bluesy rock. Perhaps best described as a mix between early Van Halen and Motley Crue, with vocals sounding a little like Ozzy Osbourne mixed with James Hetfield in places.
These guys were making the best of playing to sold out venues across Europe and adding to their ever growing fanbase whilst they tour. Obviously they didn’t have a great deal of room on the small stage as it was packed with the other bands kit but Dead City Ruins made light if this as they went flat out on the final song. With their hair flying about as they headbanged through the solos, it was clear they had made a big impression on the crowd when they received a big applause as they left the stage.
Now with this being a joint headline tour, I had wondered who would play last and whilst the road crew struggled in the darkness of the stage I could just make out Ugly Kid Joe’s background banner; it was to be them who were up next. I waited patiently with the rest of the fans and a large cheer went up as soon as the Ugly Kid Joe members appeared at the side of the stage and away they went. Just like the previous time I had seen them, they were in fine form and you can clearly see they love performing live.
With songs from the new EP Stairway To Hell mixed with the old classics, it was one hell of a set and would have been worth the entrance fee on its own. Song after song, performed to perfection by a band at the top of it’s game and with more new material on the way along with more touring in 2014 it’s clear to see all is good in the Ugly Kid Joe camp. With frontman Whitfield Crane leaving the stage on many occasions to join the crowd and sing with them, you could see the amazed look on the fans faces as they stood face to face with their idol singing to them. On one trip into the crowd he even returned wearing a red top hat which he then hung from the microphone stand. Finishing their set in the usual way with the Motorhead classic “Ace Of Spades” the band sent the crowd into a seething mosh before leaving the stage.
The dim house lights went back on and the hall emptied leaving me to think that the fans had forgotten Skid Row but they had just gone to the bar that was in the next room along with the merchandise stand. After about a twenty minute break whilst the Ugly Kid Joe equipment was replaced with that of Skid Row, we were ready to rock once more.
Having seen Skid Row several times now, I knew what to expect and they didn’t let anyone down. Just like Ugly Kid Joe before them they mixed new material from the United World Rebellion EP with the much loved classics that everyone sings along to. Frontman Johnny Solinger got the crowd to chant a football song for him and they duly obliged. It was clear from that point on these guys love what they do for a living and with this lineup they should be around for many years to come. They also have new material due out hopefully around April 2014 and if it’s as good as United Word Rebellion part one, it can only cement the band’s reputation in the world of rock. It also means they will be touring again next year which is something to look forward to. With the venue curfew nearing, Johnny told the fans to pretend that Skid Row had left the stage to save some time. The crowd obliged and chanted Skid Row, Skid Row, Skid Row before Johnny shouted “We’re back!” and the band played their final two songs. I’m sure without the curfew they would have continued to play for much longer but alas I will have to wait till next time for some more Skid Row.
I would have been happy to see just one of these bands for the cheap entrance fee but to get all three bands meant the tickets were a bargain. All the bands were at the top of their game and the results were phenomenal with the only downside being the very poor lighting. At times I could hardly see the bands on stage but seconds later I was blinded by lasers so bright I had to close my eyes. If you have got tickets for any of the remaining dates all I can say is make sure you get there in good time so you don’t miss Dead City Ruins.