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Skid Row / Ugly Kid Joe / Dead City Ruins Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 16, 2014    
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Skid Row / Ugly Kid Joe / Dead City Ruins - Garage, Glasgow (UK) - 28th October 2013

With no label backing, no finance to talk of, Melbourne Australia's Dead City Ruins have somehow managed to get themselves on a strong Rock 'n' Roll bill with the resurgent Ugly Kid Joe and Skid Row as the pair tear round the UK and Europe. However by the time a thirty minute set of Aussie grit mixed with Judas Priest riffs and killer vocals from Jake slammed us against the wall, the song 'Midnight Killer' leaving us sure we'd been ravaged by savages, there was no doubt why these guys were here. Remember the name Dead City Ruins, you'll be hearing it often and for a long time to come.

Ugly Kid Joe then confidently strode on stage, mainstays Cordell Crockett (bass) and Klaus Eichstadt (guitar) bolstered by their sometime band mates, guitarist Sonny Mayo (Sevendust) and drummer Zac Morris, who stand in for Dave Fortman and Shannon Larkin in the live arena. Oddly Morris had decided his stage gear for the night was what looked like a pair of kids colourful pants with some sort of rodent stuffed down them (either a vole or a common rat, I couldn't make it out before my eyes started to burn...), but that was soon forgotten when a certain Whitfield Crane bounded to front and centre, after dumping a rucksack full to the brim with God knows what on to the drum riser. An unusual entrance, but when the thundering groove of 'V.I.P.' kicked in, no one cared, well apart from the "gent" who promptly launched a plastic cup of beer in Whit's direction (clearly a Skid Row fan) and the sound engineer, who had dosed off and forgotten to add vocals to the mix. A swift dodge from Crane ensured he stayed dry, before the juddering slap of energy that is Mayo launched into debut album track 'Neighbour'. A rather stage frightened photographer was then escorted onto the drum riser by Crane to take some snaps during 'C.U.S.T.', a look of relief flowing to her face as she was released at the song's conclusion. So far everything had been a little sedate and polite, UKJ seemingly needing to settle into their surrounds, something not helped by Crane introducing 'So Damn Cool' a song early, the rest of his band reminding him they planned on playing 'Panhandlin' Prince' first! The mistake however seemed to click the switch marked "focus" and from there a slew of tracks from the most recent UKJ release 'Stairway To Hell', namely 'No One Survives', 'Devil's Paradise' and 'I'm Alright' slammed everything into top gear; the fan favourite 'Cats In The Cradle' even beginning to win over those who'd turned up purely for Skid Row. 'Milkman's Son' retained the intensity, before a storming run through of THE Ugly Kid Joe song sealed the deal, 'Everything About You' still having the same snot nosed effect it did all those years ago. Although any doubters remaining had to concede that closing with Motorhead's 'Ace Of Spades' was a masterstroke. A bit of a slow burner, Ugly Kid Joe eventually convinced with a set that at midpoint could have gone either way.

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What is it with singers and their horrible trait of screeching "Glasssgeeeeee" to a Scottish audience that makes them think it is endearing? Well to be fair to Skid Row frontman Johnny Solinger, it was his only faux pas of the whole evening, his otherwise flawless performance slamdunking a superb set from a band oft forgot in recent years. Like their predecessor on stage, Skid Row too have a new EP to promote and other than not actually having it on sale on the night (unless you wanted it on vinyl and with an XXL shirt...), they did a great job of doing so; 'Let's Go' and 'Kings Of Demolition' illustrating just how good 'United World Rebellion – Chapter One' is. However most punters had turned up expecting a classic-track-fest and Dave "The Snake" Sabo, Rachel Bolan and the lithe Scotti Hill lived up to their decade's long hype with six numbers from the self titled debut and three from 'Slave To The Grind'. That left room for only two other tracks, both 'Thick Is The Skin' and a cool cover of The Ramones 'Psycho Therapy' where bassist Bolan handled vocals superbly, showing this band as no one trick ponies. However to suggest that the true standouts weren't 'Piece Of Me', '18 And Life' and 'I Remember You', would be like saying that the whole place didn't go into meltdown for set closers 'Monkey Business', 'Slave To The Grind' and, of course, 'Youth Gone Wild'; Solinger in particular proving his worth time and again.

Skid Row came, they saw and they conquered with style, energy and attitude. This was my first time seeing them since they played second on the bill to Iron Maiden at Monsters Of Rock in 1992 and not only was I left thoroughly impressed, but with a new found respect for a band continuing to do it the hard way. Skid Row are as relevant now as they've ever been and the Rock scene is all the richer for displays like this.

Steven Reid

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