Gig review: Skindred at O2 Academy Leeds

It’s been a few years since the Big Tings tour and this show was going to be so special for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, Skindred shows are always an absolute belter of a night out, full of fun, crowd participation and some of the best cross-genre music around at this present time.

Skindred. Picture: Frank Ralph

Secondly, this tour was like no other in the ways of support acts, namely one of my all time favourite bands, Raging Speedhorn with Yorks very own Dan Cook, Death Blooms, who have featured in Kerrang! more than once recently, and one of the UK’s best upcoming bands who always seem to feature in my Spotify playlists recently, Trash Boat.

Thirdly, it has been almost two years since I have seen a live show due to the pandemic, and I could barely contain myself at the prospect of being with my musical brethren and sistren once again.

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The anticipation, the excitement, and the exhilaration of walking into a crowded room of well over 1,000 people who were laughing, joking and occasionally bouncing in unison to the ragga-metal groove was more than mind blowing; it was just something else that touched everyone at the subconscious and emotional levels.

Pre-pandemic, I always said seeing Skindred live was once of the best shows anyone could go to, but even after what felt like an eternity, the world’s greatest frontman Benji Webb hit the stage in full regalia with matching electric-red top hat, greeting the crowd before diving straight into the opening track, Stand For Something, which had literally everyone either bouncing, moshing or nodding in complete unity.

They started the show hard, and played their hearts out with fan-favourites Kill The Power, That’s My Jam and Say something, just to name a few. They played hard and fast throughout, even ferociously at times, to a crowd that was simply inebriated by Skindred’s stage presence and aplomb.

Skindred finished the evening with Warning, where crowd participation is compulsory to get that ‘Newport Helicopter’ off the ground once again (if you know, you know). I think it’s safe to say that everybody in that room, bands and fans alike, had missed the complete euphoria of being together in the same place and all being there for the same thing; music.

Music is a great healer of the soul, I find, and tonight cleansed my soul of the past 18 months solitude and isolation that we all individually had to endure, and personally, I couldn’t be thankful enough for the return of live music.