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Skindred, Therapy?, Black Spiders & Turbowolf/02 Academy, Bristol
12:02pm Wednesday 25th April 2012 in Latest
A tour built around rock’s favourite tipple, with a big hitting line-up, and Jägermeister subsidising admission so fans can attend for just £5, the Jägermeister UK Music Tour 2012 was always going to be worth a look.
With a local support opening each date of the tour, tonight’s final show of this sell-out extravaganza, plays host to Bristolian four-piece Turbowolf. Having spent several years developing their musical style in a series of UK tours and shows, this is a truly original mammoth rock band, armed with some furious psychedelic punk grooves. What I witnessed tonight was an astonishingly dirty, snarling, set of weirdness and fun. Suffice to say, at the time of writing I have their self-titled debut album on order!
Sheffield’s Black Spiders gained early positive reviews in the rock press, with Kerrang! and Classic Rock listing them as “ones to watch”. Since this time they have gone on to play numerous high profile support shows and festival appearances. Tonight, the Bristol crowd is rocked for 30 minutes, from set opener “Stay Down” as they tear through tracks from the debut album “Sons of the North”. A highlight from a solid, self-assured performance is a rambunctious version of “Kiss Tried To Kill Me”, with Black Spiders able to win over anybody who is not already a fan.
Therapy? have outlasted competitors and outwitted industry attempts at categorisation for over 20 years. With 13 studio albums and 28 singles released to date – the breakthrough album “Troublegum” (1994) was their musical and commercial peak. Tonight, Andy Cairns (guitar/vocals), Michael McKeegan (bass) and Neil Cooper (drums) open with “Teethgrinder” before the trio power through two decades of material. However, as Ulster’s finest continue to release albums; gaining enough attention to tour and entertain a loyal following, it has to be said that nothing comes close to “Die Laughing”, the Joy Division cover “Isolation”, “Nowhere” and “Screamager”, all from the classic “Troublegum”. For me, Therapy? are the act of the night, and not just because I go back with them, but because they rock out with the kind of carefree simplicity that all too few bands have these days.
From Wales come headliners Skindred – an intriguing and intoxicating blend of rock, reggae, metal, dub and whatever else they can throw in. Fronted by Benji Webbe (ex Dub War) the band has only recently progressed from the club circuit, but is almost certainly destined for the big time. AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” is used as an intro tape, as anticipation builds for the appearance of the ragga-metal overlords. But things go terribly wrong as the band hit the stage to complete “nothingness”. Everybody is left bewildered by the non-starter, as the guys disappear offstage to return a few minutes later and launch straight into “Roots Rock Riot”. Of course, the delay is completely forgotten, as Webbe whips a packed Bristol Academy into a swirling arm-waving frenzy, following on with “Ratrace” and “Cut Dem”. Playing songs from all four of their album releases, the likes of “Pressure”, “Trouble” and the encore “Warning” receive the best reactions. Visually and aurally Skindred offer something different - their live energy is highly accomplished and thrilling to watch. Along with intense, chant-along tunes, the Newport quintet were a top billing tonight, and on the Jägermeister UK Music Tour 2012.
Review & Photography: Steve Johnston