Rock City Nottingham 6.11.2015
With four bands on the bill, I knew it was gonna be early doors tonight so I managed to blag 10 minutes off work (cheers boss) to get here in time. All was going smoothly on my journey into Nottingham, until the last five miles of it that is, as some football match was being played at the City Ground – Forest V Derby no less, and as this was a local Derby match, traffic was absolute murder! Let’s just say the air was blue in my car! Incidentally Derby lost, bugger!
Although I was late, I was still able to get an interview with Benji which had been pre-arranged for 18.15. I got there at 18.30 and thankfully Benji was still hanging in the tour bus, so I got to meet the guy for the first time no less! Let’s just say, the last time I’d felt that excited, I still believed in Father Christmas!
After the interview, which was held on Skindred’s tour bus, upstairs in some gaming lounge area, I packing up my gear to try and catch (hed) PE, as sadly I knew I’d already missed Yashin’s set. As I tried to walk down the stairs of the tour bus (which were very steep), I fell down most of them and as there were two PR guys sat downstairs, I recomposed myself as well as I could, then struck up a conversation so as to not look a complete bell-end!
Although I managed to get in to see (hed) PE in time, I actually only managed to photograph one of their songs, but having seen these guys last year when they supported Soil, I wasn’t as disappointed as I was at missing Yashin. (hed) PE probably started around the same time as Skindred and although they are very different and continents apart, they are in fact very similar, as they too fuse a multitude of genres together. Primarily punk, metal and reggae, and these guys know how to get a crowd going!
Tonight, in part, Jahred wore a Guy Fawkes mask on stage. This was either to show support for the fact Guy Fawkes Night was only 24 hours ago or as the Guy Fawkes mask is now used as a symbol of protest by certain groups made famous in the film V for Vendetta. Having studied (hed) PE’s lyrics, and subject matter in their songs, I believe it to be the latter! As I stated last time, these guys are very energetic on stage as well as being great entertainers! I love this band and I was extremely happy to see these guys on tonight’s bill supporting Skindred! I’ve also been told these guys like to party off stage as much as they do on it, so good luck for the rest of the tour guys! haha
Set List tonight; 1.No Turning 2.Bloodfire 3.One More Body 4.Whites/Blacks 5.Bartender 6.Renegade 7.Ghost Town 8.Peer
Now Crossfaith are a new band to me – I knew nothing about them coming into tonight’s show and quite frankly I’m glad I didn’t do too much research into these guys beforehand, as it meant I could appreciate these guys live much more than I probably would of done if I’d heard some of their earlier albums. I’m actually starting to prefer seeing a band live, then going to check out their material afterwards because you really can’t appreciate how good a band are until you see them live.
The quintet (that’s five, just so we’re clear) originate from Japan and yet they are no strangers to these shores, I’ve since discovered! Nor are they strangers to Skindred, as I’ve noticed Benji has in fact lent his vocal skills to their track “Wildfire” on the bands new album, ‘Xeno’. These guys fuse some melodic synths with metal, over a hell of a lot of scream vocals, which sounds very much like the bands The Defiled and Black Veil Brides, which would of probably put me off, had I not seen tonight’s gig! It’s not often you see a crowd doing a circle pit in Rock City, let alone a wall of death but these guys got the crowd so pumped up, the band had them eating out of the palm of their hands and the crowd would have probably done anything they asked them to do, within reason! These guys are such a great live band, I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see them in a field, in these parts sometime next summer! This was such an amazing set – a full on octane fuelled rocket ride, straight to the pleasure senses! Take a bow Crossfaith, take a bow!
Set List Consisted of; 1.Xeno 2.Monolith 3.Countdown to Hell 4.Devil’s Party 5.Wildfire (Which featured Benji) 6.Omen
As stated earlier, we were gratefully allowed access to Skindred’s Benji for an interview – which was great! From that interview, we discovered that the band had just learnt their new album, ‘Volume’ had charted in this weeks album chart, going straight in at no. 29 and straight in at no. 2 on the UK Rock Album Chart, which is fantastic news for these guys and we’re well chuffed for them! I’m even more chuffed with the fact that Benji signed my vinyl copy of the album! Benji did also mention he has a new solo reggae album out, but I don’t seem to be able to find anymore on that!
Tonight’s show was epic, having been suitably warmed up by the amazing support bands, the crowd were in fine form for Skindred. As well as fighting for a space in which to shoot the band in, we also had to contend with crowd surfers and security guards rushing us to get to the people coming over the crowd! The massive stage production looked great and the stage lighting was also very vibrant indeed! As the band took to the stage with the backing track, a drum and bass version of the Imperial March, which is very topical with the release of the new Star Wars movie next month. I have a feeling the band are big fans of Star Wars, Benji even complimented me on my Star Wars t-shirt during our interview. I did have a Star Wars woolly hat too, but I had to ditch that, as the venue was hot tonight, hardly surprising really as it was a sell out! I’ll take that!
F**k knows how Benji survived in his massive (fake) fur coat for three songs, but he did it! The band were all on fine form and gave everyone one hell of a show – the crowd loved it and so did I! These guys continue to tour the UK next week, with this being the longest run of UK dates, ever, I believe. Then onto Europe, so don’t miss your chance to see one of the best live acts around.
Set list consisted of; 1.Under Attack 2.Roots Rock Riot 3.Stand for Something 4.Rat Race 5.Doom Riff 6.Ninja 7.Sound the Siren 8.Cause A Riot 9.Trouble 10.Volume 11.Pressure 12.Kill the Power 13.Nobody 14.Playing With the Devil 15.Warning
Interview, Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)