Skindred & Crossfaith Live at Birmingham Institute, November 13th

You won’t see a single Skindred and Crossfaith review without the obligatory ‘most fun live band’ and ‘party’ reference, so let’s get it out the way quick with the immortal words of Wayne Campbell… “Party time. Excellent.”

Yashin [5] aren’t a band that challenge musical conventions, they aren’t a band who’ve crafted their reputation upon a fierce and unyielding live act, quite frankly, I don’t think anyone knows how they’ve made any name for themselves based on the quality of their musical output. That quality, or lack of, transfers onstage. If there was a check list for things to look out for in a great live performance, musical ability, charism, excitement, danger, crowd interaction and atmosphere are all thing you’d probably be looking to score highly, frankly Yashin hit all of them in a very mediocre fashion that fails to inspire an excitable crowd waiting for something with a bit more oomph.

Perhaps not quite the band to really get this night started, Hed P.E [6] put in a headstrong and admirable performance. Having been a band since the early days of Nu-Metal, the Californian four-piece are no newbies to the stage. What this band lack is a back-catalogue packed full of recognisable tunes that tonight is set up to be full of. Those in attendance that are old enough to remember this band buy into it, perhaps through nostalgia more than anything but you can’t fault it too much, it’s solid if not spectacular.

The same can’t be said for Crossfaith [8]. If you haven’t heard of this Japanese quintet then it’s about time you pulled your head out of the sand and open those ears. Tonight very much feels like a wrestling match between two of the most outrageously fun live acts any rock or metal fan could wish to see. Crossfaith set the bar high with a set that’s packed full of energy, charisma, musical ability and variation, displaying their unique sound with Slipknot inspired riffery on the title-track of their new album ‘Xeno’ with the party song of the year ‘Wildfire’ featuring the one and only Benji Webb. It almost feels futile to write these words about this band because every time they manage to pull out one of the most frenetic and enjoyable metal performances you can pay money to see.

Given the high praise that’s deservedly piled upon Crossfaith, it only accentuates the excellence of Skindred [9]. From the opening notes of the ‘Imperial March’ that the band take stage to, to the closing notes of ‘Warning’ and the final swirls of the Newport helicopter, this band are on it and not letting the boys from Japan steal their thunder. Benji Webb, party master and all round King Pin of fun, continues to be one of the most enigmatic frontmen in the industry, armed with a host of new tunes from their stunning new album ‘Volume’. Pulling from all their gaping array of musical influence, Skindred deliver the kind of performance that everyone has come to expect from them. Stampeding through classics like ‘Rat Race’ and newer crowd-pleasing favourites like ‘Kill The Power’, Skindred show exactly what it takes to earn a reputation as prestigious as theirs. With time for a rousing speech before ‘Trouble’ and finishing with the aforementioned ‘Warning’, the night goes to Skindred by unanimous decision… or at least that’s what the crowd’s reaction implicated.


Scribbled by:

Dweller of the deep, dark depths of Birmingham where four Brummies created this little thing called heavy metal. Music obsessed with an open mind, who's only claim to fame is that Tony Iommi lives a few miles down the road.