Skid Row @ 02 ABC, Glasgow
Well it has taken a while for Skid Row to hit Glasgow and with new singer ZP it was time to see if they lived up to the expectations and the memories from back in the day.
Before I go onto days gone past when I actually had hair other than on my face lets come back up to date with the first support band tonight Bad Touch. For me this is the reason I am here, yes I loved Skid Row, yes Toseland are good but hands down Bad Touch rock my world. It is amazing to me that I first saw these boys over three years ago and my first reaction was why the hell are they supporting, followed by and playing a venue this size.
For the following two years I had to put up with support slots, reduced set lists and see them whenever I could. The band is that good I would travel to their damned hometown if it was their only show. I would also have paid the expensive 30 quid ticket price just for them( and I will let you into a little secret…a good few here tonight did just that).
This band is the future of rock in the UK, I will bet every penny I own on that. They are a step above the upcoming bands and that is a massive compliment in itself as there are so many good British bands about that are all on the verge of breaking through to the next level. I predict Bad touch will be the hammer blow that breaks the Dyke wide open.
All that said we settle down to tonight’s performance and it is marred from the off by the sound, the guitars are fuzzy, the drums overly powerful and somewhere, somehow Stevie’s voice is lost and the first thought through my head was how do you fuck up that voice? This is the first time in three years I have struggled to hear what Stevie is saying never mind singing. I was seriously pissed off as I have been looking forward to this for ages.
Here is me decked out in my Stevie shirt for the first time and as “Take Me Away” starts I am bemused. I g from one side of the hall to the other, front to back and still no better. I think about jumping the barrier and slapping the sound guy but that would be the end of my night.
What was annoying me more was the amount of new fans that could be garnered tonight. A big chunk of the crowd are the big event gig goers so it is doubtful they would have came across the bad before and as they slip into “ Good On Me” I know the sound has basically wasted the joke for the newbies.
As we got to “Heartbreaker, Soulshaker” things improved and praise the lord as this is one ass kicking song and as I look about at the crowd I can see the look on the faces that I must have had that very first gig…all was not lost.
Glasgow is basically a second home to Bad Touch, it is a very simple formula, we love them and they love us.Three highlights from this band were both support slots with The Kentucky Headhunters and last years very first headline show in Stereo. These shows have been spread out over three years and every one was in my top five gig for the year.
I have had many a conversation around bands who play regularly, I got stick recently for being not so positive on an Airbourne and Steel Panther show. I have seen both bands many times and things were just stale. People said I was wrong, people said you cannot see a band too many times or you will get bored and my instant retort is I would watch Bad touch seven days a week. I could never get bored.
As a sort of nod of the head to Glasgow we are the very first people to hear new song “Put your Hand up” and although the sound was still far from perfect it was spot on. It has the BT hooks, it has a little party all of its own going on and I can see it being a regular in the set. The new album may only be half done but I lay odds it will be a belter.
The boys finish on “Outlaw” and “99%”. two completely different tunes but two songs that wanted to finish the audience off. If there was any undecided out there these two songs were the knockout punch and every single person I spoke to was blown away…just like I always am.
I have seen Toseland a number of times over the years and they always impress. This band was a better fit for the headliners so I suspected they may do better than Bad touch with the reception from punters who did not know them.
The band kicked off with “Puppet On A Chain” and the 80s anthem got the old school Row fans headbanging. The boys know what they are doing so they keep right at it with “living In A moment” and that voice, I swear if you shut your Eyes Myles Kennedy is in the house. Like Myles you also have a well oiled performer and a hell of a band behind him.
From here it is fast, furious and another top notch preformance. Everything went much smoother, the sound was better(far from perfect), the lights were an improvement and apart from a “Renegade” mic stand, a dodgy statement(said mic stand has a worse grip than his wife) the band showed what a rock show should be and I am sure the like buttons were hit furiously when the audience got home.
OK, as has happened a lot recently this one will divide opinion I am sure.My comments about it already have. I will no doubt be told I am stuck in the past and maybe I am but here goes, crash helmet on, I feel like Bad News at Donington now.
Lets go old school first and see it from my side, when Skid Row hit the scenes with their debut in 1989 they were the dogs danglies. That album came out of nowhere and blew me away, they blew MTV away and they rose to fame very quickly. I knew Seb Bach from previous band Madam X but the rest were unknown to me.
At the time I did not know that Seb was basically a hired gun, the album was already written and they just needed a voice. They got the voice and with it a performer of the highest quality and yes, with a bagful of attitude.
I followed the band all around the UK in the 90s. It was rare to get a Scottish date so I had to, I was at festivals, support slots, you name it and I was there. I have countless good memories of the band back then and they were at the top of their game.
Those first three albums were part of what shaped me as a kid in his twenties and when Seb left I was gutted. I did give Solinger a chance but the albums were flat and live he did the job but there was just no Oomph for me.
I have been told many times since going to this show that Solinger was in the band for longer than Seb but c’mon people, let’s face reality, they were never the same draw. Fast forward to today and as the band took to the stage and I saw Bolan, Sabo and Hill walk past me I smiled like the old days. It was great to see them in a much more intimate setting and as they burst into “Slave To The Grind” I was back in the 90s. The band was always talented and those three alone were brilliant musicians and that has not changed. I had high hopes but unfortunately they didnt last long. ZP took to the stage and although he looked the part and can definitely front a band the vocals were a bit weak. The sound was still struggling which did not help so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Next up was “Sweet Little Sister” and “Piece Of Me” and by now I should have been rapturous but nope, things were not improving. I reckon I was in the minority as most of the people here were having a ball. The livers were already swimming and the nostalgia was obviously kicking in.
If I was to look at this set list and think Seb I would have been on cloud nine but as it stood classics like “Big Guns”, “Rattlesnake Shake” and “I Remember you” did not have their hooks in me. The music was totally spot on but the rest did not. I finally gave up when “ 18 and Life” came on. This to me was a sad reflection of a song that kept MTV whirring.
Please remember this is a personal opinion and one from someone who has followed the band for a long time. I know many will be happy with tonight and the new version of the band and I for one would never say a band should hang up its instruments based on a singer but the set is almost all Seb’s songs, the band have not really produced much since he left so it seems a sad time to bring out a new singer(again) and churn through those hits.
I never did agree with all the will Guns’N’Roses reform(with the real band), I hated that Slash got asked the question constantly but that happened anyway and to be fair I think this band needs Seb. They may still be charging a hefty wedge for tickets but the hall is not full. If we saw Seb back you could guarantee arena tours, headline festival slots and sadly, this will be the only way I go to see this band again.
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Images and words Ritchie Birnie
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