You can only take your hat off to bands like Dead City Ruins. Any band that finds their way over here all the way from Australia deserves our support – especially when it seems they have done things all by themselves. They deserve credit too for another thing: they are one of the very few bands from down under who don’t sound like some AC/DC facsimile. Rather these boys have a Thin Lizzy-playing-Iron Maiden vibe about them, and if singer Jake Wiffen looks like he might mug you down a dark alley for a sandwich, then that just adds to their rock n roll appeal. Keep an eye this mob, they might be worth it.
When RTM saw Ugly Kid Joe were the co-headliners for this thing, our first reaction was “blimey, are they still going.” We hadn’t been the biggest fans of UKJ back in the day if we are honest and didn’t know they had reformed. Consequently we weren’t that bothered about seeing them.
So after some dreadful gangster rap plays them on, the band kicks in. We are barely paying attention when singer Whitfield Crane marches out onstage and bows. After that, it has to be said, all hell breaks loose and Joe are quite unexpectedly brilliant.
“Neighbour” gets everyone singing along, as does “Milkman’s Son” and although the mawkish and horrible “Cats In The Cradle” is a low point for us, they are soon playing a couple of tracks from their new EP “Stairway To Hell.” “Devil’s Paradise” is sleazy fun and “I’m Alright” has a real Bon Scott era AC/DC feel about it. Before long they are playing “Everything About You” – the one you know from “Wayne’s World” and it sounds excellent. If ever a band proves why you should go and watch a support it is Ugly Kid Joe.
We have written many times about our never ending love for Skid Row. It is coming up to 22 years since they changed our lives forever when we watched their gig at the NEC Arena. We can still remember the very second their show started with the opening riff of “Slave To The Grind and however many gigs we’ve been to since, it’s never been with quite as much excitement.
This is their second time on these shores this year and they play the same set as back in March. And whilst you can be swept along on a tide of nostalgia once, to keep coming back there has to be something still there. Happily there really is.
The band are evidently extremely proud of their new EP “United World Rebellion Vol 1” and well might they be too. A track from it – “Let’s Go” kicks things off, before it is “Big Guns,” Makin’ A Mess” and the still menacing “Piece Of Me,” during which singer Johnny Sollinger sounds like he really is “sleazin’ in the city, looking for a fight.”
Rachel Bolan and Dave “Snake” Sabo – who along with Scotti Hill give this band the legitimacy of having three original members – both give what you assume are genuinely meant thanks to the crowd and the whole thing is largely magnificent.
Indeed, if there are a couple of small criticisms they are that the short set means there are only three tracks from “Slave to the Grind” and the guitar duel in “Monkey Business” disrupts what is a truly magnificent song.
Ultimately though, this is not a night for moaning, it’s a night to remember why you loved music in the first place, and if neither they – nor most of the audience – are, as the closing song says “Youth Gone Wild” anymore, it does no harm at all to occasionally transport yourself back to a time when Park Avenue really did lead to Skid Row.