Skindred @Manchester Academy (Manchester): Review

Skindred’s performance at Manchester Academy on their “Smile” European tour featured songs from the new album as well as classics from their first album “Babylon”. The energy of fans waiting for the show to start was infectious. As soon as they came out, a rush of energy surged forward, pulling everyone into mosh pits that opened up in a matter of seconds. Benji Webbe, the lead singer, came onto the stage with a huge skindred flag which commanded absolute dominance and drew everyone to hang off his next words. Daniel Pugsley and Michael Fry worked together as a powerful bass and guitar duo that took power over the metal blend in their sound, with Benji’s vocals helping bring in reggae influence. Their drummer Arya Goggin also helps blend genres within the band, bringing ska beats and combining them with thrashing metal drum rhythms.

The show’s optics were phenomenal. The lights accentuated each member of the band brilliantly leaving no one in a shadow. The energy from the guitarist made it impossible to stand still during any of their set. I found myself constantly moving. Benji’s energy and smile was contagious and compelling, making it impossible to not have your eyes drawn in his direction. The drummer’s energy was translated easily despite him being on a podium that meant he wasn’t always visible. His presence was still very notable due to his use of high energy symbol hits and standing occasionally to dance along with the band and crowd.

The four-piece has been making music since 2004 meaning they have a very mixed listening audience. This made for a really pleasant viewing experience as well as moshing. Everyone was incredibly respectful of each other and looked out for people who had fallen down. This was encouraged and moderated by the band members themselves who frequently encouraged everyone to have everyone’s backs. This Newport-based band has made a clear impact in their time performing. You can see from videos of their past performances compared to their performance in Manchester that the whole group has refined techniques over the years as well as gathering a loyal fanbase who was ecstatic to see them again or for the first time.


Photos: Eliza Waite 

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