I have planned this article many times in my mind because I do not know if there are enough superlatives to fully endorse the magnitude of The Skids show at The Tramshed, Cardiff. I last saw this band on November 4th, 1979 at the long lost Top Rank venue that once occupied Queen Street in the Welsh capital – and, that gig ranks high on my list of all time favourite concerts.
39 years on and The Skids are back as a functioning unit with kingpin Richard Jobson to the fore and another original sidekick Bill Simpson returns on bass. Drummer Mike Baillie who also played a a role in yesteryear Skids history is on board as are Big Country members Bruce and Jamie Watson – who add their guitar gusto. However, the late, great Stuart Adamson is sadly missing and his influence was duly honoured by everyone throughout a passionate and pristine set.
Jobson who is now 57 defied the body clock with an electric energy that permeated through his visceral vocals, demonic dancing and buoyant banter. He is quite simply a phenomenal frontman and his succession of stories in between songs were entertaining as was his ad-libbing – comically mocking The Stereophonics who were playing down the road at the Cardiff City Stadium. He also had entertaining tales of the early days including throwbacks such as Top of the Pops and Pan’s People. There was also discussion about the comeback trail and a date in Newcastle where 300 fans stayed back to meet the lads and their expectation of female adoration was floored when every one of those Geordies were sweaty, overweight middle aged males! Ha! Rock ‘n’ roll living, eh? Ha! Ha! Ha!
The Skids are indeed a tight unit and with a sensational backlog of material plus the fine fare of the current album – Burning Cities – all was in place for a party. All that could go wrong was a cashing in mentality where the band offered minimal output for maximum gain! However, that was not the case – Jobson was in his oils beaming like a Dunfermline cat and he was enjoying himself as much as any paying punter. The backing unit supported his leadership with a professional panache that honoured those seasoned anthems and catapulted the fresh numbers in to orbit.
The classics were in abundance – Charade, Melancholy Soldiers, Working for the Yankee Dollar, Masquerade, Olympian, Of one Skin, The Saints are Coming, Hurry on Boys, Charles, Woman in Winter, Circus Games, Animation and of course the ultimate fan Midas – Into the Valley. WOW! Pace, power, pomp and pleasure!
The moshpit was alive with characters of advancing years who turned the clock back and threw themselves in to shapes that can only mean that the following day there may be a few injuries, strains and sore systems. Nonetheless, who cares? Not a soul! For this is musical mindfulness where nobody cares about negatives iit is all about living in the moment and savouring The Skids!
The current work just ups the ante and the likes of This is our World , New world Order and One Last Chance are worthy of inclusion in an emotional evening and even when things come down a peg or two via Desert Dust there is still nothing but total devotion from a full house who were in their element. Then the fun time angle of this awesome act closed proceedings and UK Subs icon Charlie Harper joined the guys for TV Stars and its call to legends past with of course Coronation Street hero Albert Tatlock to the fore! Jobson even went acapella and when he had his throng joining him for a rebranded in plural – Into the Valleys – he paid respect to his Welsh followers and that love ?added to the joint adulation between the performer and public.
The Skids in 1980 was a top 5 lifetime live encounter and many moons on their recent outing is right up there. What more can be said? – Nowt! The Skids are the biz! If these chaps came to town for a week residency I would be present for each and every appearance and one gets the feeling many others would join me!
Richard and his revellers spend their Days In Europa playing The Absolute Game and that afforded us Strength through Joy and not one person present was Scared to Dance! Currently Burning Cities with their trail of treasures – The Skids are indeed a unique Joy!