Skindred plus Bearfist
Venue: Tunbridge Wells Forum
Date: 5th March 2015
When an established act known for playing larger venues and controlling crowds by the thousands comes to a 250 capacity venue, you know something special is in order. To warm up for their arena tour supporting Steel Panther, Skindred did just this as they played the tiny Tunbridge Wells Forum. An occasion so rare and unlikely to come around again any time soon there was no doubt that this would be an absolute crazy show.
Opening the night was Bearfist as the only support act for the evening. A fairly unknown act but it was a fantastic opportunity for the Essex metallers to impress not only some possible new fans, but a huge name in the UK rock and metal scene. You could sense some Pantera influence with a mix of very early Mastodon as Bearfist delivered some crushing grooves and ferocious Anselmo-like vocals. Musically they were faultless though the energy in the room was dead as a mostly static crowd watched on waiting for Skindred, a shame really because Bearfist deserved a better response than a few claps and polite cheers. 6/10
Finally the time came for Skindred to take to the stage as the Ragga-metallers walked on to a dance beat filled remix of the Star Wars Imperial March. Starting off their set with title track to their 2014 album Kill The Power. Vocalist Benji Webbe only had to say the word bounce and the crowd erupted, everyone was off their feet jumping to the frontman’s demand. The set was a pure crowd pleaser, smashing through classics like ‘Rat Race’ and ‘Pressure’ along with some surprises like a snippet of Metallica’s ‘Sad But True’. Throughout the night Benji joked with the audience and continually wanted crowded participation, demanding hands up and lots of movement, even waving like the Queen for a laugh. Of course no Skindred gig is complete without their anthemic song ‘Nobody’ which had the wildest mosh pit of the night and biggest shout outs from the crowd. After that the only way to finish off the night was to pull their trademark Newport Helicopter. This involves everyone in the room waving around a piece of clothing as they rock out to the incredibly heavy riff of ‘Warning’. A thoroughly entertaining set from the Welshmen as they gave these lucky few people an intimate show they won’t forget anytime soon.