Skindred are a you get what you see band, they use no gimmicks to get their unique approach to music across, and there aren’t many other bands that could garner a following of such a diverse crowd either, they are the true epitome of what the rock and metal world is about and with that, you don’t even need to be a fan of the band to enjoy the show. The last time I caught these was back in August 2017 at Bloodstock, with near 15,000 people lapping up the Welshmen's take of ragga punk metal, seeing that condensed down to the 500 capacity of the Underworld was always going to be a little nuts.
Sadly an early curfew due to a following club night usually means shorter sets by bands, but the line up consists of only the two, mean decent packed out sets from both. Opening the bill was Black Futures, their own blend of something different. They collide electro with punk and rock, a busy looking stage for a small group of just two, they use what room they have to get their energy of space age rock out, it can be difficult getting a crowd moving as an opening act, and for those that didn’t know the band before the show it can sometimes be a struggle to get into it. The extras brought along however adorn white paper suits, face masks and sunglasses. Holding up position at side of the stage for most part, the do soon venture off into action and disperse amongst the crowd and break out into their own parties, loosening up those still not fuelled enough on alcohol to get into it. Musically, they provide a wall of sound that suits the show nicely, creative and addictive, they know how to write a memorable tune or two and create an infectious atmosphere that does sounds much bigger than the sum of their parts. A well earned drink for the pair and their party.
It is odd seeing Skindred on such a small stage, they can pack out any venue they like, but the intimacy of such a show creates a rocking intensity far surpassing the likes you could imagine. Benji is his energetic, excitable self and he wastes little time getting the crowd pumping, jokes aplenty, especially when thinking that someone is down and wanting to make sure they’re alright before continuing turns out just to be someone that had dropped their glasses. Laughs and smiles echo all over the stage and venue constantly as they hammer through their set, classics are mixed in with track from their latest release this year, Big Tings, none of which sound out of place what so ever.
For me, I used to be a fan of the band back when their debut Babylon came out, they seemed to be one of those bands that got everywhere as a support to any gig I went, they were impossible to not notice, I may have grown away from them not too long after that, but despite that being some 15+ years ago, it is amazing to see that they have not changed one bit. Something for everyone, Skindred are that rare band that can take on anyone in the world and come out on top, no matter what your tastes. Is the underworld too small for them? Yes. Do they deserve a bigger venue and sell that out? Yes. Are there any regrets seeing the show at such a small, iconic venue? Absolutely not!