By Clare McCabe
Date / Venue: Thursday April 17th, The Powerstation, Auckland
Ah the Powerstation. What a venue. Attending a gig here sure brings back some good memories in my concert history (Ramones, The Dead Weather, Marilyn Manson to name a few). And tonight we get good oldUgly Kid Joe and Skid Row, touring down under together on a co-headlining tour.
I bet these older bands love coming to NZ and Australia. Even though the venues are reasonably small, the crowds that do come are super excited to see the bands back and touring their great music.
Up first were Ruff Copy ripping into their 80s and 90s covers. To be honest, I have never been to a gig that was opened by a covers band. That said they weren't bad. Even mastered a Motorhead tune. And a Thin Lizzy number.
Next up is Ugly Kid Joe. And here comes Mr Whitfield Crane, dressed in his usual 90s attire and with his excellent swaying dancing style. There's Dave and Klaus on guitars, Cordell on bass and of course Shannonhammering on his drums a la Tommy Lee, and in fact playing in his underpants.
The crowd seems pretty enthusiastic, loads of hands in the air (when requested several times by Whit) as he bounced through several numbers. We get Cats in the Cradle (sing along everyone) to which everyone knows the words (come on how can you not). Then "two more?" says Whit and swings into the tune we all came along to hear, saving the best to last. All together now "I hate the rain and sunny weather, and I hate beach and mountains too....". I have to say I cannot remember if I ever caught UKJ in the 90s (ie. at their peak), but I sure owned their albums and overplayed THAT song at many a party. Special mention to the guy in his UKJ t-shirt who managed to jump on stage and give Whit a special hug, perhaps for playing his favorite song? And then there was a smashing version of Ace of Spades and it was thank you and goodnight from Whitfield and his pals.
A short break between bands gives me a chance to check out the mix of people in the audience - interesting lot tonight, young and old and a few great vintage t-shirts being worn (which Rachel was also pleased to see and noted in his little chat with the audience later in the set).
And here's Johnny with the old crew: Rachel, Dave, Scotti and Rob. I'm sorry are they really super tall or is it the hair that makes them look larger? The boys bound straight into Let's Go. There's bandanas, sunglasses, loads of black and denim cut-offs all round. Hair flies, Scotti owns that guitar and Rob thrashes away on his drums at the back. And then there's Rachel playing that bass as he always does - looking good Mr Bolan.
Must say (and I am sure you guys want to know) Johnny does a superb job with the old Sebastian tunes (18 and Life, I Remember You, etc). I never saw Skid Row with their original line-up, but the current (and longest running) version is certainly worth catching. Johnny does a great scream and these guys still love what they are doing.
We get an excellent version of 18 And Life. We get King of Demolition from last year. We get a super great singalong on the semi-acoustic I Remember You. And then (the highlight of my evening) and dedicated to the brothers Joey, Dee Dee and Johnny, a rousingly good version of Psycho Therapy, with Rachel on vocals.
Then it's close to curfew but still time for two more. And here comes Slave To The Grind and an excellentYouth Gone Wild. Indeed.
Are these guys bored with touring? Do they sound like they're rehashing old tunes? No way. They are still super tight together. And well worth seeing in my opinion.
After the rest of NZ and a stint in Australia, Skid Row will be performing at Rocklahoma in the USA. Now that would be an event to attend. Enjoy boys and bring yourselves back again to NZ won't you (obviously you are not going to leave it 20 years next time).
Sing it - Ricky was a young boy, he had a heart of stone....