I’ve written previously about the Skids’ fortieth birthday tour. Here are a couple of reviews of the actual gigs.
Firstly a review from the Scotsman, by Fiona Shepherd, who gave their Glasgow ABC gig fur stars:
“When I’m up here I feel like I’m sixteen, but afterwards, the limbs…” For all his understandable apprehension around The Skids becoming part of the creaky punk heritage trail, lurching dervish Richard Jobson looked to be having a ball as the much-loved Dunfermline band embarked on their 40th anniversary reunion.
For justification, he need only have registered the reaction in the rammed venue – pints aloft from a sea of men of a certain age, exactly the sort of constituency. The Skids represented with their meaty, politicised rabble rousing anthems such as debut release Charles, its bouncy bass-line propelling an ode to a factory worker literally ground down by the job.
Four decades on, The Skids are far from ground down. Even with the quickly acknowledged absence of Jobson’s wing man Stuart Adamson, lost to suicide 15 years ago, the band sounded in peak condition. Original bassist Bill Simpson and drummer Mike Baillie were the rock solid engine room, augmented by no better custodian of Adamson’s legacy than his former Big Country cohort Bruce Watson to provide that distinctive ringing, melodic lead guitar so admired by peers such as U2 and Siouxsie & the Banshees. The set was a pretty comprehensive romp through the singles and album standouts, with the pugnacious Working For The Yankee Dollar and turbo-charged The Saints Are Coming providing early highlights, fist-pumping chants Charade and Masquerade firing up the masses and the daft nosebleed roll call of TV Stars rewritten to name check the day’s political figures.”
Secondly, a review written by John Robb for Louder than War of the Manchester Ritz gig:
“Well, that was pretty fucking special.
The triumphant return of the Skids worked on so many different levels that it’s hard to believe they ever went away. The band, who emerged in the punk wars, are further proof of the strength in depth of that musical wave – a time when perhaps 40 odd bands all had a whiff of greatness about them. Some of them crashed and burned, some of them soldiered on to their never ending victory lap and some like the Skids seemed destined to never return.
… a rock solid rhythm section makes the band super-tight, serving the songs up with a real care, with all the shape shifting rhymes and rhythms and clever constructions in place and perfect for charismatic frontman Richard Jobson to project his still powerful voice over.
The last of the classic punk generation bands to reform the Skids hit the stage to a rapturous reception. They have, of course, got back together a couple of times before – a 30th anniversary thing in their home town of Dunfermline but this time it’s serious – a whole tour and some festival action.
Jobson is on fire fire tonight – a great frontman with charisma to spare his autodidact intelligence and powerful stage presence is still in place even if he amusingly complains of being knackered from jumping around in the songs like his youthful self complete with his trademark one legged scissor kick dance which he takes the piss out of for his lack of cool. Jobson is an engaging and powerful presence and he commands the stage with his voice delivering a series of songs that like so many of these classic bands sets is full of long lost album gems that fly back at you from over the decades.
The hits are, of course, here Working For The Yankee Dollar is still a timely reminder of the world order and catchy as fuck with that guitar lick ear worm, Masquerade and Charade are both anthemic, The Saints Are Coming is huge with that football stadium chorus and Into The Valley is a thrilling rush – one of the great songs of the period, they even play early favourite Charles and even throwaway b side Albert Tatlock and a new song which augers well for the new album. It’s hard to believe that the last time I saw them play was in 1978 supporting the Stranglers at Lancaster University when the band was drowned by a storm of spit. Decades have come and gone and all the young punks are now old men but still filled with the fire and passion of musical adventure.
The set only underlines the Skids unique position in the culture – a band born out of punk with huge ambitions, a band who were in a creative rush and helped laid the bed rock for eighties rock – time and time again you wonder how much of a debt U2 owe them soundwise and the band’s innovative and highly intelligent take on punk rock was rewriting the rule book as it went along.”
Tonight the Skids are fantastic and leave you hoping that this is more than some short term comeback but a full time concern – they will rule any festival they play and need to be embraced by the Beautiful Days/Bearded Theory festivals as well as the post punk ATP set. Their futuristic vision has served them well and they sound far from dated – unique and timely and hungry.”
Reassuring news for a ‘man of a certain age’ that the band and the period I chose to immortalise in my novel Feeling called love are still capable of inspiring excitement and dedication!