Gig review: Skid Row @ NQ Live, Manchester – April 11

By Thomas McCooey 

Earth-shattering drums, teeth-sucking pinched harmonics and lip-curling growls graced Manchester’s NQ Live as heavy metal rockers Skid Row hit the city last Thursday. 

The gig marked the Manchester leg of the band’s first UK tour dates for several years and founder members Rachel Bolan, Scotti Hill and Dave “The Snake” Sabo were joined by vocalist Johnny Solinger and drummer Rob Hammersmith. 

The New Jersey quintet release their new EP, United World Rebellion Chapter One, in May and as the title suggests, it is the first in a trilogy of wall-shaking mayhem. 

And fans of previous line-ups will not to be disappointed as lead vocalist Solinger, who joined the band in 1999, wailed through old favourites such as I Remember You, Slave to the Grind and Monkey Business with as much swagger as his predecessor, Sebastian Bach. 

Hammersmith’s booming kick-drum was the constant underpin of a hundred-miles-an-hour set and the satisfying chime of cow bell completed the foundation for a night of nostalgic hair metal. 

Staring through aviators into the back of the tightly-packed room, Solinger addressed the crowd philosophically without hiding from the band’s history and repeating: “Thank you for being loyal,” as he high-fived raised hands at the front. 

In a nod to fellow American rockers, The Ramones, the band launched into a beefed-up cover of Psycho Therapy to which bassist, Rachel Bolan, a backing vocalist on Motley Crue’s Dr Feelgood album, took centre stage with violent head banging. 

His fat bass tone blended nicely with the drums but didn’t act as a distraction as guitar riffs, growls and syncopated riffs exhibited the band’s technical skill as well as their stereotypical rock n’ roll bravado. 

With the Northern Quarter air smothered with the scent of a fire on nearby Oldham Street, the singer applauded the ‘thick skin’ of Mancunians. 

“The Snake” Sabo signalled a wave of new songs with an outrageously soaring guitar interlude and if tracks such as Kings of Demolition are a reliable indicator, the new record should be played with the volume turned up to 11. 

The EP hits the UK on May 27.

Picture courtesy of Kate Patten, via Flickr, with thanks.

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