Skid Row, Ugly Kid Joe & Dead City Ruins @ Manchester Club Academy – 24 Oct 2013

After almost bang on a year since my last concert, I now had 2 killer gigs 2 nights in a row; and kicking of my duo of musical mayhem was Skid Row, Ugly Kid Joe & Dead City Ruins at the Manchester Club Academy.

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This was the first time I had been to a concert in Manchester, and I had no idea of what to expect of the venue. It turns out it is a nice little club, with a capacity of about 400, I’d say, and a nice seating area at the back.

Up first that night were Dead City Ruins, a band of Australian hard rocker keeping the rock’n’roll dream alive, old-school style!

Living out of their ”shitty van that has broken down a dozen times” and ”living off beer and pizza”, they are thousands of miles from home, living without the comforts that we all take for granted, and yet they are gigging every night giving it their all and loving every second of it.

During their set, the frontman at one point decided to get in to the crowd with the microphone and almost decapitated a few people with the cable, but it was all good fun and everyone cheered in approval, apart from security, they were shaking their heads in disapproval.

Their set as a whole was great, very energetic good old rock, with Bruce Dickinson-style vocals present in various songs.

I’d also like to give a virtual high-five to their drummer, who at only 21 years of age can whoop the asses of many drummer twice his age that I have encountered in my time.

The whole band seem like a genuine bunch of nice guys you’d like to have a BBQ with, I wish them all the best in their endeavour to rock’n’roll stardom!

Soon after their departure, Ugly Kid Joe guitarist Dave Fortman takes to the stage followed by their drummer who looked like Jesus Christ wearing Speedos , meanwhile everyone eagerly awaited Whitfield Crane’s arrival.

Suddenly, he runs on stage and electrifies the place, he jumped in to the song V.I.P and followed that up with Neighbour and by this point the mosh pit is going wild and all of us at the front are getting crushed to a pulp, but it was definitely worth it!

Whitfield spent the first half of the gig literally bouncing off the walls and the crowd followed his lead; with sweat,dreadlocks and pints of beer flying everywhere,it was awesome!

It all calmed down slightly when they started playing their well known cover of Harry Chapin’s Cat’s In The Cradle; and the crowd sung along at the top of their voices.

Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe - Photo taken with compact camera

Whitfield Crane of Ugly Kid Joe – Photo taken with compact camera

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, but the memory shall definitely remain, and as the band left the stage everyone ran to the bar in seek of hydration.

At this point, my husband and I moved to the back of the venue to watch Skid Row, as my poor husband was knackered from shielding me throughout the U.K.J set.

On marched Skid Row, and the crowd flocked back to the stage area.

They kicked off the set with Let’s Go, which got the crowd going, then played fan favourites such as 18 And Life and In a Darkened Room.

Then, I caught a glimpse of guitarist Scotti Hill, who had been out of sight behind a pillar, and as he walked to the other side of the stage to join Dave ‘The Snake’, I realised that he was wearing more eye-liner than all the groupies put together. What had possessed him to use that amount of make-up, I do not know, but he looked almost like a drag queen. Nevertheless his die-hard fans chanted ‘We love Scotti Hill, we love Scotti Hill!’ repeatedly and he responded by flailing his tongue at them in a Gene Simmons manner.

Bassist Rachel Bolan then took to the microphone to sing a cover of The Ramones’ Psycho Therapy which he dedicated to Marky Ramone who was playing upstairs that night.

Rachel Bolan of Skid Row - Photo taken with compact camera

Rachel Bolan of Skid Row – Photo taken with compact camera

Following that, frontman Johnny Solinger re-emerged and changed the vibe of the crowd when he went straight in to the ballad I Remember You, and at this point I felt kind of emotional seeing the crowd getting their lighters and Iphones out and swaying and singing the song with them. Dave ‘The Snake’ went on to thank the crowd after the song, saying that hearing them singing their lyrics back to them is what  keeps him alive. I felt kind of proud of them at that point; they are touring, away from their families and at an age where they must be tired from all the gigging, and yet they are still devoted to their fans and are still living their dream.

Finishing off with Youth Gone Wild, the youth (or not so youthful now!) did go wild and it was the perfect ending to the night.

*All photos in this article were taken with a compact point-and-shoot camera

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