SKINDRED – LIVE AT THE ENGINE SHED – LINCOLN – 4TH NOV 20238th January 2024
Wait! Wasn’t this gig in early November, last year (2023)? You are correct! This review is late, really late. Had this review been my university dissertation, I would now be working in McDonald’s without a degree, unlike Steve who’s flipping burgers next to me, who achieved a first in Japanese literature.
Why so late you ask? Well, as well as navigating the hectic and abundantly stressful festive period I’ve also been wrestling with my unpredictable mental health and my Christmas gift to myself, sobriety. Which is going brilliantly, thanks for asking. But I’m here now and I’m going to smash this review out with all the passion and enjoyment of the gig itself.
T’was a cold night near the concrete banks of the Brayford, in Ye Olde Lincoln town (Lindum Colonia for all you Romans) and we were running late to the Skindred show at Ye Newish Engine Shed. We arrived just in time to see the support act Black Gold, smashing through a raucous cover of Cyprus Hill’s “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That”, which immediately got me hyped but sadly it also ended Black Gold’s set. This is more an honorable mention than a review but the crowd was appreciating the live delivery of this slick, masked outfit and I’m gutted I didn’t see the whole set. Sorry Black Gold.
Suitably primed and pumped the crowd started to buzz in anticipation of our headliners Skindred. One thing I observed was that there was no mass exodus to the bar after Black Gold’s set. People had their spots and were not going to give them up for something as trivial as booze, which worked for me because I was still drinking heavily at the time and never had to queue. I hate queuing!
Then with all the conviction, confidence, and synergy that only a band who’ve been together for over two decades with the same lineup can deliver, Skindred erupts with the absolute bounciest banger “Set Fazers”, from their latest album “Smile”. The audience is here to be receptive. No one goes to a Skindred show to stand back and wait to be impressed. They’re already impressed and want the vibe, hooks, and tunes to wash over them. With not a second of disappointment, this reviewer was swept up and carried to Good Vibes Island by the band and their effortlessly charismatic frontman, Benji Webbe. In the interests of full transparency to you the reader, I can never be objective when it comes to Benji Webbe. He’s my hero, my idol, and in my opinion one of the greatest frontmen to ever grace a stage. Honestly, I would pay to watch two hours of Benji telling a nun to fuck off and still ten out of 10 the sucker. However, Skindred’s performance is undeniably brilliant. The energy is set to eleven and the vibes in the place just hit the ceiling. Benji’s interaction with with the almost feverish Lincoln crowd is masterful and not a note, beat, or tune is dropped as the band hand delivers banger after banger. The playful and internal sunshine-inducing “L.O.V.E (Smile Please) goes down a treat and the unexpected sleeper hit of 2023 “Nobody”, which was originally released 22 years ago but recently blew up on Tiktok, delights new fans and old alike.
Benji said to me, and I’m paraphrasing “Lincoln would kick ass because they get fuck all up there” and boy was he right. Skindred came on, the place went off with the combined force of a thousand Newport Helicopters. If you’ve never experienced a Newport Helicopter, get on YouTube now! To summarise the gig, It’s a musically and socially transcendent good vibes fest, unmatched by any other band on the planet.
9.8763/10 (I didn’t want to give it a full 10 because I want Benji to be my friend and don’t want to come of as desperate, obsessive or needy). I FUCKING LOVE YOU BENJI. I’m sorry, I’ll get my coat.
Pressure / Back in Black
Rat Race / Wonderwall
World’s on Fire
That’s My Jam
L.O.V.E. (Smile Please)
If I Could
Kill the Power
Life That’s Free
Gimme That Boom