(Photo Credits: LINDA FLYNN PHOTOGRAPHY)
There was only one place to be in the Midlands last Friday night and that was at SKAM’s TAMOGG Album launch. Unfortunately for us, the Friday afternoon traffic wasn’t being kind on the journey up from the south coast and so we missed the first support act. SKAM’s vocalist/guitarist, Steve Hill had seen The River Chickens a few weeks previous and knew they had to play the show. Coming with such high praise, they are definitely a band I will be making an effort to check out.
It may have been freezing cold outside, but the venue was almost at boiling point and packed to the rafters when we arrived. We made it down to the front with a few minutes to spare before tonight’s second support band Those Damn Crows took to the stage. Vocalist Shane is a master at working a room and getting the crowd going, but this crowd needed no encouragement at all. Opening with ‘I Don’t Give A Damn’ they set the scene for a hard hitting 45 minutes of catchy, bouncy, rock n roll. As they powered their way through the set, the crowd clapped through ‘Someone Someday’, danced and sang along with ‘Rock n Roll Ain’t Dead’, and cheered loudly whenever the opportunity arose. The band themselves were having a blast, laughing and joking with one another the whole of the way through the set, waving at people they recognised in the crowd, and feeding off the intense atmosphere in the room. This is a band that puts 100% into every performance and tonight was no exception; their energy is endless, but was slightly constrained by the small stage. Shane’s vocals completely filled the room, particularly noticeable during ‘Going Down’. ‘Blink Of An Eye’ was probably the stand out track from the set for me, the whole band seemed to turn everything up for this one and it just grabbed me. Lloyd entertained with a fantastic bass solo after ‘Breakaway’, before being joined by Ronnie on drums, and finally Ian and David on guitars, saving one of the catchiest tracks, ‘One Of These Nights’ for last. Those Damn Crows made sure they have left the crowd on a high!
Those Damn Crows are:
Shane Greenhall - Vocals
Ian Thomas - Guitar
Lloyd Wood - Bass
Ronnie Huxford - Drums
David Winchurch – Guitar
Check them out at:
SKAM’s concept album about a time travelling RAF pilot, Geoffrey Goddard had been two years in the making and hardened SKAM fans had been eagerly awaiting it’s release, which coincided with tonight’s album launch where the album was going to be played in it’s entirety in front of a sold out home crowd.
The band entered the stage to the album prologue to cheers and applause that would be more at home in an arena, before smashing straight into ‘Between The Eyes’, which the crowd totally lap up, joining in with the chorus in full voice. The heavy, riff laden ‘Iron Cross’ and ‘Fading Before The Sun’ saw Neal hammering the drums with such ferocity, I’m amazed they made it to the end of the show. Matt ‘the bass with the face’ was more animated than I have ever seen him before; I’m genuinely not sure how this is possible. ‘Take It Or Leave It’ again had the crowd in full voice as did one of my favourite tracks from the album ‘Bring The Rain’.
By halfway through the set, the venue was hotter than the bowels of hell and all three were having to play through rivers of sweat, but they had hit their stride and were thoroughly enjoying the reception the new tracks were receiving from the crowd. Before one of the many guitar changes, Steve encouraged the crowd to buy the album if they didn’t already have one; after all, the band need beer money – a joke which was fully appreciated by all those in the room and is testament to the relationship this band have with their fans.
Steve gave a nod to his little brother Neal, who wrote ‘Believe’ which caused the whole room to erupt in chanting his name. As the crowd quietened, they launched into the track which is chock full of riffs, grooves, and a blistering solo; I was completely mesmerised by Steve’s guitar work and that statement is true of the whole night. No SKAM album would be complete without a power ballad and Steve dedicated ‘Aching Heart’ to those who had lost someone and those who are no longer with us. SKAM are able to convey emotion in their ballads and this was amplified in the live setting.
‘New Dawn’ finished the main set, with Steve playing the gentle intro over the spoken monologue to replicate the album before he cranks it up with the opening riff and Neal crashes in on the drums. This track encapsulates SKAM and the enjoyment on their faces as they play it is clear for all to see.
The crowd were still hungry for more and were treated to a selection of set favourites from their back catalogue. The rarely played intro to ‘Soldiers Of Rock’ was a treat, the crowd sung along word for word to ‘Holy City’ and ‘The Wire’, and there was Steve’s trademark crowd walkthrough during ‘Let’s Get Rocked’. The Musician was in full voice for ‘Going Away’ with Steve stepping away from the mic, it was a proper goosebump moment for me. The evening was finished off with a moshpit for ‘No Lies’ and ‘Massacre’.
There are always shows where the atmosphere is electric, but I had never experienced it to this extent before. Considering most of the crowd would only have been familiar with the tracks from ‘The Amazing Memoirs of Geoffrey Goddard’ released as singles prior to tonight, the hunger to hear more never waned. This is a band I have been avidly championing since they first came onto my radar after supporting Airbourne 3 years ago, and from a personal point of view it left me very emotional. For me, they have everything; they produce great music, have amazing chemistry, a relationship with their fans that is truly genuine, and are one of the best live bands currently on the scene. I have no doubt that there are big things ahead for SKAM and tonight’s performance has only cemented that opinion.
There are two more shows left on this album tour; The Asylum 2, Birmingham on Friday 24th November, and The Black Heart, London on Sunday 26th November, where they will be playing the album in full again. If you can get to one of these dates you will be in for a totally rocking night.
Steve Hill – Vocals/Guitar
Neal Hill – Drums
Matt Gilmore – Bass
Check them out at:
**PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA**