Skindred at their very best in Manchester as Welsh metal favourites even chuck in a nod to Oasis

The band rightly has a reputation as one of the best live acts going.
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Newport’s finest Skindred were once again at their very best as the reggae heavy metal act belted out some of their biggest hits during an electric 90 minute set at Manchester Academy.

The band, fronted by Benji Webbe have earned the reputation as one of the best live bands going today. And, with their unique sound that fuses heavy metal with genres such as reggae it is easy to see why. Skindred’s back catalogue is like a musical montage. Although they are predominantly reggae and metal, they bounce from alternative genres such as rock, pop and electro. 

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Webbe in particular was at his imperious best throughout. He has energy, charisma, passion and a presence that could charm a dragon. The discoloured Union Jack waved around on the mic stand almost reminiscent of a magic wand that the frontman utilised as he cast a spell to capture the hearts and minds of the attentive audience. 

The audience’s participation was one of the highlights of the set as they, myself included, belted out the band’s hits in full voice, partook in mosh pits of pure joy ecstasy throughout the evening, and followed every single one of Webbe’s requests — whether it was raising the atmosphere, singing or jumping around like there’s no tomorrow. 

Skindred performing at last year's Takedown Festival, April 2023. Picture: Paul WindsorSkindred performing at last year's Takedown Festival, April 2023. Picture: Paul Windsor
Skindred performing at last year's Takedown Festival, April 2023. Picture: Paul Windsor

Last year was arguably the band’s biggest year to date as their latest album ‘Smile’ reached no.2 in the UK charts to go alongside appearances at major festivals, such as Glastonbury and Download, and saw ‘Nobody’ enjoy a resurgence — all thanks to a viral TikTok trend. The band kept the momentum rolling with an epic set in front of an enthralled sold-out crowd.

After impressive sets by San Diego nu-metal band P.O.D. and British metal act As Everything Unfolds, the band’s intro songs in AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ and the infamous ‘Imperial March’ set the stage perfectly for what was going to be a joyous rollercoaster of a set. 

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As the Welsh rockers came onto the stage, they were met with a lively roar by a frenetic Manchester crowd and kicked off the show with crowd-pleasing opener ‘Set Fazers’ before following it up ‘Pressure’ and ‘Rat Race’, even throwing in snippets of AC/DC’s hit ‘Back in Black’ and Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’, as a nice surprise.

Following a hot start, the band kept on a rolling as Webbe belted out fan-favourites ‘World’s On Fire’, ‘That’s My Jam’ and ‘Ninja’ in unison with the audience before upping the ante with covers of ‘Jump’ and ‘Jump Around’. After an energetic first half of the set, the band eased up proceedings with the crowd-pleasing and mellow hit ‘L.O.V.E’, as well as the thought-provoking ‘If I Could’, which was directly inspired by the difficulties experienced by many during coronavirus pandemic. 

Webbe followed the song with the uplifting and motivational ‘Kill The Power’, a message to those who see themselves as the underdog and encourages you to fight for your dreams. The band then briefly shifted away from heavy metal as they performed ‘Life is Free’ with an acoustic intro, before lifting the crowd once more with fan-favourites ‘Nobody’, ‘Gimme That Boom’ and ‘Our Religion’. 

For the band’s finale, the infamous ‘Newport Helicopter’ which closely resembles the Pittsburgh Steelers’ terrible towel rally returns for the encore of ‘Warning’ to wrap up a cracking night of music. 

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