Live Review: Skindred at O2 Academy Bristol, with Trashboat and RXPTRS. 8th October 2021

After seeing Skindred and Trash Boat at the Download Pilot this year, this was one gig I was super excited to be at. Skindred are an amazing live experience, and Benji’s interaction with the crowd is second to none. Trash Boat are also amazing live, and one I was happy to see again.

The show was opened by local band RXPTRS, who brought all of their energy with them. They may have played early to not a full crowd (they were on only 15 minutes after doors), but they really did connect with those who had come down early to see the show. They treated us to a couple of new songs, as well as some of their back catalogue. A first band’s job is to get the crowd warmed up, and they certainly did that and more.

Up next was Trash Boat, a five piece from St Albans. Since their formation in 2014, these guys have been pumping out non-stop bangers. In the last few years especially, they have really started to make a name for themselves.

In my opinion, Trash Boat played an awesome set. Musically, they are at home on stage, the whole band clearly get on really well together, and share the same ideas. Their lyrics are simple, but have a clear message behind them, and they rock out hard.

But for some reason, the crowd just didn’t seem to warm to them. It might have been because their music was a bit less heavy than RXPTRS or Skindred, or that frontman Tobi did talk and take the stage like they were the main band, but the crowd just were not into them in the way I (and probably the band) hoped. Don’t think they’ll be selling many tickets for their upcoming tour to this crowd – especially as we were told our closest show is Birmingham!

After a quick break (and some Queen singalongs), it was time for the main event. Everyone was excited to be there, and eager to move their feet – mosh pits were starting before the band even came on stage!

It’s a real struggle to put into words, just how good their set was last night. From the moment the band came on stage, the energy and enthusiasm was brilliant, all the way through to the moment they walked off at the end of the night.

Throughout their set, the crowd responded just as much as Benji gave, with plenty of mosh pits and crowd surfing. We were treated to covers of Oasis, Eddie Van Halen, House Of Pain and Slipknot, mixed masterfully into their own songs.

One of my favourite parts of the night was the crowd chant off for That’s My Jam. One half of the venue was screaming the “Whoop Whoop”, while the other half was screaming back “That’s My Jam”. Benji certainly had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

A notable mention has to go to the Skindred Sandwich Challenge, where an audience member has to eat a sandwich in 30 seconds on stage, and if successful wins tickets to see Skindred in New York! So far, no one has completed the challenge, and tonight….

Was no different. Sadly Shay (I think that was her name) failed the challenge, but we all had a good time anyway.

Another mention also has to go to the brilliant acoustic version of Saying It Now, in dedication of Benji’s sister. Last night’s venue – O2 Academy Bristol, has a special emotional connection for Benji, and last night we were all together in that moment.

But of course, there is one thing Skindred are known for. One thing that everyone who comes to one of their shows knows to expect. The Newport Helicopters.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, take a quick moment to go to YouTube and search it up. Words cannot begin to describe was awesome a spectacle it is to watch. Hundreds of garments of clothing, all flying up above the heads of people, and everyone (even security) got involved. It may not be what makes a Skindred show, but it is certainly a key element.

And that’s because a Skindred show is so much more than just a show, it is an experience, a connection with the audience. I can bet that not a single person left that night feeling unhappy, or that that they missed out on something. I’m certain that every single person there had a great time, and if you are in any deliberation about going and seeing Skindred live, then go. It will be worth it.

A massive thank you has to go to Skindred, Trash Boat and RXPTRS for playing amazing sets, and to all the venue staff and security for helping make this event.

Review by Ted Stargatt for TrueStyleMusic. All photos are copyright Ted Stargatt/TrueStyleMusic

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