Quicksand Jesus

Last night didn’t see me in Birmingham for Suicidal Angels which would have been my forth show in six days, but missing that forth hurdle still leaves me with plenty to look forward to for the remainder of March.

The two shows I attended over the evenings of Friday and Saturday were both superb. Obituary never fail to impress and they were ably supported by Californian thrashers Exmortus, who were fantastic and it’s nice to see a support act afforded a decent amount of time on stage. They played for close on 50 minutes, but the headliners only did an hour or so, but with death metal that’s all you need!

A long evening in Manchester on Saturday began at 5pm with Maltese death metal band Bound to Prevail, a band I’d never heard of before I saw them and they were very impressive. Brazilian female thrash trio Nervosa were stunning yet again but the icing on the cake was a 60 minute death metal masterclass from Suffocation. Absolutely brutal stuff and they gave Obituary a run for their money 24 hours earlier, and might have just edged it over their southern counterparts. Nobody was following that blistering performance and we left before headliners Venom, Inc set foot on the Rebellion stage.

I have nothing before Friday’s annual pilgrimage to North Wales but I’m partially tempted with yet another jaunt to Manchester to see Skid Row with yet another frontman. I don’t need an excuse to give the bands first two albums a blast whether a show is on the horizon or not. My only issues are the vocalist the price tag.

Ex-Dragonforce vocalist ZP Theart is now filling the shoes recently (well I say recent, almost three years ago now) vacated by Tony Harnell. I wasn’t too impressed with Theart’s vocals in Dragonforce, a bit to high pitched for my liking, but it was also a band I had no great affinity with either.

Watching a few clips on YouTube from the bands recent Belfast show he sounds alright, but my wife who was doing something else in the room asked if I was listening to a tribute band! And that’s where the price comes into play.

I’d essentially be paying north of £25 to see them and I fully get the tribute act comparisons. I begrudgingly shelled out £25 for Saturday’s entertainment. I balked a bit at the price, then I thought it through logically and I was able to see five bands from five different countries. Three I’ve never seen before and the other two only a few times each. For a fiver a band it was good value.

I’ll see how I feel on Wednesday. Cannibal Corpse play Manchester on The same night too so I could pop up at the Ritz. I the meantime here’s Quicksand Jesus from Skid Row’s sophomore release Slave to the Grind.

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Slave To The Grind

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the urge to listen to the first two Skid Row relentlessly and during the entirety of this blog I’ve only posted about the band once. So in a change of pace from yesterday’s post here’s something still heavy, but very much removed from the evilness of Deicide. 

Skid Row and Guns ‘N’ Roses always used to go hand in hand together, so this post is going to be no different. Last week I posted how Appetite For Destruction was pretty much a perfect album as it celebrated thirty years. Unlike their touring partners back in the day, the New Jersey quintet managed to follow up their debut with an equally as strong sophomore offering. For me (and you know what people say about opinions) the dozen tracks on offer on the 1991 release has no weak links.  

Reading back the last Skid Row post from the dying days of December 2015, it came on the back of Tony Harnell departing the band and the internet flurry of Sebastian Bach returning to the fold. There were also rumours, or expectations, of an imminent global tour with the Gunners. So everyone was wrong on both accounts. 

The Not in this Lifetime tour is nearing its conclusion and Skid Row were not amongst the long list of opening acts during 130 worldwide performances on its nineteen month long trek. 

Harnell has been replaced with vocalist ZP Theart. Not really a household name, unless you are a DragonForce fan. South African ZP took over live duties and became a permanent addition to the band in January of this year. I’ve only seen a poorly recorded version of his first performance on YouTube and I wasn’t overly impressed, but I may be tempted to check out his inaugural British shows when they land here early in 2018.  

Released in 1991, Slave to the Grind would have been another college purchase and I know it was played to death at the time. The band had moved on a bit from the more glam orientated self titled release and were more of a straight ahead heavy metal band. There’s some really heavy stuff on this second record. Both albums have been heavily played in the twenty six years since they’ve been in my collection, but after those two I’ve hardly listened to anything else that has been released. 

Youth Gone Wild

It hasn’t taken the conspiracy theorists long to dissect breaking news from yesterday that Skid Row vocalist Tony Harnell has quit the band less than a year after joining. So obviously Sebastian Bach is returning to the fold, almost two decades after leaving the band, AND they’ll be supporting the latest incarnation of Guns ‘N’ Roses. Let’s watch this space shall we.

I’ve seen Skid Row a few times and Sebastian Bach too, but never on a stage together. In hindsight I’d loved to have seen them alongside L.A. Guns and Love/Hate in 1991, but again that was scuppered by transport issues. By their next headline visit in 1995 I was more immersed in the hardcore scene. If I knew what I know now and I had a time machine I would be at so many more gigs!

Like Appetite For Destruction their self titled debut is another really strong offering and another personal favourite, but compared to Guns ‘N’ Roses they followed it up with the superb, and much heavier, Slave to the Grind. I remember buying that in my first year at college.

I’ve dabbled with fanzines since I was at school, so sometime around 1989 was my first attempt. I didn’t know how or where to get interviews from so my first “issue” featured a Skid Row interview “borrowed” from a chat that appeared on a local radio station’s rock show (thank you Paul Anthony!). I didn’t have a typewriter at the time so it was all transcribed by playing and rewinding a cassette tape copious times and scrawled out by hand on my mothers living room floor. Needless to say it never saw the light of day

I really don’t like it when I just pick something at random to ramble on about as picking a track to offer you is too hard!! The link below has changed at least half a dozen times so far. I’ve settled on my introductory song to the band from the debut release – and my fingers are crossed the iPod shuffle spits some more Skid Row out sooner rather than later.