Sunday, 8th November 2o18
Review By: Courtney Solloway
As soon as I was let into the Boileroom of Guildford Town, I made a direct B-line for the stage. Now I won’t lie to you, I’m short as all hell. I’m 5’2. So you can bet your ass I was trying to get as close to the front as possible so that I could actually see amongst the sea of heads that all seemed to be about 5’6 plus. About half hour passes and sound checks are still going on on stage, even though I could hear and see them going on when I had turned up about an 1hr 45mins before.
Another 20 or so minutes pass and the first act, Jayce Lewis, comes out on stage.
Now, I had never heard of this band before, and going back to what I said about me being short before, I had 3 really tall people stood at the barrier, and whilst I was right behind them, I still couldn’t really see anything. From what I could see, there was the singer, drummer and 2 bass players. This confused me greatly as I had never seen a lineup like this before. I was highly intrigued and throughout 3/4s of the show, I believed that was the full lineup. It was only when I moved slightly and stood right on my tip toes that I could see a guitarist on the left hand of the stage, only just peeking out from behind a speaker. I’m not surprised that he chose to stand off stage with how little room there was, but it did kind of give the impression that he was just kind of there and not really a part of the band as the rest were.
However, that being said, the sound that Jayce Lewis provide can’t be denied. I’m a sucker for anything with a heavy bass line to it and the idea that I could have two was like having my cake and eating it. The overall sound is loud enough and with an electronic backing track, I got this overall industrial metal sound with subtle hints of Rammstein. Jayce himself though sounded so familiar despite not having heard his music before. It took me a hell of a long while to figure out why he sounded so damn familiar and it was because – for me at least – he sounded so reminiscent of Johnathan Davis from Korn. Having worked that out in my head the more I listened to it, the less I could un-hear it. Overall, Jayce Lewis did a good job at getting the crowd worked up enough before Skindred took to the stage.
During the break between the bands I tapped one of the taller guys at the front to ask if it would be okay if I could stand in front of him, though I would have completely understood had he said no. Thankfully though, the guy, whose name I didn’t get, let me stand in front after saying “Yeah, you’re much smaller than me, I’m so sorry, go ahead!” Chivalry isn’t dead ladies and gents and there are still nice people out there; don’t be afraid to ask if you can’t see, just don’t be a dick about it!
As the quartet begins to make their way on stage one by one, the crowd progressively gets louder and louder and way over the top in their excitement. A few squabbles seem to break out behind me as people grabbed at each other to rip the other person out of the way in a bid to get to the front of the stage. It was pretty damn ruthless in all honesty. At which point a lady shorter than me made her way next to me and I was happy to let her take the barrier next to me, even though I was left with little room myself. I would’ve been concerned had I not, as she would have gotten swept away in the chaos.
The ringmaster of hell himself – Benji begins to welcome the crowd before breaking into Big Tings from their newest album. Skindred knows how to get a crowd amped up for sure and Benji always seems to revel in the crowd interaction he gets from everyone, especially in smaller, intimate gigs like these.
Throughout the night Benji stands on the barriers reaching out to fans and letting them high five left, right and centre before interacting on stage again. Amongst Benji’s madness is the rest of the group’s concentrated energy. They’re excited and jumping around, headbanging and singing along just as much as the crowd, but they have a more intense concentration on what they are doing.
As the evening continues and tracks from albums new and old entice the crowd, fans, either from the beginning or newer to the scene, have gone absolutely mad. I even took a tooth to the back of the head from one guy trying to rip me away from the bar – which wasn’t happening. Fortunately, the group around me that noticed managed to manoeuvre themselves around me, thus pushing him further back before checking on me, which I’m thankful for. The metal community is nothing if not a family when we see each other hurt and that’s something I’ve always loved.
Just before the encore, we get to hear Kill The Power. I believe it was about this moment in time that the guy who had let me stand in front of him had somehow made it in front of the barriers and was headbanging and then ended up on stage. At which point, although not looking thoroughly impressed at this, Benji hands over the mic and steps aside, letting him have his moment. After a minute or so he’s told to come off by what I can imagine is a member of security. Now I understand why Benji looked unimpressed. There is security put in place to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen and there were noticeable sound issues throughout the night, from not hearing Benji’s vocals to not hearing Mikey’s guitar. So frustration may have gotten the better of them.
Overall though, after nearly losing my phone during Warning – special shout out to the guy with a heavy jumper during the Newport Helicopter – I enjoyed myself. There were ups and downs with it being a small venue and some mad fans but I should have expected that really.
An extra special shoutout to Dan Pugsley, who was just in the bar after the show and let me get a picture with him and having a chat. That’s a moment I will not soon forget.