Date: 11th May 2019
Review and Photography by: Rebecca Bush
A sold out Alexandra Palace is quite the sight to behold, walking past the hordes that have gathered here tonight for Disturbed’s UK stop on their current Evolution Tour. The sun is shining, the view is incredible and the mood is high! I’ve never seen a queue like it!!
Joining Disturbed on the European leg of this tour are Newport legends Skindred! It’s been 8 years since I saw them perform at Metal Hammer’s Golden Gods Awards and I’m excited to see them again they have such a great energy and are always super fun to watch.
Tonight is no exception they take to the stage to their own mix up of the Imperial March leading them straight into first track of the evening, ‘Big Tings’, which singer Benji Webbe has emblazoned on the back of his heavily studded jacket – nothing in half measures from these guys! Immediately the crowd are moving and I’m dancing and shooting along to the beat! It’s totally infectious and they are so wonderfully uplifting.
They bring a setlist spanning their entire back catalogue, giving us a real taste of what they are all about. It’s a unique combination of influences and a hugely diverse mix and I can’t see a single person in this enormous audience not thoroughly enjoying themselves. As I weave my way through the crowd to get a good vantage point there are people bouncing and throwing their hands in the air singing along, the songs are ridiculously catchy and there’s no way to watch them without getting your weekly cardio quota filled!!
Benji knows just how to work a crowd getting everyone clapping and singing along at his command. Talking to the audience he asks, ”anyone like fucking, erm, the Sex Pistols? Anyone like that band called Oasis?” To a mixed response, he continues, ”They wont hate you because you like Oasis. Fuck ’em, like who you want!…If you love music like we love music let me see your hands in the air” and with that they break into ‘<pass it on>’ and ‘Sound the Siren’ to a whole room clapping.
Other real highlights include ‘That’s My Jam’ from latest album ‘Big Tings’ with an insanely good break down into his signature growling reggae stylings, the beat really goes deep – real soul food.
Rounding off with a long standing favourite of mine, ‘Warning’ from their 2011 release ‘Union Black’, which has a real bite to it and ends their (not long enough) set perfectly.
This is feel-good, head-bobbing, fist-pumping music at its best and really reflects the mood of the day, from sitting outside sipping on a beer to being totally rocked to your core by these guys. They are clearly a well-bonded group, and they are riding on a wave of pure happy vibes and we are all on board. Heavy guitars aplenty, killer vocal gymnastics and a solid beat at the heart of every track make this an immaculate formula for a good time.
Skindred return to Europe in November for their ‘That’s My Jam’ headlining tour, so be sure to catch them if you can!!
- The Imperial March
- Big Tings
- Rat Race
- <Pass it On>
- Sound the Siren
- That’s My Jam
- Kill The Power
As the lights go down, the screens light up in a magnificent video display depicting scenes from their immense history of live shows building the anticipation for what’s about to go down – Disturbed’s return to the UK for a headlining show – the first since December 2010!
The atmosphere is palpable and stood in the pit with that big crowd behind me I can feel their eager energy rising. It’s definitely an intense moment for me having never seen them live before and now standing mere feet away , camera in hand! As they take to the stage and first track kicks in it couldn’t be more apt, David Draiman stands front and centre and sings first line ”Are You Ready?’ YES! Yes David we are!!!
Lyrics flash up on the big screen behind him and we’re off!! Having been a fan for so many years and yet never managing to see them live, this more than lives up to my expectations, the whole band are very much on top of their game and bringing the heat (quite literally) tonight with a blast of pyrotechnics early on in the set during ‘The Vengeful One’ to give us a taste of things to come later on in the show.
Talking to the crowd, David says to all of us, ”you will leave stronger than when you came in tonight”, which everyone cheers loudly to. He adds, ”anyone who doesn’t believe that leaves me stupified” and launches into classic track from ‘The Sickness’ – ‘Stupify’, to an excited, energised audience; each track just seems to inject further energy into the atmosphere.
The band have been recently very verbal about their advocacy for mental health and addiction awareness, and so we come to the part of their set where they bring everyone together and play three very poignant songs, sitting on stools at the front of the stage; a united front, they bring the room to a contemplative sway with ‘A Reason to Fight’.
Everyone is singing along and there aren’t many dry eyes in the house, including David himself who tearily addresses the crowd in a moving speech which really hits the nail on the head. Then he asks for our permission to try an experiment ”by a show of hands, and don’t be afraid, how many of you have struggled with the demons of addiction and depression yourselves or know someone that has? Keep those hands up, now take a look around this room. My friends, you are not alone!” It is a very powerful and emotional moment, and I am extremely grateful for their voice in this fight.
They display the numbers for the Samaritans, addiction and suicide prevention helplines too. Next song, ‘Hold on to Memories’ shows a scrap book slide show display of the band’s families, friends and, towards the end, people we have lost such as Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell.
Again it is a very poignant message to take stock and to live your life to the fullest. Third song in this vein is their amazing cover of ‘The Sound of Silence’, heightened by the inclusion of extra string musicians.
Dan Donegan takes to the piano and in an intense crescendo we get our second taste of heat as it bursts into flames, bringing the lull to a close. They power into the final part of their set with the very appropriately placed ‘Indestructable’, everyone now empowered and re-energised burst into a sea of unified movement.
And if it weren’t hot enough in here, they burst out an impressive pyrotechnic display for ‘Inside the Fire’, with hanging ropes of fire and constant bursts of flames the song becomes quite literal – this is hardcore and incredible to witness!
First encore song ‘The Light’ calls for some audience participation in bringing the light to the room David asks us to turn our torches on only when he sings the word light and it makes for a beautiful display as everyone complies and creates a sea of lights. So many moments here are significant and symbolic of how we can support and help each other.
Rounding off the evening is firm favourite ‘Down with the Sickness’, which holds strong and gets everyone really moving to go out with a total bang!!!
This was an unmistakable triumph and I can see why they sell out these shows night after night – and long may they continue!!!
- Are you Ready
- The Vengeful One
- The Animal
- Land of Confusion
- Ten Thousand Fists
- The Game
- No More
- A Reason to Fight
- Hold on to Memories
- The Sound of Silence
- Inside the Fire
- The Light
- Down With the Sickness