Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
October 20th, 2018
Supports: Bad Moon Born, Dept of Gloom and The Kids
Not even the torrential rain was going to stop me from getting to this show. My curiosity was punishing the hell out of me, I needed to know first hand how one of my idols could be replaced and a band renewed. As I stood at the doors of Sydney’s Manning Bar, it was interesting to hear the many conversations of people giving their opinions; “No Skid Row without Sebastian“, “Solinger did an ok job, but he was no Sebastian“, “ZP’s a great vocalist, will be interesting to see if he can pull it off“, “I saw them back in the day at Eastern Creek” etc. If anything was clear, it was that we each shared the same curiosity and were all here for the same reason, SKID ROW!
The opening support act for the night was The Kids. A fun size five-piece, having a good crack at punk/crossover. Full of energy, with attitudes to boot. I likened the bass player to a little Cliff Burton, while the drummer was an absolute firecracker. These kids were fun to watch and performed a cover of Rage Against The Machine’s – ‘Killing in the Name’. The set ended with a confident “Goodnight and fuck you”!
Next to hit the stage were Sydney’s Dept of Gloom. Although formed in 2016, most members are Veterans of the stage, coming from well known Australian bands such as Candy Harlotts, Melody Black, Jerk and others. They demonstrated all the attributes, you would expect from a band with their experience. Confidence and competence. They captivated the fast growing crowd, who cheered on in acceptance.
Bad Moon Born were the main supports for the night. They have supported Skid Row on their East Coast leg of the tour. I’m sadly late to the party with these guys and kicking myself for it. I was surprised and intrigued, while thoroughly enjoying what they had to offer. A rock band, with a really interesting sound. Sublime, intricate grooves. An audible smorgasbord. Guitarist Voya, working his fingers over a gorgeous looking Gold top Les Paul, man did he play it well. I wasn’t expecting to hear them cover Led Zeppelin’s – ‘The Immigrant Song’, who does that and pulls it off? Bad Moon Born, that’s who! Faultless and timeless, I’m eager to hear more from them and will be looking into it, as soon as I’m done with this review.
Lights go down while The Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ can be heard over the speaker, the crowd singing along. Sirens sound, washing away The Ramones, as the crowd begins to push forward in excitement for Skid Row. ‘Slave to the Grind’ starts to play, a detonation of lights show Scotti Hill, Rachel Bolan, Snake Sabo and Rob Hammersmith positioned on stage, ZP Theart (ex DragonForce vocals) joining them soon after, to embark on what became one of the greatest nights in Rock n Roll. ‘Sweet Little Sister’ sounding spot on, I’d now decided that ZP had what it takes. My curiosity turning to excitement, I leant against the barrier and was throwing my fists in the air in approval. ‘Piece of Me’ enabled Rachel to exhibit his classic bass moves, while Snake and Scotti flaunted their guitar harmonies. I adore Rob’s cheeky cowbell in this song. ZP unblemished again, had the crowd screaming “fuck yeah“!
Moving on to ‘Living on a Chain Gang‘, the perfect groove to keep this party going. I worried the high notes and screams wouldn’t be reached, but ZP breezed through them effortlessly before announcing it was “important to introduce these ‘Big Guns’. A crowd pleaser, but ‘18 and Life’ was the unequivocal favourite, played next in the set. The room echoed as the audience sang and swayed along with feeling. ‘Makin’ a Mess’ had the floor moving again, with the pounding of Rob’s drums and Scotti’s searing solo. These guys were on fire! ‘Medicine Jar’ and ‘Subhuman Race’ were next to entertain us, before Rachel took to the Mic to dedicate a Ramones cover of ‘Psycho Therapy’, to Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy Ramone. A very fitting and well-played tribute, that had the audience going crazy.
Slowing things down temporarily, an acoustic guitar was placed in front of Snake. He and Rachel played the intro to ‘Quicksand Jesus’. ZP did a superlative job on vocals with this one, it was bloody beautiful. Complete with gobsmacking harmonies and astounding guitar solos. It “ain’t your business”, that ‘Monkey Business’ was next. Incorporating a smashing guitar dual mid-song, between Scotti and Snake. No guitar wankery, just pure talent and passion. Fans erupted as they showed their approval, not only for the song, but ZP absolutely nailing the tracks we all know and love.
Skid Row left the stage and the lights were dimmed. We all cheered for more, of course, there was always going to be more. The acoustic was back in front of Snake and everyone’s favourite ‘I Remember You’, was played. This song is so evoking and carries many memories and emotions, for a lot of people. Arms waving in the air, while the crowd swooned and reminisced. ZP sang this song just the way I remember it as a teenager, with heart and a fucking amazing voice. ‘We Are The Damned‘ preceded the closing song for the night, ‘Youth Gone Wild‘. While most fans are no longer in their youth, we are still wild for Skid Row and we let that show any way we could. SKID ROW and ZP in particular, would have left with no doubt in their minds that the fans approve of the change and are eager to have them back.
For anyone doubting the capabilities of ZP, or the future of the band, you can rest assured that SKID ROW is alive and well. I would even go so far as to say they are sounding much better than they have sounded in many, many years. This night is one of the greatest nights I have experienced in Rock n Roll.
Gig Review by Trudy Johnson
Revisit our interview with Skid Row‘s Rachel Bolan here
Photo Gallery courtesy of Mick Goddard (MickG Photography)
Please credit Wall of Sound and Mick Goddard if you repost.
Dept of Gloom
Bad Moon Born
Skid Row – United World Rebellion Tour
Oct 21st @ Astor Theatre, Perth
October 23rd @ The Gov, Adelaide