BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Friday, December 23, 2005

BABYLON IS BURNING: Skindred live in TJs

Bloody hell, nothing ever seems to happen on its own these days, tonight I managed to squeeze in two gigs in one night, SKINDRED and ELVIS!

First of all there were too many of us to go in one car, then someone dropped out and we had a spare seat and ticket, but Sparky was not psyched up for going out with five minutes notice, so we had to go and sit in his house and nag him till he gave in, jumped in the bath and donned his best drinking trousers.

First stop was The Legendary TJs, to catch Skindred.

TJs is… lets not beat about the bush… a dive, but a dive with a lot of history and a lot of character. For many years it has been a first stop for many bands that have gone on to bigger and ‘better’ things, such as Green Day, Hole, Fugazi and… actually it would be silly to try and list all the big names that have played there. I have put on a few gigs there myself, including P.A.I.N., Inner Terrestrials, Tofu Love frogs, Citizen Fish and New Model Army.

For some strange reason John, the owner, has a habit of completely rearranging the club every couple of years. Actually, he has not messed with it for a while, mainly because he finally had the layout sussed, but tonight we were greeted with a completely re-arranged club which is nowhere near as good as it had been for the last year or two.

Tonight’s entertainment was provided by Skindred. Hold tight, I will try to explain… Skindred started out as Dub War, an awesome raga metal crossover from Newport. A few years ago they split, and formed Skindred who then went on to cause quite a stir in America and released an album, Babylon. Recently however, the band ‘split’ with the band continuing with only Benji the signer remaining. Jeff and Ginge, original members have since been working with Roni Size under the name Raw Bud, although it is not clear if this is going to turn into a long term project….. anyway, tonight’s gig was by the band fronted by Benji. Now that we have that out of the way………

Skindred are how a metal band should sound in the 21st century, they have taken on elements from other cultures, raga, rap, and a tiny bit of ska, chucked them all in a turbo charged blender without a silencer and come up with an awesome in ya face sonic attack that knocks you off ya feet. The new band have taken on the old songs with enthusiasm, though it would be interesting to see if they can write stuff as good as the old crew.

There were quite a few young gunslingers in the crowd, including children of my mates (made me feel old!); but being Newport, there were lots of old heads around who remember Dub War, so it was a bit of a homecoming gig for Benji, which made for a special vibe in the venue. This vibe was heightened somewhat when Jeff Rose, the original guitarist climbed on stage for a few numbers.

John has some strange ideas sometimes, so at 10;30 we were all chucked out of the venue but if we wanted to we could pat £6 to get back in for his club night. We decided to head across the road and catch The Las Vegas Elvis in the Newport City Live Arena.. which deserves a post of its own………


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