Hothouse Flowers had the honour of opening Cardiff’s new Tramshed earlier in the week, but Skindred have just as enviable a date to play at the venue: Halloween. Ticket holders in costumes ranging from Captain Jack Sparrow to Wayne & Garth pack the venue the day after the release of Skindred’s sixth album ‘Volume’.
Kicking off ‘Night of the Living Dred’ are support bands The Dirty Youth and Qemists, neither of whom needed the encouraging words of Skindred frontman Benji Webbe “support bands are the headliners of the future” to get the crowd on their side.
Even after a busy day of signing copies of their new album in Newport and at Cardiff’s HMV, Skindred are up for anything but a quiet one tonight. There’s often a big difference between a simply responsive crowd and a genuinely thrilled crowd, and as soon as Skindred’s Imperial March intro tape starts things off, Tramshed is hosting a crowd that falls into the later.
New album opener ‘Under Attack’ leads an hour and a half of a brand of their highly unique sound; Look on the Wikipedia category ‘reggae metal bands’ and there’s only three other bands mentioned, one of which is Dub War, also featuring Benji Webbe. A tighter functioning unit of a band it is rare to find, but the star as usual is Benji, a man who provides a sense of humour to even serious messages “If you don’t like gay people… you’re in the wrong fucking place!”. DJ Dan Sturgess’ role is getting more and more important, and Arya Goggin’s drums hit hard, the Tramshed already proving to be one of Cardiff’s best and, in this case, loudest venues sonically.
The closing standard ‘Warning’ gets everyone swinging an item of clothing in the air to ‘the Newport helicopter’, after which it’s evident that tonight has been a highly successful show. The Tramshed is a great venue and Skindred are a great live band. Only difference is Skindred’s live reputation hardly needed proving.