Getting to see Skid Row is something that will never get old for me. Last summer, I got to see them for the first time in well over 10 years. I went into the show with low expectations and came out of the venue with my face in a drip pan. This year’s annual Skid Row show at Wild Bill’s was something I was really looking forward to but somewhat nervous about it. Unlike the last show, I went into this show with high expectations and even began to question whether those expectations would be met. As the houselights went out to a roar, the National Anthem played over the PA. I could feel the excitement build as the band took the stage and without much warning slammed right into “Big Guns” from their self titled debut album. From that deafening opening chord on, this show would not only prove to exceed my expectations but also prove the fact that Skid Row is nowhere near done with the game.
Johnny Solinger still gets a lot of shit but I didn’t hear anything that made me feel like he wasn’t more than capable and deserving of the lead singer role in Skid Row. His vocals were spot on and his flawless delivery of “In A Darkened Room” literally made the hair on my arms stand up. Solinger is a great front man and it’s obvious that he not only connects with the songs but with his band mates and the audience as well. Solinger isn’t much of a stage banter kind of guy which is fine with me. He addresses the crowd, thanks everyone for coming out, and even cracks a joke from time to time. I’d much rather see this than that big bag of wind Sebastian Bach but I’ll digress. “Monkey Business” is another classic that just seems to get better with time and this time around really showcased the drumming of Rob Hammersmith. I don’t know what it was about this show but for some reason I was much more aware of Rob this time around. His playing was bombastic to say the least and he has such a great flow and swing to his playing that it really drew me in to what he was doing.
The set list was made up primarily of classics such as “Monkey Business”, “Riot Act”, and “I Remember You” but there some really great gems in there that were polished off and brought back to life. As silly as it is, “Get The Fuck Out” was a totally fun, raging tune and “Ghost” from Thick Skin ended up being one of my favorite songs of the night. That song is so fucking catchy that you can’t help but love it and sing it in your head for days after hearing it. Skid Row played a brand new song for the first time called “Let’s Go” which totally sounded at home with other more classic material. “Beat Yourself Blind” from Subhuman Race was a total surprise but once again it was “Quicksand Jesus” that just did me in. That song has to be one of the greatest songs ever to hear it played with so much feeling and emotion solidifies it as one of my all time favorites. The band closed out the night with a one/two punch of “18 & Life” and “Youth Gone Wild” which completely blew my face off. As corny as it seems to be a bunch of aging rockers singing “Youth Gone Wild”, it still works and it still kicks ass. Youth is something that is in us all no matter how “old” we get. You’re only old if you allow yourself to be or if you conform to the norms of society. Obviously Skid Row isn’t doing that so ya know what? More power to them.
The Skid Row of 2012 seems to a much more mature, focused band than what they ever were. It’s obvious that they are still having a blast and engaging their audience but for some reason, this performance just had that fire and passion of a band ½ their age. As a band they were tight and with it and as individual players I was totally made aware at just how amazing each of them is. Scotti Hill has to be without a doubt one of the most underrated guitarists in hard rock. Even in their heyday he seemed to be overshadowed by Dave “The Snake” Sabo but trust me, Hill totally holds his own. The man is borderline psychotic in his stage presence which totally adds to the performance. Every now and then you can see a band perform and just tell what they are feeling. On this night, Skid Row was feeling really good, they were playing really good, and they genuinely seem to like each other and love what they do. That fire and passion is still there and seems to burning brighter than ever which just confirms the fact that Skid Row is nowhere near done. They are just getting warmed up.
Over the past few months, I have been reading a lot of internet rumors/bullshit about Sebastian Bach wanting back in Skid Row and blah blah blah. Well, I don’t’ know the details and to be honest I don’t care to know them. It’s none of my business but I can state my own opinions on this. I can’t even put to words how much I love not having to see him as part of Skid Row. I’m not even going to lie about it. Yes, he was a part of the band’s past and history but good riddance. I don’t even know the guy personally and I can honestly say that if I had to be in a room with him for more than 10 minutes I’d probably rip my own head off. To reunite with him would be nothing more than back stepping in my opinion. I can only hope that Skid Row will continue to move forward, put out new music, and continue to bring these face melting live shows to the stage for many more years to come.
Skid Row Setlist
Big Guns, Piece of Me, New Generation, Get The Fuck Out, In A Darkened Room, Riot Act
Ghost, Monkey Business, Thick Is The Skin, I Remember You, Psycho Therapy, Quicksand Jesus
Let’s Go, Beat Yourself Blind, Disease, Slave To The Grind
18 & Life, Youth Gone Wild