Link to home page

Skids

Glasgow ABC (Friday 5th March)

By • Mar 9th, 2010 • Category: gig reviews

“Dancing badly, singing out of tune but having a blast”. That’s how Skids singer/mouthpiece Richard Jobson sums himself up early on. Thus beating any doubters to the punch in dishing out criticism.

Not that there’s too much of that here, we suspect. With the band playing one of three or four ‘farewell’ shows (again) the reformed 70s punksters have retained quite an audience which would make many bands doing the revival circuit very jealous. For most here it’s a chance to relive their teenage years to a soundtrack supplied by Jobson, original bassist Bill Simpson, long-serving drummer Mike Baillie and Stuart Adamson’s replacement(s) – the late guitarist deemed such a force in othe band’s sound that his parts are taken by his Big Country bandmate Bruce Watson and his son Jamie.

The band may be a little greyer or balder, though in truth Jobson hasn’t aged at all badly – and he still manages the bad dancing of his introduction, bouncing around like a Duracell bunny for the duration of the 90-minute set.
With Jobson and Adamson as songwriters the band always produced anthemic, pogo-friendly tunes so the set tonight reflects this – indeed, any Skids show will be a Greatest Hits set, with classics like ‘Circus Games’, ‘Charade’, ‘Masquerade’, and at the tail end of their chart days it may have seemed like a production line of singalong choruses, but there’s no disputing their ear for a tune.

We also learn that Jobson’s (admittedly) pretentious lyrics were, seemingly almost exclusively about young men from Fife going off to warzones.
However, the singer, ever the maverick, wants to try new things, so there’s a tune from the fourth album Joy (they really did make four as he’s at pains to point out) and The Gospel Truth Choir is used to good effect here, but it’s towards the end of the set that they come into their own – ‘A Woman In Winter’s Sowetan-style harmonies somehow merging with a chugging guitar riff for a perfect high point to the set.

‘Into The Valley’ round things off and in truth could have been a suitable climax / curtain on their career. However, encores are inevitable. We’re stood behind the mixing desk and can see the (massive) setlist, so know what’s coming – acoustic versions of ‘Into the Valley’ and ‘The Saints Are Coming’ – though the promised ‘Castles In Spain’ (an Armoury Show tune) is ditched at the last moment. Instead, another from Joy – ‘Fields’, which shows how bizarre the songwriting had become by this time – a chorus sounding like Big Country and a verse more akin to Runrig.

The final tune is listed on the setlist as ‘Not That Fucking Song Again’, but it’s confirmed that it’s ‘TV Stars’, somehow apt yet completely inappropriate, as the band accede to their fans’ wishes and exorcise their albatross (so to speak) – for the uninitiated, the b-side of ‘Valley’ is a list of fictional TV characters from Coronation Street – think a minimal Half Man Half Biscuit – but with Hilda Ogden, I think, replaced by Kirsty Wark…

It has been, I think nearly 30 years since I first saw the band play. Oddball encores, and the sad absence of Stuart Adamson aside, it’s like it was only yesterday…

Comments are closed.