Skindred, with support from Fallen Riot and Raging Speedhorn at the Ironworks

The Ironworks seems to be going through a glut of grabbing good quality headline acts of late and Saturday night was no exception to that. Although possibly not widely known to your average punter, Skindred have built a reputation of being brilliant live performers and delivering album after album of high octane, reggae/dub-infused metal.

The support is equally raucous and Inverness’ own Fallen Riot is given the enviable task of opening the evening. They are utterly uncompromising and bloody ferocious to boot. Nice to see Inverness producing such high quality metal. Their Facebook page says they’re ‘metal fusion’, I’m not sure what that means but I’m guessing it’s something along the lines of ‘turns everything up to 11 and gives your eardrums a sound kicking’. S’good stuff. Go see them if you get a chance.

Raging Speedhorn have been around for a while and like Fallen Riot aren’t inclined to hold anything back. It’s more of the same no-holds barred bellowing racket that wets everyone’s appetite for the main act. If you’ve been to any of the recent metal gigs in the Ironworks then you’ll know that the ‘Pit Troll’ is becoming something of a ubiquitous presence in the venue. Clocking in at 6ft-something he towers above the most Ironworks punters and tends to be at the centre of any mosh-pit and generally he’s the one orchestrating events. The bands seem to love him too and had stand-in vocalist Dan Cook perched on his shoulders for the duration of one song.

Skindred are of course in brilliant form and barely take a breath during their set, well apart from when Benjii berates one audience member for being glued to her phone and others for not jumping high enough, or lecturing on us why we need to be decent people… you get the drift. He likes a blether and he’s not one to shy away from telling you exactly what he thinks. Back that up with some of the best music in metal at the moment and you have a band that are entertaining with a fair degree of wit and intelligence thrown in to boot. Anyone who knows me well knows that it’s been a bugger of a start to the year and Benji’s thoughtful and emotive reminder not to take friends for granted because they have a habit of leaving when you least expect it hits very close to the bone.

The sentiment is appreciated by many in the Ironworks and the acoustic version of ‘Saying it Now’ is that bit more poignant. The rest is Skindred at their bombastic best, ‘Kill the Power’ and ‘Ninja’ are always guaranteed to get people moving with the resultant mosh pits and crowd surfing that you’d expect at a Skindred gig. Their piss-take of ‘Sorry’ by Justin B**ber raise more than a few good humoured jeers and Benji’s proclamation that ‘Jump Around’ should be the new Scottish Anthem is met with near universal agreement.

They finish with ‘Warning’ from the Union Black album which is accompanied by the ‘Newport Helicopter’. To those who are not familiar with Skindred’s live shows, the Newport Helicopter involves taking your top off (jackets are acceptable if you’re shy) and twirling it above your head like a helicopter… obviously. The affect is actually pretty impressive although has the downside of flinging drops of sweat about at high velocity, not ideal if you’re trying to take photos!

I’ve only ever seen Skindred at festivals where they have always been the band that have been relied upon to get the party started. They’re pretty much the house band for festivals like Download and Sonisphere and I was a bit worried that a smaller indoor venue just wouldn’t quite cut the mustard. Silly boy. They were proper tidy.

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I've always loved music and spent my late teens and early twenties playing guitar in various bands on Lewis and Aberdeen. Other than playing in some truly terrifying pubs in Aberdeen not much came of it and life became focused on family and having a 'proper' job. Inverness Gigs is an outlet for me to quell my inner frustrated musician and the caliber of local acts has even inspired me to take my own music more seriously again. Who knows, one day I might venture back on stage under the fierce scrutiny of an Inverness Gigs reviewer!You can contact Toby direct at Toby@Igi.gs