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SKIN, Toby Jepson, Matti Alfonzetti
Underworld, 15 December 2010
If 2009 was
a triumphant year for the newly reunited Skin, 2010 has seen them
consolidate that success with another two tours, an appearance at
Download and a fine new album, Breaking the Silence. However all good
things must come to an end and this December tour was a farewell to
their fans before they return to their established post-musical careers.
Underworld enjoyed the pleasure of two acoustic sets from men with close
links to the band's history. Before Skin, guitarist Myke Gray and
bassist Andy Robbins (who looks exactly as he used to despite being an
accountant - an inspiration to us weekend warriors everywhere!) were in
Jagged Edge, who threatened briefly to make it big. Swedish singer
Matti Alfonzetti was a Coverdale in the making, but has had a low
profile ever since they split up.
The hair is
long gone and he now looks more like a student busking in a Stockholm
subway, but the rich warm voice remains, and illuminated a number of
originals including Blowing up Detroit and Am I Fooling Myself from
2000's excellent Ready album.
highlight was Myke and Skin keyboardist Colin MacLeod joining him for
the standout cuts from Jagged Edge's Fuel For Your Soul album, You Don't
Love Me and Out in the Cold, as he bravely got the crowd singing along.
I'd love to see him play somewhere like Firefest with a full electric
1993, a support slot with Little Angels was a major factor in Skin's
sudden rise, so it was appropriate that their old singer Toby Jepson
was support for the second year running. He turned the Underworld into a
mass singalong with the many hits it is easy to forget the Angels had-
She's a Little Angel, Kicking up Dust, I aint Gonna Cry and Young Gods.
a couple of songs from his low key solo career, notably Unwound, showed
his more mature songwriting talents. Don't Pray for Me, movingly
dedicated to late drummer Michael Lee, inspired a particularly lusty
singalong while Too Much Too Young closed a set that had flown by. Now
he is no longer moonlighting in Gun, how about a reformation of Little
Angels or at the very least a new electric band?
opened with a couple of new, and autobiographical, songs in Born to Rock
n Roll and Good to be Back - they may be extremely cliched but they were
the perfect fist pumping anthems to get a live show off to a flying
start, and lost nothing in comparison to old favourites House of Love
and the Eastern flavoured Colourblind, much rockier than on their debut
MacDonald was under the weather and regularly clearing his throat, yet
rather than hold back his powerful, bluesy voice seemed even more
untrammelled than ever. The crowd were going crazy, perhaps too much so
in the case of a group of men old enough to know better who formed their
own moshpit and constantly heckled Nev.
played with an intensity that rarely let up and five new songs
comfortably nestled in the set - most notably Book of Your life, with
Myke Gray's guitar sound pitched somewhere between AC/DC and Big Country
and a great closing section as he competed with Dicki Fliszar's powerful
drumming, and Redemption, with Nev baring his heart and soul in the
manner his Welsh ancestors might have done in a male voice choir.
Nirvana-esque How Lucky You Are was a rare choice from 2nd album Lucky
(while their third album was ignored entirely) while Money and Take me
Down to the River were uncompromising slices of primal, bluesy hard
rock. Myke's guitar solos were effortlessly fluent but concise, and it
was no surprise that the set ended on a high with their most famous song
Look but Don't Touch, and Tower of Strength, with a mass singalong.
were fun too, with the punky Perfect Day and their rocked up cover of
Unbelievable, with the crowd roaring along to ‘what the f*** was that',
before they wound up with another blues-rock classic in Shine Your
Light, complete with its Sweet Emotion-esque intro.
Skin in their various guises since 1992 and fallen in, out and back in
love with their music, I cannot recall them sounding sharper or better.
It is a shame their reunification was so short but they have certainly
fulfilled the old show business adage of leaving the punters wanting
Photos by John
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