O2 Academy, Oxford
If I had to sum this up in one word, it would be joy. The ghost of the much-missed Stuart Adamson is never far away, but his guitar parts are recreated by Bruce and Jamie Watson, sounding uncannily like SA even without that battered old HH amp. They and the rest of the Skids (Richard Jobson, Bill Simpson and Mike Baillie) are clearly having a ball – I haven’t seen a band enjoy themselves this much since Bob Mould played all of Copper Blue in 2012. They start brilliantly, using “Peaceful Times” as their walk-on music and crashing into “Animation”, and it doesn’t let up. It’s around the tenth date on their tour but they’re playing like it’s the first, such is the air of rediscovery. The set comprises most of the singles plus a fair mixture from their first 3 albums, and Jobson’s very talkative throughout; it’s the day after the election so TV Stars includes namechecks for cabinet and shadow cabinet alike. Right at the end they indulge in one song off the new album and it’s OK. Fair enough.
As you’d expect, overwhelmingly blokes the wrong side of 50. One ridiculously young kid (Jobson said he was nine, and he could have been) at the front – I hope his dad sorted him with earplugs because it was bloody loud. He got Baillie’s sticks at the end.
It made me think..
I’d forgotten how many of their songs were singalongs. If you ever loved the Skids and hesitated about this because of Adamson’s loss, don’t worry. Just go and enjoy this marvellous music all over again – it’s what the band are doing.