Skindred in Birmingham: Sweat, beers and Welsh charm

The boys from Newport are always a joy to watch, and during St Paddy’s Day weekend they lit up Birmingham

Patrick Hollis
3 min readMar 18, 2024
Skindred were on top form in Birmingham last weekend

Skindred have made a good career for themselves as a fantastic live band. Bringing a real party atmosphere to any performance they carry out, and for over 25 years they have brought their unique style of reggae metal fun to audiences across Europe.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Skindred three times now, and the first two were on the dusty plains of Download Festival. This time around, the heat of a field in Derbyshire was replaced with a wet March evening in Birmingham and a packed house at the O2 Academy.

This was the last of a three-date mini tour through March, and having just played in front of the packed-out Wembley Arena, the O2 Academy made for a very different type of venue which was hot and sweaty from the off.

The build-up to the boys from Newport had their usual atmosphere, with ACDC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ followed up with the ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars, setting the tone for what would be a lively evening in the second city.

Kicking things off with ‘Set Fazers’, the packed crowd came together in electrifying unison. The chorus hit in, and fans were sent into raptures, partying in a way that looked as though rough ocean seas were making their way across the venue floor. If there’s anyone better to lead a ship through chaotic waters than frontman Benji Webb, I’m yet to meet them.

‘Pressure’ and ‘Rat Race’ kept the pace of the start to this gig nice and high, and when it comes to Skindred there’s always a lot of love and good vibes on the stage and in the crowd, and this was no exception.

Benji Webbe is a prime example of a top frontman

Benji’s iconic dress sense was on show for us all to see, with a leather jacket, metal spiked sunglasses, and a pink fluffy hat that appeared on his head during ‘L.O.V.E (Smile Please)’. This track was released on the band’s latest album ‘Smile’ which was released last year. It was released in particular as a summer anthem and hearing it live, you can tell why.

The cool track has everything good about Skindred. Good times, upbeat vibes and Webbe’s unmistakable sound had the O2 Academy rocking from the off. ‘If I Could’ lit up the place, with the crowd moshing around in a sweaty, fun-filled wave of enthusiasm.

‘Kill The Power’ had Benji giving a bit of back and forth with the crowd in his usual, jovial way. When the song kicked in, thousands stood fist-pumping in unison. One fan had made a charge for the very front, got stuck into the mosh pit, and was left with a bloodied face. Did he back out? Did he hell, a couple of bits of tissue up his nose and he was ready for round two. A gigging trooper, if ever there was one.

Skindred closed out the set with ‘Gimme That Boom’, or at least they did for me. I needed to make a mad dash across Birmingham to catch the last train home, so thanks to the London North Western Railway I missed the encore. Nevertheless, I had a great night watching a band who are still one of the most entertaining around.

This was a short and sweet tour, but with Skindred, it never feels as though they’ll be too far away from returning to UK shores. They play in Sydney on March 20, and more UK shows are surely something that isn’t too far from the horizon for these reggae rockers from South Wales.



Patrick Hollis

I am a journalist with an honours degree from Coventry University. I’m a published author and journalist with several years experience in the industry