Skid Row // The Treatment // Enuff Z Nuff // Live Review // The O2 Academy // Brstol
The crowds gather in Bristol tonight to celebrate the release of Skid Rows’ latest album ‘The Gangs All Here”, their sixth studio album to date. Eric Gronwall, their new lead singer and frontman joined earlier this year after the band parted ways with previous vocalist ZP Heart. Despite fighting a battle with Leukaemia a year ago, Eric Gronwall has come back even stronger and is killing it with his fantastic vocals and new bandmates.
Originally, Winger, Phil X, and the Drills and Collateral were due to be the support acts for Skid Rowtonight but were replaced last minute for this Bristol gig with hard rock act The Treatment and American Glam Metal band Enuff Z Nuff who is up first. “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the greatest show on earth!” We hear blaring out from the speakers, followed by the snappy appearance of four exuberantly dressed band members.
The vocalist and bassist Chip Z’Nuff, the band’s longest-serving member, looks like he walked straight out of an eighties time machine with his purple flares, baker boy hat and shades. Tony Fennell, guitarist on stage left rocks sunglasses too as well as a bright red shirt and chequered platforms. There are quite a few kids in the audience tonight, though that doesn’t seem to phase them too much as Chip exclaims loudly ‘It’s time to get high!’ as they drop into one of their well-known numbers ‘Fly High Michelle’. The two guitarists Tory Stoffregen and Tony Fenell put their guitars together at this point and give us an epic guitar duel. Chip then shouts ‘Get your hands up!!!’ and the crowd joins in enthusiastically. Perhaps the most alluring moment of this relatively short set was the cover of Eleonor Rigby by the Beatles, pillowed out with some rock and metal and proving itself to be a very cool interpretation of the original song.
Chip Z’nuff – Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Alex Kane – Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Tory Stoffregen – Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Despite looking (and sounding) a little like an American band, The Treatment is actually an English band through and through, hailing from the quaint town of Cambridge. Starting in 2008, this young band has had some impressive highlights, including touring with Kiss and the Motley Crue, playing Ozzfest in Japan, and supporting Status Quo. Looking a little like a younger version of Skid row themselves, the five musketeers appear on the stage windmilling their long locks with guitar faces aplenty. That is apart from the drummer, who looks like someone gave his short, voluminous hair a good blasting with the hairdryer on a high setting. The band well and truly rock the room from the word go with hard rock guitar interludes, slicing drums, and high-energy riffs. Possibly not the best band to take your grandma to go and see, but at least a nice flashy guitar solo can be heard on their final song ‘Wrong Way’ as the drummer spits out something dubious onto the floor. Perhaps the taste of hairspray.
After a bit of a lengthy interlude and twiddling of thumbs, the sound of sirens can be detected as Skid Rows’ introduction ensues, and the band promptly kicks off the night with their first opening song “Slave to the Grind”. Eric Gronwall, rocking a blonde, choppier hairstyle compared with his dark long haired bandmates. He moves vigorously around the stage in a jacket adorned with stars, his pitchy, scorching vocals cutting through the static. He certainly does original 1980s Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach justice, his range as powerful but possesses a unique vocal characteristic and style in his own right. Bassist Rachel Bolan rocks a pair of sunglasses, a bandana, and a range of tattoos and has a very animated way of playing.
They drop in with their second song ‘Only Seventeen’ which oddly almost resembles Rammstein’s ‘Du Hast’’ in places. Of course, no Skid Row gig would be complete without iconic classic ’18 and Life’ which they totally nail as everyone in the crowd passionately sings along. Everyone gets involved in ‘Psycho Therapy’ too, with Eric Gronwall boasting some impressive full screams at the chorus. The room goes dark as they begin to play ‘In a Darkened Room‘, one of the slower, guitar-rich ballads. Here Eric Gronwall pays heed to Rob Handersmith, who’s been on the drums since early 2010. ‘Welcome to the Pouring Rain’ also plays, a perfect homage to the British weather outside of the academy this evening.
As the night starts to draw to a close, the band slows down with their most iconic power ballad ‘I Remember You’, commemorated by the audience lifting up their glowing lights and swaying them from side to side. Skid Row leaves the crowd with ‘Time Bomb’, a fantastic, upbeat song pulled from their most recent album ‘The Gangs All Here’. It’s a high energy headbanger which the crowd loves straight away. The bass shines beautifully in this one as well, with a lovely crisp amplified tone leaning on ever-so-slightly reverberated drums. Overall this was a fantastic performance and we are sure Manchester is going to welcome them with open arms.
Eric Gronwall – vocals (2017–present)
Rachel Bolan – bass, vocals (1986–present)
Dave “The Snake” Sabo – guitar, backing vocals (1986–present)
Scotti Hill – guitar, backing vocals (1987–present)