PITCHSHIFTER+ Skindred. Astoria, London. 24.03.06

Ok, so Pitchshifter went on ‘indefinite hiatus’ rather than going the whole hog and actually splitting up but there’s surely only so many times they can do this reunion show thing and not have it become a joke.

Forgetting that particular hurdle for a minute and looking from the outside in the show looks like most other Pitchshifter shows; a varied crowd here to see a well-stocked line-up of all-British bands, support bands that the headliners have talked up themselves, and a line-up totally and absolutely refreshingly removed from anything emo or hardcore or metalcore or whatever you core it.

Despite, or perhaps because of, their schizophrenic sound (reggae-punk-metal-jungle-hip-hop anybody?) Skindred have spent years in the toilet-touring-circuit wilderness but are finally getting the attention they deserve. After slightly subdued receptions for Murder One and This Is Menace the crowd’s reception for the Welsh wanderers could have you thinking this is their headline show. Benji Webbe is a natural frontman but the band behind him also play with a massive self-confidence rattling through re-mixed and re-jigged versions of bouncing tracks like ‘Nobody’ and new single ‘Pressure’ with impressive flair. But that’s what breaking America does to a band.

After that Pitchshifter need to take off like a rocket but to start with the band are sluggish, nervous perhaps, but definitely mired in the awful Astoria sound. It takes almost three songs until a glorious rendition of ‘Eight Days’ clears the cobwebs, hell, it damn near lifts the roof off and from there on it’s business as usual.

The reason the band have hung around so long, the reason demand for them has never really dipped, is made fantastically clear in the songs they play. Running through their truly innovative and hugely varied back catalogue they supply favourites like ‘Microwaved’, ‘We Know’, ‘Hidden Agenda’ and ‘Genius’ alongside a crushing ‘Triad’ and the industrial smash and grab of ‘Virus’. Breakbeats skitter, guitars squeal and grind, bass rumbles, the drums sound fantastic and the show flies by with people singing and dancing (not beating the crap out of each other in the pit) all round the venue. A closing ‘W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G’ sums up the band; fast, loud and eight years after it was recorded, still sounding bloody vital.
There’s the usual showmanship from frontman J.S and whirlwind of headbanging from the rest of the band but where this could’ve been a joke Pitchshifter play tonight free from hyperbole. They don’t turn every song into a ceremony and there are no gimmicks, just another great gig. Hurdle leaped. Now don’t leave it so long next time.

Also appears at New Noise

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