Hard Skin – Live

Engine Rooms, Brighton
16.12.2007

As has become a tradition at this time of year, Millwall’s most notorious Hard Skin ventured down to Brighton from their South London enclave to fill us full of seasonal cheer. They arrived at this gig via 2 dates in Spain and looking a bit worse for wear. It’s not surprising, Fat Bob describes the place as being “like the Third World” and he’s a man that has been around the block a few times and knows what he’s talking about. Got it…

There’s a couple of support bands – some blokes from Yorkshire who sing about cricket in a Street Punk stylee, and a group of local youths who play fast thrash, dress in Mexican wrestler masks, sport painfully tight shorts, and speak with stupido comedy accents… no muy gracioso – usted entiende?

It’s been a long slog for Hard Skin, but the years of endless touring, dodgy record deals, rip off promoters, and bad management has only made them stronger, and that’s why they are streets ahead of the competition. As someone once remarked, they’re the band that Rancid could only dream about. And you won’t get the blokes from Hard Skin off making ropey old solo records. You know what I’m talking about…

Their set is packed full of all the classics from their 2 best selling albums, including the Japanese number #1 single “We Are The Wankers”, “A.C.A.C” (allegedly their record label at the time submitted it to ITV as the ‘alternative’ theme tune for The Bill), Clarkson’s favourite “XR3“, and of course “Down the Pub” which is played every home game at the New Den before The Lions take to the pitch.

Tonight’s crowd have a right old knees up, sing their hearts out, and although there ain’t a lot of argy bargy, Johnny Takeaway and Fat Bob fend off the stage invaders and don’t take any shit. The Jock drummer hides behind his kit and holds down the beat. He said a couple of things to the crowd, but nobody could understand a word. One skin got a bit out of order and knocked a microphone stand over, so Fat Bob pulled him up… “Oi! Mate, I don’t come and knock the cock out of your mouth when you’re working”… ’nuff said, it never happened again.

The band came back for a well deserved encore and for one night at least Hard Skin united the the Punx and Skins like Jimmy Sham never could. Good times, whilst they lasted…

Pete Craven