Skid Row / The Ga Gas - Academy 3 - 20.11.03

Surely this is something from the mind of Chris Morris or maybe it's Chapman Bros latest live art exhibition replacing the mannequins for real life human sex objects. Surely it can't be a naked 12 year old girl on stage arms outstretched with just armbands to cover her modesty. If this was true it would make the shocking antics of Leigh Bowery's Minty look like Sixth Form Radicalism, but the fact that it's Tommy, the 20 year old frontman of the Ga Gas doesn't make it any easy to digest. It's even more worrying that Tommy happens to be one of the hottest men in rock right at the moment and the very fact that he's this damn attractive crossed the boundaries of acceptable sexual barriers.

The Ga Gas are a band who ooze sex from the pores so much that they even wrote a song "Sex" about it, followed it up with a song called "Swallow Me" which starts off like the Manics in their Holy Bible period before soaring into effortless stadium rock ala The Foo Fighters and manages to include the refrain of "You couldn't swallow me. You better suck it and see" at as many intervals as possible. Not that it's all sex. With their rock star bravado you'd be inclined to think a song called "Breaking America" was indeed about breaking America, but a scan of the lyrics reveals a thinly veiled attempt a political rock song indeed. Ending with the 80s rock stylings of "The Real World" was a genius move which appealed to any doubters in the Skid Row audience. After taking Kelly Osbourne and Andrew WK's crowd by the horn it seems there isn't anyone the Ga Gas can't win over with a wink, a nudge and a whole of heap of sleazy sex fuelled rock n roll.

Tonight was always going to be about the return of Skid Row despite how mind-blowing Hurricane Party and the aforementioned Ga Ga's were. Seven long years fans have been waiting for this moment and all with the knowledge that for the past 2 years they've been touring the States with the likes of Kiss and Poison. This tour comes straight off the back of a European Tour with Def Leppard, but despite the fact that this is nostalgia overload the Row are keen to point out this is the real deal and the "New Generation" of the Row. Classics such as "Slave To The Grind", "Beat Yourself Blind" and "I Remember You", the latter given two outings - one cheesy 80s rock and the encore which sees them play it in their full acoustic soft rock glory, are played with a large helping from the new album "Thick Skin". "I Remember You", "Ghost" and "Lamb" stand to showcase new boy Johnny's vocal talents while Snake Sabo is an omnipresent force in the sidelines looking the coolest f**ker in the building. Rachel takes centre stage for a blast through the Ramones "Pyscho Therapy".

After being away for so long the band now have to re-establish themselves and if tonight was anything to go by, they could well be on top sooner rather than later. It didn't feel like an exercise in nostalgia and the new songs certainly live up to the days of old. Tonight showed us 3 reasons while rock & roll is still alive and kicking and long may the beast live kicking and screaming till it's last breath.

Alex McCann

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