DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Skin - 'Alive And Kicking' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 05, 2011    
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As great British bands who never received the success they deserved go, you'll do well to name one better than Skin. A class act featuring Myke Gray, Neville McDonald, Dicki Lizar and Andy Robbins, they made some great records and blew away pretty much everybody who saw them live. Sadly, the band decided to call it a day after their 'Experience Electric' album... until eleven years later, a chance to reform and play Download in 2009 changed everything!Overwhelmed by the response they received, Skin decided to book some shows to say thank you to the fans. Playing six shows, finishing up at Nottingham Rock City, the band rocked and rocked hard - and fortunately had the foresight to capture it on DVD!

I've seen Skin live and I know how good they are - their 'Live at The Borderline' album, where they blast through some classic cover versions, is stunning, their farewell live album 'Hasta La Vista Baby' is awesome, and their performances at Monsters Of Rock impressed all who experienced them. All that was missing was a live concert DVD, and fortunately 'Alive And Kicking' puts that to rights. With no overdubs, polish, remixing or anything like that, this is as live a document as you can get. The band rip through fifteen of their best songs, spanning the self titled debut album, the follow up, 'Lucky', and 'Experience Electric'. I'd try to pick out highlights for you but the truth is there are no low points in this set. From the opening salvo of 'The Only One' and 'Spit On You', the band rock and rock hard. 'How Lucky You Are', 'Colourblind', 'Look But Don't Touch', 'Money', 'Tower Of Strength', you just can't go wrong. The band also include two new songs, 'Redemption' and 'Reunited'. 'Reunited' ended up being recorded in studio form for the limited edition acoustic record 'Up Close And Personal', along with 'Redemption', which would also find a home on what would become Skin's farewell album (and in my opinion, their best album) 'Breaking The Silence'. Both these songs are of the highest calibre and fit seamlessly with the existing back catalogue.

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Neville McDonald is amazing at this show (name me a more underrated vocalist) and the energy of Myke, Dicki and Andy is phenomenal. Because the band have done this release themselves, the picture quality isn't as glossy or vibrant as a bigger budget release, but fear not, it's by no means bootleg quality. It's professionally done, but the lack of dozens of camera angles and the saturated colour some of the bigger arena releases offer adds to the feel of this show. I felt like I was right in there with the rabid crowd and for sheer energy and sweaty rock excitement, I felt it left Bad Company 'Live At Wembley' (the other live DVD I have reviewed) standing at the gate.

Sound wise you can't go wrong, everything sounds great and the fact that there are slight imperfections only add to the experience - but slight is all those imperfections are! I love Skin and this DVD is a fitting way to remember how great they truly were. The only thing that could have made this DVD better is if they'd hung on and recorded the shows they played after 'Breaking The Silence' came out, because I think the material from that record is so good it would have been great to include a few more from that. However, I think it's slightly harsh to criticise Skin for not having the power to see into the future, so I'll take 'Alive And Kicking' as it is and watch it with a big grin. Awesome!

James Gaden

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