“Nottingham, If we’re not playing here, we’re drinking here” Dave Sabo 2022
I first saw Skid Row back in November 1989 at the NEC in Birmingham when they were one of the support bands for Motley Crue who were briefly stopping off in the UK whilst touring the world with their Dr Feelgood show, Tonight with some anticipation I’m looking forward to seeing Skid Row headlining Nottingham’s Rock City. Back in ‘89 Skid Row’s lead singer was Sebastian Bach. Tonight fronting the band is Erik Grönwall, who joined Skid Row in March ’22. Erik is no stranger to the rock world being the winner of the Swedish Idol reality show in 2009, he gained success as a solo artist and kept his fellow Swedish countryman, Kenny Leckremo’s seat warm as the lead singer of H.E.A.T. for ten years. Unfortunately for Erik comparisons are being made between his abilities and that of original Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach. I don’t think there is any point comparing him as I think Erik is one of the best rock performers you will currently see on a stage and is a great fit for the sound and style of Skid Row with his own unique vocal abilities.
Skid Row Formed in 1986 and achieved success thanks partly to an agreement between Skid Row guitarist Dave ‘The Snake’ Sabo and his childhood friend ‘Jon Bon Jovi’. The pair made a pact and promised to each other that whoever made it first in the music business would help the other out. Bon Jovi made it and came good on the deal helping Skid Row sign with Atlantic Records. Upon signing Skid Row went on to release their debut album, the 5x Platinum selling Skid Row with the 2X Platinum album Slave To The Grind following a couple of years later. Both Albums feature heavily in tonight’s set list with the remainder of the songs being made up from the latest album which was released in 2022 and is titled The Gangs All Here. The latest album is the work of the five members of the band on stage tonight which includes Dave The Snake Sabo (Lead and Rhythm Guitar), Rachel Bolan (Bass Guitar), Scotti Hill (Lead and Rhythm Guitar), Rob Hammersmith (Drums) and Erik Grönwall (Vocals).
As the Skid Row stage was readied the Rock City crowd were plunged into darkness. Over the speakers played Twisted Sister’s ‘ I Wanna Rock’ to get the crowd warmed up and singing. Played next was ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ by the Ramones and this had the crowd on the floor singing, jumping and punching the air to chorus. The atmosphere had really been cranked up ready for the headliners Skid Row ! Out of the darkness two white lights shone out across the audience like search lights scanning for escaped criminals, a high pitched siren screamed alerting the crowd the gig is about to start…….
……….Sirens now replaced by the crowd cheering and the sound of Skid Rows guitars and drums firing into the first song ‘Slave To The Grind’. The stage lights raised revealing a gigantic 5 stared red and white flag mimicking the latest album cover as a backdrop to the band. Rob Hammersmith’s drum kit was towards the back center stage with Dave Sabo to the far left of the audience with other guitarists Rachel Bolan and Scotti Hill to the right hand side of stage. The rest of the stage area belonged to Erik Grönwall and he made good use of it as he burst out wearing a black leather jacket sporting the album cover flag on the back. Erik’s look on stage contrasted with the rest of the group with Erik having bright blonde hair shaved on one side of his head giving the frontman a punkier look to the other band members heavy rocker look. During the song Erik made his first trip out to the crowd barriers to interact with the excited fans lucky enough to get a first bump or smile off the charismatic front man.
The Threat was next keeping the energy on and off stage high. Erik is putting 110% effort into his performance and the times he isn’t singing he his shaking his head like its on a spring! His brain wont stop spinning round his head for a week!
The popularity of the next song 18 And Life almost made Erik redundant as he held his microphone out to the crowd as they shouted out the words.
A break in the music allowed Erik to voice Skid Row’s appreciation to the crowd that had turned out on a Tuesday night. This sentiment was later reiterated by Dave Sabo acknowledging if it wasn’t for the support of the crowd Skid Row wouldn’t be able to produce their records. Summing up Daves words, “its all about the music, chug a drink in the name of Rock n Roll”
As a build up to the next song Erik reminisced to the crowd that it had been three years since he had last played the Rock City venue. He went on to say “Three years ago I was here with H.E.A.T and now three years later I get to wake up as the lead singer of Skid Row!” The band then launched into Piece Of Me. Towards the end of the song Erik tips his head back, spits into the air and catches his saliva in his hands. He then went on to slick his hair back with the moisture on his hands…..Rock N Roll or unhygienic you decide….
Living On A Chain Gang was next before Erik introduced Rachel Bolan the bass player with the band. Erik screamed “Are there any punk rockers in the house” as Rachel went on to perform a solid cover of the Ramones Psycho Therapy.
The tempo of the show slowed a little for In A Darkened Room and across the crowd I saw an singular old school fan raising a lighter above his head.
Makin’ A Mess preceded the first of the songs tonight off the latest album. Erik screamed to the crowd “we’ve just released a new album motherf**ckers!!”. The Gangs All Here is the song and judging by the younger members of the crowd instantly forming a mosh pit in the center of the Rock City floor the latest album is a hit!! Whilst the energy of the pit was distracting the crowd Erik was down on the crowd barriers plucking a phone from a fans hand and taking selfies. The lucky fans social media account will be buzzing tomorrow.
Riot Act and Tear It Down led into the final song of the regular set, Monkey Business. As an intro to the song Dave Sabo stated that Skid Row liked Rock City that much “if we’re not playing here, we’re drinking here!”.
The encore started with pouring rain sounding from the PA and the lights flashing signifying lightning. An acoustic guitar was in Dave Sabo’s hands. His fingers began to play the opening to I Remember You. The crowd let out a massive cheer. Erik encouraged the audience to shine their torches and sing along with the song. The crowd shouted out every word in unison with Erik even allowing him to stop singing to listen and appreciate the fans enthusiasm before him. For a band the sight of thousands of people in front of the stage singing every word of their songs must be the most satisfying part of their careers.
Erik shouted to the crowd before the second song, Time Bomb, that he was going for a drink after and asked who was coming. Im not sure if he did but it would have been a great session with a lot of hungover fans calling in sick to work the next day.
Last song of the encore is Youth Gone Wild and is the last chance for Skid Row to see the Rock City Crowd for the “bad asses you are” as Erik encouraged the crowd to join in the song. Towards the end of the song confetti rained down from the lighting rigs and the Skid Row crew threw oversized balloons into the audience. The balloons were volleyed around the crowd back to the stage with the band members punting them away. A big band ending to a truly outstanding performance by Skid Row.
Tonight’s show proved to me Skid Row are back! Thanks, I think, somewhat to Erik Grönwall joining the band, Skid Row have been able to harness the sound they had back when they made their first two albums, Skid Row and Slave To The Grind. The New album The Gangs All Here captures the sentiment of those early albums and will be the foundation of future albums to come. The current band members looked on stage tonight to have the enthusiasm and passion to take Skid Row from the mid-sized venues back to the larger and even possibly arena venues in the future. Great gig, great songs cant wait to see what’s next from Skid Row.
Skid Row gig review – Rock City Nottingham.
Skid Row Nottingham Set List
Slave To The Grind – Slave To The Grind
The Threat – Slave To The Grind
Big Guns – Skid Row
18 And Life – Skid Row
Piece Of Me – Skid Row
Living On A Chain Gang – Slave To The Grind
Psycho Therapy – Ramones Cover
In A Darkened Room – Slave To The Grind
Makin’ A Mess – Skid Row
The Gangs All Here -The Gangs All Here
Riot Act – Slave To The Grind
Tear It Down – The Gangs All Here
Monkey Business – Slave To The Grind
I Remember You – Skid Row
Time Bomb – The Gangs All Here
Youth Gone Wild – Skid Row
The Gang’s All Here Tour 2022 Get tickets here
Oct. 19 – KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, UK
Oct. 20 – Chalk, Brighton, UK
Oct. 21 – Cardiff University SU, Cardiff, UK
Oct. 23 – O2 Academy, Bristol, UK
Oct. 24 – O2 Forum, London, UK
Oct. 25 – Rock City, Nottingham, UK
Oct. 27 – O2 Ritz, Manchester, UK
Oct. 28 – O2 Academy, Sheffield, UK
Oct. 29 – Hangar 34, Liverpool, UK
Oct. 31 – O2 Academy, Glasgow, UK
Nov. 1 – Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK
Nov. 3 – Cambridge Junction, Cambridge, UK
Nov. 4 – HRH Festival, Great Yarmouth, UK
Nov. 18 – Epic Studios, Norwich, UK