Skindred / An Absolute Beast Of A Machine In Action

There is nothing – and I mean nothing – out there like Skindred. Sure, the band is an incredibly well-oiled musical machine bolted together. A piece of tough iron Heavy Metal for the body, copper curved Reggae for the limbs, and a sturdy piece of corkscrew silver Electronica for the head. But over the last two and a half decades, they have set themselves as pioneers of their own forging and titans of the industry. Tonight, at the OVO Arena Wembley, we got to see this beast of a machine in action.

Skindred – P.O.D. – As Everything Unfolds

OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024

Words: Monty Sewell

Photography: Antonio Giannattasio

Skindred

AC/DC’s Thunderstruck signals the start of the night in all its storming glory as the 10,000-capacity venue fills to the brim. For their first arena headline three-date tour, Skindred is not short of bustling fans all partying for the moment. The backdrop of the stage features a ginormous replica of their most recent album cover (Smile). The lights shoot up to reveal a high drum platform in the centre where Arya Goggin sits, foot inching towards the kick drum.

Skindred - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
Skindred – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

Mikey Demus (guitars) and Daniel Pugsley (bass and programming) enter the stage before the frontman of a generation, Benji Webbe, strides on to a resounding cheer. Webbe has become somewhat of a national treasure whose louder-than-life voice and personality are the life of Skindred.

Skindred - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
Skindred – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

New drop Set Fazers launched the arena into full-blown live show mania. As the chorus hits, cannons shoot out confetti to the crowd, along with a striking light show that continues for the rest of the set. Nothing is spared with the visual display.

Skindred - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
Skindred – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

Though most of the set came from Smile, we got songs from almost all their albums. Pressure, Nobody, and top-class head-bang anthem That’s My Jam. Webbe is a touch-rocking saviour of the people, procuring his throngs of fans into split-room chants and raised-arms sing-alongs.

Skindred - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
Skindred – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

L.O.V.E. (Smile Please) hits that sweet middle set spot of total reggae euphoria. I have never seen so many Metalheads swing their hips this way, but that is the effect Skindred will have on you. If I Could, Life That’s Free, and the absolute foot chopper Gimme That Boom secure the arena into a heavy beat pound, with those standing in the stalls amassing into one jumping wave.

Skindred - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
Skindred – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

While Goggin holds down the fort with enough tom drum energy to topple buildings, Remus and Pugsley play to stylish perfection. How four musicians can make such a sound is beyond me. But why get bogged down with the details when the show is this good?

Skindred - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
Skindred – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

It would not be a Skindred show if we did not get random snippets of classics thrown into the mix. Rat Race ends with Queens Don’t Stop Me Now. World On Fire opens with Hot In Herre as Webbe throws off his coat (trademark sunglasses still very much on), and Van Halens Jump also makes an appearance. It is off the cuff and brilliant.

Skindred - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
Skindred – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

The set ends with an encore of Our Religion and Warning, with P.O.D. singer Sonny Sandoval joining in an epic finale. It is not just an arena show but an arena spectacle. Skindred seems on top of the world, showering their audience with thanks. The guys have worked their way to the top, but it also feels like this is just the beginning.

Skindred - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
Skindred – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

Simply put, disappointments do not exist when it comes to Skindred.

Next up….stadiums?

Skindred - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
Skindred – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

P.O.D.

The main support for the night was the incredible P.O.D., which could not have been more of a match made in heaven. Acclaimed on a monumental level in their own right, P.O.D. are the Nu Metal giants with decades of music under their belts and a new album on the way this year. To squeeze all that into one 45-minute set was tough going, but P.O.D. pulled off an arena-awing performance, which left us only wanting more.

P.O.D. - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
P.O.D. – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

Frontman Sonny Sandoval leads the band with a fist-in-fury energy, broaching an immense sense of grandeur to the event. The venue fills with their sound as they play through a big chunk of the 2001 record Satellite (Alive, Boom, Youth of the Nation). The Fundamental Elements of Southtown also gets a shout-out with Rock the Party (Off the Hook) and Southtown. New tracks Afraid To Die and Drop from the upcoming record Veritas (due to be released on 3 May 2024) brought a forecast of anticipation for what is to come.

P.O.D. - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
P.O.D. – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

It is a total slam-dunk knockout performance that almost feels illegal at 7:50 p.m., but the arena is teeming with drink-guzzling metalheads raging for P.O.D. and their first UK dates in years. Soundboy Killa takes Sandoval into his element, and the night is smashed wide open. The cheers from the audience scorch a red-hot heat about the venue.

P.O.D. - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
P.O.D. – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

Though we are still determining when P.O.D. will be returning to the UK, the release of Veritas brings hope. They are too good of a longstanding band, and it is too good of a monumentally metal show for us not to enjoy it time and time again.

P.O.D. - OVO Arena Wembley, London - 15 March 2024
P.O.D. – OVO Arena Wembley, London – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

As Everything Unfolds

As Everything Unfolds opens the night with the right amount of powerhouse Post-Hardcore, Progressive Metal to kick things off with a punch. The rising stars take Wembley Arena as their own, completely dominating the stage with their willing audience below absolutely lapping it up.

As Everything Unfolds - OVO Arena Wembley - 15 March 2024
As Everything Unfolds – OVO Arena Wembley – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

The last time I saw AEU live was in the two-hundred-capacity venue Camden Assembly, so tonight was a mind-blowing moment. But by the looks of things, they were born to dominate stages of this size and beyond.

As Everything Unfolds - OVO Arena Wembley - 15 March 2024
As Everything Unfolds – OVO Arena Wembley – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

A couple of songs from their debut, Within Each Other Lies The Other, are met with a resounding fan cheer. From their most recent album, Ultraviolet, we get Felt Like Home, Slow Down, and Flip Side, amongst others. Charlie Rolfes’s vocals are superbly on point, with both clean tones and gritty metal growls in full flow.

As Everything Unfolds - OVO Arena Wembley - 15 March 2024
As Everything Unfolds – OVO Arena Wembley – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

Though stationed towards the middle, you can feel an already palpable energy from the pit as AEU crunch into their drops with mammoth force. It won’t be long until this band is headlining these kinds of shows, and their dedicated fandom is obviously oozing with delight as a break ensues, and we embark on the rest of the evening.

As Everything Unfolds - OVO Arena Wembley - 15 March 2024
As Everything Unfolds – OVO Arena Wembley – 15 March 2024. Photo: Antonio Giannattasio/MetalTalk

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