The first time I saw the Skids in Brighton was at the Top Rank Suite (which used to be at the bottom of West Street) on the 15th of October 1980. The band’s original lineup then consisted of Richard Jobson, Stuart Adamson (sadly no longer with us), Bill Simpson and Tom Kellichan. They were arguably the biggest Scottish punk band of the 1976-1979 era.
Having originally formed in 1977 in their home town of Dunfermline, the Skids debut 3-track release hit an unsuspecting world on 24th February 1978 on the Scottish punk label ‘No Bad’. The independent single was played by legendary DJ John Peel, and the Skids went on to support The Clash in concert. They were then signed to Virgin Records in 1978, with their first major label singles being ‘Sweet Suburbia’, ‘The Saints Are Coming’ and ‘Into The Valley’ with the latter reaching the UK Top Ten in early 1979.
Their seminal debut album ‘Scared To Dance’ came out on 23rd February 1979 and was quickly followed by two chart singles – ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Working For The Yankee Dollar’. Both singles were taken from the Bill Nelson (Be Bop Deluxe) produced second album ‘Days In Europa’. The album also featured new member Rusty Egan of Rich Kids and Visage fame, after the departure of Tom Kellichan. The band released two more albums ‘The Absolute Game’ (1980) and ‘Joy’ (1981) before splitting. Stuart Adamson went on to have worldwide success with his new band Big Country.
Wind the clock forward to 2017, the band’s 40th anniversary year, and Richard Jobson was back on the case. He picked up his guitar again and sang through all of the hits along with new teammates William Simpson (bass guitar, vocals), Mike Baillie (drums, vocals, percussion), Bruce Watson (guitar, vocals) and Jamie Watson (guitar, vocals), when they performed the first Brighton Skids concert for 37 years, when they played the Concorde 2 on 17th June 2017.
A year later, on 29th June 2018, they were back at the same venue, playing no less than 17 superb numbers, which ranged from ‘The Saints Are Coming’, ‘Into The Valley’, ‘Of One Skin’ and ‘Melancholy Soldiers’ (all from 1979 ‘Scared To Dance’ album), right up to tracks from the then brand new ‘Burning Cities’ 2017 album, namely ‘This Is Our World’, ‘Kings Of The World Order’, ‘Into The Void’ and ‘Desert Dust’. Highlights that evening were ‘Kings Of The New World Order’, ‘The Saints Are Coming’, ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Into The Valley’. It was overall a brilliant night.
Thankfully the Skids have decided to return to the Concorde 2 in Brighton. They will once again be thrilling the no doubt sold out crowd on Saturday 24th October 2020. Support will come from The Ramonas who will be performing an original set, which means their own material as opposed to a whole set of Ramones songs.
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