Sknidred’s current tour brings them back on home turf this Saturday and frontman Benji Webbe couldn’t be happier. “The whole energy of Skindred is very Newport,“ he tells Andy Howells, “I’m a character and a product of the city and a lot of the things we engage and sing are about Newport”
Skindred formed in Newport in 1998 and have built a massive following on the rock circuit, releasing no less than six albums and becoming festival favourites from as far afield as Woodstock in Poland to Download in Donnington Park.
Their last home gig was at Newport Centre over two years ago where fans soaked up the atmosphere by swinging their shirts in a fashion that Benji has christened The Newport Helicopter. “It was a great night,” recalls Benji, “ever since I was a young boy I’d stood in that auditorium watching some of the greatest bands in the world. That gig was the highlight of my life.”.
Benji is equally awed that the band will play another local landmark in the building that The Neon now occupies in Clarence Place this Saturday. “As far as I’m concerned, I’m playing The Odeon!” laughs Benji “I remember seeing great films like Rocky there!”
The bands fusion of rock, reggae and metal has made Skindred irresistible to a broad selection of music fans, “The music that Skindred makes is for everybody,” says Benji, “it’s encouraging and uplifting for times like this. I always say we are all going through hell, let’s keep on going.”
Benji emphasises that the band take their work very seriously, “It’s a positive uplifting energy we try to conduct from the stage, people who walk away from the show have said they feel motivated about their own life from watching us. I’m empowered to do that and know I’m encouraging people. We’ve been doing this for 14 years and people I saw at concerts all those years ago are now bringing their kids, being in a band is a lifestyle.”
- Visit theneon.co.uk for ticket details