Last weekend the iconic Scottish punks The Skids arrived in The Borders town as part of their sold-out UK tour.

The Skids remain a Scottish music institution. A legacy from punk and a crossover into post-punk. Which featured one of Scotland’s greatest rock guitarists,  the late Stuart Adamson. I’ve seen The Skids many times over the years; the first time was in 1978

I did wonder just how this gig would play out. Was the band’s appetite still strong? Was my appetite still there? Playing for so many years. Bands can look and sound jaded. This gig offered us an alternative to the “safer” and for some mundane lineup at Party at the Palace. For us who’d rather be elsewhere as Jubilee overkill almost forced me to seek out the nearest psychoanalyst. This gig saved me.

It was clear that from the start that a high-energy set was going to be delivered. There is no question the musicians are happy to be here. We sometimes experience bands who’d rather be elsewhere when performing. This was certainly not the case tonight.

The Skids at the MacArts Centre in Galashiels. Photo ©Graham Henderson
The Skids at the MacArts Centre in Galashiels. Photo ©Graham Henderson

The set consisted of a fairly wide scope of their catalogue. Initially, I was worried about too many from the recent cover’s album. I’d much prefer to hear Skids material. As it happened it was restricted to three. Two Sex Pistols songs ( Much in vogue obviously) and a decent cover of The Clash’s Complete Control

The band opened up with the mid-paced animation superseded by Of One Skin and Out of Town. Charles is then introduced by Jobbo’s referencing the late great Stuart Adamson. As they gathered the £100 for the recording at REL studios Edinburgh.

The EP that started it all over four decades ago. Many of us are still Charles combined with the social realism the song expounded. The Saints are Coming, Working for the Yankee Dollar and Circus Games are soon played with the panache these classics deserved. It is definitely an “its” type of setlist.

Jobson’s interjecting between the songs clearly demonstrates him as a natural-born frontman. His ability to connect with his audience remains a constant. His constant self-deprecation brings much humour to the proceedings. Creating a venue vibe that will allow us to all go home happy. In these desperate times. We all need to stretch our laughter lines.

The venue’s acoustics are a joy, as I have experienced many times. Augmented by in-house sound engineer Dave who again is at the controls. Ensuring the band is the best they can possibly be sonically. The Skids are thriving on this great fortunate balancing of sound. The sound mix can make or break a band’s performance. Tonight all is very well.

Predictably ‘Into The Valley’, that ubiquitous track we all love, creates a frenzy of activity across the audience. Yes, you all looked good on the dancefloor. From ageing punks to their offspring. The varied demographics here showing youngsters still have an inclination to go to live music shows.

The encore closes with their take on The Clash‘s classic ‘Complete Control’. Doing it great justice despite some personal concern, that it might not be a great idea.

The band depart from the scene as the tannoy is switched on letting us know it’s over. They can consider it a good well done. And I thank them for offering me some displacement from The Jubilee.

Follow Skids For More News

The review was originally published in the Southern Reporter and reproduced here with permission of the publisher.

More of the latest in punk