"It might just be the greatest Skindred show of all time." Benji Webbe's ragga metal party boys steal Friday night at Glastonbury

Skindred don't do bad sets, but this was something special

Benji Webbe on stage
(Image: © Getty Images)

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Skindred arrive at Glastonbury having established themselves as a legitimate arena headlining band with a successful, mainstream crossover album to their name. Yet the Avalon stage they headline this evening is hardly one of the festivals's largest tents. Skindred, though, as pretty much anyone who has ever attended a festival in this country can attest to, don’t do bad shows. In fact, they don’t even do average shows. What they do bring, something even frontman Benji Webbe will admit, is the same thing over and over again: “You’ll never be surprised and you’ll never be disappointed” he has said previously.

But, even though Skindred do go through their usual repertoire this evening, there's clearly something about Glastonbury that has got them fired up. Yes, playing to a crowd of hardened metal fans all ready to do the Newport helicopter the second they walk onstage is always killer. But faced with plenty of strangers wandering over from Dua Lipa or Fatboy Slim and still looking to party, Skindred get the bit between their teeth and deliver what might just be the most aggressive, impressive and energetic show of their career…and that’s Skindred we’re talking about. Let that sink in.

New songs such as Smile and Gimme That Boom sound incredible and add a little something extra to the set: Arya Goggin batters his drums like Roger Taylor and Tony Thompson’s love child; Mikeydemus is peeling out riffs all over the place with archer-like precision; Dan Pugsley’s bass, surely The ‘Dred’s most underrated attack weapon, sounds superbly dubby and classics like Nobody and Kill the Power rule like they always do. But tonight belongs to Benji Webbe.

Absolutely in the conversation of greatest living frontman, Benji refuses to take intrigue and apathy from the crowd this evening, making everyone wave their hands and bounce with their ragga-metal perfection. “I thought Glastonbury liked to party on a Friday night? “ he barks at one point.

By the time we get to Warning and the Newport Helicopter, jaws are on the floor. It’s easy to forget just how incredible a live band Skindred are when we metal fans get to see them so much, but witnessing them firing on all cylinders and with a clear point to prove in front of stunned onlookers unaware of what they were walking into is some sight. It might have been the same, but it also might just be the greatest Skindred show of all time.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.