The duo special of The Skull opening up for Orange Goblin at New York’s City’s Gramercy Theatre was a must to see before the end of the summer. The show itself was a consistent flow from both bands. Orange Goblin’s fill-in drummer Chad Walls added a laid back groove which added a new dimension of the live sound. Outside the venue I had the privilege to talk with lead vocalist Ben Ward who was outside having a cigarette who expressed concern of the new fill-in drummer. Onstage however all seemed like the mechanics were there and considering they only got together for less than a week the bong puffing Orange Goblin machine soldier on.
The Skull understand lineup changes all too well. Three of the founders of the band were once members of the iconic group Trouble. Naming themselves after Trouble’s album” the skull”, they were a part of this tour promoting their album “The Endless Road Turns Dark”. The song itself is an epic seven minutes that grab the audience especially the pot laden guitar riffs which emulated the sensation of being stoned to the bone. The seeing them live for the first time and walking away with new music is a highlight for every music fan. However, it is the chemistry between Eric Wagner, Lothar Keller and Ron Holzner is pushing the genre forward. With the new members in Alex Johnson and Henry Vazquez, the endless road seems very bright.
Orange Goblin made it a special one as the voice of Bon Scott came out of the house speakers. Hitting the stage as the song “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll) reminded the audience why we are all here. And that’s the power of true rock and roll music. Orange Goblin embodies this with a discography of nine excellent albums. Not wasting any time, they opened up with “Scorpionica”, the slower pace version of this song allowed the audience to digest the swampy guitar chords while hearing the bass guitar keeping everything tight.
The 17 song set was flawless. The follow-up song ” The Filthy and the Few ” which caused the crowd and even bartenders to go in a frenzy. On tour in support of the 2018 album “The Wolf Bites Back,” it’s easy to hear that this track is a future classic. Even though the spirit of Bon Scott started their setlist, Ben Ward made sure to pay honor in the memory of their fellow Englishman Lemmy Kilmister by an impressive cover of “No Class”. While the setlist was impressive the final three songs felt like the ultimate tease. ” The Devils Whip” , “Quincy the Pigboy” and the crowd favorite “Red Tide Rising” had the audience wanting more. Being at an Orange Goblin show really shows the meaning of time flying by when having fun. After this US tour the band will heading to Greece for a couple of dates before they head home back to England before the month is over.
Words by Sebastian Bjorn Benedict
Photos by Anya Svirskaya