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Skids

The Saints Are Coming: Live And Acoustic 2007-2021 (6CD Box Set)

Review by Gary Hill

This massive collection of music from Scottish punkers Skids gathers up five live recordings and one acoustic studio release. It's all included in a cardboard clamshell box. The set includes an informative booklet, and each CD comes in its own cardboard sleeve. One oddity that I noticed with my set is that the first disc doesn't have a label on it. I'm not sure if that was a defect limited to this particular specimen or if was intentional. It makes hard to figure out which side is the playing side by looking at it, but you do have a fifty-fifty chance to get it right. The music here is fairly wide ranging, even though we do get multiple versions of some of the songs. Among the recordings here is one that was done during lockdown and another recorded for radio broadcast, both done without an audience.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
DISC ONE
                             
Skids Live: Alhambra, Dunfermline, 6/3/2010
                              
Animation

There is a space rock sort of introduction that has weird keyboard sounds and other elements. From there they launch out into driving had rocking motifs. While this is punky, the space rock vibes remain. There are some new wave things brought by some of the keyboard sounds. I could hear Hawkwind doing this in the punkier era of the band.

Of One Skin
Driving, punky and yet also quirkier with a space rock meets prog arrangement, I like this one a lot.
Melancholy Soldiers
More straight punk in its scheme, this is another potent track. It has plenty of energy and some solid hooks.
Thanatos
Dramatic and classy, this is another killer. It's more punky in a lot of ways, but it also has some other things in the mix.
The Saints Are Coming
This was a hit for the band. As strong as it is, I understand why. This has some powerful vocals, a driving punky alternative rock arrangement and some great hooks. It's a lot of fun.
Scared To Dance
The guitar sound on this is meaty. At times I'm reminded a little of Huw Lloyd Langton. This is another with some hints of Hawkwind to me. It's quite the grind.
Hurry On Boys
A catchy, straight-ahead rocker, this starts acapella, but turns to full band treatment quickly. There is some audience participation on the acapella section.
Working For The Yankee Dollar

This is a driving, high energy, punky rocker. It has some new-wave like keys at times.

Out Of Town
Raw and driving, this is another solid punk tune. I like it, but it's not a standout. The instrumental section is a powerhouse, though.
A Woman In Winter
Another that has some vocals sans instrumentation at the start, this powers out with some driving rock from there. I'm reminded a little of Thin Lizzy on this tune for some reason.
Charade
Fierce and furious punk is on the menu here. This is a solid rocker, but not varied enough to stand out.
Charles
I really dig the guitar riffing on this hard-rocking tune.
The Olympian
Here we get another punky stomper. This is one of the best tunes on this particularly CD.
Masquerade
Another catchy and driving rocker, this is more classy punk.
Into The Valley
Driving guitar with vocals makes up the early part of this cut. After a time the other instruments join, and we're out into it. It ends with an acapella section.
DISC TWO
                  
Skids Live: The Roundhouse, London, 16/6/2017
                                
Animation

This show starts in much the same way the previous one did. This version is pretty similar to the one from that other concert.

Of One Skin
We get another solid performance of this song here. I think this might be meaner and stronger than the version on the other disc. It's tastefully quirky, but in a more purely hard rocking way.
Melancholy Soldiers
We get another solid performance of a repeat visitor from the first show.
Thanatos
Driving, punky and cool, this is not a big departure from the version on the first disc.
Dulce Et Decorum Est (Pro Patria Mori)
This is an addition to the set from the previous show. I like this one pretty well. It's perhaps more alternative rock based and less pure punk. It's a mid-tempo number with some solid moments built into it. They steer it straight into the next tune.
Working For The Yankee Dollar
I think this version of this tune is stronger than the one on the first disc. It's a matter of degrees, though.
The Saints Are Coming
Again, I think this performance might be superior to the previous one. It's a driving, accessible rocker.
Scared To Dance
This rendition of the track from the previous show is definitely meatier and meaner than that other one. I like it a lot.
Charles
Again, there is no big change here, but this just feels a little more effective here.
The Olympian
They deliver a rousing performance of this stomper.
Out Of Town
The melodic guitar work on this version really shines. The whole track seems a bit elevated from the previous disc's performance.
Hurry On Boys
As they did at the other show, the band get the audience involved on an acapella introduction. This seems to come in harder rocking and meaner from there than it did at the previous show.
A Woman In Winter
The acapella section that starts this works really well. They drive things out with style from there. They include an audience singing section at the end.
Circus Games
Another driving hard rocker, this live performance is solid.
Masquerade
Here we get another cool rocker. This has some keyboards that lend a bit of a different angle to it.
Into The Valley
The vocal hooks on this are great, and the driving punky angles to the music work well. This gets an audience participation section after the song ends, too.
Charade
Punchy and driving, this is a killer punk rocker.
TV Stars
I dig this bouncy screamer. It's catchy, meaty and so cool.
A World On Fire
Driving punky sound is in the driver's seat here. It's another winner.
Of One Skin (Reprise)
Here they make a return to the earlier song. This feels more like the rendition that they did on the first disc with its quirky twists and turns. There is another acapella audience participation section at the end of this.
DISC THREE
                   
Skids – Peaceful Times (Studio Recordings) 2019
                         
Into The Valley

Acoustic guitar brings the track in here. The vocals come over the top. Keyboards and other elements are added to the mix further down the road. It even turns symphonic later. The hooks live on here, but this is a completely different flavor for the song.

A World On Fire
With a rich melodic arrangement, this cut is rather proggy. It turns more rocking, but remains clean in its flavors. This is another real winner.
Kings Of New World Order
A bouncy cut, this has a punky edge, but more of a new age vibe to the musical arrangement. This is another effective and infectious melodic rocker.
The Saints Are Coming
As strong as the two versions we heard on the previous discs were, this blows those away. It's turned into a melodic rocker that's packed full of emotion. This is absolutely one of my favorites of the whole set. The symphonic touches later could have gone over the top, but they actually serve as great intensification.
Animation
Intricate and a little trippy, this version of the song definitely fits as a melodic prog ballad. There are some poetic spoken things over the top of the rest of the song later.
Hurry On Boys
More of a folk rock anthem, this has lots of roots music in the mix. The group vocal arrangement on this works so well.
Blood And Soil
There is a folk music concept to this track. I can't got a handle on the meaning behind the lyrics, but the neo-Nazi connotations of the title make me somewhat uncomfortable with this one. Musically this does get a little proggy.
Fields
This starts with a decidedly folk-like groove. The cut works out to more rocking zones as it continues. It's still a melodic rocker, though.
Kreuzberg ’79
I dig the rocking groove of this track. It's a bit edgier than the other stuff on this disc. It's also potent and has some soaring almost proggy textures.
Desert Dust
Another with plenty of folk music in the mix, for some reason this makes me think of Midnight Oil just a little.
DISC FOUR
                 
Skids Live (Acoustic Tour): The Sage 2, Gateshead, 10/09/2019
                      
Kings Of The New World Order

I dig the acoustic rock vibe of this song. It has a definite folk angle to it.

World On Fire
While this has even more folk music in the mix, it also rocks more than the opener did.
Working For The Yankee Dollar
This version of the cut isn't as strong as the electric takes, but it works well enough.
Fields
I like the folk styled vibe on this number. The ending of this is acapella.
Desert Dust
This isn't a huge change, but it works well.
The Saints Are Coming
I really dig this song a lot in every configuration. It works well here with the acoustic treatment.
Blood And Soil
Even hearing the lyrics better, I'm not sure about the messaging on this tune. It works well in this stripped back arrangement, though.
Castles In Spain
I dig the rocking groove on this number. It's one of the more effective pieces on this disc.
Charles
Here get an energetic number that's a lot of fun.
A Women In Winter
An acapella section brings this number in. This has some solid acoustic rocking sounds in the mix.
Into The Valley
This manages to convey a punky energy despite the acoustic arrangement.
DISC FIVE
                        
Skids Live: Lockdown Live, Livingston, 9/3/2021
                       
Charade
This driving punk stomper serves as a good opener for this live show.
Of One Skin
Here we get another driving punk rocker. The quirky elements are in place with style on this. There is a spoken section at the end of this.
Kings Of The New World Order
I dig the rock and roll guitar riffing on this a lot. Again there is a spoken section at the end of this, relating a story about how the band got back together.
The Saints Are Coming
Here we get another version of the band's hit. I love the echoey keyboard sound at the start of this. There is another extended spoken section at the end of this.
Working For The Yankee Dollar
I love the hard rocking sound of this stomper here. It works really well. We get band introductions at the end of this song.
Hurry On Boys
They jump straight in with the hard rocking sounds here. Here we get more spoken stuff at the end.
A Woman In Winter
With non-lyrical vocals alone at the start this, the cut drives out into some killer hard rocking sound from there. At the end we get a spoken section about the upcoming song.
Circus Games
A hard rocking number, this doesn't hold a lot of surprises, but just some solid energy and vibes.
Masquerade
This has some great driving rock and roll sound. It's another stomper.
Into The Valley
They close this set with this hard rocking punk song. It's an effective way to end an unusual gig.
DISC SIX
                      
Skids – Radio Clyde Session, 1/7/2007
              
Melancholy Soldiers

The instrumental mix on this is nearly metal. The vocals bring it more into a punk zone, though.

The Saints Are Coming
I like every version of this song, but this one might be my least favorite of the set. That said, it does have more raw energy. It's a driving stomper that works well.
Working For The Yankee Dollar
A high energy powerhouse, this works really well here.
Charles
This might be the most effective performance of this final CD. It's got a lot of punk angst and drive.
Out Of Town
An old-school punk sound is all over this rocker. It's another catchy rocker.
Masquerade
A catchy and punchy rocker, this one is fun here.
Into The Valley
We get a solid live telling cut here. It works well.
Vambo
This is a cover of a song from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Bass opens this and some cool surf-like guitar comes over the top. This is a powerhouse number in a classy punk-meets-surf way. The cut has a different sound than a lot of the rest here. It's also one of the most interesting tunes of the set for me.
TV Stars
This is even punkier and fiercer than elsewhere in the set. It's a cool closer.
 
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