The prospect of seeing a Sebastian Bach-less Skid Row has been a difficult one for fans to come to grips with ever since his departure from the band in 1996. Skid Row’s constant lineup changes have become infamous, but with their current incarnation featuring original members Dave ‘The Snake’ Sabo (guitar), Scotti Hill (guitar) and Rachel Bolan (bass)—as well as being fronted by ZP Theart (formerly of Dragonforce)—a sizable chunk of Adelaide rockers took a gamble on the show.

The growing crowds of punters were greeted by the sounds of up-and-coming local duo Fyre Byrd, whose heavy riffs and immense stage presence dispelled any trace of ageist cynicism from the older crowd. Following them were local legends Matterhorn, who resonated well with the audience thanks to their old-school fundamentals and absolute machine of a frontwoman, Amanda Ozolins.

After the tight support sets wrapped up, the crowd waited anxiously for the headliners, their appetites whet: Skid Row took to the stage with enthusiastic cheers and sounds of the Ramones’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop,’ and then launched into the fan-favourite ‘Slave to The Grind’ from their 1991 album of the same name.

Within the first few songs, apprehensions about ZP’s place as the new frontman of Skid Row were put to rest as he confidently belted out some of Bach’s most iconic wails. Fans screamed along to beloved cuts like ‘Livin’ on a Chain Gang’ and ‘18 and Life’—hits taken predominantly from the band’s first two classic records.

Midway through the set, ZP left the stage and Rachel addressed the audience, expressing his appreciation and wish to be back in Australia soon; he then led Skid Row into a cover of the Ramones’ ‘Psycho Therapy.’ Later in the night, Snake would also extend his gratitude to the crowd, echoing the love for rock ‘n’ roll and its fans as shown by the band over the entirety of the set.

Skid Row closed with ‘Monkey Business,’ which imploded into an extended instrumental break with guitarists Snake and Scotti shredding their hearts out to the awe of fans. After the jaw-dropping false finish, the band launched into a trio of hits—‘I Remember You,’ ‘Get The F*ck Out’ and of course, ‘Youth Gone Wild.’

It was a properly explosive finale to a night of old-school balls to the wall rock ‘n’ roll debauchery. Skid Row finds themselves in a unique place for a band so far along in their career, and—if last night’s proceedings were any indication—lineup changes have done nothing to take the wind out of their sails.

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Photos: Josh McCawley