Viking Skull @ Reading Plug & Play

Tuesday 3rd November 09
Support : The Morning After, Kamikaze Test Pilots, Godsized
Review by Nick Austin
Photography by ALex Cooke

Why on earth Godsized are opening act on this line up is a mystery. They hit the stage looking like they’ve been on tour for at least 2 years solid, with only whiskey and raw meat for company. Godsized proceed to give us a set laden with heavy riffage, stoner hooks, and some twin guitar work that many players could only aspire to.

Heavy music rarely sounds this good and Godsized are the perfect band to put Plug and Plays new sound rig through its paces. Watch this space, Godsized will be coming to a town near you soon, and when they do, you’d better be ready to Rock!

Viking Skull 1

Next up are Kamikaze Test Pilots. Given their local connections, KTP should have pulled a bigger crowd this evening. Their interesting sound is clearly inspired by a wide range of influences, but even wild eyed singer/guitarist Ryan aka “Beans” fails to inspire much movement from a crowd that prefers a static approach over any real involvement.

Pleasant surprise of the evening comes from Essex’s The Morning After, taking the stage in skin tight jeans & cut-off t’s, This young band gives us a high energy blast of 80’s hair metal inspired power rock. At their best they flirt with the likes of Helloween, at worst they occasionally sound a bit too BFMV, but it’s all good, and with a solo in every song, complete with hammer-ons, pull-offs and finger taps they certainly manage to put a smile on the faces of the older patriots of the venue.

Viking Skull 2

Of course, the real reason we are here is to see Viking Skull. Exactly how many people have turned up as genuine Skull fans, and how many are here because of the former Raging Speedhorn connection is anyone’s guess, but Viking Skull are most definitely a great band in their own right, and masters of their craft.

Where Viking Skull wins is the synergy between the current members. The bass lines are heavy, and controlled, providing a foundation for both guitarists to weave their blues-rock heaviness into, and with a drummer that might just be the hardest hitter I’ve ever witnessed close up, we are treated to a set of good honest rock n roll tunes that would have seen a busier venue raising the roof off. Set highlights include pleasers “You cant Kill Rock n Roll” and “Skull Heaven”, executed to perfection.

It seems Tuesday night ,with about 30 people through the door, is not a night for a band of Viking Skulls magnitude to hit the town, which is a shame, as in front of, say, 300 people on a Friday night, Viking Skull and Godsized alone would be an awesome experience.