Mondo a Kimbo
Cardiff based SKWAD might be playing the smallest of the stages at Hard Rock Hell but it's still a sizeable venue and as such the couple of hundred that they pull in for their early afternoon slot are well spread out. With a couple of impressive releases under their belt SKWAD have been making steady progress but I must admit I found their inclusion on this bill something of a surprise as they are surrounded by more overtly metal acts.
They don't make much of an immediate impact, mainly due to the low volume but the sound is great and their brand of fast paced melodic rock with a distinct punk edge comes over well. Opening with the catchy 'Fire In The Sky' from their Big Mono EP it's immediately evident that they are a good band and the performance is certainly tight. My surprise at their inclusion seems mirrored by the crowd who only manage a fairly muted reaction and perhaps it's the time of day or maybe the punters are still sober? Either way SKWAD seem up against it and whilst the performance is good there's not much energy on stage with little movement and this does little to aid their cause.
In many ways their live show falters in the same way as their recorded work, the really killer songs (& make no mistake, they do have some real gems) are followed by weaker tracks and they seem to lose the impetus. I want to like them more than I find myself doing but the setting is just all wrong for them. Take them out of here & put them in a smaller venue with the volume cranked up and a less metal crowd and SKWAD will probably realise their full potential. Good band but wrong place, wrong time.