Review and Photography by Gili Dailes

Almost 3 years after their last Brighton show, Ugly Kid Joe returned to our beloved venue by the sea, Concorde 2, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their platinum selling album America’s Least Wanted.

After what seemed to be a never-ending winter, today was a beautiful, warm sunny day down here in Brighton and I must admit – getting myself indoors seemed a bit counter intuitive. Spoiler alert – it was totally worth it.

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

Supporting Ugly Kid Joe tonight were Yellowcake- a new project fronted by UKJ’s own Whitfield Crane and special guests Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, featuring Motörhead’s guitarist Phil along with his three sons (Todd, Dane and Tyla) and joined by vocalist Neil Starr. The band released their first album Age of Absurdity earlier this year and have been touring with Ugly Kid Joe in the UK to promote it.

Starting right on time, Ugly Kid Joe kicked off their show with the ‘92 favourite Neighbor, which immediately set the bar high with the crowd going mad as soon as frontman Whitfield Crane took to the stage. You can imagine my surprise when halfway through the song Crane invited me up on stage to photograph the band from behind, giving me an excellent view of how loving the crowd tonight was (and of drummer Zac Morris who went on stage with his usual gig attire- underpants).

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

Whit Crane is a master of working the crowd and interacting with those who form it: it seems that he genuinely sees everyone, looks at their expressions and reacts to them. If you’re in, he’s all in (except for mr. ‘bald-guy’, a guy who was literally stood outside the door and was personally invited by Crane to come inside and join the party).

Whit shared a lot during the show in a funny witty (or shall I say, Whitty) way. He is a great entertainer and clearly knows how to create what feels like an intimate environment even in this sold out venue. We got to hear about his attempt of a sea swim in Brighton earlier that day- apparently our ‘big sands’ (aka pebbles) were not as soft as he hoped they would be- coming from California he had something else in mind and I can’t blame him for being slightly disappointed.

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

As the evening continued we got to hear the best of the band’s repertoire, most songs from America’s Least Wanted but the lineup also included some other gems such as No One Survives from the 2012 EP Stairway to Hell, a song with an interesting time signature and strong lyrics- a personal favourite of mine.

For So Damn Cool Whit invited Neil Starr back on stage and they sang it together, partly in turns and partly harmonising their vocals in a perfect way.

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

Next Came the classic Cats in the Cradle, a Harry Chapin cover that was included in the band’s debut album and as a single sold over 500,000 in the US – perhaps one of the songs  Ugly Kid Joe are most known for. As expected, every single person at the Concorde 2 tonight knew all the words to this song and they were all singing along with Whit until the very last note was played. It’s always incredible hearing a good crowd sing-along but there is something so personal with this particular song that I think even the band members were touched by the collaborative performance even though it happens at every show.

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

Following this and despite the heat, Whit got us all jumping up and down in unity for I’m Alright which brought the hype levels back to a maximum. Crane even invited the merch guys to leave their stands and watch the show – how he spotted them all the way in the back of the venue I have no idea!

We were then asked to be an extremely supportive audience for Klaus Eichstadt (guitar), who took the lead mic to sing Mr. Recordman – the closing track of America’s Least Wanted. I think we did a good job as Klaus seemed quite pleased at the end of it (and so were we).

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

The encore included the all-time favourite Everything About You (if you don’t know Ugly Kid Joe much you probably will recognise this one from Wayne’s World’s soundtrack) which was followed by a cover of Motörhead’s Ace of Spades during which Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons joined Ugly Kid Joe on stage before saying goodbye at the end of their UK part of the tour.

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

Whit Crane knows how to make a crowd feel good, how to be proud of their town and feel like they’re part of something bigger. He probably says it in every show, but when he said the atmosphere and support of the Brighton crowd tonight were exceptional I believed it. I felt it, too, and from several angles: starting from the stage view I had at the beginning, on to the comfortable bystander position I had during the show and all the way through to the end where I found myself joining the circle pit with the die-hard fans.

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

Ugly Kid Joe are a fun band to watch, their music is great, their showmanship is excellent and they just seem like the sort of people I would love to get a beer with (they certainly had a few throughout the show!). I would swap any sunny afternoon with watching these guys again, no doubt.

Ugly Kid Joe, Concorde2, Photo by Gili Dailes

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