Skids – Galatos: May 8, 2024 (13th Floor Concert Review)

Twice (a sort of) Big Country came to Aotearoa, but never Skids, until now. Finally, 13th Floor Concert Reviewer Simon Coffey got to see (a sort of) the Skids and hear some of his favourite classic punk/post-punk tunes in the flesh. 

Scottish punk rock group The Skids formed in Dunfermline in 1977 saw success with a run of fabulous singles (and album songs) in the late and early 1970s and 1980s. But it was 1979’s Into The Valley, that was the tune that ruled on student radio, was played on stereos at raucous parties. and home-recorded on mix tapes. They tried to make it here in their heyday, in the 1980s, but the loss of key member and co-writer Stuart Adamson put that to bed, and a poorly received album (1981’s Joy) then saw The Skids dissolve. 


VorsenAre John Halvorsen (guitar/vocals),  Hayden Ellis (bass) and Steve Cochrane (drums) who together create walls of shoegaze and space rock and late last year released their debut LP A World on Fire. 

Anticipation is high given John Halvorsen’s mana, his time with The Gordons and Bailterspace loom large, and many in the modest crowd are keen to see them.

It’s a bit of a rough start sound-wise, the levels are out of step, and Halvorsen’s vocals seem lost in the muddiness. Eventually, it clears, thankfully, but there is a lack of the angular sharpness and volume associated with past triumphs, still, the vocals are lost.

Later in the set, there is the energy of post-punk that catches the ear. Yes, later in the set there is an energy, a sound (reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins/Dinosaur Jr) that entices, engages and enthralls some in the room. Yes, there is potential, but throughout John seems restrained by his need to focus on vocals and guitar, this is where, live, Vortsen just doesn’t hit the levels hoped for. 


The original lineup featured Stuart Adamson, William Simpson, Thomas Kellichan and Richard Jobson. On this 45th-anniversary tour, original singer Richard Jobson is joined by four likely lads, it’s the Skids, Skidsbut not as the Brits know them.

There is passion and energy, and the punk ethos flows through, onstage Richard Jobson is animated and engaging (as are his fellow musicians) He is chatty and self-effacing, anecdotes flow, history shared (including a rant about meeting the devil, Jimmy Saville on Top of Pops), challenges laid, aroha given (and received) and Jobson’s deft-experience on show, as a showman.

The tunes abound, Skids start with Charade, one of their four Top Twenty singles, quickly followed by another crowd favourite; The Saints Are Coming, and then momentarily delayed, Working for the Yankee Dollar. It becomes obvious that the crowd’s energy flowed and ebbed a little as the familiar was interspersed with not only new tunes (Destination Duesseldorf) but also older album parked tunes (Circus Games) Later Masquerade, Rob’s favourite song is followed by the song everybody is waiting for, hoping for, Into the Valley, both sound huge, it’s a/the high-point in the night.


The lead guitarist is upfront, competing with Richard Jobson for stage presence, perhaps channeling the late Stuart Adamson on guitar, perhaps representing the past dynamics between the two songwriters. But, is this really The Skids on stage at The Galatos, lost souls aside, this version is not the version that performs in Europe. No original bassist William Simpson, no Big Country members, there is a lack of whakapapa in tonight’s lineup, the waiata, the songs are there, but perhaps the billing should’ve been Richard Jobson and the Skids?

Simon Coffey

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Brenna Jo Gotje:



Skids Setlist
Of One Skin
The Saints Are Coming
Working for the Yankee Dollar
Destination Duesseldorf
Circus Games
Hurry On Boys
A Woman in Winter
TV Stars
Complete Control (The Clash cover)
Into the Valley
The Olympian
Here We Go Again/Walk on the Wild Side