Even though at the early points of their career Ugly Kid Joe were considered as an alternative or even an ‘antidote’ to the overstayed welcome of glam metal. Getting away from the ‘sex drugs and spandex’ cliché, the Californian rockers put out cult favourite ‘Everything About You’ that (maybe due to it’s Waynes World fame) somehow lumped them into the same category as the likes of W.A.S.P and Motley Crue, even when they had more in common with Faith No More and Fishbone.
Reformed after a fifteen year gap of obscurity, tonight they co-headline with what’s left of 80’s hair metallers Skid Row. Both have an almost identical fanbase; the difference is the raw and almost punk-like energy that Ugly Kid Joe deliver. Albeit a room full of middle aged men (randomly putting up your metal horns in your Donington ’92 shirt can look ridiculous to the outsider) the band put on a show that could contend with the most aggressive whippersnappers out there. Tracing back to their most famous album 1992’s Americas Least Wanted, the band play old favourites like ‘So Damn Cool’ and ‘Goddamn Devil’ that haven’t seen the light of day in years.
Newer tracks from latest album Stairway to Hell struggle to get the crowd going, but frontman Whitfield Crane soon shows off his experience, not afraid to get the audience moving even if he has to dive in himself. 45 year-old Crane’s age does show on occasion as he wanders about like he’s lost the remote to his TV.
With the band being a bit too suave to go off for an encore (they’d rather freeze-frame), giving the audience a chuckle, they bust out some old favourites with bass player Cordell Crockett going at it so volatile he can’t help but stand out from the rest; ending on unexpected cover of Motorhead classic ‘Ace of Spades’ making the entire room suddenly go mental, and for three rawkus minutes nobody cares about their dodgy backs.