Twenty-six years to the day of Ugly Kid Joe releasing their first full-length album, America’s Least Wanted, and they were celebrating with a UK tour – with the album’s birthday falling on their Leeds date at the Brudenell.
Kicking off their set with the instrumental from the beginning of the afore-mentioned album, and the very first guitar riff I taught myself to play, the mood felt quite sombre – something I didn’t really associate with Ugly Kid Joe from the 90s.
They had attitude and style back in the day, and that was still very prominent from the beginning of their set, but the sombre delivery of the first few tracks had me on the tips of my toes for the first half an hour.
Blasting through some of their hits including Goddamn Devil, Jesus Rode A Harley Davidson, So Damn Cool, and Busy Bee firmly grounded any doubters that were in the audience.
As always, Klaus ‘Record-man’ Eichstadt, Cordell Crockett, Dave Fortman, Whit Crane and with kick-ass drummer Zac Morris (who was only four years old when the album was released and full of what looked like flu through out the entire show), were absolutely faultless.
One song that they pulled out of the bag, and one of which I certainly didn’t expect them to ever play live, had Eichstadt taking over the vocal reigns with the guitar he made himself in high school to perform Mr Record-man. Eichstadt has got a right set of lungs on him, as well as the fact that he is an utter guitar legend!
Whit Crane had the crowd eating out of the proverbial palms of his hands, with a lot interacrtion and conversation with a lady named Rosemary who was at the front giving them an operatic cheer at the end of each song; he seemed to be amazed by this and encouraged the audience to copy the cheer as loud as they could – cue the crowd of Zoidberg (Futurama) impressions loud enough to wake the dead, and just about loud enough to impress the enigmatic front man.
Saving their best and biggest hits for the latter half of the show, the audience participation really kicked in to full swing when they started playing their version of Cat Stevens Cat’s In The Cradle and without holding back, the audience damn near drowned the band out.
Ugly Kid Joe rounded the evening off with their very first hit Everything About You from the EP, As Ugly As They Wanna Be, dedicated to Chris Catalyst. Again, crowd participation was in full swing at this point, and as the song ended and even though we all wanted more, UKJ just don’t do encores. Not even on America’s Least Wanted’s birthday.