Ugly Kid Joe

Wacken - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

As it did for many others I’m sure, my awareness of Ugly Kid Joe came into being with the release of their debut hit album America’s Least Wanted back in -92. As I was at a young and tender age at the time, it never so happened that I got around to seeing them back then, and some five years later they went their separate ways.
In 2010 they reunited however, and 2013 marked their first year at metal Mecca Wacken. This time, there were no excuses...

“Wacken, how you doing? I wanna hear your voices!”
- Whitfield Crane (vocals)

Ugly Kid Joe was fittingly placed on the Party Stage, and they were ready to make the most of it.
After a short hip hop intro, which surprisingly didn’t seem to rub the über-metal crowd the wrong way, the band came on to much cheering and went straight at it with V.I.P. from their sophomore album, Menace To Sobriety. Surely Wacken is a festival with a lot of V.I.P.’s, so it’d be interesting to know how many were offended by this, but on the other hand, it was just a good way to start the festivities off.
The setlist was overall concentrated on America’s Least Wanted, intertwined with songs from the above mentioned Menace To Sobriety and their 2012 comeback EP Stairway To Hell. This meant that there a few patches where I didn’t know the music, but the new material seemed to rock as well and as the band was on top of things in the delivery of it all there was no reason for discouragement.
Crane did a great frontman job, engaging the crowd as well and often as he could – he was often out on the speakers in front of the crowd to get close to the fans, and in Panhandlin’ Prince Crane even got down to sing on the security fence.
Apart from the vocalist, it was guitarist Dave Fortman that did the most to be seen as he was constantly moving and didn’t shy away from going out on the far sides of the stage, in front of the speakers there, to get everybody’s attention. Not that the rest of the band was lacking anything in performance quality however, they were all grooving, and touring drummer Zac Morris was going at it so hard that he played only in his underwear!

“I’m not gonna ask you to do 70000 things, just do this one thing... Jump!”
- Crane (vocals)

The heat was on on the other side of the fence as well.
There hadn’t been too many people prior to the show, but metalheads were quickly filing in when the music began and even though V.I.P. seemed to come and pass with people settling in, the party was quickly gaining momentum in the second song of the day, the classic Neighbor, a great song to warm up our vocal chords. We got to take the long “won’t you be my neighbour” part by ourselves and the smiles from the band told us they were immensely satisfied with the result.
Especially the sing along parts were something we returned to often during the show, of course in the classics, but also with help in the new No One Survives. It wasn’t the only activity though, as you can understand from the comment above (actually, despite the comment, Crane kept us very active throughout), and the jumping commenced in I’m Alright, and for Goddamn Devil we were fittingly asked to raise our devil horns to the sky.
As if seeing Ugly Kid Joe wasn’t enough of a thrill-ride for us, the aging youngsters had a special treat up their sleeve towards the end of the show, where Phil Campbell entered the staged and played Ace Of Spades together with them. Enthusiastic shouts and cheering ensued, as I’m sure you can understand!

“Drink your brains out with minimal water!”
- Crane (vocals)

I was already in a good mood after the Powerwolf party prior to this show, but Ugly Kid Joe exceeded my expectations and really raised the bar for the rest of the day. Sure, there were a few songs I didn’t know yet, but damn what a good time I and the rest of the people around me had!


Panhandlin’ Prince
No One Survives
Devil’s Paradise
Cat’s In The Cradle (Harry Chapin cover)
I’m Alright
Milkman’s Son
Goddamn Devil
Ace Of Spades (Motörhead cover, feat. Phil Campbell)
Everything About You

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