In 2019, alt-rockers, Skunk Anansie celebrated their quarter-century with the release of a live album, 25Live@25.
Due to the pandemic, they had to postpone their 25th Anniversary tour that was initially announced in February 2020. After two delays, they got to resume their tour on March 17, which will see them play 41 venues across the EU and UK before coming to an end in mid-May.
On Friday, 25th of March, Skunk Anansie returned to O2 Academy Brixton, where lead singer, Skin was born and raised. And this time, with new music in tow.
Irish Rockers, New Pagans & London’s post-punk trio, Big Joanie supported the London leg of the tour.
Although it was likely nostalgia that drew many people, everything changed the minute the band took the stage. At precisely 21h10, the lights dimmed, and the members emerged onto stage to roaring screams and applause.
It was clear from the on-set, they were there to entertain and that the energy the band delivers has no expiry date. The band opened their set with the explosive track, “Yes It’s F**king Political” followed by “And Here I Stand”.
Frontwoman, Skin, still has a spectacular presence and burst onto the stage in an 80s Grace Jones inspired two-piece orange suit and a very impressive 8-point headpiece.
Her voice is still as powerful as ever as she hit out the high notes perfectly whilst continuing to run around, climbing on the crowd barrier, jumping, and spinning around on stage. When it comes to rock frontwomen, you don’t get much more intense than Skin.
Throughout the set Skin was engaging with the audience, encouraging the audience to join in choruses, dedicating songs to the fans and reminding them they are the reason they are still here and can perform.
The set included a mix of new and more notable old tracks emphasising the band’s longevity when there are so many bands riding the coattails of their glory years.
Fan favourites and biggest sing-alongs were “Hedonism”, “Weak” and “Charlie Big Potato”, which had the crowd with hands and mobile phones in the air, experiencing flashbacks about debaucherously, raging youths and singing along to every word.
The first of their new singles, “Can’t Take You Anywhere” fuses roaring riffs with electronic breakouts and was well received.
“This song is about how polarised the world is now, and how careful you need to be. It’s about dealing with the new world order of friendship, as never before have I had great long-term friends develop completely opposing views to mine. It’s about having to navigate and understand people, keeping the love and respect but also standing firm in your opinions“.
Guitarist Ace Kent, hard-hitting drummer Mark Richardson and bassist Cass Lewis played their part; throughout, there’s a closeness on stage that comes from years and years of touring together.
Skin’s undisputed charisma and the close-knit band’s stage presence blew the audience away, while still allowing a sense of intimacy.
They returned to the stage for a five-song encore also included their raging new single, “Piggy” and AC/DC cover, “Highway to Hell”.
A definite trip down memory lane, but after nearly 3 decades, Skunk Anansie still blows the roof of any venue they enter, and their voice is more potent and essential than ever.
Set-list: Yes It’s F*cking Political | And Here I Stand | Because of You | I Can Dream | Weak | Twisted (Everyday Hurts) | My Ugly Boy | Can’t Take You Anywhere | 100 Ways to Be a Good Girl | Love Someone Else | I Believed in You | God Loves Only You | Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good | Without Out | This Means War | Intellectualise My Blackness | Tear the Place Up | Charlie Big Potato Encore: Piggy | Brazen (Weep) | Highway to Hell (AC/DC Cover) |The Skank Heads (Get off Me) | Little Baby Swastikkka
Words and photography by Marianne Brits-Strodl