Live review: Skunk Anansie at O2 Academy Bristol (25 May ’17)

Skin: Skunk Anansie singer
Skin: Skunk Anansie frontwoman

Skin: Skunk Anansie’s frontwoman bounded out dressed in a pink and black, B-girl haute couture

We took in an evening with the veteran alt-rockers, as they performed a brilliant and triumphant set at our local

There are always a number of competing thoughts and emotions when watching a band with three decades of history behind them: fear, excitement, uncertainty, joy, and innocence being just a few of these. However, when watching a band whose energy, intelligence and rage helped forge a rite of passage for adolescent listeners, it boils down to a simple question: will they matter as much to me now?

Skunk Anansie have six albums, twenty-four singles and a starring role as one of the headline acts at the final Glastonbury of the last millennium to their name. As you would expect from a band of such standing and durability, the crowd was both deep and overwhelmingly comprised those whose most rebellious and insouciant years came during the mid to late 90s. For Skin, that sense of insouciance is enduring.

Bounding out dressed in a pink and black, B-girl haute couture plastered with the words “A NEW RELIGION,” she was possessed of the effortless, crowd-devouring charisma that only true stars have. Around her, Cass, Ace, Mark were steely and engaging. One thing was clear, at least: Skunk Anansie’s fans still mattered to the band.

Skin: Skunk Anansie singer

Skin: demanded the throng rise from the floor to celebrate the memory of those who lost their lives in the Manchester attack

They began with two tracks from their stunning debut, Paranoid & Sunburnt: a rousing And Here I Stand was followed by a roaring sing-along to Intellectualise My Blackness. Up next were I Will Break You from Anarchytecture, Death to the Lovers off the Black Traffic album, Twisted (Everyday Hurts) from their sophomore LP Stoosh, and My Ugly Boy taken from Wonderlustre. And so the tone for the evening was set: every album given a even hearing, except Post Orgasmic Chill.

Among the standouts were the cutting Weak and brooding We Don’t Need Who You Think You Are. However, the true highlight was Skin’s interaction with her audience. There was a cathartic explosion of energy, as Skin requested the crowd to celebrate the memory of those who lost their lives in the Manchester attack. There were multiple crowd-surfs and a triumphant closing rendition of Little Baby Swastikkka.

Then came the encore. Here Post Orgasmic Chill came into it’s own. Cheap Honesty, Tracy’s Flaw and Charlie Big Potato were all given a run-out, before You’ll Follow Me Down saw Skunk Anansie close their set in an arm’s-around-the-nearest-stranger-and-closest-friends moment of perfection.

As the masses ambled their way towards the exit, a second point was clear: Skunk Anansie still matter to their fans and long may this continue.

Words: Damien Girling

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