It takes approximately 3 seconds for Skin to ensure the crowd are eating out of the palm of her hand and for the remaining 97 minutes of the show, she keeps them there. With continued crowd surfing, Skin’s hearty vocals, and band who never falter this is perhaps not hard, but there’s also a sense that the band don’t take this as a given, instead offering every ounce of energy they have to tonight’s show.
Opening with The Skank Heads in front of a back drop of moving images, and adding classics like Twisted (Everyday Hurts) and Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good) into the set, you could be forgiven for forgetting the band have a new album out. Especially as the likes of I Hope You Get To Meet Your Hero and Sad Sad Sad slot seamlessly into the set, combining hard hitting lyrics with Skin’s soulful vocals.
I Believed In You acts as one of the pinacles of the night. Here it’s back to the simplistic refrains, filled with imagery and pain which combine with the weight of the band to add depth and meaning. Elsewhere Skin’s decision to crowd surf from the stage to the sound desk in closer Little Baby Swastikkka marks the continued determination to defy the rules. With Skin refusing to skip her usual antics of winding up the security rubbing their heads and demanding the crowd sat in the balcony rise to their feet, it’s playful anarchy and the band at their best.
Still, it’s only as the bass beat pounds through the speakers, causing the whole of the academy to vibrate I realise that Skunk Anansie are about feeling the music. About allowing your body to surge in time with the rhythm, and about the sensation on your vocal chords as you sing out each angst ridden song. Skunk Anansie are where heavy rock and dance beats collide, transforming their live shows into more than just a performance, instead placing the emphasis on feeling, both physically and emotionally. Tonight, they do all this and more, culminating into a set which is without error.
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Photos © Jo Cox and must not be reproduced without prior consent