When Skunk Anansie originally announced that they were touring to celebrate 25 years of being a band, it was early 2020. Of course, we all know what happened next; a global pandemic struck and the rest is history; but after patiently rescheduling the tour twice, the band have finally managed to get back out on the road in 2022.
There was a hint of drama from the start, as the dark lighting bathed the stage and each band member appeared as the famous animal farm quote “All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others” echoed out around the O2 Academy.
Launching into the furiously charged Yes It’s Fucking Political, front woman Skin fiercely paced across the stage donning a Maleficent inspired horned headpiece. With a mischievous smile, she pulled a theremin onto the risers at the front of the stage which she played with prowess, before playfully licking the antennae.
With six studio albums under their belt, they had plenty of material to choose from. However, I was pleasantly surprised when they played one of their biggest hits, Weak, rather early into the set. Most bands would save big songs for the end of the night, but Skunk Anansie peppered new and old tracks alike throughout the set.
At times offering unadulterated rage, whereas at other moments offering complete and utter tenderness; Skunk Anansie are perfectly balanced in their live shows. Skin is commanding and charming in equal measures, while baring her soul through her vocals. This is perfectly complemented by Mark Richardson’s drumming providing the heartbeat of the band throughout, Ace’s wild guitar riffs, and Cass bringing in some funk through his bass playing. Touring member Erika Footman also added an extra dimension to the band, in particular, when she joined Skin to offer dual vocals during Love Somebody Else.
Throughout, the band shared anecdotes with the audience regarding the stories behind some of the songs, especially during God Loves Only You (which is about being religious, but not accepting of other religions), and This Means War.
The set ended on fan favourite Charlie Big Potato, but after a short break, the band returned to the stage for an encore. The audience were treated to Piggy, Brazen (Weep) and Little Baby Swastikkka, along with the band’s cover of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, which I felt was a bit of a sarcastic nod to the state of current world events.
Skunk Anansie are easily one of the most talented British bands to have formed and found initial success in the 1990s, and with their captivating show today, it is clear that they are still by far one of the biggest powerhouses in British Rock.