A show packed full of bona fide rock classics.
Skunk Anansie were born radical and have stayed that way ever since. It’s there in their music, which slips effortlessly between the confrontational and the tender, the politically charged and the nakedly emotional, the upfront and attention-grabbing and the quiet and restrained. But it’s there in the band’s essence too – in the blend of influences, cultures and personalities they have so successfully brought together.
When the band emerged from the sweat-drenched backrooms of London in 1994, electrifying everyone who saw them and jamming an adrenaline shot into the arm of a decadent music scene, they sounded and looked like nothing that had come before them.
Wearing a dazzling orange suit and an impressive headpiece, from the off Skin commands the attention of everyone assembled at G-Live, mid-way through Skunk Anansie’s 25th anniversary tour. Not only through her physical presence but also her vocal range and precision delivery that is on form throughout – the agenda set from the off as the quartet launch into ‘Yes It’s F*cking Political’ and ends with ‘Little Baby Swastikkka’.
Something of a hometown show – guitarist Ace has a long-standing relationship with the Guildford ACM and drummer Mark Richardson once called Godalming home – Skunk Anansie deliver hit after hit from a career that has seen them transcend confrontational agit-rockers to chart-topping household names with an OBE amongst their ranks.
And yet, right now Skunk Anansie’s message conveyed throughout a set somehow feels more poignant and important than ever. ‘Charlie Big Potato’, ‘Intellectualise My Blackness’ sidle with the epic pop tracks ‘Weak’ and ‘Brazen (Weep)’ with aplomb.
The band – completed by bassist Cass Lewis – paid tribute to Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, and the strength of new single ‘Can’t Take You Anywhere’ mid-set bodes well for an invigorating and energised future, moving away from any nostalgia act dangers.
Here’s to the future.
Words & Photos: Ella Sadler