Skunk Anansie were absolutely iconic during the late 90’s, although I wasn’t quite old enough to ever see them live. I have been following them since their reunion in 2009 and was excited to see them on tour this year at the local O2 Academy Bournemouth.
With 25 years in the business, front person Skin has not slowed down – in fact, in a sweltering and busy venue, it was surprising how much energy she had and how cool she looked. Having seen Motorhead play towards the end of their career, I am used to artists with a lot of energy, but Skin at age 52 doesn’t look like she’s aged since her 30s. In fact, the whole band played with a sense of theatre and clearly still have a lot of love for performing live.
The Bournemouth crowd were electric, following an energetic warm-up from hard rockers Black Orchid Empire (pictured below). Having stepped in last minute to cover for Queen Zee, the trio were a welcome addition to the 25live@25 tour.
Skunk Anansie filled the stunning Dorset venue with the atmospheric sounds of ‘Charlie Big Potato’, and from the off the energy levels were high. Immediately followed by ‘Because of You’, it only took until the second song before Skin took one of her infamous trips into the crowd. This pretty much set the tone for the night, focussed mostly around the classics, such as ‘Weak’ and ‘Hedonism’.
The only downer for the evening was the singer calling for the crowd to shout the name of their new single, ‘What You Do For Love’. The 1800 capacity venue fell silent, aside from about three voices. It was fairly clear that a lack of awareness for the new track was a massive disappointment to the band, who run their own record label. However, this immediately passed, as the track was well received by the eager audience, and the band finished on a high with some classics, such as the often-misunderstood ‘Little Baby Swastikka’. It’s also worth noting what a fantastic support the band’s crew provided, always on hand to move equipment, props and the all-important glass of wine (or healthy apple juice?!).