I have eagerly been waiting to see Skunk Anansie live since they announced their 25th Anniversary tour back in 2019. Due to unfortunate circumstances, like a worldwide pandemic, a lot of the gigs were rescheduled including the one I was originally attending in Nottingham for Rock News. Unfortunately the week of the gig I tested positive and had to miss it. So tonight, Covid free, I’ve nipped up the motorway to catch the show at the O2 Academy in Sheffield, a venue I have never been to before surprisingly.
First up on stage was Holocene. A London based artist with a great voice. Amongst the tracks off the new EP ‘Kiss Me In The Dark’ she slipped in a Duran Duran cover which has to be the mellowest version of ‘Rio’ I have ever heard. I think Holocene being on the support line up for Skunk Anansie is really going to raise her profile on the music scene and rightly so!!
Next up were Gen And The Degenerates. What a brilliant act!! With a stage presence and a personality as big as the O2 academy Gen was amazing. One minuet stomping around the stage to punk rock-esq hits. Then sitting down and singing directly to the front row of the crowd. The band are working hard this year with their headline tour starting in September, luckily for me they are stopping off in Nottingham, so I will get opportunity to see the energy you bring to a stage again. Can’t wait!!
With the sound turned up to eleven and the crowd cheering, Skunk Anansie took to the stage with their opening song ‘Yes Its Fucking Political’. You could feel the physical impact of the drums and guitars. Skin appeared wearing a many limbed black rubber head dress which wouldn’t have looked out of place on an evil Disney princess!!. Towards the end of the song Skin gets out the Theremin instrument and makes electronic sounds waving her hands around it as if she is casting some kind of spell.
By the end of the second song it was time for Skin to ditch the head dress. Skin still kept the bright pink power suit on which wouldn’t have looked out of place on the cover of Vogue Magazine. ‘Because Of You’ was the track played next and towards the end of the song Skin was joined up front by her backing vocalists and the pair of them put on a great performance full of energy together.
The show slows a little as Skin picks up an acoustic guitar and belts out the vocally impressive ‘Weak’. The setlist is full of hit after hit and the crowd reactions are definitely showing they are appreciating the bands performance. Skin encourages the crowd to open up and run around in a circle. Unfortunately the crowd must have been out of practice managing just a walk. Rock N Roll!!
Skunk Anansie played ‘Can’t Take You Anywhere’ their latest single which in my view is a great track with a sound similar to the band Muse. Then a few tracks later ‘Hedonism’ which is absolutely brilliant to hear Skin sing this live. The whole of the O2 Academy was singing along. One of the last tracks in the regular set was ‘Intellectualise My Blackness’ a real stomping song which is as good today as it was when it was first released. ‘Tear The Place Up’ was next and again a brilliantly energetic performance with Skin and the backing singer working really well together.
A short break, a costume change and the band are back on stage silencing the crowds cheers for more. Skin is wearing one of the tour shirts on sale at the venue. Skin gives thanks to the support bands tonight. The final songs of the set are ‘Piggy’, ‘Brazen’, a short trip into ‘Highway To Hell’ where Skin introduces and the band along with a little birthday celebration for one of the crew. Finally its ‘The Skank Heads’ & ‘Little Baby Swastika’ to end the show.
The PA kicked in and played the Foo Fighters ‘Best Of You’ which the whole of the band stayed out for and sung along with the crowd in tribute to Taylor Hawkins.
Tonights Skunk Anansie gig was amazing with every song performed perfectly and Skins ability to hit every note blows me away. I think if I was in a position where I could attend every single one of their shows I would. I certainly think it is going to be a while for a show to top the one I have witnessed tonight.
O2 Academy Sheffield Setlist
- Yes It’s Fucking Political
- And Here I Stand
- Because of You
- I Can Dream
- Twisted (Everyday Hurts)
- My Ugly Boy
- Can’t Take You Anywhere
- Love Someone Else
- I Believed in You
- God Loves Only You
- Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)
- 100 Ways to Be a Good Girl
- Without You
- This Means War
- Intellectualise My Blackness
- Tear the Place Up
- Charlie Big Potato
- Brazen (Weep)
- Highway to Hell (AC/DC cover)
- The Skank Heads (Get Off Me)
- Little Baby Swastikkka
- Best of You (Foo Fighters song)