TVD Live Shots: Skunk Anansie at the O2 Brixton Academy, 8/17

Skunk Anansie live at the legendary Brixton Academy in London—something that not many Americans can claim that they’ve witnessed.

One of the UK’s most successful and exciting bands of the Britrock movement of the early ’90s, Skunk Anansie are celebrating 25 years and touring in support of their latest release [email protected] which features 25 tracks taken from across their six studio albums, all captured live from various performances on their 2017 tour. Even if you are somehow not familiar with the band, you will undoubtedly have heard of their incredibly talented frontwoman Skin. Skin is one of Britain’s more acclaimed rock singers, as well as a fashion icon, a renowned DJ, an actress, and an activist.

The first time I heard Skunk Anansie, I was living in St. Louis and working at a record store in college. The rep from Epic records sent a copy of the advance CD with a note that said, “this is going to be huge.” Epic had one hell of a track record at the time for breaking new artists including Korn, Rage, and Prong just to name a few. So they were definitely on the right label at the right time, so why didn’t they break?

In an interview with the Independent back in 2002,  Robert Sandall, who used to run Virgin’s publicity, says: “At Virgin, we had to make the decision: do you want to take 18 months out of a band’s career to break America after which they might be completely burned out? We had to make that decision with Gomez, for example. It would have taken them out of Europe and their home base. It was the same story with Skunk Anansie” The interview goes on to point out that “British bands are not wild about doing the sort of promotional work needed to make it in America—trudging around mid-West radio stations or playing anonymous towns.”

Either way, Skunk Anansie seem to be doing just fine with their rabid fanbase across Europe as the shows are selling out one after another. 25 years in and the production level is at an all-time high, and the songs stand up incredibly well. 24 songs with two encores and a special surprise guest as the legendary Paul Weller joined the band on stage for a stellar duet of “You Do Something to Me.” Standouts were “Weak,” the opener “Charlie Big Potato,” and of course the politically charged “Little Baby Swastikkka.”

All in all, it was an epic homecoming for a band that still had plenty to say. In addition to the new live record, the group was also honored earlier this year as the recipients of the Hall of Fame at the 2019 Kerrang awards. With all of this momentum and renewed interest, I can’t imagine there not being a new record in the works.

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