TVD Live Shots: Skunk Anansie at the O2 Brixton Academy, 3/25

Another anniversary tour finally gets underway after a massive delay due to the pandemic, and it’s an absolute banger. Skunk Anansie, one of the UK’s most important bands celebrating 25 years (actually 27 at this point) showed up in fine form at the legendary Brixton Academy.

They were Brit-rock’s answer to Brit-pop back in the ’90s, and while they were influenced by a slew of American bands such as Rage and Nirvana, the States just weren’t ready for them. And they were undoubtedly ahead of their time with their messages and songs about race, gender, and sexuality. The fact that they are still a force to be reckoned with is a testament to the timelessness of the music and how the band has evolved. Add the incredibly forward-thinking clash of art and fashion, and you have the makings for one of the best live shows in Europe.

There truly is something for everyone here, and lead singer Skin has an unrivaled voice in the space. From the massive riffs, the heavy electronic-infused grooves, to the over-the-top arena-sized ballads, Skin’s voice soars and slices through the music with the rare element of inducing chills upon hearing her.

Skunk Anansie wasted no time getting the party started by opening the set with two classics, “Yes It’s Fucking Political” and “Here I Stand,” proving that the early songs hold up incredibly well, especially in a live setting. Highlights for me were both “Love Someone Else” and “Without You” from 2016’s Anarchytecture.

The crowd was also treated to two new singles. “Can’t Take You Anywhere”—which I think is one of the best songs they’ve released to date—has a real late ’70s/ early ’80s vibe with its disco beat leading into a massive earworm of a chorus. “Piggy” is a throwback to the ’90s industrial rock movement with a mix of electronic-driven beats and heavy as hell riffs. With several new singles released over the past couple of years, I can only imagine we are in for a new record at any time now.

If you’ve ever wondered what in the hell a Skunk Anansie is, Skin revealed the story behind the band’s name a while back on RadioX. “Anansie is the half-man, half-spider nursery rhyme character that I used to watch on TV in Jamaica when I was little. There was this lovely lady called Miss Lou and she used to read Anansie stories on television, and she was this storyteller kind of character. So I wanted something that was to do with my heritage. Cass [Richard “Cass” Lewis] came up with the name ‘Skunk’ because he said skunk is a black and white animal in a jungle, and nobody wants to bother that animal. Not even a lion would mess with a skunk.”

Skunk Anansie continues their tour across Europe. Get all the dates here and don’t miss this one.

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