Twenty five years is an age worth celebrating for a band. Skunk Anansie were one of the top British rock bands back in the 90’s with hits such as “Charlie Big Potato”, “Lately”, “Hedonism” and a few others. They went on a hiatus but in the early 00’s but came back at the end of that decade and they haven’t stopped since. Although they haven’t had the same amount of radio play, they still manage to stay relevant and maintain a bit of a cult following that flocked to the O2 Academy Brixton for a sold out show part of the 25live@25 tour.
The crowd queuing outside was quickly filling up the venue when Black Orchid Empire got up stage. They received a traditional lukewarm reception being the opening act and all, but that reception slowly but steadily progressed into cheers from the crowd. As the band went on and let loose they kept rocking out harder and harder. They proved to be a band to watch out for.
Following up were the Scousers Queen Zee who have been following Skunk Anansie for the rest of this UK tour. I don’t know what is it with that region of England, but bands with an unapologetic pure rock and punk attitude just seem to keep pouring out of there, and Queen Zee are no exception. Right from the moment they step on stage they leave an impression and make it last until the very end of their set.
A few minutes were past the time for Skunk Anansie to get up on stage and the crowd was getting impatient, but that quickly turned to excitement once the iconic intro to “Charlie Big Potato” started playing. Skin, the band’s singer, as always makes an entrance sporting one of the unusual outfits for which she is known. There is no denying that she has a great and unique voice, but what sets her apart from other lead singers is the intensity with which she delivers each of the songs. Because of this she has become one of the most easily recognizable personalities in the rock scene. There should also be a special mention for Erika, who although being a backing singer had more charisma and stage presence than many lead singers out there.
The sing-along moments were many. The wide age range of the members in the audience meant nothing regardless of when the songs were released, everyone knew the words and sang loudly. The band was clearly happy about it and they were all smiles throughout the show, even going as far as saying that Brixton is their favourite place to play. While all bands always say that about every place they go to, Skin’s roots in Brixton actually made this a believable statement.
The band was just one song short of actually playing the 25 songs implied by the tour name. The set list included most of their singles, old and new, including their latest one “What We Do For Love” and “This Means War”, a brand new song which hasn’t even been recorded yet and was played for the first time in London. Towards the end the band also played a couple of cover songs in their encores, with the highlight being “You Do Something To Me” by Paul Weller which also featured Paul Weller himself, causing massive cheers the moment he went on stage shortly after the song began.