with Holocene and Gen and The Degenerates
Skunk Anansie celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2019 by releasing new music, a live album (25Live@25) and starting their European tour. Skin is one of the world’s most iconic female performers, and Skunk Anansie are one of the best British rock bands of all time.
This gig has been a long time coming. Originally scheduled for October 2020, it was first delayed until June 2021, and then again until this day, so to say we’ve had to wait a while is an understatement. However, the last two years have been crazy for many reasons, they do say good things come to those who wait and this sold-out crowd was definitely about to have an amazing night to remember.
A few weeks ago, Skunk Anansie had to cancel a couple of their Germany dates on this tour, with Skin feeling unwell, losing her voice and being medically advised to rest up. But with that rest, they were back for their UK leg of this European tour, and tonight they visited the O2 Academy in Leicester.
Support on this leg of the tour coming from Gen and The Degenerates and Holocene, with the latter starting the show.
Holocene are a London based two-piece, using mainly guitar and drums, but in the final song, the keyboard was introduced. I couldn’t see any setlists throughout the night, and didn’t catch the names of too many songs, but in their half-hour set they managed to fit in 8 tracks, with one being a cover.
The sound was definitely a slower pace than what would become of the rest of the evening, but it wasn’t a bad thing. It was a fantastic introduction to a band I’d not heard of before, and I’m presuming quite a few others in the room would be in a similar situation. It was mentioned that they grew up listening to Skunk Anansie and they would be out in the crowd after their set to enjoy the gig along with all the others in attendance.
Beautiful vocals to go along with the softer sounding rock melody, a band I’ll be keeping an eye on if they ever come around this way again.
Gen and The Degenerates were up next, and it was quite a change of pace. This Liverpool based band are more similar in sound to Skunk Anansie rather than Holocene, but it was the perfect order to get the crowd hyped up for the headliners. They mentioned that their debut EP is out now and I’d assume that their 30 minute set was mainly playing those tracks.
Fitting 7 songs into the half hour set, they interacted well with the crowd, getting them to sing along to some parts of songs and taking time between songs to talk about some important current events. This is a band who have real potential and with Gen centre stage, they have a powerhouse of a frontwoman.
It was finally time for the headline act of the night and as the lights went down, the crowd were cheering in anticipation of Skunk Anansie appearing on stage. When the music hit and the lights came back on, the whole place went wild. Never one to shy away from political statements, they kicked things off with Yes, It’s Fu**ing Political, Skunk Anansie hit the ground running, getting the crowd jumping on their feet and screaming the words right back at them.
There certainly is only one Skin, that voice is so unique and beautiful. The fashion icon that she is, who wouldn’t expect her to come out on the stage wearing some extravagant Maleficent looking headwear?
She had the crowd moshing for the rest of the night, often asking “Where is my circle?” and then the mosh pit was formed once again. Things were seamless during the downtime between songs with talk about aspects of upcoming tracks and the meaning behind the songs.
There were stories about her upbringing by religious parents, and having to go out and choose a stick to be beaten with. I haven’t got around to reading the autobiography It Takes Blood and Guts, but it is certainly one of the next books I shall read. It was also mentioned that this was their first time playing in Leicester, I hope we don’t have to wait another 25 years until they come back!
A few songs into the set and the acoustic guitar came out before we heard Weak, but then straight after that we were told it was “time to dance again” as Twisted (Everyday Hurts) was up next.
The newer material went down just as well as the songs from 25 years ago, explaining that they wanted to write new songs so they weren’t just re-playing the same songs over and over again and becoming a 90s band. I wasn’t as familiar with their newer tracks, but I’m sure with a few more listens they will be right up there with the classics
The time just flew by and before I knew it, they were saying their goodbyes and leaving the stage. I looked at my watch and they had been playing for about 90 minutes. The crowd carried on cheering and after a couple of minutes, the members of Skunk Anansie were back on stage for a well-deserved encore. Skin joked that it should have been a 25 year celebration, but it’s now more like a 28 and a bit year celebration. They played a cover of AC/DCs Highway To Hell and it was during this that Skin introduced the rest of the band and said thank you’s to all the people involved with putting on the shows. There was also a nice touch when Skin noticed a young boy was rocking out on his parents shoulders near the front, he was invited on stage to show everyone else how it’s done.
About another 20 minutes of music followed during this encore and again, the time flew by and it was that time of the night where we had to say goodbye for real. With the Foo Fighters Best of You playing in the background, the band took centre stage for photos and to thank everyone for coming out to the show, but really it was us thanking them for 28 and a bit years of top quality music that will mean so many different things to everyone who was in attendance this evening.
For some people, this may have been their first live music gig in over two years, and what a gig it was. A set containing a total of 20+ songs, including the encore, and running just shy of 2 hours, there aren’t many bands that can do that with no songs that are considered filler. Skunk Anansie have just proved that it is possible and they have just done it. It was the perfect way to celebrate 25 years of one of the most iconic and best British bands of all time.
For more information about Skunk Anansie and upcoming tour dates, click here.
Reviewed and photographed by Philip J Vernon Photography
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