Tonight the sold out Rock City plays host to iconic British rock band Skunk Anansie.
With only one support to whet the appetites before the sizeable two hour headline set, fierce female ‘grime-punk’ band Nova Twins crash onto the stage. Distorted bass, heavy guitar and vocalist / guitarist Amy Love’s punching, shouty lyrics combine to create the Nova Twins uniquely British sound.
Songs such as opener Bassline Bitch, and Thelma and Louise show how diverse influences have shaped the band. The audience are probably a bit older than Nova Twins usual fans, so the energy and enthusiasm of Love and bouncy bassist Georgia South isn’t completely shared by the crowd, but they’ve definitely gained new fans.
Nova Twins are back here in a few weeks on a headline tour in the smaller Beta, so it will be great to see how their live show translates to a more intimate, unquestionably rowdier crowd.
There’s an almost psychic link between the crowd and the headline act. All at once, without anyone being aware, the two thousand strong room quietens, the stage somehow darkens and the countdown begins. Skunk Anansie take their time. Each member stepping out onto the stage one by one, culminating in the enigmatic Skin – complete with an explosion of golden ruffles – kicking off the set with old favourite Charlie Big Potato.
The band are touring in celebration of their 25th anniversary, playing a two hour-twenty three song set. Within the first 4 songs Skin has spend time near the crowd, on the crowd and in the crowd. The vitality emanating from this vocal powerhouse is almost unprecedented, while the other three members – guitarist Ace, bassist Cass and drummer Mark Richardson – all hold their own on stage. Bands half their age, playing sets half as long can’t compete with Skunk Anansie’s continuous energy.
‘We’ve been a band for 25 years, so we’re just going to do what we want and have some fun tonight!’ Skin announces to the sold out venue.
Twisted (Everyday Hurts) has the whole room bouncing, while the anthemic Weak receives the biggest sing along of the night. 24 years later and songs like Intellectualise My Blackness and Yes It’s Fucking Political are just as relevant – or maybe even more so – with 2019’s political climate. They round the set off with a 5 song encore, complete with a cover of AC/DC’s Highway To Hell and ending on Little Baby Swastikkka.
Tonight is not only a showcase of new-school and old-school British rock, but also a celebration of women – specifically women of colour – in the alternative music industry.
Words and Photos by Carrie-Anne Pollard