SKUNK ANANSIE / BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE - O2 Academy, Glasgow 31.08.19
PHOTO CREDITS: STEVEN SCOULLER
SKUNK ANANSIE blasted onto the British music scene in 1994 and the release of their debut album ‘Paranoid & Sunburnt’ in 1995 cemented their place as a power to be reckoned with. The band’s unique sound was a stark contrast to the ‘Brit Pop’ sound which ruled the airways in the early to mid-nineties. The British music scene was awash with acts such as Oasis, Blur and Pulp. SKUNK ANANSIE gained legions of fans with their raw, edgy sound. The song ‘Selling Jesus’, which reached 46 in the U.K. music charts, is one of their most recognised and powerful songs. The 1995 film ‘Strange Days’, written by James Cameron and directed by Kathryn Bigelow featured SKUNK ANANSIE not only contributing to the film score but also playing live in one of the film’s crucial scenes.
The bands 1996 follow up album ‘Stoosh’ achieved commercial success and tracks like ‘Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)’ demonstrated the band’s diverse music style and ability to write songs with a softer edge, while still harnessing the powerful lyrics and catchy melodies. The band went on to write and produce another four albums: ‘Post Orgasmic Chill’, ‘Wonderlustre’,‘Black Traffic’ and ‘Anarchytecture’. The fusion of different musical styles and influences have helped establish SKUNK ANANSIE as a power-house of originality.
Tonight they play the O2 Academy in Glasgow. Strap in, this is going to be one hell of a ride!
As I arrived I was struck by the size of the queue of fans waiting to gain access to the show which pleased me. It’s always great to see so many people come out to see live music. In no time at all, I was standing in the middle of the floor looking up over the stage as technicians busied themselves setting up the stage for the night ahead. The imposing black and white backdrop with two simple words “SKUNK ANANSIE” transported me back to 1994 when the band first started to gig. Where does time go? It seemed like yesterday when I was in the same position. All those years, all those great albums. To say I was looking forward to SKUNK ANANSIE was a bit of an understatement!
Having recently photographed Queen Zee at Rebellion Festival in Blackpool, I was really looking forward to seeing them here as the opening act, however, due to illness, the band had to pull out. Luckily BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE had stepped up and would now be the opening act. BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE state that they create dense, powerful rock music that combines fearless complexity, aggressive heaviness and beautiful, hook-laden melodies! I can concur, they sure as hell do! This three-piece owned the stage as they walked on, picked up the guitars and sat behind the drums and jumped straight into their set. The raw energy and musical stylings encompassed with confidence resonated amongst the auditorium. These guys have passion and clearly a lot of love for music and music fans. They put on a great performance and they will have gathered a couple of thousand new fans. BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE is a band to keep your eye on. Songs such as ‘My Favourite Stranger’,‘Burn’, ‘Vertigo’ and ‘Pray to the Creature’ were the standout songs for me.
The time had come…As I entered into the pit along with other photographers, the auditorium lights start to flash on stage. There were tremendous cheers from the crowd as the band walked on stage and took up their instruments. All eyes were on the stage, scanning for Skin who walked on stage wearing a flamboyant metallic foil shrug that gripped her shoulders like angel wings. She looked like a superhero, ready to do battle with a foe. The lights flashed as she moved to the front of the stage. Skin’s graceful movements and theatrics whipped the crowd into a frenzy. I fired off a good dozen or so pics as she posed for the fans.
The band started with ‘Charlie Big Potato’ and Skin delivered her unique vocals. As unpredictable as ever, she then jumped down into the pit, among the security staff and photographers. There, just a couple of feet from me, she climbed up on the barrier and belted out ‘All in the Name of Pity’. As the crowd reached for her, she swallow-dived into the throng, still singing as she crowd-surfed, held aloft by the ‘Skunk Army’. The performance was mesmerising and unforgettable. What an opening first three songs! The energy did not stop there!
Skin and the band played intensely and with utter perfection. The song choices were great and songs such as ‘Weak’ and aforementioned ‘Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)’ were highlights for me, along with ‘Intellectualise My Blackness’ and the old classic ‘Little Baby Swastika’ as the finale.
This was a great show and if you have not seen SKUNK ANANSIE live, then please do so. There are some bands that are stand out as live entertainers and SKUNK ANANSIE are one of them.
Their new single ‘What You Do for Love’ is available for download now at skunkanansie.com
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