Skunk Anansie - The Great Hall, Cardiff
Some bands split up and you never hear of them again, whispered at gigs or deep within the corners of the internet, " I wish that band was still around" or "I wish I had seen them the last time". For this music lover, the last time was the summer of 1999 on the Pyramid Stage when the mighty Skunk Anansie headlined the stage, it was a transformative show but after they split in 2001, the ache to see them back on stage stayed strong. 20 years later and 25 years into a majestic career the band once again graced a stage.
Before the band grace the stage, the dynamic duo of NOVA Twins appear on stage and within 30 seconds of starting the first song have the almost full already hall in the palm of their hand. Showcasing their funky, fuzzy version of rock n'roll the double act consisting of Georgia South on bass and guitarist Amy Love interact with the crowd and are having such a good time they introduce their new single a song too late. Latest single 'Vortex' showcases the dynamic sound the band are known for, and the one-two punch of duelling vocals means this is one band with the ferocity to go far.
From a band with the fire of youth to a band who focus their energy front and centre on their lead singer come Skunk Anansie, the band who simply won't die, won't go away and have a shed load of hits from the heyday of Brit-pop (which they were lumped in with but were miles away from musically). Skin, the majestic lead singer bounds onto the stage as the drum n' bass thump of 'Charlie Big Potato' barrels through the rafters, wearing a head crown and silver costume that makes her stand out from the crowd.
This being a Greatest Hits set the band simply plough through the best of the best and with a twinkle in her eye and a smile The Joker would be proud of Skin leads from the front as the band get the crowd jumping. Newer songs like the angry 'My Ugly Boy' sit comfortably next to earlier songs like the monumental 'Weak' which is hard to hear Skin sing as the crowd sing back at her. The energy and atmosphere are electric and it's crazy to think the band haven't played in the Welsh capital since reforming back in 2009.
Back in the late 90's the band were known for their political anger with Skin going as far to wear a Black KKK outfit on stage at Glastonbury and as the band peel off 'Yes Its Fucking Political' and 'Intellectulise My Blackness', the words, meaning and anger behind the lyrics are still relevant today in 2019 as they were 20 years ago.
Playing a cover of AC/DC is a small misstep (when the songs are this good in their back catalogue why play a cover?) the band show they can still write a snappy tune in recent single' What You Do For Love' as the crowd show what they do for love, which is watch a band a quarter of a century-old who can still go as hard as the bands of today.
All photos credited to Andrew Joss.