Skunk Anansie celebrate 25th years in style at Glasgow’s O2 Academy


★★★★★ (5/5)

Black Orchid Empire to the stage at Glasgow’s O2 Academy to a warm welcome, perhaps one of the warmest I have seen for a support act in recent times. For this 3 piece band from London the experience of a Glasgow crowed is something they will never forget.

Their brand of heavy rock based music, with some exceptionally well crafted melodic interludes, had the crowd on their side from the start and was the perfect warm up for the headline act to follow.

Detecting the influences of ‘Royal Blood’ in their musical style, vocalist and guitarist Paul Visser, bassist Dave Ferguson and drummer Billy Freedom pulled no punches during their short set with songs from their debut album ‘Archetype‘ and their latest release ‘Yugen‘ receiving an airing this evening.

At the conclusion of their set Black Orchid Empire undoubtedly left the stage with a many new supporters to add to their ever growing fan base.

It is little wonder why this band have already played such illustrious festivals such as Download, planet Rockstock and Camden Rocks.

It hardly seems like 25 years since Skunk Anansie first hit the music scene but here we are at the O2 Academy in Glasgow to celebrate the anniversary and also promote a brand new live album called 25live@25.

The near sold out crowd had arrived early for this gig, many of them having waited for hours outside the venue to ensure their place at the barrier for what would surely be an energy laden live show from a band who are still at the forefront of their genre.

Opening the set with ‘Charlie Big Potato’ lead singer Skin made her appearance on to the stage wearing what can only be described as a metallic gold cape reminiscent of the outfit she wore for the live album cover.

With one of the most in your face and fierce stage personas in the music industry Skin wastes no time in establishing her presence. Posing front and centre for a moment before using every inch of available stage space, she is like a human dynamo of energy as she whirls her way over the stage and onto the small podium erected between her and the baying crowd.

By song 2 the cape is off and Skin, dressed entirely in black, has every pair of eyes in the venue firmly fixed upon her as she seems to toy with the crowd as to whether she is going to jump into the middle of them and join in with their absolutely electric response to the bands music.

By the third song, ‘All In The Name Of Pity’ the implied promise of joining the crowd becomes a reality as Skin makes her way onto the barrier and then, carefully suspended on the outstretched palms of a very willing crowd, falls backwards into the crowd only to be raised high above their heads a few moments later as the roar of ecstacy nearly takes the rook of the Academy.

Crowd surfing her way back towards the stage the feeling of euphoria in the room reaches fever pitch and this is reciprocated by the band who seem to take each track to new heights.

The political statements are still with the band, years after they became one of the first mainstream bands to bring this to the fore with many a music commentator also forgetting that Skunk Anansie made rock history at Glastonbury in 1999 when they headlined and made Skin the first black woman to perform as a headliner at the festival.

This was some 12 years before Beyonce tried to claim that honour, a fact that was not missed and was commented on by Skin at the time.

The hits are there in ‘Twisted’, Weak’ and ‘Hedonism’ but, strangely enough, seem superfluous to the album material that is often overlooked by the casual fan and which is better received by the many fans in the crowd.

With some new material added to the show, particularly the recent single ‘What You Do For Love’, being loudly appreciated, the advent of an unreleased track ‘This Means War’ send the crowd to an even higher level of adulation.

Returning to the more political brand of music with tracks such as ‘Yes Its Fucking Political’ and ‘Intellectualise My Blackness’ on tonight's setlist, the show came to an end after 2 encores with ‘Little Baby Swastikka’

The crowd filed out into the cold Glasgow night having witnessed what can only be described as a brilliantly crafted lesson in how to celebrate a career retrospective whilst keeping the momentum moving forward with new material.

A show for the real fans and not over laden with major hits, selecting the more solid and less heard album material was a true stroke of genius for a band who was still at the top of their game despite celebrating their 25 year anniversary.


  • Charlie Big Potato

  • Because of You

  • On My Hotel TV

  • I Can Dream

  • Charity

  • My Ugly Boy

  • Twisted (Everyday Hurts)

  • Weak

  • Cheap Honesty

  • Love Someone Else

  • I Believed in You

  • God Loves Only You

  • Can’t Get By

  • Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)

  • This Means War

  • Intellectualise My Blackness

  • Yes It’s Fucking Political

  • Tear the Place Up


  • Secretly

  • What You Do for Love

  • Highway to Hell - (AC/DC cover)

  • The Skank Heads (Get Off Me)


  • Little Baby Swastikkka



The Modern Record