Skunk Anansie

support Shaka Ponk
author PP date 28/11/12 venue Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, DEN

Skunk Anansie were one of the most iconic bands of the 90s if for no other reason than their female lead singer Skin, whose appearance is iconic to say the least, with her rock star personality fortified by her dark skin colour and an imposingly bold head that was certain to turn heads around wherever the band went back in their glory days. But the majority of people, excluding Skunk fans of course, are hard pressed in 2012 to name but a single song by the band, because it's been such a long time since they were all over MTV with their hit singles "Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)" and "Weak" during the late 90s. You know, back when MTV played music, et cetera. But the reality is that Skunk Anansie have more amazing songs than most bands do during their entire career; you've just forgotten what they're called. That's exactly the experience that awaited this scribe tonight at Falconer Salen. Due to some confusion as to when the doors exactly opened and what time the support would be on, myself and our photographer Jill turned up far too late to catch the supporting act Shaka Ponk, so unfortunately no review of them is possible. Apologies, next time.

Skunk Anansie

There are very few genuine rock bands remaining in 2012 when everyone is influenced by a seemingly never-ending cocktail of genres, but Skunk Anansie are one of them. Vocalist skin is a rock star in the old school understanding of that term: she steps on stage sporting a straight up mohawk and a flashy outfit that awes everyone in crowd much more so than any fashion show is likely to do. She simply oozes of rock'n'roll danger and star like qualities immediately, which is only reinforced by her difficulties in attaining the right pitch and tone for her vocals during the opening few minutes that remind us how her high-pitched yelps have always been an acquired taste, but are even more so in a live environment. Of course, her sparkling dress, which breaks apart almost immediately revealing some cleavage to the whistling male audience, helps to build the image that we're dealing with a rock star in the classical sense of the word.

But despite her status and millions upon millions of records sold, her banter is kind and gentle in between songs, remembering to thank us for being here and for supporting the band after all these years. What's more, she makes it to the barrier several times to ignite the front of the crowd into jumping around feverishly, and even spends some time crowd surfing during "I've Had Enough" surprisingly far from the safety of the barrier, modestly referring to it as 'a spontaneous action' afterwards. Here's where the crowd finally announces its presence with a loud roar and seems to wake up a little bit after a quiet beginning, where the band cover quite a few new tracks that people are less familiar with. It's simply masterful handling of the crowd, which we'll see much more of during the rest of the set. Only two songs later, during hit song "Weak", she returns to the barrier and this time stands on top of the audience's hands facing the stage, before falling backwards in a leap of faith that she'll be caught. It's a rock'n'roll moment that even the older crowd members appreciate (the audience average age is well in its mid 30s, and as such more static than your typical teenage/20something one), especially when it's simultaneous with an echoing sing along during the chorus of the song.

The crowd loves it, and is starting to turn around from a slow Wednesday evening into quite a party all of a sudden. I see Blå Gajol shots being bought at the bar in their dozens.

"Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)" follows straight after, and receives another mass sing-along, given how it's one of their biggest songs that most people have forgotten in 2012. Alongside so many others tonight, it serves to remind us how many great songs Skunk Anansie have written over the years. That's also why the band look so experienced and at home at such a large stage: Skin spends every moment possible dancing hectically across the entire stage, making sure to get up close and personal with all sides of the crowd. Yet it all feels so natural and so organic, instead of scripted and boring as many older bands usually tend to look on stage. There's a spark, a rebellious spirit that surrounds their performance that makes it just that much better.

But it's met with a down-to-earth attitude in between the songs. For instance, when she wants to enter the crowd to do some dancing after the first encore, she asks us if we'll take care of her if she does, and cheekily refers to Oslo who apparently lied and didn't do that (perhaps why she has a broken finger in a cast tonight). So for their first ever single "Little Baby Swastikkka" from 1995, she enters the crowd, and in the best Slipknot manner, asks the entire venue to sit down multiple times during the same song to get everyone to jump up and dance during the bouncy chorus melody. In the meantime, she makes her way to the mixer booth all the way at the back of the venue, stands on top of it, and makes everyone laugh by asking people to get their cameras out and to get ready, before counting down from 5-4-3-2-1 and offering a couple of ridiculous fashion poses. This culminates in an epic crowd surf all the way back to the stage, which is best described by the video I took of the incident below:

The band play four more songs after that encore (including a second encore) to make the total at 21 songs, but at this point my initial skepticism has been proved incorrect so many times that there's really no point to discuss more. Skunk Anansie are fuckin' rock'n'roll, they have written a ton of amazing songs over the years, and they can still put on an Orange Stage worthy concert experience even in 2012 - even with the venue just over half-full. How many bands do you know that can do that?

Setlist:

  • 1. The Skank Heads
  • 2. I Will Break You
  • 3. I Believed in You
  • 4. God Loves Only You
  • 5. I Hope You Get to Meet Your Hero
  • 6. Twisted (Everyday Hurts)
  • 7. I've Had Enough
  • 8. My Ugly Boy
  • 9. Weak
  • 10. Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)
  • 11. Our Summer Kills The Sun
  • 12. This Is Not a Game
  • 13. Over the Love
  • 14. I Can Dream
  • 15. Spit You Out
  • 16. Because of You
  • 17. Sad Sad Sad
  • 18. Charlie Big Potato
  • --Encore--
  • 19. Tear The Place Up
  • 20. Secretly
  • 21. Little Baby Swastikkka
  • --Encore--
  • 22. You'll Follow Me Down

Photos by: Julie Weitmann Decome

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