This year’s Meltdown festival has been curated by the legend that is Grace Jones, and her choices have been impeccable- with acts such as Peaches and Hot Chip gracing the stage of The Royal Festival Hall. I was lucky enough to go to the Skunk Anansie gig that was part of this festival, on the hottest day so far of this year.
There was an uplifting feeling as soon as we arrived at the Southbank, a stage was set up outside the Royal Festival Hall, which had a female DJ performing when we wandered through with big crowds gathering together and dancing. Despite it being early evening, it was still roasting outside, so it was actually a relief to go find our seats into the air conditioned hall. It was my first ever visit to this venue. It felt very strange to have seats, especially after recently going to Download Festival!
The support act was the band ‘Nova Twins’, who although are an independent band, have already been receiving positive press from places like Kerrang and The Guardian. I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I hadn’t been too sure about the few snippets of music I had heard online, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Novo twins are childhood friends Georgia South and Amy Love, the duo were full of energy so it was hard to not like them! The music itself was an original blend of rock, metal and rap. I thought the music combined with their attitude had echoes of bands like Rage Against the Machine. The gig happened to be on the date of their debut album release ‘Supernova’- they explained that was the reason for the balloons on the stage. The music was so full of energy and fire, I couldn’t believe the audience was sitting down all the way through until the final song with some coaxing from the band themselves.
A short wait and then it was time for the band we were all waiting to see. One member at a time came to the stage, with Skin making the final dramatic entrance in her dynamic ‘Maleficent’ style hat before launching into ‘Yes it’s Fucking Political’, which felt like a pure rally cry as the audience finally found their feet and got up to see this true powerful Goddess storm the stage.
Only into the second song, drummer Mark Rich managed to destroy the kick drum, leading to a calmer version of ‘And Here I Stand’, the power emanating from every member of the band and the power of the music in the air was palpable. After a few songs, the Maleficient hat was thrown to the side and a blistering set of classics and new songs was performed, including ‘Weak’ early on in the set, and newer songs ‘Can’t Take You Anywhere’ and ‘Piggy’ (we were even treated to dancing pig masked men at one point). As if to back up the rallying cry at the start of the set, politics, war and religion were all touched upon.
The biggest treats came in the encore, in the form of a mini cover of AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ and Skin coming into the audience during “Little Baby Swastikkka”, coming up the steps and even giving a hug to an audience member and spending a good time working her way around before returning to do some amazing vocal work with touring keyboardist and backing vocalist Erica Footman.
Even my husband who I brought along who only knew the ‘hits’ was left with a lasting impression. Skunk Anansie are no throwback 90’s band. Sure, they have some amazing hits that came out in the nineties but they proved on this night they are still amazing and are a true powerful force in rock music, inspiring as well as talented.
Skunk Anansie continue their tour, for details click here
Review and Photos by Hayley Foster da Silva
Video by Miguel da Silva
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