Not to give away my age, but I was around for when Skunk Anansie headlined Glastonbury over twenty years ago, and I’ve rocked up to watch them in 2022 wondering if the years have taken any toll. I mean, they on me, but on Skin?
Well the answer is immediate. After a snippet of Boris Johnson fucking up talking about Peppa Pig, Skin takes to the stage in a neon day glo suit with Clit Rock on the back, an inflatable headdress that makes Keith Flint look like a boy scout, and unleashes a voice and an anger which has not tarnished one iota with age. It looks like it’s going to be, if anything, even more of a fiery set than the past. This is not going to be a nostalgia power hour. This is current and vital.
We don’t even get past one song before Skin is starting to smash equipment and coming down and into the crowd. One thing we’ve noticed at Glastonbury 2022 is singers are more willing to come into the audience, security are letting them with a light hand, and everyone’s being respectful of it. This is a good crowd. Not that you’d get too close to skin lest her headdress take your eye out.
Random side note: the drums are sounding particularly sweet this afternoon.
The headdress comes off, the suit is still visible from space. As they perform, a thought crosses our minds: if you didn’t know who this was, if you’d stumbled into the area from a different field, you’d be impressed, and you’d think this was a brilliant rock band with their finger on the zeitgeist who should be far more famous than you think they are. And it’s true, why are Skunk Anansie performing at an early afternoon slot, why are they not one of the UK’s premier heavy bands? As Skin says, they don’t just tour 90s songs, as launches into new one Can’t Take You Anywhere.
As the set goes on, Skin increasingly explains the political and moral meanings behind the songs, but does so in an articulate, convincing, and perfectly calm and reasoned manner before launching into ferocious and addictive rock music. You get the feeling Skin should be invited onto Question Time, so she can give a perfectly pitched spoken word reply and then rip through three minutes of blistering tunage as her answer and it’ll be better and more honest than anything said on it in a decade, the irrelevant Tory showcase that it now it. Let’s face it, if the band were as famous as this performance shows they should be, and they were headlining the Pyramid tonight, they could probably start a much needed revolution.