Skunk Anansie © Melanie Smith

Skunk Anansie © Melanie Smith Skunk Anansie | Queen Zee
Manchester Academy
19th August 2019

Rock band Skunk Anansie are touring to celebrate both their 25th anniversary and a brand new live album 25live@25, with an explosive support act added to the lineup, what more could you want. Martin Mathews (reviewer) and Melanie Smith (photos) headed down to Manchester Academy to witness this amazing rock show.

Louder Than War favourites, Liverpool punks Queen Zee proved without a doubt that it’s worth getting to gigs early to watch the support act. Following their recent appearance at Glastonbury and in support of their self titled debut album the group took to the stage to open up for Skunk Anansie with an eight-song set. Demonstrating they are worthy of their reputation as ones to watch, this was an accomplished and energetic set which showcased the band and their music perfectly.

Queen Zee 1© Melanie Smith Queen Zee © Melanie Smith Queen Zee have spent much time touring lately and this showed, they have honed their craft as musicians and performers and gave a fantastic performance which will no doubt have gained them some new fans. Setlist: Loner/ Lucy-fur/ Boy/ Hunger Pains/ Porno/ Victim Age/ Sissy Fists.

By the time the lights went down in Academy 1, the atmosphere was electric and the sold-out crowd were more than ready to welcome Skunk Anansie to the stage. For the opening number ‘Charlie Big Potato’ lead singer Skin literally burst onto the stage in a metallic tasselled cape (which appeared to be made out of tin foil sheets) like some kind of human fireball. Proceeding to demonstrate what a truly fierce and charismatic artist she is with incredible stage presence. It’s hard for anyone watching to take their eyes off her. When the cape was flung off by Skin, she was sporting a futuristic purple metallic jacket, complete with huge square shoulder pads, teamed with ripped fishnets and a killer pair of platform boots.

Skunk Anansie © Melanie Smith You know you are in for a great show when at just three songs in you have witnessed the undisputed Queen of crowd surfing perform whilst being held aloft by the appreciative, incredibly diverse crowd, which serves to highlight the appeal of the band and their music.

New songs including their recent single ‘What You Do For Love’ joined the classics, big hits such as  ‘Weak’ and ‘Hedonism’. There were some incredibly touching and tender moments as well as some completely explosive moments.  Skin herself said when introducing the new song ‘This Means War’ that the song was so new it hadn’t yet been recorded, but she also said that it was going to “rip your faces off”, she wasn’t wrong this particular song, it was one of the highlights of an incredible show.

Skunk Anansie © Melanie Smith Skunk Anansie 16 © Melanie Smith Skunk Anansie are known for being political, this was evident with songs such as ‘Little Baby Swastikka, ‘Yes its Fucking Political’ and ‘Intellectualise My Blackness’ included in the 23 song set. This never felt contrived, the messages of love and acceptance are genuine, heartfelt and well received by the crowd especially in today’s climate. Hard to believe it’s 25 years since Skunk Anansie emerged onto the music scene in London, going on to have a string of hit singles and albums before playing Glastonbury, where Skin was the first black female ever to headline the festival.

Skunk Anansie © Melanie Smith Both visually and musically they appeared as fresh and unique as they have ever been, although this was a retrospective show that spanned their impressive career it was as far from being a heritage show as is possible. This was a masterclass in how to celebrate a milestone and judging from this performance there is still much more to come from Skunk Anansie.


Charlie Big Potato
Because of you
All in the name of pity
I can dream
You’ll follow me down
My ugly boy
Twisted (everyday hurts)
Cheap honesty
Love someone else
I believed in you
God loves only you
Without you
Hedonism (Just because you feel good)
This means war
Intellectualise my blackness
Yes its fucking political
Tear the Place up
What you do for love
Highway to hell
The skank heads
Little baby swastikka

Please note: Use of these images in any form without permission is illegal. If you wish to contact the photographer please email:

Skunk Anansie can be found at Twitter, Facebook, and their website here:

Words by Martin Mathews, you can find more at his Author profile and you can follow his tweets here

Photos by Melanie Smith. More work by Mel on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Photography portfolio can be found here

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Bearded artist, model, lover of Kylie, pop music, leather & dogs. Random, quirky and not to be taken seriously, call me anything but normal!


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