90’s rock favourites Skunk Anansie set the Brighton Dome on fire with an unforgettable show, accompanied by Nova Twins who have set a small fire of their own
On a hot and sweaty Monday evening, Skunk Anansie fans both young and old form an orderly, quintessentially British queue outside the Brighton Dome. We had arrived early to avoid such queues, but on this day it was not meant to be, we managed to get in only moments before the support act played their first few notes. Queen Zee were originally billed as support, but due to illness, last minute saviours Nova Twins took the call and graciously stepped up to the platform. I had not heard of the Nova Twins before tonight, and after their first number, I wondered how and why.
What I can only describe as a mix of Rage Against The Machine, late 80’s to early 90’s Beastie Boys and, well, something else entirely, Nova Twins create a sound undeniably their own. The South East London duo comprise of guitarist and vocalist Amy Love, and bassist and vocalist Georgia South, accompanied on their live shows by dynamic drummer Tim Nugent. Nova Twins create a wall of sound that defies the size of this three piece band, owing in no small part to Georgia South’s box of tricks located at her feet, an extensive collection of effects pedals. Amy Love has a vocal that is both sweet and aggressive, she raps, sings and screams her way throughout the set, often putting her guitar down to strut the stage and command the audience. Each song is as mind blowing as the last, there is no lull in the set, no moment for people to check their phones or engage in idle conversation. The audience is mesmerised and quite frankly and fairly, taken aback by this ferocious three piece. With an exciting and fresh sound, Nova Twins took a last minute booking and blew everyone away.
Anticipation was now building for Skunk Anansie, people had retrieved their socks (after having them blown off) and were ready for the main act. As the lights dropped, two floor lights, either side of the stage were lit, atop of which were guitarist ‘Ace’ and bassist Cass Lewis. With thunderous drums and heavy riffs aplenty from opening number ‘Charlie Big Potato’ Skin enters the stage dressed as what I can only describe as a giant, freely flowing silver hedgehog.
This is the 25th anniversary of this band, and with age, they have in no way lost any ferocity. Classics such as ‘I Can Dream’, ‘Hedonism’ and ‘Weak’ sit comfortably amongst new material such as ‘What You Do For Love’ and ‘This Means War’. The new songs, if anything, have become more heavy and political. Not that Skunk Anansie weren’t already known for being political.
Skin’s energy is also a marvel to behold, relentlessly dancing, jumping and prowling the stage. You know you’re in for something special when, by only the third song, Skin had already crowd surfed (while still delivering flawless vocals) the length of the entire audience of this sold out show at Brighton Dome, all in silver Dr. Martens nonetheless. This is in no way the highlight, each song is delivered with as much energy and ferocity as the last, with the band constantly moving around the stage or taking position on the aforementioned floor lights for dramatic effect, while Skin disappears only to reappear in yet another outfit, this time a futuristic suit that warps the shape of her body, giving her an almost cyborg-esque look.
There were moments of tenderness too, words of love and appreciation as Skin spoke of their extensive career and how lucky they were to still be doing this for 25 years, none of which felt contrived, only sincere and heartfelt. On many occasions, Skin would part the crowd down the middle and walk through singing and engaging fully with her fans. At one point, even losing her cool and laughing with a member of the audience, all of which was very touching and a joy to be part of.
This was in no way a ‘greatest hits’ show, the entire performance felt fresh and left you with the feeling that Skunk Anansie, even after all these years, still have much to offer. The lights go down and even after a rapturous encore, the crowd were left wanting more. Skin’s and Cass’ final words to the audience were that they would meet people out the front, to sell merchandise and sign various things. A self managed band with no label, doing it all for themselves and ultimately, their fans.
Skunk Anansie with support from Nova Twins
Brighton Dome | 26 August 2019
Review by Lloyd Coote
Photos by Gili Dailes
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