“This time around,” the PA booms, “the revolution will not be televised.”
Which, unfortunately, means that [a]Skin[/a] and co are likely to miss out on it, because what with their usual friendly media blitz they’re more than likely going to be on the goddamn box, talking about rage with Jo Whiley in between adverts flogging the latest dishwasher products, while out in the streets kids tie nooses around the lampposts.
Because [a]Skunk Anansie[/a] are the single most media-friendly bunch of simps this side of, I dunno, James. Their whole ‘anger’ schtick is one that they can take on and off at will – pump it up when they’re moving the crowd, tone it down when it’s time for TV. Even so, you can’t help but feel affection for them, they seem so uncomplicated, four stray musicians who landed a lucky gig and who are clearly enjoying the ride. It doesn’t mean we have to listen to them, though. Oh, wait a minute, it does.
Glasgow, we’re reliably informed early on, is Skunk Anansie‘s “number one fuckin’ place to play!”. The reward is a set that’s such a masterpiece of choreography, hits-heavy and dynamic, that the crowd are led around like hapless cows from the get-go. A five-second countdown announces their arrival, with [a]Skin[/a] materialising out of nowhere, shadow-boxing on the spot. By the time they’ve hit ‘Selling Jesus’, her coat is off and she’s mad-bopping, hurling the mic stand overhead and leaping onto the drum riser. Live, her high-register vocal garglings are even more ludicrous than on record. If she sang more songs about people’s brains falling out and Egyptian gods, rather than about being messed up and pissed, she’d pass for ex-Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson any day.
So, it’s metal, but the kind of metal used to sell cars – slick and self-consciously epic. The new ballads all sound like advertisements for Flakes and with all that hollow bombast they’d be a perfect choice for a Bond theme. [a]Skin[/a]’s still an entertaining presence, switching from witchy psycho-stares to fits of giggling unselfconscious enjoyment. But it’s not enough to sustain our interest.
Towards the end she introduces a song as an “oldie, but a goldie”, it’s exactly the sort of cheese-on-toast sentiment that sums the Skunks up. They haven’t got a nasty bone in their bodies. And that’s the problem.