SKUNK ANANSIE, Rock City, Nottingham, 3-9-19

I consider that Rock City is my “local” venue. Either going by train or car, it’s now my favourite venue. This one my mate Andy drove us there. Parked up at multi-storey, next to train station (But I’d forgot to take Blue Badge-Doh! ) . We caught a tram to the RCH stop. Went to rock city. Once in, saw skunks manager & he gave Andy a pass. Then went to The Gooseberry bush but it was closed. We met Jim there, but as it was closed, Jim walked to the Roebuck whilst me & Andy took a tram there. Pretty much arrived about same time. (Nomis & his wife were staying at the Premier Inn. Think I might have forgot to tell him the Gooseberry Bush was closed. Eventually, they also came to the Roebuk). After food, we went back to Rock City & got in via the back doors. Bumped into Cass & I said “I’ve been to this venue a lot of times, but never been backstage”. Cass then took us back stage. I was really surprised about how SMALL it was ! We passed catering (damn it smelt good!) then round a corner, ended up side stage. (Jim didn’t see that as was gassing with Erika πŸ˜‰ ). We ended up staying in the venue as it was getting closer for doors to open. I got a seat. Went to my usual position πŸ™‚Β  Again, the support act didn’t do much that I licked, but they appreciated being invited to support the mighty Skunk Anansie. It’s soon time for what we all came for : SKUNK ANANSIE, once again, headlining Rock City ! I wont write much about the show, but I’d say it’s right up there with the other best gigs that Skunk Anansie. There’s just something about when they play there, it seems a notch above other gigs.

Here are some video clips I recorded at Rock City :

After the gig finished, there was an after show. It was in the room that used to called “The Rig”. I’ve got a story about going to the Rig….& getting my money back ! A few of us went in what’s now called “The Black Cherry Lounge” (Or whatever the shitty place is called now) Most of the band turned up, photos were took, drinks were drunk.

Then we all said our goodbyes. Myself & Andy went back to the train station, where his car was parked. Then a nice drive home πŸ™‚

P.S. During the tour I was enjoying it so much (& feeling well) I decided to add Newcastle at last minute πŸ˜‰


SKUNK ANANSIE, o2 Academy, Newcastle,1-9-19

As I’d been enjoying my mini Skunk Anansie tour, I decided to also go to the Newcastle gig. (Surprisingly, i felt really well, considering the circumstanses) I arrived back from Leeds on Saturday afternoon,around 15.30. Had a few hours at home. Then Sunday morning I got a train up to Newcastle.
I’ve gone up to Newcastle to see various bands at the “City Hall” & also “The Mayfair”(R.I.P) even one time the University.
I’m going to see Skunk Anansie in Newcastle for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’ve REALLY enjoyed this mini tour. Secondly I’ve never been to the Academy. Lastly, I want to do a reckie for where The Riverside venue is. Reason for that is I’m going there later in the year to see “Berlin” there.
Got to Newcastle on time, then i went to find “Roomzzz”. Quite close to the station. This version of Roomzzz is relatively new, even though it looks old outside.

The “Grab & Go” breakfast is pretty much the same as other places, except for one thing ; there’s no seating area to have the food ! But that should soon be sorted out, as they’re extending the property. My room was great (Could I have been upgraded ?) :

Asked the chap at reception how to get to the “Riverside Venue”, it seemed pretty straight forward. Only thing was, there were a LOT of steps to go down to the quayside. But I was also told the best way back is to head towards the Castle & it’s pretty much flat that way back.
Great thing was there’s a Wetherspoons very close to the Riverside.

Jobs a good un !
Made my way back towards the hotel, then went to find the Academy venue. Was easy to find & again not far from Roomzzz. Think I got in the venue through a side door (It’s great when you have a AAA pass) I had food from the bands catering again. Eventually, there was one table full of band members & crew (I was on a separate table). The young lad who had jammed with them, during the AC/DC cover, sat on the same table as me. He was quite timid, but as he’s only 15 years old, it can be expected. I had a little chat with him. Seemed to be a cool kid. When everyone finished the food, all of the storage etc was took away to make room for the people that were attending the gig. (BTW, i must say, the cooks did some very tasty food. Totally appreciated it. Thanks to the band etc for letting me indulge πŸ˜‰

Another great thing about tonight was that Queen Zee weren’t supporting. Tonight it was the “Pearl Hearts”. Really like them. I watched them
soundchecking (As Ace & Cass also did). This band once opened up for Garbage so i already knew I was going to enjoy them.

After PH soundcheck, there was a table put in the middle of the floor. What could that be for ?

It seemed that the TM & security had a meeting about tonight

Skunk played pretty much the same setlist most nights :

Charlie Big Potato, Because Of You, All In The Name Of Pity, I Can Dream, Charity, My Ugly Boy, Twisted, Weak, Cheap Honesty, Love Someone Else,
I Believed In You ,God Loves Only You , Without You, Hedonism ,This Means War, Intellectualise My Blackness, Tear The Place Up.
Encore Secretly , What You Do for Love, Highway to Hell (AC/DC cover), The Skank Heads, Little Baby Swastikkka.

Here’s all of the songs I filmed :

When they came back for the encore, most of the band were wearing T-Shirts relating to Cass. It was his birthday today πŸ™‚

After the show had finished, there was an after show party. Pretty sure it was in the Academy 2, as it had a bar & a stage. I was getting quite tired by now, so I made my way back to the hotel. Little did I know about the problems I was going to face on my return journey ! The train leaving Newcastle was late getting away. Also late arriving into York. So I missed my connection πŸ™ There was a Hull trains service, but, I couldn’t use my ticket on that train. I got the next LNER train. When arriving into Grantham I also missed another train (due to be delayed earlier). So basically I was 2hours late getting home ! I applied for “Delay Repay”, but they only gave half of the cost of the return journey. Bar stewards ! I didn’t bother to go all through the forms contesting it. I certainly had a FUCKIN great time in Newcastle though πŸ™‚

Here’s a few photos I took

TuesdayΒ  I’mΒ  going to Rock City & my mate Andy T is driving there n back….few πŸ™‚

SKUNK ANANSIE, o2 Academy, Leeds, 30-8-19

Was supposed to meet Lorah for this gig, but due to illness she couldn’t make it πŸ™
I met Jim at the station. The hotel that I had booked is called “The Clayton Hotel”. Stayed there a few times over the years. It’s approx 15mins walk to there. Nice classy hotel. After we’d dropped bags of at hotel, we went in search of food. There’s a multitude of Wetherspoons in Leeds, but I chose “The Cuthbert Brodrick”. As always, it was rammed. Went upstairs & found a decent table.
After that, I think we went to the venue. Soon got in. Can’t remember if we saw all the soundcheck, but either way, eventually went up to the balcony. Chose the right side (Looking towards the stage) Pretty decent spot.
Again, I’m not going to do a full review of the gig, as Aerosmith would say “Let The Music Do The Talking” πŸ™‚ (+photos)

They started with “Charlie Big Potato”,followed by “Because Of You”. (The majority of this tour they played the same setlist)

Β I thought “Weak” sounded as good as ever (Even though skin might disagree)

You can always tell they’re going to play “Hedonism” because “someone” gets into the light.

We then get a NEW song (to some of the crowd). Apparently they’ve not recorded it yet, hmm, “This Means War”. They finish with “Political” & “Tear The Place Up”

During the first encore they play “Secretly”, “What You Do for Love”, AC/DC cover & “The Skank Heads”

Of course, everyone wants more! So they do a 2nd encore of “You’ll Follow Me down”Β  (Beautiful) & finish with “Little Baby Swastikkka”

What another great night it’s been !
Walked back to hotel & once there I was out like a light πŸ™‚ The following morning, we go our separate ways on different trains…


SKUNK ANANSIE , Cambridge Corn Exchange, 28-8-19

I’ve been to Cambridge a few times over the years. Been to the venues “Corn Exchange”, “The Junction” & even “The Portland Arms”. So already could remember the routes around Cambridge before i went. I think my train was a bit late & Jim was already there. Where did we meet up? No prizes : a pub/bar! It was also close to the hotel I’d booked, The Ibis. Once we checked in made our way to the Corn Exchange. Along the way, we stopped at The Regal…yes, you guessed it correctly; A Wetherspoons ! Knock the Wethers as much as you like, but they’re always cheap for food & beers. Once we’ve finished, it’s a short walk to the Corn Exchange. (Oh something I must say about the Corn Exchange. Last time I was there was to see SAXON. But not only that, I had bought a Laminate Pass which allowed getting in early & M&G. Could use it at ANY venue where they headlined (Only went to Cambridge due to health issues). It also included a free ticket. That was the only thing I was disappointed about ; they gave me a ticket which was about half way back in the balcony ! I would have thought it could at least be front row of balcony. Either way, I didn’t take that seat, as I found a mini balcony πŸ˜‰ I digress…. )
When we got to the venue I said to Jim ” The tourist information” used to have posters promoting gigs. When i last got a poster for the gig, the T.I. was opposite the venue. Guess what ? It wasn’t there any more! We also bumped into Aliya out front of the venue.
I think we got in through a side door ? Or was it where the support act were unloading their gear? Whatever, we got in early enough to see Skunks sound checking πŸ™‚
We also went to the “mini balcony” as it’s a great view from there πŸ˜‰
I didn’t take many photos on this night. It was more about getting into the beats & atmosphere…but of course a few video clips πŸ˜‰
As always, the start thing with my fave Skunk song; “Charlie Big Potato”


Next it’s “Because Of You”. Closley followed by “All In The Name Of Pity” & “I Can Dream”

Then it’s a classic Skunk song, “Charity”

We then get a more modern song; “My Ugly Boy”. A couple of old classics, “Twisted (Everyday Hurts)” You really hear the bass of Cass at the beginning.

Then skin starts to shine with her vocal prowess during “Weak”. After “Weak”, we get beautiful version of “Cheap Honesty”

After those songs, it’sΒ  “Without You”. Next up it’s “Hedonism”, NEW one called “This Means War”, “Intellectualise My Blackness”, “Yes, It’s Fucking Political” & “Tear The Place Up”

Next up it’s the first encore of “Secretly” & “What You Do For Love”. Then there’s the riff from AC/DC, “Highway To Hell”, they play it pretty much full. Final song is “The Skank Heads”. They finish with the crowd wanting more, soon enough, they’re back on stage and the final song is “Little Baby Swastikkka”

The following day, we go our separate ways back home. Have a few hours in Bostonia, then early morning it’s up to Leeds !

SKUNK ANANSIE , O2 Academy, Bristol , 19-8-19

I’ve been to Bristol a few times over the years (Think the last time was with Tess when we saw Royal Republic in 2016 when they played on a boat ! “Thekla”) I always stayed at The Travelodge cos it was cheap & I knew the route to Colston Hall OR The Hippodrome. But this time, the price of Travelodge was extortionate. So decided to stay at Premier Inn. As I’d not stayed there before, myself & Jim had a right game finding it. Just goes to show, you CANNOT rely on Google maps. I had the idea that we’d find the route to venue, then walk back to hotel (timing it), crash there for a while, then go back to the venue. Best laid plans eh ? When we finally got back to the hotel, I think it was Jim who said “Stay here forΒ  15mins & then go back to the venue?”. As I’d lost all my energy wandering the streets of Bristol, there was no way that short stay would be any good. Think we stayed there more like just under an hour. Thanks to Jim, HE remembered the route back to the venue. I honestly didn’t have a clue where to go ! Looking back on it all, trying to have a bit a of a laugh about it, I wonder what the people would think of us? Jim holding his nose, as was having a nose bleed, myself eyes glazed over like I was a junkie !

Once we got in the venue i went straight to the position that I wanted to be in. Unfortunately, Mr Security didn’t think the same. So after a small argument, he took us to the disabled enclosure. Got front seats. Then a wheel chair arrived. Ok, move to the left. After a while Pete turned up & said something like “No two venues are the same, so this time you have to be here”. I understood that (before he said it) As he was leaving I called him back. ” Can you let the security know I will be taking photos & clips during the gig?” His reply was positive. Didn’t get any hassle during the gig πŸ™‚
I’m not going to write a full review of the gig , but just to say, it’s ALWAYS a great gig SKUNK ANANSIE put on πŸ™‚

Whilst there was an after show, I decided I REALLY needed S-L-E-E-P πŸ™‚ (Also it was along ride back on various trains πŸ˜‰


SKUNK ANANSIE, Manchester Academy, 18-8-19

Forgot to say, when we were staying at Hotel Rob, he said they’d be leaving very early, so he gave Jim a key for the flat.
Today (Sunday) the train would depart from Euston at 11.19 arriving Manchester Piccadilly 13.50.
I’ve been to Manchester numerous times for multiple bands, but today, I had trouble getting my bearings correct! After finding the hotel, myself & Jim went to the venue. There were a few people already there. Had a wander to the other side of the venue & saw a security guy.
Asked him if he could find Pete (TM). It wasn’t who I expected to come out ; it was Cass. He then gave us AAA Laminates ( ! ) & took us in.
I thought I remembered a very small balcony, so Cass too us up there. As there was no seating there, Cass opened a door where the bar was. He brought through a small square pouffe so I could sit on that later (Think he also got one for Jim also). Ok we were now set up for later on. We followed Cass downstairs, as we were walking along behind him he said ” What are you doing when you go out ” I replied, “We’re going to find a place that does food”. He then said “Why don’t you get food from the catering in here?” So we did ! I think he took us through to the room where a few people were already having food, after which he took us to catering.(Have a feeling he said to the caterers, it’s ok for these 2 to have food. The list of food that was available, looked very nice! Gave our orders,& the lass said “I’ll bring the through to you when done”. What a service πŸ™‚ Oh, forgot to say that Mark & his parents were also sat in the food room. A couple of the crew came in later to have their food. When they finished, they went back to get desserts. They looked very appetizing… I was already thinking “I’d like one of those”
We had the main course, then went to get a dessert ! When we got back, one of the crew guys said ” You dirty bastard ! ” πŸ˜‰ Pot>kettle ?
Yes, it was so yummy & also saved us a few quid πŸ˜‰ Somewhere along the way, we bumped into skin. I said to her “I was wondering why, at Brixton, you all did one song 5 times ?” Then as some people will already know by now, it was because Paul Weller was gonna step up onstage ! I did ask her how it came about, but can’t remember her reply. But all being said, a unique experience or what ??!!!
When we got back in the balcony, the “seats” had gone. Had a word with security & told him I need a seat as cannot stand up for very long. His reply was “We need room here for 70 people!” I think he then went to get me a seat.
Enough of me rambling Got to say, I’m not so interested in the support bands. I think I saw “Queen Zee” open for Garbage, so I’d already made up my opinion.
But I will say, in my opinion, the best support act they’ve has was “The Virginmarys” (I think that was the 2010 tour) I thought they had the potential to make it big…a few years later, I found out they had “problems” with their management and that led to them doing it all themselves. If you’ve not heard The Virginmarys, have a look on their website OR Facebook πŸ˜‰

After enduring Queen Zee, we were ready for the mighty Skunk Anansie. I felt sure I took a few photos, but when I got back home there weren’t any photos on the memory card! But there were about 4 video clips πŸ™‚ Oh forgot to say, when we bumped into skin earlier I asked here why she didn’t do the soundcheck (in Manchester) . As expected, she was saving her voice as they had a 3 day run of gigs. I’m not going to do a full review, I’ll just “Let The Music Do The Talking”

When it had finished, we got back to the hotel quicker than I thought it would be πŸ˜‰


SKUNK ANANSIE , Brixton Academy, London, 17-8-19

I left Bostonia at 9.50 & arrived at Kings X 12.30. Jim was waiting so we could go to Hotel Rob. Dropped bags off, then went to Brixton.
Met up with Julia & Nadine. It had been prearranged that we could get in for soundcheck. Spoke to some security, then Pete (TM) came to door “Wasn’t expecting as many as this, but come in”.
I think they’d only just started soundcheck. Certainly an interesting SC, as they played one song about 5-6 times. It wasn’t one of their own songs. Soundcheck finishedΒ  & we all needed food. We went round to “Turtle Bay”.

Β Β 

Sorry to hear that Audrey is going back to France, but needs must sometimes. Back in the venue, everyone went downstairs except for me & Audrey. Good chance to have a natter as I wasn’t interested in the support acts πŸ˜‰

Lights went down & we all had great anticipation for the mighty Skunk Anansie ! Just hearing the intro made my hairs stick up ! My fave Skunk song is what they started with : “Charlie Big Potato”. Off to a fantastic start πŸ™‚ They then played “Because of You” , “All in the Name of Pity ” (Great old school stuff), “I Can Dream” (Another absolute classic Skunk song). They then slowed it down a bit, with the highly emotional “You’ll Follow Me Down”. Ace gets his acoustic guitar & Cass a tambourine. Skin really shines with her pipes, still hitting the high notes. This is the first time tonight that she comes out into the crowd. Also, the crowd sings the chorus really well πŸ˜‰

When they played “My Ugly Boy” a couple of years back, I must confess that I wasn’t really into it then. But here in the now, it fits perfectly. A good one to bounce along to. It’s fun !
Seems that skin wants to be in amongst the audience again ! As they start to play “Twisted (Everyday Hurts)” she quickly makes the motion of the crowd parting. She gets as far back as the mixing desk. Unfortunately, it was to tight an angle to film it, but I did catch her jump back in the crowd & then crowd surfed back to the stage

Later on we get a couple of the old classics & in-between those, there’s a new song which will “Rip your face off” !

They finish the main set with a couple of hard hitters; “Intellectualise My Blackness” & “Tear the Place Up”.
When they come back for the first encore, it’s something really special. That song they rehearsed multiple times during the sound check
“You Do Something to Me”. But not only that; the legend that is Paul Weller got to sing it with skin (or vice versa πŸ˜‰ ) Such a cool & meaning full song

Wow ! Just WOW ! Did I say WOW ? You bet you’re arse I did πŸ˜‰ Yes, they might have made a small amount of mistakes, but this was a UNIQUE performance. I’m pretty sure skin had tears in her eyes.
To finish the night of they play “What You Do for Love” & another “face ripper”, “The Skank Heads (Get Off Me)”.
But that can’t be all , can it ?
Yes, ther’s more ! The 2nd encore is started with a beatiful rendition of “Secretly”.

They then have a bit of fun as Ace plays a familiar riff. It’s “Highway to Hell” and they pretty much play it all.
What could be better after THAT song ? Of course it would be on oldy, but, goody “Little Baby Swastikkka”

What a fuckin fantastic day it’s been ! Beyond my wildest dreams ! But also there’s more to look forward to. Tomorrow we go up to Manchester.
Then the next day it’s Bristol. Let’s just see how I cope with 3 gigs in a row.
P.S. Huge thanks to Leigh.

PPS My PC is playing up & I can’t add photos πŸ™


Skunk Anansie, The Vryll Society O2 Ritz, Manchester , 27-5-17

I did consider going to see the show in Bristol, but as i also wanted to see The Mission, it made sense to go Sheffield & then have 2 nights in Manchester (The 2nd night was meant to be The Cranberries,but unfortunately, it got cancelled). In light of the atrocity that Manchester suffered earlier in the week , i knew this one would be emotionally charged for EVERYONE, but didn’t expect it to be quite so amazing as it turned out to be. I have so much respect for da Skunks for not cancelling the show…but then i always knew they wouldn’t because their hearts are in the right place. Terrorism will not break us.
My train from Sheffield to Manchester ran on time & i was met by Jim at the station (Incidentally, he was meant to be seeing Maiden in London on this day, but ditched it after i told him i had a +1 for Skunk. A very wise choice mate πŸ˜‰ ). Went & checked into the hotel,then grabbed some food etc. After that we went to the venue. I was surprised to see Theo so far back in the queue ! Aliya was the first in queue (well done) & then the Italian Skunk Army followed. As i was working my way along the line, saying hello to everyone, the band arrived, so we followed Ace into the venue. I noticed there was some bird shit on my t-shirt ! Good luck ? (Cheers to Sylvia for the wet-wipe to clean it off). Whilst waiting for our passes to be sorted, most of the band walked by to their dressing rooms. I had a real nice chat with Erika. She said i had more colour in my face than last time we met at Brixton. Those small words are so huge to me & it helps to give me strength & positivity.
Passes sorted we checked out the balcony for a good position. Soon enough the band started soundchecking. They play various songs including full versions of “Ugly Boy” & “Weak”. There’s a funny moment when they tried out the smoke machine….it just kept going on & on till the stage was filled with smoke! Someone said ” I think we’ve got enough smoke now!” Closely followed by ” Well that was a real Spinal Tap moment πŸ™‚ “.
After a while, we go downstairs to watch the remainder of soundcheck.Β Β 

A few minutes after they’d finished, Ace comes back & asks if we’d like any food from catering. We decide on just coffees….or in Jims case, tea mixed with coffee πŸ˜‰
Have a nice chat with Ace. I ask why he needed me to send the audio of “Feel” to him recently. (I’d wondered if they’d add it to the set or something. Turns out it could be used in a film πŸ˜‰ You heard it here first… We talk about all sorts of things such as how much it’s a struggle for “new” bands to make an impact & being able to survive on the little money they make (if any)
Mark asks me an interesting question : “When you follow tours around for multiple dates, do you not get bored of the same thing every night?”. My reply is that no two nights are ever the same. There’s many reasons why i do it. Some bands change set lists around, there are good & not so good audiences, there can be “off nights” due to illness or whatever. The list goes on. I love meeting new people who have a similar passion about music (or just one band) as what i have. Travelling around the UK & Europe i’ve met many people who have become great friends along the way. But overall, a gig is about many different people coming together to have a great night out & forget all there worries for an hour & half or so. Going slightly off track, i mention how i used to record gigs (audio) & back in ’84 Iron Maiden used to change set lists on a few shows. (Though i think it was just to warm them up for Hammersmith gigs,which they were recording for a live album). Of course, back in the day, i traded with other people doing the same. It’s funny when i come across a boot CD & i can work out it’s my recording. Mark then jokingly asks “Have you got any Skunk bootlegs?”…then quickly says ” …oh you’ve already sent them to me haven’t you πŸ˜‰ “. (Which is true πŸ˜‰ )
I mention how it was such a loss when Chris Cornell died recently & that it was so unexpected. I guess you never know what’s going on in someones mind. Mark says a big problem is there are not enough support groups for musicians etc to tackle their addictions, anxiety or depression. He then tells me of his work with “Music Support”. I have so much respect for him doing this. He’s seen the other side, so knows how to truly help. (Later, during the gig, he tells the crowd “Every tour we have a charity & the charity of choice on this tour is Music Support…they’ve already helped some of the survivours from the there are some signed drum heads & all the money will go to Music Support..)
I have a brief chat with Leigh ; she asks how i’m doing (health wise….she was very supportive to me when i was first diagnosed…. ) then we go take our positions up on balcony. I see many friends rushing in for those first row positions.
The opening act tonight are “The Vryll Society”. My first time seeing them. Their singer looked like a cross between Liam Gallagher & Tim Burgess…but didn’t sound anything like either of them πŸ˜‰ The first song was quite cool. But overall, they didn’t really do much for me (sorry). Anyway, lets face it, like many other here tonight, i’m here for the mighty Skunk Anansie…

House lights go down & there’s the familiar sirens sound over the pa. The guys casually walk on stage to cheers from the crowd. As ever, the biggest cheers are when skin appears πŸ™‚ The go straight into “And Here I Stand” then “Intellectualise My Blackness” from their debut album all those years ago. They’re both still so powerful & relevant after all this time. The crowd is already jumping along like crazy. Skin seems to have an extra skip to her step & is feeding off this great audience. Already, i can tell this is gonna be one of those really special gigs.

Skin introduces Eri as she comes over to middle of the stage. She says ” This is from the acoustic thing we did & it’s quite poignant tonight.” (I can see her gritting her teeth as she says it. This is “I Will Break You “. I love this song nowadays. The vocal “fight” between Skin & Eri is kinda mesmerizing.
Damn it’s a LOUD crowd tonight. Skin seems impressed saying “There’s so much love in this room”. She also has a question…the immortal one; ” Are you ready to dance ?!!”. If you’ve seen Skunks before, you’ll already know it’s the classic “Twisted (Everyday Hurts)”

They carry on with another “bouncy” song, “My Ugly Boy”. It’s hard to believe this song is already seven years old already ! Next we get an absolute classic from their debut album, namely, “Weak”. After all these years, i’m still astounded by the quality of skins vocals. After “Hedonism” she notices a wee girl on someones shoulders & asks how old she is. She’s only 10 ! Skin then says “Start em young,that’s what i say” & dedicates the next song, “Victim” to her πŸ™‚ If ever there was some good parenting, this girls parents certainly are good. They chose wisely taking her to a Skunk show πŸ™‚
We get a few more of the more “recent” songs which just seem to fly by. All the time, the energy & love in the room is just amazing. When they get to “God Loves Only You”, skin basically says how appropriate this song is in the light of recent events. For myself, this is the song that stood out the most tonight. I don’t mind saying i had a few tears of joy for this one.

The next one, “We Don’t Need Who You Think You Are” probably works in a similar way. Standing against the terrorists & others such as Mr Trump. You could go so far as to say “Yes It’s Fucking Political” πŸ™‚ The main set finishes with “Little Baby Swastikkka”. Skin comes out into the crowd & gets everyone to crouch down. As ever, she has the crowd in the palm of her hand. It’s about mutual respect. I bloody love it when i see her doing this. When she gets the crowd to jump up, she stays in there amongst them. I briefly cast my mind back to a few days previous when a certain American guy split the audience down the middle & walked amongst the crowd. But he didn’t stay there for the going crazy part. Think of that as you will, but i’ll say skin has more balls than him πŸ˜‰

In a slight change to the setlist, the first encore is “The Skank Heads “. The adrenaline rush is amazing. They then slow things down with the beautiful “Tracy’s Flaw”. After that, skin says that Mark has something to say. As i previously wrote, he mentions the Manchester bombing from a few days back & how they’re doing a charity thing called “Music Support” this gets big cheers. Skin then introduces the band members ; “The Horse Boy “, “One of the best bass players….on this stage”, “In the beautiful corner,Eri” , “Big love goes out to our manager Leigh”, ” Last & exceptionally least…is this lovely streak of piss….the riff meister himself..Aaace !”. They all do a little jam & then it’s my fave Skunk song ever : “Charlie Big Potato”

They briefly go off stage & i’m sure they’re lapping up the adulation from this fantastic crowd tonight. What a night it has been. Of course, that’s not the end though. We get one more final song “You’ll Follow Me Down”.Β Β Β (last pic stolen from Skunks FB page πŸ˜‰ )
Tonight has been magical. After seeing loads of Skunk gigs over the years, i’d say this was the best one ever. Band & audience were as one. We all showed that terrorists cannot & will not beat us. As the crowd is leaving, we notice someone flicking the Vs at me ! I send the same message back to him πŸ™‚ It’s my mate Nomis from Leeds πŸ˜‰
We then start making our way downstairs & bump into him half way. Have a quick chat & then Nom & Liz are off back home.
I finally get the chance to have a chat with Anastasia ! Our paths have not crossed since we first met in Portugal quite a few years back. I guess i was the first Skunk Head she met πŸ˜‰ Just a shame we didn’t get a photo together tonight πŸ™ Cass takes everyone up to the bar. Tonight it’s a free bar! Maybe that’s why it was so busy up there haha. No, they look after their fans πŸ™‚ I also get to catch up with Laura. Again, so good seeing you my dear πŸ™‚Β 

As is always the case, the band get swamped by their friends & fans. I hang back as always πŸ˜‰ But saying that, we did get a couple of nice photos & i kinda got one with Anastasia when she did i nice photo-bomb out of Eris shoulder lol


I was getting tired so had to leave. Sorry for not saying goodbye to everyone. Couldn’t believe it when we got outside; it was chucking it down. At least i’d got a close hotel. Jim walked with me to said hotel ( “….make sure Simon gets to his hotel ok…” ). We have a quick chat and arrange a meet up next morning. He then leaves to go to the guest house he’s staying at…. that has budgerigars ! lol
Following day i suggest he has breakfast here…well, i had prepaid for 4 of them (The 2nd day i didn’t bother staying. With the Cranberries cancelling, there was nothing to keep me in Manchester). It was a decent breakfast. Said our goodbyes at the train station & now looking forward to Camden Rocks next weekend.

Skunk Anansie , Pearl Harts, Brixton Academy, London 4-2-17


Went down London a day before gig to meet up with some old school Skunk friends. (As ever, i stayed at “Hotel Rob” πŸ˜‰ ) Had a nice meal at Belgo, Soho. Great to catch up & as it wasn’t gig day, it was all nice & relaxed. πŸ™‚DSC09187Β DSC09188Faiz was quite brave trying a new dish

Before setting off to London, the wheels were in motion for me to get a balcony seat (my tix were standing) courtesy of Leigh. I’d contacted Stumpy & he said to either ask for him at stage door or give him a ring around 6.30. Well, that was the START of it all. When we were having the meal, Julia passed me a note.
Basically, she’d been in touch with Ace & had arranged for us to go in for soundcheck tomorrow as a nice surprise ! How cool was that of her?

Gig day. We arranged to meet mid afternoon. Myself & Rob went to a bar in Brixton as he needed food. The Greggs sausage roll i had was enough for me πŸ™‚ From there went to the Academy. As expected, the majority of the Italian Skunk Army were already queued up. Rob asks me ” Do you know any of them?” My reply “Yeah a couple” πŸ˜‰ So went over to greet everyone. (Funny thing Rob said to me later in the day ; “I thought you said you only know a couple of them? Everyone was coming up & greeting you !” ). After that we started to walk to stage door. Who was walking towards us? Skin ! “Ello Simon! How are you? “. We had a brief chat about how everything’s going. Before she left, asked me if we were sorted to get in etc. Told her i’ve got Stumpys number & we’re just waiting for Julia & Nadine to arrive. Skin said she wouldn’t be long & if we’re still outside when she gets back, she’d walk us in. Off she trotts to meet the Italian Skunk Army at top of the road, before going on her errand.

Julia & Nadine were running a bit late so myself & Rob decided to wait for them. Then, who should come walking along? Erika !. We had a nice chat. She keeps up on my postings on FB & i told her the latest. Such a nice person. She soon went back in the venue & we continued to wait for the girls. Anyways, skin came back & said “I’ll take you in so you can get passes etc”. For a brief moment there, i was even wearing skins AAA laminate πŸ˜‰ We got passes from Stumpy, were showed the route through to front of house, then went back outside. By this time Julia & Nadine had arrived & were hanging with Leigh & Stumpy. Heard they were struggling with the internet connection for the FB live thing. After a short while, we all went back in & the girls got their passes. Whilst waiting, Mark walks by. He didn’t recognize me to start off lol We saw Ace & he said to go catering for a coffee or whatever, so we did just that. Later he joined us & we had a good old chat. A funny thing ; when he came into catering, he asked “Where’s Simon?!!” I was getting a coffee & pretty much stood right next to him! ( “…that bright yellow t-shirt doesn’t stand out enough..”) Then Cass popped in (From earlier comment “….when we’re in London, most of us go home for a while. Cass is the one who’s usually the last to get here…”). Already, the day has been super special & it’s about to get even better : we go through to watch the soundcheck.
They have a massive & impressive production with them this time. Great big video screens & some pretty special lighting. I’d go so far as to say it’s their best yet. (I’m pretty sure they wont be able to fit the production into all of the dates on the tour). The guys start jamming a few bits & it’s soon noticable there’s a problem with the bass sound. This is quickly sorted & they start playing songs. Whilst they’re deciding what to play next, totally unexpected, skin says ” You know what? Simon can choose ” (Fortunately i’m not so bumbling as when Ally of the Virginmarys asked similar question when he did a solo gig in Peterborough lol). I shout back ” Intellectualise !”. Cass then quips back “…i gave you a clue Simon!..” (he’d been running through the intro).Β DSC09216

Unfortunately it sounds rubbish as used my mobile phone to record it.
Later on, skin asked what else i’d like to hear! Anyone who knows me will know my fave Skunk song is “Charlie Big Potato”. But i couldn’t really expect them to do that. So i suggested ” 100 Ways “. I also love that song & it was a small payback from me to Julia for arranging this day (“100 Ways To Be A Good Girl” is Julias fave song).
Another really great moment during the soundcheck was when they played “I Will Break You”. Erika joins on this. Both her & skin have a “vocal duel” singing how they will break each other lol. But the best is that you can see what fun they’re having together. Huge smiles & skin getting a bit cheeking kicking Eris bum a couple of times πŸ™‚ DSC09229 DSC09225Also played during soundcheck were “Cheap Honesty” & ” Without You” + others.
Soon enough, the soundcheck is over & we decide to go find another place for food. The crowd/queue has grown significantly by now. Walking along i see a few friends who were not there earlier. One of which was Aliyah who doesn’t live that far from me. She took a selfie of us which i’m sharing.Β aliyas selfieΒ The others had got a bit ahead of me as i was gassing a bit. When i caught up, Julia said ” Did you see Laura?!?” Me “What? Where was she?” . I had to go back & see her, shes a great lass from Italy. I’ve Known her since the Skunk reunion at Water Rats in 2009. I was filming those gigs & gave her my ticket so she could get in (A bunch of people came over for the show even though it was sold out. I’ll always help/share where i can). We had a brief chat & then i had to catch up (again! lol) with the others.
Must confess, it did feel a little strange to be leaving the venue at that time & also knowing i didn’t need to worry about getting back in later. But at the same time, i just cannot queue up for hours like i used to as i just get tired due to the illness nowadays.
We went to a nice place called Cabana. I had “Guava-cue Chicken”. Flame grilled skewers ; “Sweet & fruity tropical barbecued chicken”. Was just the right amount.
We had a nice chat about how cool the day had already been & Julia said to me a couple of times ” Just relax! You don’t need to worry about missing anything”. Personally, i don’t think i was fretting much anyway πŸ˜‰

Myself & Rob leave the girls as we wanted to see the opening act “Pearl Harts”. Why is it there’s always a jobsworth security guy?! Trying to get to out seats he said ” You need the silver bracelet to go to seats”. We only had Access All Areas duh ! He wouldn’t listen so we went back to production office. Stumpy wasn’t about but a chap in there said ” Go via downstairs standing & take main stairs up. Should avoid the guy”. We tried that & guess what ? We came out at same place lol. Amazing thing was, Mr Jobsworth had a totally different attitude. Eventually he walked along the seats & found 2 with ” Reserved Clapham ” & he let us in…without the silver bracelet ! Dickhead ! ( I later see Leigh & even she had trouble with the guy & had to get silver bracelets)Β DSC09235
The two girls from Pearl Harts played a similar set to the other times i’ve seen them open for bands (Garbage etc). Dare i say it ? The song “Hit The Bottle” is already becoming a classic to me. Given the earlier circumstances, it’s hardly surprising πŸ˜‰ The two girls fill out their sound with some guitar loops/tapes which makes it all sound much bigger. The overall sound is a dirty rock n roll kinda thing. Their set flew by & i realised i’d not took hardly any photos & no videos at all. That’s a shame :-(. This is about the only one:DSC09237Β So to the mighty Skunk Anansie ! Lights go down, there’s cheers from crowd, white spotlights spinning around to start, which then turn to red & finally just one red spotlight on stage pointing upwards. Yes, it’s for the coolest dude in rock n roll, Mr Cass Lewis. He comes over & plays his intro to “And Here I Stand”. Such a timeless classic. Down comes the back drop, to reveal tonights massive production. When skin comes on stage you can hear the crowd volume just shoot up. Nope, it’s not enough she gestures πŸ™‚
Bloody great start i’d say.

After that, they go straight into “Intellectualise My Blackness”. On “Because of You”, Marks hitting those drums so hard. Skin really has powerful vocals on this. Dare i say it? Mark was on fire tonight…DSC09251

Next it’s the fun n games with Erika as they duel on the vocals. Whilst not as fun/unique as during the soundcheck, it’s still bloody great. I guess the smiles on the faces give that away.
“Twisted (Everyday Hurts)” has always been a fave live song of mine. Gawd knows how many times over the years i’ve been jumping around during that one. It does feel strange for me sometimes. I mean, i used to always be down the front, getting in the thick of it all. But i just cant nowadays….

Next we get “My Ugly Boy”. To me, probably their most poppy sounding song. Following it with “Weak” & “Hedonism” redeems them though πŸ˜‰DSC09256DSC09268
It’s funny how an old songs lyrics can still relate to the times of now. For instance, with all the B.S. from Trump nowadays, you could be forgiven for thinking “We Don’t Need Who You Think You Are” was written towards him. Following that with “Yes It’s Fucking Political” , there could be a message in there ?
During “Little Baby Swastikkka”, skin does the now expected visit into the crowd. Though tonight, there seems more members of the audience who DON’T get down when she asks them to. Either way, it’s still a great song to finish the set with. I see my mates Nom & Liz in this clip. Again, sorry we couldn’t get to meet this time mate.

When they come back for the encore, skinny has a right old rant about Brexit. “Fuck Brexit ! Me & my family are going nowhere! I’m British ! ” She doesn’t mince her words. Total respect to her.


A couple more modern songs follow & i’m then surprised they play “Charlie Big Potato “. I still will always prefer it to be played as an encore as the intro is a great build up to the song. Personal opinions aside, i’ll love that song where ever they put it in the set list. It’s just fantastic.

They come back for one more song “100 Ways to Be a Good Girl” & that’s it for the night. And what a night it was !
We go downstairs to meet Julia & Nadine before we all go up to the after show. (A little secret; i struggled with those stairs this time. My energy levels were depleted, even though i watched the show from seating). Damn that place was super busy as well ! Fortunately, Rob spotted a couple of settees that were available so we went there. It was all catching up with me tbh. Whilst sat there, Cass made his way over & sat on the back of settee whilst we had quite a deep chat (It’s the first time all the Skunk people have seen me since the proverbial shit hit the fan). As ever, he was charmed away by some young lady with drinks πŸ˜‰ But for me, we had a nice catch up. Eventually, i decide i’ve had enough & we try make our way through the throng. Skin is holding court with the Italians again & we continue by.( Julia later on ” Simon i’m impressed you passed by her” πŸ˜‰ ) I quickly had to have a word with Ace, to thank him for arranging the day. Final photo of the day/night was this :Β DSC09283

Skunk Anansie , O2 Forum, London , 5-2-16



The O2 Academy priority can be useful,but, they need to make everyone aware of it, or rather in this case which door its at! I’ve used it here a few times & we always queued at the side & then the queue gets split at the front. So you can imagine my annoyance after queuing for hours to find out they’d change the door they’re using now which is usually for guest passes etc. But luck was on my side as we still managed front row πŸ˜‰ Already the best thing about tonight is i’ll get to meet some of my friends fromΒ Β the old Skunk Board days. In the queue i met Audrey, Faizal, & Alex.Β DSC00221


Tonight we also get the support act ” Bones”. I really enjoyed their set & had to video a song :

Skunks set was the same as in Manchester. Everything seemed to flow a LOT better tonight. The crowd was pretty damn loud.

After the gig we went to a local bar & got nice group photoΒ DSC06009


Following that we went to somewhere else with the Dutch guys drinking late. Tonight was the first time i’ve known Rob to be “lost” in London. Google Maps is your friend though πŸ˜‰