Skin - Manchester Academy 3 - 29.11.05

Your correspondent was a massive Skunk Anansie fan. Saw them live 11 times, had every single they ever released, 3 albums (my fave being Stoosh) and had the Bjork single "Army Of Me" as it included an exclusive version by Skunk Anansie. Needless to say when they decided to split I was devastated. It just came out of the blue without any prior warning signs. 2003 saw Skin's debut album released, "Fleshwounds" was introspective, confessional and slow burned it's way into your subconscious.

The Amazonian beauty has decided to return with a low-key tour of intimate venues four months prior to her new album being released. Skin, still a striking beauty, bald, black, bisexual and very energetic for a woman fast approaching her 40s, she looks at least ten years younger, and is so full of vigour you're exhausted just watching her. In comparison to Ace, Mark and Cass her musicians lack that dynamic force.

Two years away from public view hasn't dampened her fan base's enthusiasm for. The fans many of whom are alarmingly young are rammed into the intimate surroundings of Academy 3. Wasting no time in unveiling new material, Skin performs two rocking songs, "She's On" and "Alone In My Room", a far cry from her subdued solo debut. Her voice raw with emotion, guitars screeching in a not dissimilar way to her former band. "Faithfulness" from "Fleshwounds" is a sober diatribe on relationships while "Weak", the Skunk Anansie powerballad, is given a bran new arrangement rendering it almost unrecognizable. Skin still bounds around the stage and is prone to jumping out into the crowd proving thankfully that age hasn't mellowed her.

"Just Let The Sun" is a self-proclaimed happy song with a gorgeous melody. A cover of Electronics "Getting Away With It" is the highlight of the night, a great version almost surpassing the original.

After deafening cries of "Skin" from the captivating crowd the rock chick returns for a double whammy of vintage hits beginning with "Trashed" which has Skin laying bare her soul, while "I Can Dream" is a Skunk Anansie melodic pop rock romp with playful lyrics and a chorus begging out to be sung. Her time on stage may be brief at 75 minutes, but her dedication to her craft is indisputable and next years larger tour is one not to be missed.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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