COLOGNE The band Skunk Anansie showed what they are able to do on Saturday at the Kölner E-Werk. The singer Skin alias Deborah Anne Dyer is as provocative as 25 years ago.
At 10:18 pm, they're playing a new song. It's called "This Means War". And that's not just a bit of anger, a subtle uneasiness or a subliminal rumbling. This song is a veritable declaration of war. And that's exactly what it sounds like. It's like a tornado of music that takes everything with it. Or an army transformed into sounds. Brachial, threatening, infernal, loud. Sound mortars igniting, ripping open soul ditches, rolling down everything that stands in the way of humanity. Does Deborah Anne Dyer declare war on war here? Or does Skunk Anansie's front woman, better known as Skin, simply want to express: "Better not mess with me“?
Twenty-five years ago the band started to throw a radical alternative at the Brit pop white male mid-twenties with identical haircuts. From King's Cross, "the ass of London", multi-ethnic, with anti-racist, political and feminist lyrics and music inspired by Rage Against The Machine, Nirvana, Mother's Finest and Jimi Hendrix. And with a singer who - shaved head, black and bisexual - wasn't at all mainstream. And she also liked to provoke in other ways. "We play Clit Rock", she explained at that time.
Singer Deborah Anne Dyer speaks directly
Meanwhile she is 51 years old and still one who speaks plain language. "We're from the UK - the fucking government makes me sick," says the Brexit opponent in the sold out E-Werk. And: racism, sexism, homophobia still exist today: "We must not tolerate all this!“
Even those who are not primarily interested in such statements will get their money's worth in less than two hours. Together with drummer Mark Richardson, bassist Richard Lewis ("Cass") and guitarist Martin Ivor Kent ("Ace"), the woman delivers a powerful, energetic show.
Sometimes in imaginative, extravagant costumes - as a knight from outer space or with black feathered shoulder pads - but always with a fantastic voice that covers the whole spectrum from melting sweetness to explosive rage and effortlessly swings up to the highest heights to fathom the deepest depths. The anniversary tour offers old, new songs and completely new songs, whereby not only such hits as "Weak" or "Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)" are frantically celebrated. Also "This Means War" and the likewise new "What You Do for Love" (in the encore block) are met with great enthusiasm. A hot evening not only because of the temperatures.
(Original text: Susanne Schramm; Translation: Mareike Graepel)