Skunk Anansie // Shelf Lives // Holocene // Live Review // O2 Academy // Oxford

Doors opened at seven and it wasn’t long before there was a sizeable crowd in place ready for the first band of the night Holocene.

Now Holocene is a band formed by the lead singer, Sian Kelly, and is described as having a mix of influences from grunge through to jazz. She was joined on drums by Matt Williams, and what was apparent right from the off, is that Sian has one helluva voice. When the Irish tones come through it is just magical.

We are treated to songs from their debut EP ‘Kiss Me In The Dark’, as well as a few others including a wonderful piano version of the Duran Duran classic ‘Rio’ which was wonderful.

This is definitely a band I will keep an eye on.

Setlist:- ‘Give Me Life/Give Me Love’, ‘Make Believe’, ‘Fossils’, ‘Garden Of Eyes’, ‘Delicate Way To Die’, ‘Rio’ (Duran Duran Piano Cover), ‘Kiss Me In The Dark’.



Next up after a stage clearance, we had the Canadian/British post-punk band Shelf Lives. They took to the stage. Well one of them did, Jonny, and bathed in red light, treated us to an eclectic guitar mixed intro before Sabrina bounded onto the stage and they exploded into ‘I Don’t Like Me You’. “I hate people and people hate me” was the cry from the stage.

Now Sabrina is certainly no shrinking violet on stage, constantly taunting the crowd with her full-on approach and high-octane songs. If you like bands like Hands Off Gretel, then you will love these guys. She really is a powerhouse and livewire on stage.

We are treated to the full repertoire of songs from their album ‘Yes, Offence’ as well as a track called ‘Violet’. This was a high-energy performance and paved the way perfectly for Skunk Anansie to do their thing. Well worth catching if they are playing near you.

Set list:- ‘Intro’, ‘I Don’t Like Me You’, ‘Shock Horror’, ‘Call Me’, ‘Shelf Life’, ‘Mark Twain’, ‘I Don’t Think I’ll Go Out Today’, ‘She Gon’ Kill Ya’, ‘Violet’, and ‘Fighting That Bitch’.



Now around ten past nine, The Skunk Anansie took to the stage as the lights were flashing on and off, and suddenly we got our first glimpse of the amazing Skin as she entered onto the stage like a wild stallion, jumping all over which the crowd loved.

She appeared wearing a headdress that reminded me of Maleficent, as in the way the horns were protruding skywards. This just looked amazing as she broke into ‘Yes! It’s Fuckin’ Political’, which had the crowd singing back to her in unison. This was certainly a high tempo and explosive start to the night. This is quickly followed by Skin coming to the edge of the stage on the platform that had been placed there to get the crowd moving along to the addictive beat of ‘And Here I Stand’.

Time to remove the headdress, before a wonderful rendition of ‘Because Of You’ with a huge crescendo through the chorus.

For the next hour and a half we are treated to pretty much a full back catalogue of wonderful tunes from albums such as ‘Paranoid & Sunburnt’, ‘Stoosh’, Post Orgasmic Chill’, ‘Wonderlustre’, ‘Black Traffic’, and ‘Anarchytecture’.

Massive hits such as ‘Hedonism’ and ‘Weak As I Am’ are just part of this impressive and influential back catalogue of tunes and the full house lapped up every single bit.

This was indeed a greatest hits performance from one of the most influential bands of the 90s and beyond. The musicianship was excellent, and the voice and performance from Skin was just spectacular.



Set list:- ‘Yes! It’s Fuckin’ Political’, ‘And Here I Stand’, ‘Because Of You’, ‘I Can Dream’, ‘Weak As I Am’, ‘Twisted’, ‘My Ugly Boy’, ‘Can’t Take You Anywhere’, ‘Love Someone Else’, ‘I Believed In You’, ‘God Loves Only You’, ‘Hedonism’, ‘(Can’t Get By) Without You’, ‘This Means War’, ‘Intellectualise’, ‘Tear The Place Up’, ‘Charlie Big Potato’, ‘Piggy’, ‘Brazen – Highway To Hell’, and ‘Skankheads/Little Baby Swastikka’


If you get the chance to catch any of the above bands live then you should do it, each one is different, but each one is well worth checking out. A wonderful night filled with hits throughout.


Review & Photography: Will Carter

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