The opening track on both 25LIVE@25 and their mammoth third album Post-Orgasmic Chill, the track opens to a pulsating, synth-laden drum’n’bass beat before exploding into huge, Zeppelin-esque riffs.
“It’s always been a huge live favourite with our audience, where it will either smash the gates open at the start of a set or destroy the stage at the end,” says Ace. “It’s a song that seems to take on many elements of the band musically, emotionally and lyrically. ‘Charlie’ sums up a lot of our attributes in one go. It’s also probably the one I am most proud of.”
Formed in 1994, Skunk Anansie exuded a strong sense of individuality from the start, shunning the Britpop mould of white 20-something men with guitars for a glorious mix of race, gender, sexuality, culture and music influences. Untethered by any scene allegiances, they powered ahead, forming their own wild sound and image: agile, gritty, politically-charged “clit rock”; a throw-away term coined by Skin.
Their notorious live presence earned them a record deal on just their second gig, and later on saw them become the first international multi-racial band to tour South Africa, where they played three sold-out arena shows. Their first Glastonbury slot came just over a year since formation, and only four years later the band were invited back to headline the festival.
Establishing themselves as one of the most unique rock bands of the past three decades, their career has seen them score numerous Top 40 singles and Top 10 albums, sell millions of albums around the world, share stages with David Bowie and U2, and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Nelson Mandela with Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and Michael Jackson.
Lead singer Skin was also recently honoured with the Inspirational Artist award at the annual Music Week ‘Women In Music’ award ceremony. She was presented the award by Nadine Shah and received a standing ovation from the packed room in recognition of her career and hugely influential presence through the years.
While scenes rise and fall, and sounds come and go, outsiders like Skunk Anansie have continued to enjoy a special kind of longevity, standing the test of time as a thrillingly singular act, enjoying a spectacular international career as trailblazing, multi-platinum-selling, award-winning Brit rockers.
Twenty-five years after they exploded from the backrooms of London, Skunk Anansie are more potent and more essential than they’ve ever been.
And 25LIVE@25is a living, breathing, in-your-face document, proving that there is and always will be only one Skunk Anansie.