Concert in Review: Skunk Anansie blurs distinction between performer and audience

Skunk Anansie Zappa Shuni Amphitheater, Binyamina August 20.

SKUNK ANANSIE vocalist Skin 370 (photo credit: Seth Vogelman)
SKUNK ANANSIE vocalist Skin 370
(photo credit: Seth Vogelman)
Although the ability of anyone to walk on water remains eternally in dispute, a miracle of sorts did take place on Tuesday night at the Zappa Shuni Amphitheater in Binyamina. In the middle of power ballad “Weak As I Am,” fiery Skunk Anansie vocalist Skin took a proverbial leap of faith and literally walked out into the audience atop the outstretched arms of fans who formed an impressively stable human floor.
It was only one of several peaks in the high-energy, two-hour, 20-song sold-out show, the first of two concerts the British agit-punk quartet gave in Israel this week, and their first appearance here since their late 1990s heyday. Most of the crowd must have been in grade school back then, but they enthusiastically sang along with all of the fist-pumping anthems the band threw their way.
And surprisingly, guitarist Ace, bassist Cass, drummer Mark Richardson and the striking Skin, although now in their early 40s, are probably more synched, powerful and riveting to watch than they have ever been.
Whether spewing the impassioned rants of “Political” and “This is Not A Game” – which was preceded by an introduction from Skin in which she said that apparently, the band’s decision to perform in Israel had turned into something “f*** political” – or displaying their pop versatility with their biggest ‘90s hit, “Secretly,” and the delicate “Follow Me Down,” the band interacted like a well-meshed machine infuse with spirit.
They even proved they were human, with bassist Cass momentarily forgetting his lines to the first of the band’s three encore songs, “Tear The Place Up.” His mates cracked up – and then they tore up the joint. For the final song, “Little Baby Swastikka,” another ‘90s favorite, Skin prodded the audience down at the front to kneel down, and she walked through the crowd as they made a path for her, and the venue’s security guards panicked. With a friendly glare, she turned back to guards and said, “You don’t need to come, they’ll [the audience] take care of me.”
And they did, near the song’s end lifting her above their heads and wave after wave, sending Skin back to the stage. It was the ultimate display of the bond between performer and audience, and on this triumphant night, Skunk Anansie displayed how easy it is to break down the barrier that separates the two.