Live Review – Skunk Anansie, Gen and the Degenerates and Holocene live at Leeds O2 Academy

Back into Leeds tonight at the start of a small run of gigs over the next week(ish), it’s odd how they always manage to batch up isn’t it? We’re hitting the tiles to check out a band that’s recently caught the eye of us at RGM Towers called Gen and the Degenerates for the 1st time live after being impressed with whats out there on the socials and it’s them I’m going to concentrate on from tonight’s trio of bands.

1st up on support is girl/boy dup Holocene, a sort of reverse The White Stripes setting up the tone for tonight with a set containing decent dark grungy pop that’s not really explored by bands currently and I have to say their cover during the set, the reimagining of Duran Duran’s Rio was quite sublime.

The “Stars of the Show” were up next and oh my god….

The opener just scared half the audience to death, frozen from what they had just witnessed, stunned by the onslaught that just happened, Shock and Awe is a term that would explain the reaction. Gen certainly epitomises the term diva in her performance which as it turns out is completely the opposite to when she addresses the audience in-between songs especially while announcing she’s unpicking a wedgie whilst doing so, in fact, while we’re on the subject of clothing a special mention must be given to her dress for holding it all together tonight while she was spinning, kicking, rolling and bouncing – it’s a workout just watching her work the stage.

Just a couple more songs in and the band get to Girl God Gun, by this time they have already won the sizable crowd over and not only does said single go down an absolute storm, her message about trans people excluded from the Tories Anti Conversion Bill is understood loud and clear.

Following on, new song Wild Thing demonstrated the true power of Gens voice which backs up the front portrayed on stage, this is someone who can deliver on all fronts which when finishing off tonight’s set with Burn Your Pedestals, something Gen proclaims as their loudest, angriest song (she wasn’t kidding) it further backs this up, this band can clearly mix it with the best that Rock n Roll have to offer.

The shortish set left me wanting more, it was a wonderfully archaic yet orchestrated performance, fearless yet fearful. Gen discusses her non-binary status, another members bisexuality and the issues of trans people openly to the audience and you get a feeling that you’re watching a band for the 20’s that could do for those subgroups what bands like Frankie Goes To Hollywood did for the gay community in the 80’s – it’s straightforward, honest and unashamed for what they are.

Their music’s crossing as many boundaries as their collective genders do and the best way I could describe them it would probably be the result of if Doncaster’s Bang Bang Romero crashed into Guns N Roses and became one, it’s wild!

If you’re intrigued by what I written about them keep your eye on RGM as something will be happening as soon as it can be organised, the band are having a headline tour happening in the autumn, smaller venues obviously next time but as Gen says, more of the same just with added nakedness from the boys. 

Finally for me tonight I also got to see the fantastic Skunk Anansie once again on the final night of the British tour, it’s tough being a gig reviewer at times…
 There’s nothing really that you can add to what has already been said about Skunk Anansie, there’s a reason they still sell out decent-sized venues almost 30 years on, you get pretty much 2 hours of entertainment, Skin is still as stunning, fierce, powerful and energetic as she was in the 90’s and the band are still as perfect as they possibly could be.

If you have never seen them live before then what the hell is wrong with you?