Blimey, 35 years since ‘One Eyed Jacks’ was released – time flies eh! I was looking forward to seeing them at Stamford Bridge (given Kirk’s Chelsea allegiance) but that sold out and the gig was moved to the student union at ULU – a bigger but much grubbier venue with a piss poor in-house lighting rig if my memory serves me well.
So, on a rainy Saturday my mate and I arrived just in time to see both support acts (see the end of the blog for my comments on these). Off course the main attraction was hearing ‘One Eyed Jacks’ in full as it’s got some splendidly lavish tunes and starts off with a barnstormer ‘Rainmaker’ which had the mosh pit flailing about immediately the opening chords were struck. Luckily, I was against the barrier, center stage, in front of Kirk so the majority of the crowd surges were not really a problem.
The band, dressed all in black, came on stage at 9:20 for a rollicking 1½ hour set. Kirk in his signature 4” turn-up jeans and bleached blonde hair certainly looked up for it from the first. ‘All the Young Men’ followed and the crowed responded waving their arms around and singing along in unison. We then have a couple of more restrained numbers until the opening sounds of the anthemic ‘Liberator’ is unleashed on an ever-eager audience. Wow, the place is now both jumping and somewhat sweaty. Needless to say, we all got covered in beer spray from the mosh pit – but it’s a small price as everyone is having such a joyous time. The songs might be 35 years old but they still pack a fresh punch and resonate today as they did back then.
Set List (click on the links to view the video on my YouTube site)
- Rainmaker – (One Eyed Jacks, 1984)
- All You Young Men
- Everything You Ever Wanted
- Don’t Turn Away
- Prisoner of Love
- Playground of the Rich
- Forbidden Planet
- These Days Are Gone
- Grapes of Wrath – (Grapes of Wrath, 1983)
- Land of Shame – (Outland, 1987)
- Medievalists – (Tontine, 2018)
- The Wheel – (Grapes of Wrath, 1983)
- Mr. Livingstone I Presume – (Tontine, 2018)
- Soldier Soldier – (The Price You Pay, 1988)
- World Service – (World Service, 1985)
Kirk is ably supported by Craig Adams (bass) and Adrian Portas (guitar) sporting his trademark sleeveless leather waistcoat with Phil Martini (drums) and Steve Allan-Jones (keyboards) and Clive Osbourne (Sax etc.). All are in full flow tonight Kirk and Adrian swapping solos and riffs, and Clive adding haunting sax/flute to complement the mood of the songs. Kirk kept the between song banter to a minimum but he did give us plenty of chances to go mental and sing-along.
Weirdly the set ended with ‘Grapes of Wrath’ – not on the album – but what a fucking tune! The 6-song encore paid homage to some classics from the mid-80s plus the two stand out tracks from last year’s Tontine LP. ‘The Wheel’ and ‘World Service’ raised the roof – marvelous spine-tingling stuff with Kirk conducting the audience in unison. The band walked off stage to rapturous applause and a final bow from Kirk with a quick rendition of ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner’ (everyone joins in) and he’s off. All in all, a wonderful drink fueled evening! Keep up the good work chaps, till next time!
The Support Acts
Feather Trade a young trio from America came on for a quick 30 mins providing a wall of noise.
It was good to see Derek Forbes & the Dark as the next support act. This rather older trio of Drums, Bass and Synth, provided some 80’s pre stadium rock Simple Minds tunes which were a joy to listen to. Brucie bonus, I got a broken drumstick!
Marko [1 October 2019]