Live Review: Theatre of Hate – 229 The Venue London [19/12/2021]

Theatre of Hate in comparison to their support band Spizzenergi were very much the dark side of post punk.  Their music is cold, heavy, bleak, desolate and unyielding (reminds me of a northern industrial town in 19th century), and I haven’t even got to the lyrics 😊 but for all that has many merits!

A quick 10 date ‘A Thing of Beauty’ tour 2021 ends in London – well you gotta move fast these days else we will be in another covid induced lockdown before you know it!

The band is stable these days – supporting Kirk is his original bass player Stan Stammers (resplendent in his Clockwork Orange-esque bowler and naughty t-shirt), guitarist Adrian Portas, Clive Osbourne on Sax and drummer Chris Bell – the band are as close to as good as it will ever get I suspect.  A tight knit unit.

Kirk is still the leader but tonight was carrying a recently sustained knee injury so less able to strut his stuff, no matter though coz Stan more than made up for it with his wonderful full frontal bass attack stomping about the stage whilst Adrian and John were rooted stage right.  I can’t think of any other band that has this unique noise (especially Clive’s eerie Sax), melodies that plough their own ghostly furrow, which is even more surprising given Kirk’s other more popular band Spear of Destiny sound far more accessible.

In the main the atmosphere was good natured although it nearly went off in the mini mosh pit a couple of times. Luckily there was plenty of room (lots of covid absentees I suspect) for everyone to find their place and enjoy the gig in their own way.  Theatre of Hate have a small but loyal following.  The crowd was male prominent and certainly a motley collection of various non-conformist types to whom the music speaks volumes.  Who wants to be a normal? 

Tonight’s set is half rooted at the beginning in the early 80s interspersed with his new Japanese titled output since 2016 (refer to the setlist).  Admittedly I’m not too familiar with all the songs on tonight’s bill but it’s easy to tell all songs were penned from the same mind, the newer songs sequence perfectly.  Theatre of Hate are as relevant now as back in the day still flying the post-punk wave vibrantly.

Setlist (click on link to watch the video on YouTube)

  1. Black Irony – (Kinshi, 2016)
  2. 63 – (Do You Believe in the West World, 1982)
  3. Solace – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
  4. A Thing of Beauty – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
  5. My Own Invention – (Live from the Lyceum, 1981)
  6. For Whom the Bells Toll – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
  7. Original Sin – (7” Single, 1980)
  8. Poppies – (He Who Dares Wins, 1982)
  9. Pariah – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
  10. Do You Believe in the West World? – (Do You Believe in the West World, 1982)
  11. Girl – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
  12. Rebel Without a Brain – (7” Single, 1981)
  13. Freaks – (Do You Believe in the West World, 1982)
  14. You Can’t Stop What’s Coming – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
  15. Day of the Dog – (Kinshi, 2016)
  16. Judgement Hymn – (Do You Believe in the West World, 1982)
  17. Legion – (Sensou, 2018)


  1. Omen of the Times – (Aria of the Devil, 1998)
  2. Incinerator – (Heiwa, 2019)
  3. Propaganda – (B-side of Westworld 7”, 1982)

Lots of the songs begin with a throbbing base and drums before the guitars kick in e.g. ‘Propaganda’.  ‘Freaks’ is introduced as a pre ‘pc woke’ song and from that point onwards the tempo was upped, the final songs with wailing audience sing-along participation.

Overall a very interesting evening out, and for the price of the tickets an absolute steal.

Marko 20 Dec 2021

Ps – I’ve got a grumble with Kirk – I DM’d him on Twitter asking for ‘Eastworld’ to which he said “consider it done”.  Did they play it – not fucking likely!! ☹☹….

Spizzenergi Concert review (229 The Venue, London – 19 December 2021)

Finally, 19 months after their last gig, Spizzenergi finally gig again, this time supporting Theatre of Hate.

And to mark this special occasion Spizz (Ken Spiers) finally gets to sing ‘Christmas in Denmark Street’ for the first time ever live on stage!  Plus, we also get to hear their new single a cover of Bowie’s ‘Valentine’s Day’ that captures the spirit of the original but with a new-wave front end. 

The show, starts in style, where it all began way back in 1978 with their first ever single ‘6000 Crazy’.  Spizz hits the stage all in Spizzenergi branded black cloths but lit up like a Christmas tree with his tell-tale glow in the dark scrolling text belt buckle, shoes and multi coloured rings (which are tossed into the crowd after a few numbers).  Obviously beamed down from the starship Enterprise Spizz was akin to a stick of radioactive Day-Glo about to explode (which is probably as well that he didn’t as the covid years have not been very kind to his waistline 😊.. ).

Spizzenergi were down to a 4-piece for this gig: Spizz, Luca, Ben and a new drummer but they sounded damn fine to me, loads of energy and playfulness.   Luca is reminding me more and more of Paul Raymond the late UFO guitarist in both cloths and hair, whilst Ben has a period Marilyn Manson cut with a rock band tattoos and stance.

Setlist (click on links to watch the videos on YouTube)

  1. 6000 Crazy – (SpizzOil EP, 1978)
  2. Shallow End – (Denmark St B-side, 2020)
  3. City of Eyes – (7” Single, 2014)
  4. European Heroes – (Do a Runner, 1980)
  5. Mega City 3* (7” single, 1982)
  6. Valentine’s Day – (Single, 2021 – David Bowie cover)
  7. Here Come the Machines – (7” single, 2017)
  8. Red and Black – (Do a Runner, 1980)
  9. Soldier Soldier – (Spikey Dream Flowers, 1981)
  10. Virginia Plain – (Spizz History, 1982 Roxy Music cover)
  11. Clocks Are Big – (Do a Runner, 1980)
  12. Where’s Captain Kirk? – (7” Single, 1979)
  13. Christmas in Denmark Street – (Single 2020)
  14. I Fought the Law – (The Bobby Fuller Four cover)

*  Released under Spizzenergi2 name

At the front the diehards were dancing away blissfully ignoring and putting two fingers up to the latest Omricon variant.  I sense the crowd was down on numbers given all the government doom and project fear, but those of us who turned up had a mighty good time, Let’s face it Spizzenergi are a fun band to see.  A bit of audience banter for good measure and then stopping ‘Virginia Plane’ in its tracks when we failed as one to shout the title loud enough – we were given 3 attempts to redeem ourselves however 😊.

‘Soldier Soldier’ would have horrified my American friends – Spizz kicking and stamping on the American flag (I think you’d be in jail if you did that in certain parts of the States!!), it is however a powerful chord driven song.  Obviously the crowd go into overdrive the minute they hear those inescapable bass notes that open ‘Where’s Captain Kirk’.  We get a choice for the finale – ‘The Model’ or ‘I Fought the Law’ – alas for me on this occasion the law won!!  All in all a wonderful 45 minute set and for the price of the tickets more than value for money!  If you’ve never seen then I suggest you do, you won’t be disappointed.

Marko – 20 Dec 2021