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)
- Black Irony – (Kinshi, 2016)
- 63 – (Do You Believe in the West World, 1982)
- Solace – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
- A Thing of Beauty – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
- My Own Invention – (Live from the Lyceum, 1981)
- For Whom the Bells Toll – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
- Original Sin – (7” Single, 1980)
- Poppies – (He Who Dares Wins, 1982)
- Pariah – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
- Do You Believe in the West World? – (Do You Believe in the West World, 1982)
- Girl – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
- Rebel Without a Brain – (7” Single, 1981)
- Freaks – (Do You Believe in the West World, 1982)
- You Can’t Stop What’s Coming – (Utsukushi-sa / A Thing of Beauty, 2020)
- Day of the Dog – (Kinshi, 2016)
- Judgement Hymn – (Do You Believe in the West World, 1982)
- Legion – (Sensou, 2018)
- Omen of the Times – (Aria of the Devil, 1998)
- Incinerator – (Heiwa, 2019)
- 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!! ☹☹….
3 thoughts on “Live Review: Theatre of Hate – 229 The Venue London [19/12/2021]”
Never heard of them Marko but boy do I love them! Great blog my friend! 🤘🏽
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Great review. Sax player is Clive Osborne, by the way.
I’m afraid I’m finding it funny that two great songs (Legion and Incinerator) that have been staples of the ToH live set for 40 years are mysteriously attributed to a recent Japanese release. Eastworld doesn’t get performed a great deal these days. Relieved to hear Propaganda, as they omitted it from the set at the previous Venue 229 gig.
My mate reckoned he saw Segs from Ruts DC watching backstage. Anyone able to verify?
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Thanks for correction on line-up – I’ve amended the blog accordingly.
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