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)
6000 Crazy – (SpizzOil EP, 1978)
Shallow End – (Denmark St B-side, 2020)
City of Eyes – (7” Single, 2014)
European Heroes – (Do a Runner, 1980)
Mega City 3* (7” single, 1982)
Valentine’s Day – (Single, 2021 – David Bowie cover)
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.
A last-minute look in Classic Rock magazine for bands on tour and hey presto here we are in Southend to watch the outstanding and outlandish ‘The Darkness’. They have a short UK tour to promote their latest album ‘Motorheart’ and boy were they bloody good. The entire set was a roller coaster of fun and frolics and packed with enough Rock ‘n’ Roll anthems for everyone – I’ve still got a grin on my face from the show, it was epic.
Steve Harris’s British Lion were supposed to be support but pulled out to be replaced by Massive Wagons, something contractual apparently. However, watching the Wagons have to clear away their own kit after their short 30 minute set I’m guessing Steve didn’t fancy any of that thank you !! 😊😊.
There was plenty of standing room, a decent sized crowd of all ages, I’m probably guessing at 65% capacity, and seating probably 85% full. Mind you as Justin quite rightly pointed out it’s been a while and a lot of punters are still very wary of going out to crowded places, he thanked us accordingly.
A stripped-down set with an arc of horizontal lights across the stage, dalek style lights on the drum raiser for Rufus and 4 Laney speakers. Simple things that don’t distract the audience from the colourful and flamboyant Justin who more than makes up for drab backdrop. It was somewhat different to the 8 Marshall speaker stack that Massive Wagons used.
At 21:00 the bagpipes start wailing as the band comes on and launches into a new song ‘Welcome Tae Glasgae’ promptly followed up by crowd favourites ‘One Way Ticket’ and ‘Growing On Me’.
Justin starts the show in a black cowboy style shirt and the biggest black slick flares I’ve seen since the 70’s. Frankie wears a black polo neck and black leather jacket and trousers throughout the 1 hour 45-minute set. He must have been sweating under there! Dan also all in black with a biker jacket, Thin Lizzy t-shirt and skinny jeans. Rufus in shorts and t-shirt was buried behind the drum kit and hard to see, until his costume change but more of that later.
A very good stomping new song ‘It’s Love, Jim’ sees Justin top off proudly showing off his physique and countless tattoos. There can’t be any singers with Lowestoft (a tribute to their home town) proudly tattooed on their belly! For most of the subsequent set Dan starts the monster riffs and Justin dons the guitar halfway through for yet another stunning solo. They all work wonderfully as a unit and Frankie stays in the shadows looking cool for most of the time! Now that said in my eyes Justin is sort of morphing into Steve Tyler and I think Frankie and Richard Ayoade must have been separated at birth 😊.
Set List (Some songs are missing – click on link to view the video in 4k)
Welcome Tae Glasgae (Motorheart, 2021)
One Way Ticket (One Way Ticket to Hell… and Back, 2005)
There was plenty of banter with the crowd stage right with people shouting requests and Justin checking the set list to see where the song was – “Yeah, it’s the next one good call!” to Black Shuck. Justin set a rod for his own back as they kept shouting Black Shuck for every song 😊. Justin kept engaging with the crowd, he really is a great frontman. Very comfortable in his own skin, an extremely talented musician, ticks every cliched box for Rock Star looks and moves and does it all with the biggest smile on his face – you can tell he just loves every moment of it. There’s plenty of songs to show off his flawless falsetto, a couple of ballads and the rest is pure RnR genius.
Justin Hawkins changes to one of his trademark jumpsuits – this time a silver glittering tasselled number with a lions mane down the back, characteristic and unforgettable. A lot of ohh/ahh noise greets the (3 times) spoken word introduction to one of my favourites ‘Barbarian’ – check out the video link – we were having fun! The fun continued with him messing about in between songs where he starts playing a couple of Oasis riffs then a quick audience sing along to ‘Wonderwall’ – bizarre. More sing-a-longs to ‘Solid Gold’ – you know all the rude words (tee hee)
The rude version of ‘Get Your ‘fucking’ Hands Off My Woman’ sets up the final falsetto song ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ of the show, and it’s a while till they re-emerge for the encore. The delay wasn’t to milk the applause as they all turn up fully dressed for the final song (it’s kinda near Xmas after all) ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bell’s End)’. Justin in a glittery red catsuit and Santa hat; Rufus as a Xmas tree (don’t know how he even got on his drum seat); Frankie as some fat fairy and Dan being the sensible one in a Marshall Xmas jumper.
At the end the band throw plectrums to people they picked out (inc. yours truly) and trundle off after yet another wonderous performance. So, there you have it, The Darkness deliver incredibly catchy ass songs with wonderful riffs and leave grins on everyone’s faces. A masterclass from a tight and highly professional band, no one leaves disappointed. I will be back!
Marko – 22 November 2021
Must also mention Massive Wagons. I knew little about them but a bit of Googling tells me that this 5-piece from Lancaster have 5 studio albums and were formed in 2009. They did a power packed 30-minute set with the front man reminding me of Angry Anderson such was his pent-up energy. Alas the noise levels were too high for my liking and I could barely make out what ‘Baz’ Mills the singer was saying, let alone singing. The songs though were good enough for me to check this band out. Not totally sure of the set but ‘Bangin In Your Stereo’ and ‘In It Together’ were top notch and they certainly warmed up the audience for the main act. My advice to the band – give Baz a wide breath or risk getting your head knocked off with the mic stand – very impressively handled whilst going for his own rock star poses. You did good chaps.
A sold-out Alexandra Palace welcomed back the original line up of post punk pioneers Bauhaus with open arms. It was the Halloween weekend and London’s finest ‘undead’, resplendent in black, rose to the occasion. There were witches, Dracula’s, steam punks and walking dead in abundance, people dressed normally actually stood out in the crowd 😊.. The ladies (and a few blokes) must have spent many hours in make-up and hair to look as unique and good as they did.
Black was the predominant colour in audience, band and stage. The usual spotlights and strobes flashing across the stage and cavernous hall with the odd bit of red and blue hue on occasional songs. The set basically covered songs from their heyday 1980 – 1982. Dark, moody, and loud!
Bauhaus are: Daniel Ash – guitars, saxophone; Peter Murphy – Vocals; Kevin Haskins – drums; David J – bass
Prior to the band coming on stage at 8:40 the poor audience had to listen to 40 minutes of exceeding loud incomprehensible noise – image amp feedback mixed with the sound of an aircraft engine going into reverse on landing and the odd click of metal – atrocious!
They started off slowly with the droning guitar distortion on ‘Rose Garden Funeral of Sores’ and ‘Double Dare’ before the frenzied ‘In a Flat Field’ lifted the rhythm somewhat. More dark and broody songs came and went and then the almost danceable ‘Kick in the Eye’ got the audience on the move.
In fairness all their songs are reliant on Danial’s guitar heavy solo-less sounds and textures. None more so than the total classic that is ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ a macabre brooding slab of guitar and David J’s basic bass notes driving the song forever onwards.
Daniel Ash looked a picture – spikey hair, loud sunglasses and bedecked in a sparkling diamante leather jacket and necklace with multi zipped leather trousers (his second leather top had fluffy purple sleeves!). Pete Murphy also had a tight sparking top showing off his little ‘middle aged spread’ whilst David J had his trademark suit, red scarf and dark sunglasses.
Murphy enacted the songs theatrically striking the poses and stalking the stage, none more so than during ‘Stigmata Martyr’ when he enacted the Christ on cross scene next behind the drum kit. An intense performance by him all round.
The set list is below – click on the links to view the videos.
Rosegarden Funeral of Sores (Telegram Sam single B-side, 1980)
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything (The Sky’s Gone Out, 1982)
Murphy kindly sang half of certain songs at each stage edge for the benefit of the audience, and engaged them in the odd bit of singing. He also played melodica and extra percussion for an extended version of, for them a minor hit in the UK charts, on ‘She’s in Parties’. Murphy’s vocal performance was pretty darn good and held up well in the hallows of the venue.
Bauhaus closed, all systems firing, with ‘Dark Entries’ after about 70 minutes before returning to do a short stint of three covers (all be it classics), strange given they have many of their own songs they could have played, alas my favourite ‘Lagartija Nick’ was nowhere to been seen – a bit too quick in tempo I guess.
Then they tripped off and returned for a 2nd encore of ‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything’ with Pete playing guitar for the first time.
Not much banter or sing-a-longs but the audience were enchanted, mesmerised and captivated in equal measure – all together now “Oh Bela, Bela’s undead.”
Finally, after nearly 2 years (thank you covid!!) I eventually get to see Patti Smith again. She is much as I remember, scruffy long grey hair, minimal make up, slept in ill-fitting kind of cool clothes (I’m sure they are quite expensive) and although now 74 she seems to have looked the same for the last 20 odd years.
Howls of approval, from a near capacity RAH, as Patti walks on stage with regular stalwarts Jay Dee Daugherty and Lenny Kaye. They are supplemented with her daughter Jesse on piano and son Jackson on guitar.
Patti has presence in abundance and her voice is unmistakable. Physically still strong and emotionally connected to a devoted audience. I still can’t fathom how she has become associated with the “punk legend and poet laureate” moniker as her music is certainly not of that genre, poetry on the other hand she excels at. I guess you could describe her as an American national treasure.
She kicks off with ‘Dancing Barefoot’, then the reggae beats of ‘Redondo Beach’, dedicated to the late Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. In fact, strangely enough given her extensive back catalogue the band do many covers including ones from Rolling Stones (dedicated to the late legend Charlie Watts), The Who, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and of course Them’s ‘Gloria’ which she has appropriated for herself.
In-between songs we get treated to lengthy monologues both informative and witty, to an entranced crowd hanging on her every word. She talks about American revolutionary history, the founding fathers and political activist Thomas Paine and his travails in America/UK/France (he seemed to be imprisoned rather a lot 😊). She jokes about her lack of sleep and the ITV3 detective shows that kept her going, ink stains on her sleeve just like Mozart and Beethoven at parties so she’s in good company. Says go visit Bunhill Fields where Daniel Defoe, John Bunyan and William Blake are buried and deals with audience questions e.g. “How do you stay so cool?” “Sorry, It’s genetic.”.
Set List(Click on the 5 coloured links to view the YouTube video of song)
Highlights for me are the energetic ‘Free Money’, My Blakean Year, the era defining ‘Gloria’ and ‘Pissing In a River’. Lowlight was a rather listless version of ‘I’m Free’ from Lenny.
She commands centre stage for the entire concert, elegantly reciting or stomping with arms flailing – a mighty presence to behold. For the quieter songs her voice is gravelly yet monolithic. Luckily the sound at the RAH was relatively modest for a gig and she was never drowned out by guitars or drums. The set made up mainly of 70’s based songs from her heydays. Mind you there are many notable exceptions which I would have preferred to have been played rather than so many covers, but hey that’s just my opinion. A couple of mentions and two songs written by her beloved husband Fred Sonic Smith and loving interaction with her children during them.
Gloria got everyone off their feet dancing and stomping to the pagan/shamanic beat, a great way to end the show. The final encore was a manic version of The Who’s ‘My Generation’ – the only difference no one destroyed anything although Patti did intentionally break all her guitar strings. Very Rock ‘n’ Roll for a 74 year old!
An excellent evening – thank you Patti and your band.
Marko – 6 October 2021 Ps – the merchandise was shocking – only one t-shirt at £40 and it really was a piss poor design!!
Now, before I start, I’d like to add that Steve is by far the greatest living prog legend, bless him for keeping the 70’s Genesis flag flying high. He is ably supported by wonderfully talented musicians and has at his feet a prog back catalogue to die for. Let’s face it Genesis were at the forefront of progressive rock music, supplemented by theatricals, and wrote the finest spine tinglingly (I think I just made that word up folks!) majestic songs with huge sonic landscapes.
With no hope of the original members getting back together Steve is doing a sterling job of giving the people what they want. Year after year his Genesis Revisited tours seem to get better and bigger and are selling out wherever he goes. A testament to both his music and that of the prog masters.
As for the band, all excellent musos to a man. My only reservation is with Nad on lead vocals. Great bloke that he is his voice certainly isn’t which is painfully obvious on songs like ‘More Fool Me’, the opening of ‘Dancing with a Moonlight Knight’. He simply can’t hit the higher notes and his pitch is all wrong. He manages to get away with it on the louder passages in songs where a strong voice is required. He looks the part and needs to ‘let loose’ a bit more to become a more central character in the songs. Some songs need to be ‘acted out’ so use the costumes and occasionally go centre stage?
My only other gripes are the drum solo (very 70’s 😊, and the absolute mullering of ‘I know What I like’ where the band kind of go for a long self-indulgence jam (think Neil Young mixed with a jazzy Steely Dan) – sorry chaps it doesn’t work for me.
Set timings were 7:45 – 20:36 and 21:00 – 22:40.
Another year and the ‘Genesis Revisited’ saga rolls into another gear and Southend is at full capacity to welcome Steve. Steve is the torchbearer of the Genesis legacy, each year touring the world and to his credit constantly changing the setlist he plays for each tour. The current tour pays homage to his past and provides a platform for his current activities. The new stuff has all the familiar Hackett trademarks of melody shifts, insightful lyrics and delicate guitar solos.
The tried and trusted band of Nad Sylvan (vocals), Roger King (keyboards), Rob Townsend (sax/flute/keyboard), Jonas Reingold (bass/guitar) and newbie Craig Blundell (drums) are on top form tonight, each contributing fully on a note perfect night. Also, his sometime collaborator Amanda Lehmann (guitar and vocals) performed for the 1st set only.
The show was split into two halves – kicking off with ‘Spectral Mornings’ and then onto ‘Selling England’. Opener ‘Every Day’ is a rollicking tune with riff, harmonies and a solo to die for – a perfect start. Steve played the majority of the album and also treated us to 3 tracks from the new LP ‘At The Edge Of Light’. Steve engaged the audience between every song giving us a little antidote or insight into the songs. He also liberally dusted off his fingers with talc – sticky business being a guitar maestro! We had the D.H. Lawrence inspired ‘The Virgin And The Gypsy’ sung by Craig Blundell, ‘Tigermoth’, a splendid rendition of ‘Spectral Mornings’ with that hypnotic riff and then a ‘Foxtrot’ treat with ‘Horizons’ on 12 string acoustic. To finish the first half, the First World War inspired ‘Clocks – The Angel Of Mons’ – with an overlong drum solo that seemed to go on forever – sorry chaps not a fan.
Set List – (Click on the link to watch the video)
1st Set: Spectral Mornings 40TH Anniversary & At The Edge Of Light highlights
Every Day – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
Under the Eye of the Sun (At the Edge of Light, 2018)
Fallen Walls and Pedestals (At the Edge of Light, 2018)
Beasts in Our Time (At the Edge of Light, 2018)
The Virgin and the Gypsy – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
Tigermoth – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
Spectral Mornings – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
Horizon’s – (Foxtrot, 1972)
The Red Flower of Tachai Blooms Everywhere – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
Clocks – The Angel of Mons – (Spectral Mornings, 1979)
Myopia* / Los Endos / Slogans* / Los Endos – (A Trick of the Tail, 1976)
*Myopia is from ‘And Till We Have Faces’, 1984 and Slogans is from ‘Defector’ 1980
A 20 min break and the bit everyone has been waiting for – the classic ‘Selling England by the Pound’ – Steve’s own personal favourite Genesis LP. From the opening “Can you tell me where my country lies?” to the off-kilter ‘I Know What I Like’ to the guitar virtuosity in ‘Firth Of Fifth’ and the totally progtastic ‘The Cinema Show’ the magic of the old days keeps burning brightly.
I’d forgotten how wonderful an album it was. Everything that’s great about prog is fully encapsulated in ‘Firth of Fifth’s’ instrumental section – dreamy.
Then Steve introduces ‘Déjà Vu’ which was written by Peter Gabriel and himself at the time but never saw light of day – a bonus track and rather lovely it was too.
The decibels turn up a notch for ‘Dance on a Volcano’ and the ‘Los Endos’ encore and that’s it, all over for another year.
Steve is indeed a national treasure! Keep going mate – the audience is out there and loving every minute. Roll on ‘Seconds Out’ next year – Genesis Revisited just keeps on giving!!
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
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)
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
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!
Well I’ve been eagerly awaiting this gig for
a while now given I last saw the boys on 22 Dec 1981 in Nottingham (roughly 37
and a half years ago).
In truth the gig doesn’t require too much analysis, simple rockabilly to just enjoy and bop to!
Eddie Cochrane’s ‘C’mon everybody’ brings original 1980’s rockabilly revival members Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker and “Slim’ Jim Phantom onto the stage to rapturous applause from a sell-out Hammersmith Odeon (Apollo or whatever it wants to call itself these days depending on who is sponsoring the venue).
The Stray Cats are here, to celebrate their
40th anniversary tour and their first new LP in 26 years not surprisingly
entitled ‘40’. Tonight, there are plenty
of new tracks mixed with a history lesson of nostalgic songs culled from their sparkling
career and classic covers in a 1½ hour set that never lets up.
They launched into the new LP immediately
with ‘Cat Fight (Over A Dog Like Me)’ a very Chuck Berry’ish song in typical
Stray Cats style and an instant classic – Brian can’t understand why two women
are coming to blows over him (I guess that it’s kind of autobiographical as I’m
sure that’s actually happened to him!).
Then straight into the classic “Runway Boys’ from their debut LP. These two songs set the tone for the whole evening
perfectly and everyone is singing along in unison!
It’s been a while since I saw so many turned
up blue jeans, flat top haircuts (occasional quiff) and tattoos plus the ladies
with typical 50’s vintage updo/bandanna hairstyles. It all made for the occasion, a celebration
of a music genre that isn’t in vogue in these times. The band themselves are dressed in cowboy
style attire. Slim Jim and Brian wearing
bandanna neck scarfs and jackets whilst Lee has a white blazer. It’s hot tonight so obviously the tops come
off to reveal C&W style shirts for Lee and Jim, Brian sporting a Stray Cats
t-shirt plus tattoos galore.
The stage set is
minimal – Slim Jim has a bass and snare drum, a high hat and a couple of
symbols for his standy-uppy drumming style.
Brian gets through a number of Gretch guitars plugged into the Fender
amp/speaker behind him and Lee has a couple of double basses. There are a couple of trash cans either side
of the stage and two huge back drop banners interspersed between songs and a
glorious Stray Cats neon flashing logo.
In fairness they need little else, your attention is always centre stage
watching the boys strut their stuff. All
are around the 60 mark, so still relatively young and full of energy, they have
aged remarkably well – a bit like the music they played tonight.
tattoos and quiffs its evident that their passion and drive is still glowing
brightly and without doubt they are a more polished and slicker outfit from that
I saw all those many years ago. Brian
has certainly got much better on guitar, Lee Rocker more confident on the
double bass and to be frank Slim Jim is about the same – it’s hard to really
improve on a minimal drum kit and steady beat.
Brian does a lovely solo then the band launch into Dick Dale’s ‘Misirlou’ with much gusto. Later Brian solos on top of Jim’s bass drum whilst Lee strides his double bass – a great sight to behold.
It’s a slick show. Brian is obviously the main man but Lee takes
centre stage and lead vocals for ‘When Nothing’s Going Right (Go Left)’ – best of
the new songs in my opinion – and ‘Bring It Back Again’. We also have the classics ‘She’s Sexy + 17’, ‘Fishnet
Stockings’ and ‘Blast Off’. ‘Rock This
Town’, their biggest hit, brings the house down and it’s clear the band were
having as much fun as the audience – all in all a rip-roaring evening.
on link to watch the videos on YouTube in 4k)
A three-song encore starts with “Rock It Off’ by which time a gentle mini mosh pit has started at the front and finishes with the classic ‘Rumble In Brighton’. Eddie Cochrane plays them off stage to the strains of “Ain’t no cure for the Summertime Blues”.
Tonight, ladies and gentlemen the Stray Cats were
on the prowl once again and just purrfect 😊.
Worthy of mention were
Australia’s ‘The Living End’ who were a Stray Cats equivalent albeit
with rockabilly/hard rock overtones. They
set up the show perfectly and seemed to have quite a few fans in the audience. Note to me – must check them out.
Not worthy of a mention were the other support band The Selector – peddling their 80’s poor imitation of Ska. Alas 45 mins I’ll never get back. On the plus side the guitarists looked like Mungo Jerry’s front man Ray Dorset and Johnny Vegas while the sax player was Jackson Galaxy.
I’ve seen Spear of Destiny (SOD) a number of times so tonight I was looking forward to my first Theatre of Hate(TOH) gig. I’m probably preaching to the converted but for my American followers TOH were the forerunners of SOD. TOH emerged in 1980 were post punk and only lasted a couple of years before SOD were formed from it’s ashes. TOH were certainly less radio friendly, more angry, unpolished, raw, frantic with a unique bleak landscape sound and lyrics. SOD were more chart-friendly alt-arena rock but alas never made it to the big time, tis a pity. Output wise Kirk successfully resurrected TOH in 2014 with the LP ‘Kinshi’ released via a private pledge and is currently touring in support of their latest release ‘Heiwa’. Short history lesson over 😊.
Kirk Brandon is certainly a busy man. He appears too late to be constantly on a mini tour with one of his three bands TOH, SOD or ‘The Pack’. Recently back from the States and straight back on the treadmill tonight it’s London promoting the latest record ‘Heiwa’ (Japanese for peace). I’m spotting a pattern here – the previous LP was entitled Kinshi (Japanese for forbidden/prohibition).
The current line-up includes original members Kirk Brandon, Stan Stammers (bass), John Lennard (sax) joined by Spear Of Destiny band member Adrian Portas on guitar and Chris Bell on drums.
The band arrive on stage at just after 21:35 all dressed in black. Kirk wearing baggy turned up jeans, large belt and band t-shirt. His stocky body hunkers over his cutaway electro acoustic Gretsch. On his left life-long bassist Stan Stammers in a Charles Mansion t-shirt and hat stalks the stage pounding out the distinctive bass lines which earmark Theatre of Hate’s iconic sound.
Now as far as I can make out Kirk has had the same haircut for the
last 30+ years. Tightly side cropped blond hair with a longer fringe – he is
clearly identifiable! Kirk burns
brightly commanding the stage whether playing the guitar or just singing in
that high operatic tone he has. Not much
audience interaction tonight, one song followed by another. A splattering of their early 80s LP and singles
plus newer tunes which follow a familiar well-trodden path that is TOH music
Kirk’s delivery is impassioned, he sings with raw operatic emotion
matched beautifully by the haunting saxophone, whilst Adrian Portas stays
rooted to the far right laying down sparse atmospheric riff layers. Chris hammered out the beat which kept the rhythm
section buoyant with Stan.
Alas the lighting was pretty piss poor throughout. It was
basically the same dark blue tint, with a couple of white spots facing the
audience – really annoying. I suppose
TOH had to do with the venues own stuff – note to venue spend some ££ on
The audience were always very appreciative and applauded and sung along enthusiastically. Towards the end of the set the audience got more involved during rabble rousing classics such as ‘Incinerator and Conquistador’ and the forever young ‘Westworld’. The mosh pit is now in full swing and it continued with the encores (alas I’d had a few jars by this point, was hopping around the mosh pit and by the next morning can’t remember what the hell they were – luckily a direct message to Kirk on Twitter sorted that!). So, it all draws to a close about 10:45 – thanks for a great night chaps!
SetList (Click on link to
view the video on YouTube)
Incinerator – (Single, 1981), – (Aria Of The Devil, 1998)
Do You Believe in the Westworld? – (Westworld, 1982)
My only musical gripe – wot no ‘Eastworld’ – drat and double drat!
Theatre of Hate have a dedicated, albeit small, hard core following. Given most of the audience were 50 plus they did a good job on pretending it’s the early 80s and the mini mosh pit was a great laugh. Even a couple of ladies getting in there flailing elbows and bouncing off each other around the floor.
So, to summarise, a wonderful night, interesting music and crowd, got ensnared in the mosh, got some good pictures, got the 10” blue vinyl ‘II. Heiwa’ EP signed, got a photo with Kirk and to cap it all Kirk is a massive ‘old skool’ Chelsea fan. So, when we see SOD later this year playing at Stamford Bridge it’s Chelsea tops all round – BTW that includes you Kirk if you’re reading this!!
Also, thanks for keeping the ticket prices very reasonable
(slightly too cheap if you ask me but hey!), it’s important!
PS – Must mention the support band Derek Forbes and the Dark – who basically played a 40-minute set of early Simple Minds gems (not surprising given that Derek was their original bassist). A trio of keyboards, bass and drums – actually, it was rather good! See this video someone posted – New Gold Dream.
Holy crap, I
hadn’t realised that Ian Hunter is 80 this June, you’d never
guess it he looks great and still has his standout curly locks. In fact keyboardist Morgan Fisher and
guitarist Ariel Bender looked pretty good for their ages as well. So, there we have it you’ve never too old to Rock
A reformed Mott – Hunter, Aerial and Morgan – (you might call this incarnation ‘Mott mark 2’) were complimented by Ian’s current Rant band. As the ’74 tag suggests the songs on this tour are culled from a few albums prior to that date plus assorted singles and b-sides of that era. A golden era with mega beak through on the horizon, however they instead decided to self-implode – hey we’ve all seen bad management and inter band conflicts a million times before.
The band came
on stage at 9:10, clutching a glass of bubbly, to huge applause from a sell our
Shepherd’s Bush crowd made up mainly of males of a certain age! Hunter began singing Don McLean’s ‘American
Pie’ before launching into the classic foot stompin’ ‘The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’
Roll’. The set mixed up old favorites, lesser-known
album tracks and singles ranging from up tempo slabs to poignant, slower ballads
to sing-along rockers all with ultimate ease and professionalism and a bit of
fun banter along the way. His song writing
talents clearly showed their durability tonight.
High points included the haunting ‘I Wish I Was Your Mother’; ‘Roll Away the Stone’ – “this is the biggest selling song we ever had” said Ian and “Walking With A Mountain”. By the time the band had launched into Lou Reed’s ‘Sweet Jane’ the crowd they could do no wrong. Even Morgan’s Bach piano solo took on great effect with a dapper roadie slowly opening another bottle of champagne – alas they didn’t pass it around the audience!
Before ‘Walking with a Mountain’ Ariel told the audience to quieten down and shouted “This is serious business” and handed Ian a piece of paper which he duly read out thus: “Ian read that out before Mountain – the charming, the shy, the demur, the modest, the unassuming but amazingly sexy (that’s me Ariel added!, the great Ariel Bender”. Then a guitar solo!!
The set closed with a raucous medley that included ‘One of the Boys, Crash Street Kids, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, Violence’ and ending with an audience sing-along of ‘England Rocks’ (in lieu of Cleveland).
Mott The Hoople ’74 set list(Click on the links to watch the songs in 4k glory)
^ B-side of ‘Saturday Gigs’ single * B-side of ‘All The Young Dudes’ single
Gigs’ was the 1st encore and in fairness it was a group/audience hug
and singalong. The entire audience sang beautifully
and knew the words off by heart. The
song is an epic band autobiography (so close and yet so far from the big time!)
and always sends a shiver down my spine – beautiful. The 2nd encore literally brought
the house down, as Brian May sauntered on stage and they launched into ‘All the
Way from Memphis’. In fairness the audience simply carried on from the last
song and sang their hearts out. The band loved it, smiles all round – boy they
looked like they were having so much fun up there. Their exuberance was instantly catching.
encore was just what we had been waiting for, the classic ‘All The Young Dudes’. It might have been a gift from Bowie to them
but they have made it their own! Brain
May stayed on for this and was joined by Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott (a lifelong
fan) and their original singer Stan Tippens.
Yes folks the place went mental just one big huge love in. A glorious end to an unforgettable night
as Ian Hunter and Mott the Hoople ’74
left the stage with the audience clamouring for more.
Right at the
end Ariel gave Ian a bit of paper to read out – it went “the spectacular, the
amazing, the unforgettable, the brilliant, the great, the fabulous, the one and
only the great Ariel Bender” to which Ariel threw up his hands in appreciation
for each compliment! Priceless!!
At almost 23:00 the
night came to an end. Mott the Hoople gave a superb performance, they were
awesome and lots of very happy old rockers went into the night air clutching
their band t-shirts.
Mott The Hoople have a real deep bond with their fans (and their more famous counterparts – step forward rock royalty Brian May and Joe Elliott), the love is on show for all to clearly see. It’s kind of strange given their hit/miss career but they must have been something to behold in the early 70’s live shows to hold such devoted fans e.g. we met a Vinnie from Florida in the pub and he’d bought tickets for all the London dates and flown over especially!
Ian Hunter is pretty remarkable, fit way beyond his years, a singing voice that has aged yet somehow, he looks unchanged, instantly recognisable face hidden behind the hair and shades – he should copyright the look! Hunter frequently traded electric for acoustic guitar dominating center-stage. At either side the eccentric Morgan Fisher with his jacket featuring a piano lapel and cheap Rock n Roll t-shirt and the even more gloriously eccentric Luther Grosvenor AKA Ariel Bender on guitar keeping the glam era going. Ariel is a thing of wonder and joy to behold, the bloke is mad as a hatter doing his gonzo guitar heroics! They added a touch of vaudeville to the evening proceedings and the Rant band held it all together. Now Ariel is certainly a character – leopard skin tight pants, waistcoat with his saggy skin on show, union jack neck wrap, red Citizen Smith beret and ponytail – what a sight!
Poor old Ariel,
he had a problem throughout the set with his monitor speaker and he grew more
frustrated as the songs passed. Gesticulating furiously in between riffs and
shouting at the sound desk ‘I can’t hear a fucking thing’, ‘This is fucking
shit’, ‘Fuck off’ etc. They never did
sort his problem out, bet they took some stick after the gig!! Not a plectrum in sight, he strummed, riffed
and solo’d like a troubadour (even though he couldn’t hear himself).
Go watch them
before it all comes to an inevitable end.
I’m so happy I did.
Blimey, it might
be their 50th anniversary but it’s also my 40th since I
last saw them in Leicester in 1979. Who would have thought that we’d both still
Over the years
the band have had their highs/lows, endured the trials/tribulations of the
business and now we are at the journeys end.
Mogg turns 71 this April (2019) so you can kind of understand why after
50 years wearing the R’n’R badge of honour with pride it’s time to call it a
day. So, all that remains is to make
sure that they finish off their long illustrious career with a memorable
I knew it was
going to be a great night when the pub bell chimed last orders the band slowly
emerged one by one to the dulcet tones of ‘Faith Healer’ from the mighty SAHB. Alas the opener ‘Let It Roll’ was somewhat
marred by the dodgy feedback and bad mixing from the desk, however this was
swiftly rectified and for the rest of the 90min show Phil vocals were as blindingly
good as ever was. He might be 71 but he
can still belt them out!
Phil, dressed all
in black with waist coat, braces and a cool studded belt was on top banter form
in-between songs. A real wag, taking the
piss out of the band, himself and the audience and having a thoroughly good
time. For example: He commented that while
he had hair he couldn’t see the battle scars on his now bald head from Pete
Way, a couple of staircases and his 2nd wife. Or when introducing ‘Cherry’ a song especially
for the drummer Andy Parker about his Las Vegas trip with a pole dancer, broken
heart and a dose of the clap!
Junction looked pretty much full, with a crowd of rockers of a certain age 😊 (plus assorted kids, including Phil’s
4 year old granddaughter perched on her mums shoulders) who were ecstatic to
see their teen hero’s rocking out for the very last time. Rapturous applause for the first few numbers then
the volume went up to 11 with a rollicking ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Only You Can Rock
Me’ singalong. The party was now in full
swing. So, time for Phil and the boys to
slow it down with ‘Baby Blue’ which showcased his powerful vocals to great
I suppose now’s the time to mention the band. UFO are: Phil Mogg, Paul Raymond (keyboards/guitar), Andy Parker (drums), Vinnie Moore (lead guitar) and Rob De Luca (bass). Phil, Andy and Paul are the old guard harping back to the beginnings of the band with Vinnie and Rob both joining this century. I’m gonna start with Rob as he was in front of me. Dressed in the height of early 70’s hippie fashion with a tie dye velvet jacket, striped bell bottom trousers and long tussling hair – he reminded me of a refugee from the Chris Robinson band! Excellent bass playing throughout, constantly with a smile on his face and plenty of lead guitar type poses and much moving about on stage. Now Vinnie can most certainly play guitar, whether it’s on his head or in the usual place this man can solo and riff with the best of them. The songs tonight showcased his talent to its fullest especially on the 4-5 min solo on ‘Rock Bottom’. Paul, the consummate looking old rock ‘n’ roller – great haircut by the way – switched between keyboards and guitar with ease adding the layered melodic sound which gives their hard rock sound a softer edge. And let’s not forget Andy hidden behind the drum kit thrashing away with the back beat and holding everyone together. UFO are a band, with all parts contributing with equal measure and they have ensured the legacy – it’s a pity it’s the end of the road – but all good things come to an end!
UFO set list I think (click on links to watch the videos in glorious ultra 4k)
Moves – (The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent, 1981)
Too Hot to Handle – (Lights Out, 1977)
Rock Bottom – (Phenomenon, 1974)
Doctor Doctor – (Phenomenon, 1974)
Shoot Shoot – (Force It, 1975)
Given it’s the
final tour, they played a good mixed set of old classics and new songs such as ‘Burn
Your House Down’ and ‘Messiah of Love’ from 2012 and 2015 respectively, proving
that they still made great albums up to the end. The band certainly rolled back through the years.
extended ‘Rock Bottom’ the band leaves the stage to rapturous applause and
adulation. Much hollering, clapping and chants of “UFO, UFO” bring the band
back on stage with the mighty and ubiquitous ‘Doctor, Doctor’ – I was hoping
that Iron Maiden might come on after the song – 😊 😊. And the final song was ‘Shoot Shoot’ which left
a warm glow in the hearts of the delighted crowd – they absolutely went out in style,
both band and crowd loving every minute.
Over the year’s UFO
achieved notoriety and success in equal measure and they are definitely one of
the UK’s great rock institutions. After
all, if their music is good enough for Iron Maiden to open up with then job
done! Thank you for the music and the
good times Phil and enjoy your retirement!
And good luck to the rest of the band whatever you go on to do.
The support act was American Tara Lynch (who that?, ed). She plays a mean guitar, wonder she’s related to Vinnie 😊. She did a 45 min, mainly guitar-based set which highlighted her technical skills, with a few songs having vocals on them. Obviously, a talented lass as she writes her own stuff and is a real guitar virtuoso diva. She looked like a cross between Bonnie Raitt and Rosanne Barr – be afraid!
Check them out via this link: Tara Lynch – Unbreakable.
Marko – 23 March 2019
Post script – Alas Paul Raymond died at the age of 73 just eight days after UFO played their final UK show at London’s Forum. RIP Paul..