By Rob Jones
Spear of Destiny came to (the now sadly no longer) Cardiff Barfly in late 2004. Band leader Kirk Brandon also appeared with Theatre of Hate at Clwb Ifor Bach in late 2015. We look back at both of those gigs with a view to Spear of Destiny appearing at Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 8pm.
Spear of Destiny at Cardiff Barfly 2005
As a quartet, SOD is stripped of their renowned saxophone and keyboard trimmings. The guitar gusto of a fiery four is fronted by the voluminous voice of Brandon and the rhythm section provides a platform for the mighty music to prosper (with ex-Simple Minds member Derek Forbes proving to be an astute signing-and, we stand in awe of his contribution to his former employee’s stellar work-Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call).
The energy permeating from the stage was sufficient to have powered the extensive Yuletide lighting display decorating the capital city of Wales. In return a testosterone heavy and far from juvenile moshpit danced beyond the point where dropping would be expected because this is the intense passion which Kirk & Company arouse in their devotees.
The quartet gave 110 per cent to the cause of the evening dubbed ‘The Spear Christmas Party’. The Brandon town crier vocals echoed around the mountain tops and valley floors, and his boisterous bell ringing choreographies were a unique spectacle. The band CV is decorated with highlights, and it was a shame that there was not an appearance by: Come Back, Strangers in our Town and Prisoner of Love but this golden gig did offer: The Wheel, Propaganda, Rainmaker, Liberator, Aria, Land of Shame and the anthemic hit, Never take me Alive. To add to which Philadelphia, Age of Unreason, and the cover of Joy Division beacon, Transmission coated the concert with Midas majesty.
Encores galore indicated a special bond was formed with those in attendance, and this was not a going through the motions experience, because these boys mean it man! There are the over hyped, the great pretenders and ephemeral wannabes-but Kirk Brandon is a survivor, with an indomitable spirit!
Theatre of Hate (TOH) are led by Kirk Brandon (also of Spear of Destiny amongst other career collaborations e.g. Dead Men Walking). Original band members Stan Stammers and John Lennard also join an operational 2015 TOH quintet. These three guys date back to 1979 but in whatever format Brandon has sauntered in to the Welsh capital he has always had a warm welcome-and, one has affectionate memories of particular nights (e.g. SOD at the sadly lost Barfly (11/12/2004) and DMW at St. David’s Hall (24/10/2006)).
The present line up of Kirk & Co. mix current compositions with the precious past and a pristine package was well received by a hard-core faithful at Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff. The crowd were treated to a mixed bag of fan favourites of diverse tempos and that even included a couple of ‘happy’ ones as Brandon outlined (although his tongue was most firmly in his cheek). Amongst the upbeat tunes identified were the immense duo of The Hop and My Own Invention. The might of Rebel without a Brain, Incinerator along with Judgment Hymn were several of a set of soaring sonorous strikes!
Meanwhile, the more mournful Aria of the Devil and Omen of the Times pay tribute to the deft sonic skills of one of the great post punk phenomenon’s. Newer material such as Slave, Eyeless in Gaza and fresh offering Day of the Dog also whipped up the troops-but, the audience continually beckoned for Propaganda and when it arrived yours truly ended up suffering an uncalled for flooring at a rabid stage front! I was only minding my own business and then wallop! I was glad to survive unscathed and after dusting myself down there was an encore treat of Original Sin, Legion and Do you believe in the Westworld. A colossal closure to a lengthy and lustrous performance sent the gathered throng in to orbit.
Whatever, era was propelled it was clear that the crowd is right there with Theatre of Hate and the punters absorb each and every precious moment. Such a bond is special and public loyalty to this cause spans decades. King Kirk had his devotees in the palm of his hands and he is ably supported by a boisterous band. Theatre of Hate = auditorium of devotion!
Spear of Destiny head to Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 8pm and tickets are £16.50 including booking fees. The band is back with new material to add to their family favourites so a big night is promised. For tickets head to 02920 232199 or http://tickets.ents24.com/event/spear-of-destiny/clwb-ifor-bach/943377?aff=ents24&inf=-6937a7725b027d85