Theatre Of Hate - Islington Academy London
With the likes of Carter USM, The Members, Jesus And The Mary Chain, Senseless Things, Young Marble Giants, Devo and James all performing live in 2007 you can almost be guaranteed that your favourite bands from your youth will return to the live arena eventually given time.
One of the finest acts of the Post Punk era - Theatre Of Hate are the latest to take to the stage again, reforming recently to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their "Westworld" album which was produced by The Clash's Mick Jones.
Coming together to record new tracks for the albums re-release the band also decided to go out on the road, playing to a legion of fans across the UK.
Singer Kirk Brandon was joined on stage at their London show by Steve Guthrie on guitar, John Lennard on Saxaphone and Luke Rendle on drums.Unfortunatly original bass player Stan Stammers currently lives in the US and couldn't make it across for the tour.Ex Mission member and SOD stalwart Craig Adams filled the position nicely though, completing the Theatre Of Hate line up.
I've seen Kirk's current band Spear Of Destiny several times over the years with various line ups.Since the 90's although always sounding great they have never looked a proper unit.Theatre Of Hate looked like a gang on stage, especially the trio of Guthrie, Lennard and Brandon.
Although you could have squeezed a few more people into the Academy it was probably one of the biggest audiences Mr Brandon had played to in a while and they all seemed extremely happy to be there, giving Kirk and co a rapturous response for their onstage arrival.
I was looking forward to the bands set a lot as Theatre Of Hate soundtracked a large part of my youth.I had originally caught the band live a couple of times in Scotland during their tour for single "Rebel without a brain", supporting The Clash at Glasgow Apollo, a few dates during their orginal "Westworld" era and seeing one of their farewell performances with the wonderful Southern Death Cult supporting.I also had the opportunity to watch TOH in 1991 as part of their "Return to 8" reunion tour.
The band rocketed through Theatre classics including "Poppies", Nero and "Rebel without a brain", even slipping in a new track "The swarm" which sat nicely in the set alongside the older material.
Single "The hop" was next up with the pace slowing down slightly for "Love is a ghost".The Islington masses helped the band with next song "Conquistador", singing along with the opening refrain causing the band to smile.
The "B" side of "Rebel..." - "My own invention" was a great addition to the set.Kirk Brandon's regular band Spear Of Destiny occasionally drop TOH songs into their set but they are usually the more "famous" tracks so it was great chance to hear the unsung gems alongside the "hits" at the Islington show.
The appearance in the set of debut single "Original sin" was the cue for a frenzied moshing outbreak in the middle of the audience which calmed down half way through the song as the over 40's Sunday lunches got the better of them.The audience weren't the only ones pulling shapes as Mr Brandon spent a lot of the evening immersed in his own curious dancing, arms waving and body shaking, a sight that has never failed to make me smile over the years!
I was certainly enjoying myself too,happily singing along to some great tracks.
"Judgement hymn", "Amerikanas" and "Incinerator" were next up with the set closing with heavy drum stomper "Propaganda".
Obviously the audience weren't going home without hearing a couple of obvious missing songs from the set so the now very lively audience made themselves hoarse, shouting for the band to return.
The band encored with their most famous song "Do you believe in the Westworld", sending the crowd crazy.I was never a huge fan of the single so I was waiting patiently for the next song up.
After "Westworld" it looked like the band were going to head off stage, returning one last time but it looked like they said sod it to each other and struck up set closer "Legion" instead!
"Legion" - the other side of their debut single sounded amazing.Although I've seen Spear perform the song their rendition has always lacked Lennard's sax which helps make it perfect.
This was truly one of the best shows I've seen in ages.Although I liked it for the obvious nostalgia value Theatre Of Hate had the onstage energy of bands half their age so certainly deserved to be playing to large houses.I'm not sure what plans TOH have but they should play regularly again if possible.
Kirk Brandon is certainly one of Post Punks unsung heroes and with the "Westworld" re- release is worthy of a chunky article in one of the music magazines for older audiences.
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