The Rezillos - Islington Academy London
What if you put on a gig and nobody came?
I'm sure several promoters were tearing their hair out when it was announced that England had secured their place in the Rugby World Cup Final, picturing empty and lifeless venues as the majority of their potential audience stayed at home or sat in pubs with big tv's.
I'm not a rugby fan but I did forsake an evening in front of the box, missing the soap opera that is X Factor and Paramount's wonderful Sarah Silverman Program to head along to Islington Academy to catch old favourites The Rezillos.
The venue was practically empty on arriving so I felt sorry for the 10 piece ska band (whose name escapes me) as they were more or less playing what looked like a glorified soundcheck.The band did get a few girls dancing round their handbags though so they were certainly appreciated by the sparse crowd, receiving generous applause on departing.
A few more people had appeared by the time second support Darkwater took the stage, however it was very strange as they all decided to stand at the back of the venue leaving a huge gap between stage and crowd, with only a few faithful fans inbetween, something I had never witnessed before in the venue as people generally grab their spot on the barrier.
I was quite impressed by Scotland's Darkwater.The band are led by Lora on vocals who had a good stage presence, reminding me slighty of the ballsy attitude of Sounds frontwoman Maja Ivarsson.
The band's performance worked like a magnet pulling several crowd members nearer the stage as they blasted out their set, including recent single "1920".
Live the band could be compared to female fronted rock bands like Australia's Sex Panther, Paramore and The Suffrajets but they're a bit harder on record, slipping more into Shiny Toy Guns and NIN territories.
I'm sure I'll make an effort to check them out again at some point anyway.
By the time Darkwater had finished the audience was looking a lot healthier, making their way to the front of the stage, anticipating the main event and the Academy was even busier by the time a crew member came out with some bad news.
He announced that due to medical problems neither of the lead singers - Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds would be appearing.A folk band were going to play a few songs then the remaining Rezillos members would be performing an acoustic instrumental set!
Of course he was just joking and used the moment to get the crowd going, giving the band a very loud reception when they took to the stage.
The Rezillos started life back in the 70's, releasing their first single "Can't stand my baby" on Sensible Records in 1977.
The single still stands as a classic from the Punk era and is one of the best songs in the bands repertoire so I was suprised that they kicked their set off with it.
It certainly did the trick anyway as I could see the whole front row singing along and I may have mouthed the lyrics from the photo pit myself!!
I was too young to catch the band live originally, though I did see the Revillos a few times and Eugene Reynolds band Planet Pop in my youth.
The Rezillos reformed in 2001 with the vocalists joined by former members Jo Callis on guitar and Angel Patterson on drums and I managed to see them all playing live at the Mean Fiddler around 2003, if I remember rightly.
The band were on form then and even exceeded that performance at Islington's Academy, slotting old favourites like "Top of the pops" and "Flying saucer attack" from their "Can't stand the Rezillos" album alongside new tracks like "Yesterdays tormentor" and "Number one boy".
You can have a lot of fun watching a Rezillos show as the band are very entertaining to watch as Eugene rocks out in his wraparound shades while Faye spends a lot of the set either pulling 60's inspired shapes or stomping around the stage with an expression reminiscent of someone who has mislaid their keys!
I was actually blown away with how good Faye's voice was though, especially during a cover of "River deep mountain high", giving Tina Turner a run for her money.
The band also tried their hand at the Velvet Underground's "White light white heat", giving Fay an opportunity to bash the hell out of a drum.
The set came to a close with a wonderful double bill of singles "(my baby does) good sculptures" and "Destination Venus" seeing Fay and guitarist Jo wrestling around with Fay taking over the guitar while Jo helped the hot audience cool down by spraying water at them!
Naturally the band were called back for an encore which saw them asking for requests then slipping into a lounge intro to one of their most popular recordings (even though it's a cover) "Somebodys going to get their head kicked in tonight", ending the evening with the audience singing along and dancing away to their hearts content as the songs proper tempo kicked in.
I go to a lot of gigs regularly,both "hot up and coming bands" and old favourites" and this show certainly stood out as one of the best I've seen this year and not just for the nostalgia value either.
On my way out I overheard someone saying it was the best gig he had been to so it shows that the Rezillos certainly still have what it takes to deliver a great night out.
The Rezillos finish up their UK tour at Sheffield Corporation on the 26th of October and Wolverhampton's Little Civic on the 27th.
The band have a singles album due out soon
I'm sure the Rezillos My Space page will keep you informed as to when.
You can find Darkwater info Here
Last updated: 19/04/2018 01:06:59