Claytown Troupe / Spear Of Destiny – Islington Academy London

In the late 80’s Bristol’s Claytown Troupe were one of the leading “Indie Rock” bands of their day.
Their debut album “Through the veil” impressed many, with the numerous catchy Rock anthems contained within helping the band build on their already large fanbase, gained through constant touring.
As the band got bigger so did the shows, with numerous London headline dates and prestigious supports with the likes of The Cult and Pearl Jam appearing around the same time as album number two – “Out there” in the early 90’s.
The band called it a day around 1992 but were resurrected in 2004 when lead singer Christian Riou and keyboard player Rick Williams reformed the band to play the Whitby Goth Festival.
The band have only played a handful of shows since as they seem to be doing it for fun these days, but they still have plenty to offer.
Playing as a five piece, Claytown sound as good as ever, with Christian’s powerful voice still hitting the right notes while guitarist Ben Christo blasts out the guitar riffs to the likes of old favourites “Prayer” and “Hey Lord” .
With the majority of the crowd at Islington Academy there to see headliners Spear Of Destiny they were initially met by a slightly apathetic audience.
However, it didn’t take long to warm them up, leading to numerous head nodders and small pockets of people dancing. Even Spear frontman Kirk Brandon popped his head around the corner to take in “Alabama” !
I enjoyed their set immensely, with “Real life” probably my favourite song, lapping it up from the moment drummer Dan kicked off his drum intro.
With Christian and his gang performing the old Claytown material with passion and even new tracks under their belt there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be performing to the masses as I’m sure they could win a lot of new fans in the process.
Visit Claytown’s My Space page to listen to recent recordings and for details of any future shows

Kirk Brandon’s Spear Of Destiny were also huge fan favourites back in the 80’s.
With albums like “Outland”, “One eyed Jacks” and “World service” gaining the attention of mainstream audiences, enabling them to sell out large venues around the UK.
Unlike Claytown Troupe Mr Brandon and his boys have been performing for the majority of the last couple of decades, still releasing albums, with 2007’s “Imperial prototype” featuring some of their best work in recent years.
I’ve been dipping an and out of Spear gigs for a very long time.
I’m usually happy to sample whatever new material Spear have on offer alongside the odd old favourite but this was the first Spear show in years where I felt really nostalgic.
As the gig was billed as part of a singles tour I was looking forward to hearing a lot of old favourites.
The band were playing as a six piece with added keyboards and sax (played by Theatre Of Hate member John Lennard) , making it the most complete Spear sound I’d heard in a while.
With the sounds of singles like “All my love”, a slighty dubby version of “Come back” (including a slice of “Armagideon time”) and “Prisoner of love” performed I was transported back to shows at Edinburgh Coasters and Glasgow Barrowlands and longed to hear the band play “Once in a lifetime” , complete with Kirk’s lengthy rant about Mary and her coloured baby stuck in their tower block!
Unfortunately it was never a single so I had to make do with other SOD classics, equally as good, including an excellent rendition of debut single “Flying Scotsman” , complete with lengthy saxophone intro.
The band managed to pull in a decent crowd for their Islington show, including a lot more females than I’d seen at previous recent Spear gigs for some reason.
The crowd were easy going, with several girls dancing throughout, followed by the inevitable 40 something mosh pit for classic set closer “Liberator” .
It’s possible that the singles tour has brought several old fans out of the woodwork as it’s perfect set to reacquaint yourself with Spear’s music.
Check out Kirk and the boys My Space page to see if they’re playing near you….


Updated: Sep 14, 2008

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