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THEATRE OF HATE – Live in Stockton

theatre of hate03.12.15 – GEORGIAN THEATRE, STOCKTON-ON-TEES

My first ever gig: 1980, Loughborough Town Hall, Theatre of Hate. Fast forward thirty-five years and my latest gig (at time of writing): 2015, Georgian Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees, Theatre of Hate.

So what’s changed? In a word, nothing. We’ve just all got older (and a little wider) but the tunes are just the same, played with the same gusto albeit to a somewhat smaller audience compared to those heady days of the 1980’s.

 

N/b a special mention to the support on the night. Local punk band The Filth belted out some great three chord anthems and the enigmatic Spizz Energi put on a show that certainly took me by surprise. They played a couple of admirable new songs which stirred the crowd before launching into ‘Where’s Captain Kirk? This had the audience demanding more which is some feat for a support act in a small venue.

 

The set opened with ‘Africa’, with drumstick beating Kirk leading the haunting chant before the band launched into ‘63’, something to get the audience’s old bones creaking and moving along to.

The set continued with a mixture of the tried and trusted classics and a couple of tracks off the new EP ‘Slave’.theatre of hate

John ‘boy’ Lennard was on fine form throughout on the saxophone. Couple that with the energetic Stan Stammers on bass (he covers some distance running around stage with his ‘wireless’ bass) it gives Theatre of Hate that unique sound, haunting yet packing a fierce punk pack at the same time. Songs such as ‘Rebel Without a Brain’ and ‘Judgement Hymn’ have stood the test of time because of their inimitable style.

The crowd came into their own with the final track of the main set which Stan introduced as “one you might know”, ‘Propaganda’. This got a handful of guys pushing each other around at the front which looked a little out of place when the rest of the 200 strong audience were there to appreciate the music – maybe I’m just getting old.

The encore has to be right up there with one of the best trio of songs I could imagine being put together. ‘Original Sin’, ‘Legion’ and ‘Do You Believe in the Westworld?’ If that can’t whet the appetite of any Theatre of Hate supporter then nothing will. The band gave it their all and so did the crowd.

Just like Loughborough all those years ago, I walked out of the gig just so happy I’d been there. This band deserve a bigger audience still but have those days passed us by?

Gaz – Punk Online

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