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SPEAR OF DESTINY: Live in Bristol

SPEAR OF DESTINY: Live in Bristol

Kirk BrandonSPEAR OF DESTINY – 16.05.18: Live at The Fleece, Bristol

My first ever trip to The Fleece in Bristol and probably my twentieth ever to see Spear of Destiny playing live. Both experiences lived up to full expectation.

A quick word about the support on offer from Crazy Pink Revolvers. Fronted by Kirk Brandon’s ever faithful assistant in Theatre of Hate, Stan Stammers, the band had reformed for this one-off set of gigs supporting Spear for the first leg of the current tour. I have to say they put on a tremendous show with most songs from their 1987 album ‘First Down’. It was the perfect warm-up for what was to follow, and it was good to see most of the audience support the band rather than sit outside in the sun drinking beer.

And so, onto the main protagonists, Spear of Destiny. Guitarist Adrian Portas, bass player Craig Adams and drummer Phil Martini took to the stage followed closely by evergreen Kirk Brandon. As their new album ‘Tontine’ opens with an end of pier cabaret announcer, this set follows the same line before Adams strikes up the opening bass lines of ‘Brighton’. The eerie introduction makes way for Kirk’s spoken word opening lines before the trademark vocals scream ‘Brighton’ at full pelt and the show is well and truly underway.

Thirty-five years since the album ‘Grapes of Wrath’ was released, this was to be a set mixed with songs from that as well as the brand-new album ‘Tontine’, which was released just last month.

Spear‘Flying Scotsman’ was the first from the aforementioned ‘Grapes’ which immediately took me back to watching Spear live back in 83 at my old hunting grounds of Rock City in Nottingham and Leicester Polytechnic. Thirty-five years!? Really? Holy shit, but it still sounds great!

The set continued with the perfect mix of new and old. ‘The Preacher’, The Hop’, ‘Roof of the World’ from the good old days and ‘MK Ultra’, ‘Afrikan Proverb’ and maybe my favourite from the new album, ‘Second Life’.

The crowd were warming up nicely and it was great to see such an impressive turn out on a school night.

The band were giving it their all now and ‘Comeback’ (which I haven’t heard Spear play live for such a long time) was followed by the up-tempo ‘Solution’ and then ‘Grapes of Wrath’. Three in a row of brilliant tracks before ‘Mr Livingston’ (from ‘Tontine’) saw Kirk stretch those vocal chords a little further still.

An excellent version of ‘World Service’ closed the main set where the audience sang every word in unison – one of those ‘hairs standing up on your neck’ moments transporting me back to the early 80s.

The encore was just as memorable. ‘The Wheel’ was followed by another song I haven’t heard live for decades, ‘King of Kings’ before the ever mosh-pit inducing closer of ‘Liberator’.


Great stuff from a band who sound as strong today as they did thirty-odd years ago.


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