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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Spear of Destiny

I've had a bit of an extended break from blogging as I've been very, very busy with other stuff.
Anyway. No shackshakers review as I can't be arsed, well maybe I will. I'll see how it pans out.
By next week I'll have interviewed Strawberry Blondes and The Undertones. So keep an eye out for them, but in the interim here's Kirk Brandons Spear of Destiny from the other night.

Kirk Brandon's Spear of Destiny/The Red Eyes/The Rudiments - Glasgow ABC2 19/7/10

Opening act for Kirk Brandon's Spear of Destiny is a bit of a strange choice. They're called The Rudiments, who with their authentic Merseybeat/R&B sound are the proverbial fish out of water on the bill. Shut your eyes and you could have been in the Cavern Club circa 1962.
Not sure if I would bother to go out of my way to see them as headliners in their own right, but as a support band they impressively manage to get a few heads nodding from an audience who are probably averse to giving anything pre 1976 a go. So fair play to them.
Highlight of their set was a rousing cover of "Shakin' all over" that had the meagre crowd stirring in minor appreciation. On another night and in front of a different audience it would probably be a different story though. So if the retro sixties scene is your bag then these guys would float your boat for definite, but as I was looking for a fix of punk rock it was down to the main support act, perennial Glaswegian punk rockers, The Red Eyes to provide it.
Each time I've seen them I've had to ask myself why they have never garnered more success. While lesser bands go from strength to strength The Red Eyes keep at it writing great songs and giving 100% on stage to an audience of the already converted.
They seem to have opened for ever single established UK punk rock band going, but just failed to make that leap to the next stage. Don't ask me why though.
I suppose it will be the old chestnut that they've just never been in the right place at the right time. It's a crying shame really as they perfectly meld the sound of all the great punk bands like SLF, Buzzcocks and the Jam together to make fantastic sing-a-long anthems that are shockingly listenable.
Maybe their fortunes would finally change if a band like The Damned took them on the road and let them have a stab at turning the heads of a different audience night after night rather than playing to the same old faces. Who knows.
What I do know though is that the set that heavily plunders their latest album release "From the outside in" hits all the right buttons.
Other bands can be a bit hit and miss, failing to keep an eye on the quality control levels, but not The Red Eyes, who maintain a rock solid approach to providing the best material that they can.
People don't have to take my word for it though. Contact the guys at and shell out the bargain basement price of £3 for their latest album and the proof of what I'm saying is within the thirteen tracks therein. It's maybe only just past the half way mark of 2010, but this might actually be the best release by a band playing what some would call "the classic punk sound" this year. Only time will tell.
The night was however always going to belong to Kirk Brandon's Spear Of Destiny. There was a bit of a shaky start, not so much in a musical sense, but more of it taking a couple of songs for the band to settle into a groove. Even Kirk himself looked a bit out of sorts and maybe a tad wary initially.
I could hazard a guess that this may have had something to do with the poor turnout and it's possible that this had knocked his confidence a bit.
If this was the case then I hope that someone has a word in his ear about the lack of promotion for the gig. Where were the posters, flyers etc?
Very few people I spoke to in the days prior to it knew that the band were playing at all. Realistically the turn out could have been doubled with a bit more effort from the promoters to do their job and actually promote the show.
Regardless of the faltering start when they did get into their stride they were nothing less than magnificent. Song by song the confidence grew and by the quarter way mark they were well into it with Kirk and the band becoming an unstoppable machine. Even the inclusion of a new song "Undertow" couldn't derail the momentum that they had built up.
A personal favorite "Rainmaker" had the hair standing on the back of my neck.
You could see Kirk visibly relaxing and moving from performing to immersing himself into the music and there lies the magic. Once he loses himself in the moment everything clicks into place and Spear of Destiny make complete and utter sense.
At that point everything they do sounds organically fluid. Nothing sounds manufactured. It just flows naturally through them. They become a conduit for a higher power.
The cliched "tour de force" comment could easily be applied to the band when they play like this, but in all honesty they are deserving of it.
By the time that the main set had finished and they returned for an encore Kirk was flying. Mickey bled into Liberator and the night finished with him standing alone centre stage lapping up the adulation that was being freely given
I've said it before, but it's these types of performances that keep the flame alive in the jaded hearts of those of us who attend shows regularly.
We see band after band and enjoy ourselves immensely, but every once in a while you catch a show and say to yourself "this is why I do it", and Spear of Destiny provided one of those.
Within the next seven days I'll have seen The Undertones, Buzzcocks and PIL amongst others, but each of them will have to pull something pretty special out of the bag to catch Spear of Destiny in full flow.


  1. Spear of Destiny.
    Bloody hell another trip down memory lane.
    Rainmaker and Liberator are the two that spring to mind although I must root out some more and remind myself!
    I remember Kirk not only as being a great performer but also having the whitest teeth in the universe!

  2. They played both of them. As you would expect they sounded huge, even in a small club.
    I've never been a huge fan of their albums, but live it always makes much more sense.
    Kirk had some heart surgery not that long ago and I thought that he would have maybe eased off on the throttle a bit, but no, by the end of the set he was lost in the performance.

  3. Ahh S.O.D. what a fine band, Kirk Brandon is the man I haven't seen him play since the late 90's but used to see them regularly as S.O.D. or T.O.H. or 10:51. Always great and what a voice that boy has so poewerful yet emotive. Must see them again, sounds like you had another top night mate and after that write up I'm off to buy The Red Eyes album cheers for the heads up, all the best.

  4. It was a great night Marky.
    A last minute decision to head along and as usual these end up as the most memorable nights out.
    I'm hoping that at some point in the future he might be up to playing an acoustic set for me in my local venue.
    I have a mate who is going to bend his ear on it. So fingers crossed.

  5. I Agree with every word about the Glasgow gig. Started nervously but flew into sheer Excellence. This was the first time I had seen them (even though I have been a huge fan since 1984), but that was not what made it special. they were amazing and Kirk was amazing despite the poor turnout. I also thought the folk sitting at the back could have joined in and made it more of a gig, but I was quite happy at the front singing along.

  6. You must have been standing just to the right of me as I was also at the barrier.
    I think poor promotion could be blamed for the turnout as virtually everyone I have spoken to since that night didn't know anything about it.
    I only knew about is a seen a mention from the Red Eyes on a forum.

  7. Hi Marky, message me at and I'll sort you out with The Red Eyes album. Cheers, Alan