Spear of Destiny – Live Review – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
By Victoria Holdsworth, May 2018
There is nothing like a blast from the past on a Thursday evening, to rejuvenate a youthful soul.
It has been 35 years since Spear Of Destiny formed. I remember they sounded, and still do, like nothing I had ever heard before. Even more sickening, lead singer Kirk Brandon, still looks as fresh as a daisy – the swine!
The crowd tonight are quite excitable at The Brudenell, and I was looking forward to reacquainting myself with some familiar and new sounds from one of the bands that helped to shape my future musical tastes.
I had listened to their new album, Tontine, a few weeks ago now, and was mightily impressed. This, coupled with an anniversary outing of debut album Grapes of Wrath, well, I couldn’t possibly say no to seeing it all performed live, on account of only being 7-years-old when it was first toured.
Opening up with ‘Welcome To Brighton’, there is a wailing of sirens before mods and rockers are introduced into the foreboding and menacing lyrics. I must stress at this point how apt the song actually is, as only moments before SOD took to the stage, in the other room the tribute band, From The Jam were playing, and there was the ugliest fight that spilled through the back doors and into the car park between some mods and skin heads. It was all very unpleasant and unnecessary.
Straight into ‘Flying Scotsman’ from Grapes Of Wrath, sees the crowd taking the lead on the vocals from there on – and for the rest of the set really – following it with a rousing version of ‘The Preacher’, which showed the exceptional talents of ex-New Model Army member, Adrian Portas on guitar. This was all garnished with some pounding bass lines which were fat and weighty, and the multi -layered effects throughout the song made this a contender for track of the evening.
‘MK Ultra’ showed that Kirk Brandon has lost none of his acerbic edge when it comes to delivering a lyric, especially when discussing the topic of CIA experimental mind control. The tune itself is almost a football chant, and just looking at some of the faces in the crowd, it did not sit as well with them as other tracks.
‘The Medievalist’ and ‘The Hop’ absolutely blew me away, but nothing equalled ‘Second Life’, which is simply one of the best songs I have ever heard, and it was as epic as they come.
There is little chit-chat from Brandon this evening, and from the size of the set list, I can see why. Plus, he is slightly more subdued these days it would seem and his air of air of awkwardness as a lead singer is still present after all these years.
‘Mr Livingston I Presume’ is dedicated to his old friend, and really shows his ability for telling a yarn through song. The guitar and drum flairs through the mid-point of the song,when it changes and kicks into overdrive, is beyond excellent and is a masterclass of musicianship.
All the new tracks played tonight fit perfectly alongside Grapes of Wrath, and the audience of die hard supporters are still loving every second of it. They even manage to form a mini mosh pit, although it’s more of a shuffle pit, and even though they looked knackered, they persisted through to the end, getting louder and louder as the set went on. Brandon commanded their every move with a vocal or hand gesture.
‘Comeback’ was an absolutely stellar performance, and I wished they had started the night with some of the more upbeat stuff. Kirk puts his guitar down to just do the vocals on this tune, and although fairly static in his stage performances, it is clear just how lost he gets in the moment of the music – and it’s infectious.
As the band leave the stage to much applause and cheers, the encore is not far behind, and they rip through three final songs.
‘The Wheel’ always had a Thin Lizzy tinge to it, and still sounds relevant. The anarchic ‘King of Kings’ turns the room volume up to eleven on the Nigel Tuffnell amp, and the crowd are getting boisterous. The evening ends on the legendary anthem ‘Liberator’ a which saw elderly bodies being hurled at the front of the stage and the audience lifted the roof off with the sing along as Kirk and band wind everything down to a hush, thanking everyone. Bassist Craig Adams cheers the adoring fans with his large glass of wine and adds a few additional words.
The performance tonight was simply stunning and melodramatic in places. Pure class!
images: Russel Gaunt