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 www.theredeyes.co.uk 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 center 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.