Friday, 5 May 2017

11/4/2017 Duncan Reid & the Big Heads + Spizzenergi @ The Black Heart

As regular readers will have noticed, I've not been getting out to gigs much this year - times are hard and I'm having to be very selective. There are a lot of gigs that I normally wouldn't have missed that I have actually had to miss over the last few months. Even if they are free or cheap tickets I still have to factor in transport and booze costs. However, the tickets for this show at the Black Heart are only £8 - £9 with online booking fee from MusicGlue. Not all venues/booking agencies rip you off these days. I save on transport costs (and travelling time) tonight by going on the bike - there is a handy motorcycle parking bay directly outside the venue. OK so I can't have a drink, but I wouldn't have drunk in the venue at their prices anyway - I'd have gone to BrewDog a few yards up the street instead - also expensive but nicer and more 'bang-for-your-buck' on strength. Going on the bike I won't drink at all so that's more money saved, and I get down there in half the time it would take on the train.

It's a really strong bill for only £8, but unfortunately I don't make it down there in time to see the excellent Role Models - having a day job isn't conducive to seeing the first band on the bill on week nights. Next on the bill is Spizzenergi. Although I sometimes see Spizz himself at punk gigs around town and I still own an original 7" vinyl copy of the hit single 'Where's Captain Kirk?' I have never actually seen Spizzenergi live. Until now.
I am expecting a bit of a 'one song wonder' of a set featuring the hit single and nothing else of substance. It turns out rather better than I was expecting and is actually quite an entertaining show. I'd forgotten that there was also a lesser single called 'Soldier Soldier' with a cover of Roxy Music's 'Virginia Plain' on the B-side - both songs feature in the set. Also played is the surprisingly good single from 2014 'City Of Eyes'. Spizz himself is a bit of a caricature - sending himself up a bit as a larger-than-life figure. He is an engaging and entertaining frontman though, and I find myself quite enjoying the set.
The current Spizzenergi band is actually rather good - particularly the rhythm section featuring a terrific drummer and a monster bass sound provided by Ben from The Fiascos. Luca from The DeRellas also provides rock 'n' roll lead guitar. This band is good fun!

And so on to the headliners. I've seen this band several times now and really enjoyed their shows.
Duncan Reid and the Big Heads are here to promote their forthcoming album Bombs Away.
Duncan & Co. are proving to be quite prolific as 'Bombs Away' will be their third album - and it doesn't seem long since the first was out. This is a a very good live band, but what impressed me straight from the start was the quality of the songwriting. Duncan Reid learned his trade as the bass player in first generation UK punk band The Boys. Some of that band's songs still feature in his current band's set, and they certainly deserve to be - not for nothing were The Boys known as 'the Beatles of punk'. They had great really catchy pop tunes with a dirty punk edge. 'Honest' John Plain' the Boys main singer/guitarist is present at tonight's show.  Also present is Andrew Matheson from the infamous Hollywood Brats - I nearly ran him over with my motorcycle outside earlier. Accidentally obviously.
The venue is pretty full by the time Duncan & Co. hit the stage - I believe it is by then a sold out show. I doubt anyone goes home disappointed as the band are on top form - I've yet to see them do a less than excellent show. There is a bit of a change in the lineup tonight as the second guitar position is taken by Nick Hughes of the Role Models - doing double duty tonight as his main band opened tonight's show. Last time I saw the band Mauro Venegas formerly of Jonny Cola & The A-Grades was in that position, but as he has since joined The Godfathers I suspect he isn't available much of the time. The dynamic Sophie K Powers continues to raise her guitar game, and I suspect she could now carry the show on her own - but some bands are just better with two guitars.
The band really get the crowd going with their lively performance and catchy pop/punk songs. Material from the band's first couple of albums makes up the bulk of the set, but there are also one or two songs from the new album, including the title track 'Bombs Away' - well this is an album promo show!
The atmosphere is terrific in this intimate venue, and it gets even better towards the end of the show when some vintage punk classics from The Boys get played - 'First Time', and the Hollywood Brats 'Sick On You' as covered by The Boys on their first album. I was hoping Andrew Matheson might step up to sing the latter like he did with this band at a show at The Lexington a couple of years ago, but the former Hollywood Brats frontman apparently chooses not to on this occasion - maybe he is keeping his powder dry as there might be some form of activity in the pipeline from his old band... All in all it's been a great Tuesday night out - yes, I said Tuesday. This proves there is a still a hardcore of undeground music fans who aren't afraid to go out on a 'school night'. Long may it continue.

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