Thursday, 14 July, 2022 in Culture, Live Reviews, Music

Into Music Live Review: Spear of Destiny

Concert: Spear of Destiny
Venue: The Caves, Edinburgh
Date:  10 July 2022

Take one of the most unique venues in Edinburgh’s – The Caves – throw in the Spear of Destiny and it adds up to the most fun I’ve had on a Sunday night in a long time. For those that don’t know, The Caves are in the Old Town. The venue has a rich history to match its salacious setting and were once rumoured to have been a hunting ground for the serial killers Burke and Hare. Forming part of The Vaults, they lay hidden for more than a century until they were (re)discovered in the 1980s.

Nowadays though, The Caves hosts everything from comedy shows to weddings, corporate events and gigs. One of the latter saw Spear of Destiny conclude a short mini tour with an Edinburgh date to which can only be described as incendiary.

It was on the now iconic Channel Four music programme The Tube in 1985 that I first saw the band and my teenage self was blown away by what I’d just witnessed. They had a street mentality, top tunes, cool threads, brothel creepers and real attitude. Since then I’ve lost count with how often I’ve seen them but the show on Sunday is definitely right up there with the best.

While the Spear of Destiny line up has changed over the years, with only Kirk Brandon remaining a constant, that feeling of a gang-like togetherness remains evident. There was no messing about as they launched into Rainmaker and quickly followed up with Young Men then Soldier, Soldier. The crowd were of course on side as the band delivered a set that was all killer and no filler.

Attica was a highlight, Clive Osborne’s haunting saxophone really lifting the track through the cavernous venue. Elsewhere, Playground of the Rich was truly epic, the song building and building with Brandon and Adrian Portas’s guitars duelling against the solid backbeat of bass via Craig Adams and drums courtesy of Phil Martini. The song’s riotous finish with Brandon straining every vocal sinew at the song’s conclusion was different class.

These cuts and a new track, the title of which I didn’t catch, bodes well for the forthcoming long player Ghost Population which the band are shortly studio bound to mix.

Of course, with such an illustrious back catalogue, it could be difficult to get the balance right regarding what to play but SoD got it spot on. As the gig went on, the bar just seemed to be continually raised, The Wheel was off the scale while Land of Shame was wild and raucous. The crowd took over vocal duties for a bit on World Service before a stirring Mickey finished off the set. That latter song of course is written in part about the Falklands War and stands up well with other songs written about the conflict such as Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding and The Bluebells South Atlantic Way.

The encore included a song written back in 1986 that was never recorded, Forever Their England which went down great and of course the set ending Liberator where the crowd went suitably nuts.

Keep up to date (including forthcoming live dates) with all things Spear of Destiny/Kirk Brandon via the website here.

 John Welsh




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