at The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., September 26, 2019

SPEAR OF DESTINY (Live at The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., September 26, 2019)
Photo: Mick Burgess

35 years on and the seminal One Eyed Jacks album still defines the career of Spear Of Destiny. An album that resonated widely with students and the Alternative/Gothic movement at the time and still sounds stunning to this very day with lyrics that have retained their potency and relevance so many years later.

Basing this tour on that landmark release, Spear Of Destiny arrived in Newcastle to a sold-out Cluny to play the whole album from start to finish in its original running order.

“Rainmaker” and “Liberator”, guaranteed floor filler at student nights back in the day, have long been staples of the live set but never grow old and still manage to evoke a mini riot as soon as they start.

Kirk Brandon’s voice remains a formidable force, powerful and emotive whether on the military stomp of “All You Young Men” or the Reggae flavoured “Everything You Ever Want”, it never wavered.

Brandon has assembled arguably the strongest line-up yet featuring former Sisters of Mercy/The Cult bassist Craig Adams, Adrian Portas from New Model Army on guitar and Phil Martini on drums whose credits include Quireboys, Wayward Sons and Jim Jones and The Righteous Minds. Not only that, but for this tour the band was augmented by adding keyboardist Steve Allan Jones and Theatre Of Hate saxophonist Clive Osborne, ensuring the songs were performed as they were originally.

Rarely played songs such as “Attica” and “Forbidden Planet” thrilled longstanding fans but the moment of the night came with “Playground of the Rich”, a bold, dramatic song featuring a rasping sax solo from Osborne.

As well as the full album, there was even time to squeeze in a couple of B-sides in the form of the Gospel chant of “Rosie” and the 1984 version of “Grapes of Wrath”.

A six-song encore saw a spirited overview of Spear Of Destiny from the very start (“The Wheel”) to their latest Tontine album (“Medievalists”, “Mr Livingstone I Presume”) as well as a couple of other classics from their back catalogue including “World Service”.

With any luck, the success of this tour might just spark the idea for a tour to celebrate the 35th anniversary of World Service next year and judging by the reaction to tonight’s show, there’ll be plenty of takers for that idea.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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