Sunday, 20 October 2013

891 SPIZZENERGI, Stella, Bristol Fleece, Saturday 19 October 2013

Halloween 1979; I was a 14 year old pseudo punk rock kid, off to a nightclub for the first time, namely Swindon ’s legendary Under-18 “Nappy Night” at the Brunel night spot! It’s no exaggeration to call that evening a musical epiphany for me, as I heard a whole raft of wonderful punk and post-punk bands and songs for the first time that night, leaving the club with a metaphorical record shopping list as long as my arm. And right at the top of that list was “Where’s Captain Kirk?”, a slab of scattergun sci-fi mutant punk by SpizzEnergi, who sounded less like a band, more of an Eastern European industrial complex. A superb singles band whose quirky cartoon punch never worked as well over a full-length, I never saw them first time around, but here in 2013 they’re another band scratching that reunion itch. So why not?

So, this vintage punk rocker was joined by another couple of vintage punk rockers, Deb and (eventually) L8Z, to see these vintage punk rockers (hmm, seeing a pattern develop here…), rocking down the M4 this early Saturday evening and parking up just before the venue doors opened, then popping into the pub next door for some entertaining chat about those Nappy Night days. Hit the sparsely attended venue about 8.15, in time to catch support Sheena. Not a girly punk rocker as we’d previously joked, this was a group of four painfully young looking kids straight out of 6th form (or maybe not even there yet…), who actually peddled some organ-fuelled 60’s mod/ psych numbers with darker, almost Joy Division-ish undertones, apart from a startling drum-dominated third number which recalled The Birthday Party! Some impressive diversity and driving rock from such a seriously young bunch, a name to watch methinks…

Took a wander down the front for the entrance of Spizz, in front of a 2/3rds full Fleece crowd comprised of old punkers and devotees. The band took the stage to a backing track of Star Trek (Original Series, of course) voiceovers and sound effects, kicking into the growling guitar opener “6,000 Crazy”. Then Spizz appeared… Dressed in black with glowing logos splattered liberally about his form, sporting crazy green goggles giving off strobe lights and with 2 LCD displays on belts low-slung under an impressive paunch, the peroxide pantomime punker Spizz cut a dramatic, eye-catching figure as “6,000 Crazy” morphed into the speedy terrace chant punk of “Mega City 3”, before welcoming us to the “fucking brilliant” show, and introducing the fuzzed-out soaring powerpop gem that is the overlooked “No Room”. And we’re off…

Thence followed a supremely entertaining, ridiculously and riotously fun hour’s sci-fi punk rock nostalgia. Thankfully concentrating on that clutch of classic singles (A and B sides!) rather than the more drawn-out albums material, Spizz, effusive and entertaining throughout, all high energy, dramatic gestures and wide stance, led his band through a kinetic, riveting set with his unique, high-pitched nasal vocals, and the verve of a man half his age. “Soldier Soldier”, kicking off with the “Star Spangled Banner” and featuring some militaristic drumbeats, was an early highlight; the “very moving love song!” of “Spock’s Missing”, alternating between the swish of the Spanish guitar verse and the thrash punk chorus, was a thrilling mid-set highlight, and the thrash through Roxy Music’s “Virginia Plain” referenced Debbie Harry and Bristol’s own Beki Bondage in a couple of false endings. But the set was all building up to one thing…

Spizz schooled the crowd in the correct call-and-response to “Clocks Are Big” (“Machines Are Heavy!”), then the unannounced bass intro heralded “Where’s Captain Kirk?”, a thrillingly committed version of this all-time sci-fi classic, Spizz and his equally ridiculously kinetic and photogenic guitarist Phil Ross giving it loads onstage, and the crowd joining in as much as their creaking knees would allow (or am I just speaking for myself?). A couple of well chosen covers to finish; Kraftwerk’s “The Model” and a Clash-faithful but riotously singalong “I Fought The Law” closed out probably the most fun set of punk entertainment I’ve seen since The Dickies.

Picked up a couple of setlists afterwards – props to the band for signing them all beforehand! – then had pix with the man afterwards (he’d previously announced that he was going to be hanging out afterwards to say hi, and true to his word marched offstage at the end of his set and straight over to the merch stand – props for that too!) before hitting the road. Waaaaay better than I’d expected, this was a wonderful evening’s entertainment from another vintage punker who, like Adam Ant and Peter Murphy earlier this year, proved tonight time doesn’t diminish the star quality of a born performer. Spizz, I salute you!

1 comment:

  1. Great blogpost thank you! I ❤ SPIZZENERGI
    GO team Spizz!!!!!
    Spizz Energi SPIZZENERGI (International ✈)
    ★ Spizz (EU): Vocals, Flashing lights & Throwing Shapes
    ★ Luca Comencini (Italy): Guitar, Vocals
    ★ Phil Ross (Scotland): Guitar, Vocals
    ★ Ben Lawson (England): Bass, Vocals
    ★ Jeff Walker (England): Drums