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Unwavering Post-Punks Spear of Destiny Head to Notts This Autumn

19 July 19 words: Simon Wooldridge
photos: Jazz Jennings

Now approaching his mid sixties, Kirk Brandon shows little sign of slowing down. An integral member of several bands – Theatre of Hate and Dead Men Walking amongst others – he brings the outfit he’s probably best known for, Spear of Destiny, to Rescue Rooms this September...

Spear of Destiny's Rescue Rooms gig will be number thirteen of twenty in a whirlwind 24 days.

The band formed in 1983 at the height of what retrospectively became known as ‘post-punk’. Brandon’s previous band, Theatre of Hate, had ridden a short wave of success in the indie charts, bolstered by support from the then often acerbic music press. Interest in Brandon’s new band was instant; their songs catchy and anthemic – stadium rockesque with a punk sensibility.

Brandon has been the one constant in a band that has seen an almost Fall-like number of musos pass through the ranks; 29 at last count, including such luminaries as Pete Barnacle, Marco Pirroni, Stan Stammers and Dolphin Taylor.

They have released fourteen studio albums plus several live albums and compilations. It’s their mid-1980s output that they’re most famous for. Hit single, Never Take Me Alive, came from the 1987 Outland album – a quite dark release, theme-wise. Never Take Me Alive is about a man on the run after committing a murder, while Pumpkin Man deals with nightclub violence and police brutality. But it’s Strangers In Our Town, that over thirty years later and amidst the rise of the right across Europe and hostility to immigrants and refugees which is the most prescient; “There are strangers in our town. And our little town has changed. And the people say they’re to blame.” And later: “I asked him how long he’ll stay. ‘I used to have a home’ he said, ‘but when the breakdown came I left.’ And as he walked away, well I knew I’d come to hate them.” A clear warning.

Spear of Destiny haven’t rested on the 1980s’ laurels though. Just last year they released the critically acclaimed Tontine album.

Kirk Brandon famously sued Boy George after publication of the latter’s autobiography, Take It Like A Man in 1995. The latter claimed he and Brandon had been lovers in the early 1980s. Brandon lost the case.

Brandon’s bands command a loyal following among fifty and sixty-something post post-punks, but Spear of Destiny’s Rescue Rooms gig promises to be more than just a nostalgia trip.

Spear Of Destiny play Rescue Rooms on Friday 20 September 2019

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