Theatre of Hate – Islington O2 Academy, London – live review

Theatre Of Hate Islington,
London O2 Academy,
10th May 2012

Post-punk band Theatre Of Hate disbanded back in 1982 having made only one LP. During their time together they built up a large, devoted following. This year, 30 years on from that album's release, they reunited for 3 sold out nights. Sarai Nuy scored a ticket for the London show & reports back below.

This year marks the 30th aniversary of their only released album, Westworld and the guys reunite for three shows spanning over this week in the UK. With sold out nights at the The Fleece in Bristol, Islington O2 Academy in London, and at The Box in Crewe. Joining Kirk Brandon for this glorious reunion is fellow cult punkers Stan Stammers and John Boy Lennard.



Theatre of Hate were really something for their time with incredibly original song structures taking inspiration from punk and dub and amplifyed it by throwing in a blaring haunting sax into the mix. Standing apart from the rest with so much style and originality, whenever they played a gig they managed to attract and unite all kinds of followers under one roof from punks, peace punks and goths. When Westworld was released in 1982 it grabbed some attention with the Clash tag and produced by Mick Jones it climbed it's way up into the UK top 20 but unfortunately like so many great things of genius it never got the attention and full recognition it deserved. After 30 years it is proof though that only albums like this can stand the test of time and with each listen this deep admiration is constantly renewed for a record that is loaded with so much ingenuity and character. So when you hear of a reunion show celebrating something as epic as this..you get excited.



Standing in an overloaded venue filled to the brim with old punks and die-hard fans you start to get an overwhelming sensation of just pure raw energy and adrenaline .Wagner is blaring out of the speakers and out on stage they charge like aging warriors poised for another fight. Kirk Brandon with his iconic blonde coiffe and still charismatic as ever wails out in a feverish high pitch 'The Original..the Original Sinnnnnnnnn' ! Everyone screams out in a frenzy..it really just doesn't get any better then this. Behind me are a group of men nearly twice my age thrashing and dancing like they are 20 years old again. Never have I've been in an crowd so enthused and hyped ..you can't help but find yourself drawn into the rhythm of the wardance. It's truly nights and experiences like this that make you remember why you love going to gigs in the first place and that bands like Theatre of Hate over a span of 30 years can still carry that torch that seems to be burning stronger and brighter then ever.

Setlist:

Poppies
Original Sin
It's My Own Invention
The Wake
Conquistador
Love Is A Ghost
Americanos
63
The Hop
Rebel Without A Brain
Legion
Judgement Hymn
The Incinerater
Propaganda
Do You Believe In The Westworld

All words by Sarai T. Nuy. More work by Sarai can be found here.

3 thoughts on “Theatre of Hate – Islington O2 Academy, London – live review

  1. Joe Whyte

    I loved that album. Hope they come North of the border.

  2. Chris

    Ive been following KB for over 26yrs, he always gives 100% forget your Mozza’s, E Smiths  & Browns (Dont get me wrong I’m a fan & love them all).. But this guy is the real deal, a brilliant singer-songwriter and nice fella..Certainly not had his fair share of credit.
    Anyway I caught TOH at Crewe. And they where blinding-so good’ tight as ever, intense, raw & passionate just as it should be.
    Also great to see Stan play again, for me he’s always been up there with Peter Hook. It certainly was worth the wait you really couldn’t tell that they’d only had a few days of rehearsals in all that time.  It was a privilege to see my favourite band playing my favourite album once again…more from Theatre Of Hate please Kirk & Stan!

  3. raven blackwood

    Stop it Sarai, you’re killing me with envy ! I really can’t stand that I missed this epic show, and your soulful account of your experience there, just makes it all the more acute.

    Though, I am grateful for your lovely account of it. I was always partial to the tribal bands, and Theatre of Hate has always been tops with me. I’m so pleased to know that this reunion was such an event.

    Keep it up and you’ll have me buying airline tickets.

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