Theatre of Hate @An Club Athens 05/10/2019
REVIEW by Malice F. for Electrowelt.com
Theatre of Hate is among the gems of British post-punk bands; the band was formed in Britain in 1980 and has since written music history with anthems such “Do you believe in the Westworld?” and “Original Sin”. It is not said often enough, but they have influenced a vast majority of older and contemporary bands of the post punk – dark wave scene. Having disbanded in 1983, there were sporadic reunions in the 1990s and they reactivated the band in 2005 and they have been performing live since then.
With a sound that is dark, aggressive, but still danceable and anthemic, the band consists of great musicians who really know their craft. I have seen them live in Poland in 2018 and I can testify that Kirk Brandon’s voice is still as powerful and moving as it was forty years ago and the band is awesome.
The guitar riffs, the band’s characteristic bass sound, the melancholic still haunting sax lines, the bombastic and at times martial drums work magically together.
Saturday night at the historic venue of An Club in Athens centre. I arrived early to check out the support band, The Black Capes. I expected a more gothic sound, they had energy on stage, but they sounded too metal for my taste and in my opinion they were not the best support band choice for Theatre of Hate.
The goth elements that I have read about before listening to their tracks were minimal to none. They were not warmly accepted by the headliner’s fans that were filling up the venue, but they made their anticipation stronger as time passed. So maybe they were a clever choice after all.
Twenty minutes after 23:00 and we were ready to welcome Theatre of Hate live on stage. Many fans from Great Britain were also among us, may be friends of theirs who travelled to support them on tour.
Kirk Brandon with his guitar took his place at the centre of the stage, after Clive Osborne, the saxophonist, Adrian Portas on guitar, Chris Bell on drums and Stan Stummers with his bass, all of them appeared on stage in a low key manner, although they are great musicians, and got down to business immediately.
The first tunes of “Original Sin” were heard and the crowd cheered in enthusiasm! What a great way to begin things. Throughout the set, the band maintained a very satisfying balance between old favorites and new releases. We listened to four tracks from “Kinshi”: “Façade”, “Day of the Dog”, “Slave”, “Triumph”.
Clive Owen, a steady band member for many years now, transported us in another dimension, with his grandiose sax lines for “Judgment Hymn”.
Kirk’s distinctive voice was in great shape, although I admit that I expected him to appear tired due to his constant touring, but he proved me wrong.
The bass lines and the moves on stage by Stan Stummers were complimenting Kirk’s performance in the best way possible.
Towards the end, the band fired into “Propaganda” and they finished their main setlist with the glorious “Do you believe in the Westworld?”.
When it came to closing the set, no song could have been better suited than the band’s 1982 hit single, which topped the UK charts for two weeks.
Everyone in the venue was singing and having a blast, you could effortlessly acknowledge how much Theatre of Hate and their music meant to those in attendance.
After a short break, they returned on stage, Kirk Brandon admitted that he didn’t know what to expect from us as an audience and he was so excited, so pleasantly surprised! They started the encore with “Freaks” and ended with the intense “Legion”.
A memorable night, in a venue with such history that suited Theatre of Hate so successfully, a concert that anybody who respects his post punk, dark wave self should have witnessed!
Concert Set list:
- Original Sin
- The Hop
- My Own Invention
- Judgment Hymn
- Ukraine Girl
- The Swarm
- Day Of The Dog
- Do You Believe In The Westworld?
- Omen Of The Times