Spizzenergi are remembered principally for two things: their 1979 single Where’s Captain Kirk?; the first single to top the UK indie chart where it remained at number one for seven weeks, and their tendency to change names at the drop of a hat.  Starting as Spizzoil, lead singer Spizz went on to lead a variety of line-ups as Spizzenergi, Athletico Spizz 80, The Spizzles, SpizzOrwell, and Spizz And The Astronauties amongst others. 

The latest incarnation of Spizzenergi comprises Spizz and a motley collection of cartoon rockers with a fondness for throwing some clichéd rock and roll shapes but produce a really tight, energetic sound.  Spizz takes the stage dressed like a Poundshop version of a character from the 1982 version of Tron, decked out in lights and waving a laser pointer around.  Thankfully, Spizz and his band aren’t taking themselves too seriously.  Highlights of the band’s set include Soldier, Soldier, European Heroes, Clocks Are Big and of course Where’s Captain Kirk?  A suitably Spizzenergetic encore of Roxy Music’s Virginia Plain tops off a really entertaining set. spizz1s

The Rezillos formed in Edinburgh in 1976 on the back of the wave of energy engendered by punk. Eschewing anger and political messages, the band considered themselves to be a new wave beat group, drawing on Sixties influences.    Their debut album Can’t Sand The Rezillos, released in 1978,  is rightly considered something of a classic, full to the brim of great hooks, great playing and a sympathetic production courtesy of Tony Bongiovi (cousin of Jon Bon Jovi) and the now legendary Bob Clearmountain at New York’s Power Station studios. REz2s

Mired in internal disputes, the band split up 4 months after the release of the album, guitarist Jo Callis eventually going on to bigger things as part of The Human League.  Earlier this year, original Rezillos Fay Fife, Eugene Reynolds and Angel Paterson returned to the studio with new members Chris Agnew and Jim Brady on bass and guitar for a somewhat tardy second album, Zero.

While The Rezillos take the business of being in a band seriously, their music is all about fun.  The walk on music from Sixties TV puppet sci-fi show Stingray sets the tone perfectly and the band launch into I Can’t Stand my Baby from the debut album.  The setlist mixes tracks from both albums and it says a lot for the songs on the new album that they are able to hold their own with the classics. rez1s

For me, one of the defining elements of Can’t Stand The Rezillos was the driving, melodic bass playing of William Mysterious (Alastair Donaldson) who sadly passed away in 2013.  Chris Agnew nails this and with Angel Paterson’s drumming provides a solid foundation for the rest of the band.  Guitarist Jim Brady seems born to be a Rezillo,   his slash and burn choppy riffs and concise solos remind me of Wilko Johnson (high praise) or a young Pete Townshend. At one point Brady dangles his guitar over the front of the stage for the audience to have a thrash at.  Unfortunately, I am just an inch too far away to be able to say that I once played guitar for The Rezillos. rez3s

Two big set lists at each side of the stage ensure that, from my vantage point at least, there are no surprises but this truly is a gig where every song is a highlight.   Fife and Reynolds perform with same energy that they had in their 20s, Fife in particular belting out her vocals with an enviable vigour none more so on than on an exuberant version of Ike and Tina Turner’s River Deep Mountain High.   Having claimed Fleetwood Mac’s Someone’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight as their own on Can’t Stand The Rezillos – you’d be forgiven for thinking that it is a particularly bitter Stevie Nicks outtake from Rumours but it is actually a Peter  Green-era B side – the band storm through it to bring a tremendous performance to a triumphant close.  While it would be interesting to see what The Rezillos might come up with in another 35 years, let’s hope we don’t have to wait that long to find out.

SETLIST:

I Can’t Stand My Baby

(Take Me To The) Groovy Room

Flying Saucer Attack

Sorry About Tomorrow

Spike Heel Assassin

Tiny Boy

Mystery Action

Bad Guy Reaction

Life’s A Bitch

Zero

No

It Gets Me

Top of the Pops

(My Baby Does)Good Sculptures

River Deep, Mountain High

Destination Venus

Encore

Getting Me Down

Someone’s Gonne Get Their Head Kicked in Tonight

John Scott

 

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