Spizzenergi formed in the late 1970s, an English punk/new wave band led by vocalist / guitarist Spizz. Spizz was joined by Luca Comencini (guitar), Ben Lawson (bass), Phil Ross (guitar), in addition to existing member Jeff Walker (drums), and Spizzenergi performed numerous shows across the UK and Europe. 2015 also saw headline shows in London, Munich and Augsburg, as well as five UK cities with Theatre of Hate and back to back gigs in Edinburgh and Glasgow with The Rezillos. Spizz has released many singles but “Where’s Captain Kirk?” always seems to be the crowd pleaser!
The auditorium went dark, a few pin spots started traversing the stage as the band took up their positions. The blistering opening chords, drums and bass for 6000 Crazy opened up the set. Spizz took to the stage, looking resplendent in his brand Spizz stage gear and his electronics. He was wearing his sci-fi glasses with lights and produced his green laser pen which pierced the smoke as he pointed it out through the smoke.
The band tore through an initial run, non-stop, of four songs, 6000 Crazy, Mega City 3, No Room and Amnesia. This was an assault on the audience, and it was fabulous. Spizz had pulled in the audience from the back of the venue and the bar and the crowd packed itself in close.
Phil Ross with his stunning, white, Johnny Ramone signature guitar looked the part in his red military style jacket and white framed glasses. Phil had dropped the face whitening technique employed since I last saw him, “I like to keep changing and make things fresh and interesting” he explained. Luca Comencini, sporting a Spizz T and his black leather cowboy styled hat, looking cool as always with his beloved guitar. This was the third time I had bumped into Luca in 2015. I had a quick word with Luca ” We have had some technical issues – but hopefully sorted now!” he said after the sound check. Ben Lawson along with his massive bass guitar, wearing a cracking leather jacket was in full stride supporting the drums. Jeff Walker, sitting at the back of the stage wearing his white shades combines with everyone else to produce the raw power of Spizz Energi.
A few words from Spizz and the band powered into European Heroes. A short stop for breath and Central Park followed.
Ross moved into the center of the stage – no sound, Spizz unfurled the American flag. Ross shouldering his guitar as if he was on parade. Luca played the opening bars of the American anthem, Ben powered up the bass, Jeff laying down some serious drumming patterns and Luca and Phil then supplying the full Spizz guitar sound. Spizz removing the flag from the stage kicked into the vocals. Superb song – superbly delivered.
Next up the latest single offering from Spizz Energi – City Of Eyes.
I have to say this is one of my top songs of the year. I have seen the band perform this live before – but tonight they just nailed it – absolutely. Spizz on top of his game, and Phil seemed to have found himself a trampoline, throwing himself into the air and across the stage. Ben and Jeff keeping the bass and rythmn pounding at us for the song. The crowd joining in with the chant and Luca, as always delivered a stunning guitar solo midway through the song. He is a craftsman, delivering his guitar performances with grace and style, and damn it – he makes it look so easy!
Next song – Luca opened up, and Ross and Ben starting up the chugging intro to Machines. Spizz and the band I think realised they “had” the crowd. I have seen them play before – but tonight was something else. The crowd stamping and joining in as Ross screamed “Left, Right, Left, Right!” This is another belting tune and as infectious as it can possibly get. Love it.
The guitar harmonies started up. Spizz singing about the forbidden zone, being left all alone, Spock where can you be? then “1-2-3-4” and we were thrown into Spocks Missing. A great song – a mix of slow guitars, melancholy vocals and then a wall of blasting guitars and another stellar vocal performance from Spizz. “Spock Where Are you?”
“Clocks are big” announced Spizz – “Machines are heavy” came the reply. Spizz invited those who had not shouted back to have another go…. “Clocks are big” – – “MACHINES ARE HEAVY” came the reply. This song was mixed in with Wheres Captain Kirk. The Spizz machine powered at us as I have never seen them do before. The audience by now totally captivated by Spizz were loving this – fists pumping in the air “WHERE’S CAPTAIN KIRK?” shouted the crowd at the appropriate point. Phil Ross again performing acrobatics in the air and across the stage as the song came to an end.
Was that it? Spizz announced – not quite – the opening of Virginia Plain, the Roxy Music classic. Luca and Ross replacing the keyboard opening with their guitars – “we are flying down to Rio”. Ben supplying the bass power to the track. Spizz, clearly not happy with the level of nose generated by the crowd shouting Virginia Plain, stopped the band. A huge smile across his face, Spizz ordered everyone to shout “Virginia Plain” at the end. We did as we were told. Twice more – “1,2,3,4” – “Virginia Plain” we screamed. Then that was it. The band gathered up their belongings and were gone with a quick wave to the crowd.
I had chatted with Spizz pre-show. They had a terrible trip up on the train with delays and then, because there were no taxis, a walk to the venue up a very steep hill. It was cold and damp, but they had made it. This of course impacted preparation time and did not give the band much time to chill and unwind. I think this must have had an effect because the band played at a level, tempo and ferocity I have not seen before. Spizz Energi – you put on one hell of a show!
If people had not seen or heard of Spizz Energi before, well they had now! And they were not going to forget it and judging by the cheers and applause they enjoyed the performance. Great job.
Would I see Spizz Energi again – oh yes, as often as I could! And I think the same could be said for the Edinburgh audience.
The Venue: The Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
A nice venue situated just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The sound was good considering the size of the venue, and was turned up nice n loud for this event! The lighting however I felt was not great, although a little better than some places, as someone was operating the spots, but still very dark. Parts of the stage at times were very dark and made it difficult to see the entire band. The audience had to squint through a bright orange battery of lights for most of the performance. Spizz is a very active performer with props and gadgets, sadly we could not see some of this. Also a little generous on the stage smoke. Good to see some security staff on site. They do a great pint and friendly bar staff.
A great selection of sized T’s, CD’s, badges and stickers on sale. The desk was manned by members of the band. They were happy to sign their CD. Good prices and good quality items.
All words, pictures and personal videos are copyright Ian Bourn/Mediaworks.