The Rezillos – back in London. 229, The Venue saw a fresh outbreak of Rezillomania on Saturday 22/02/2020.
The Rezillos are on a fairly extensive tour around the UK presently. They then head off for some European dates. The last tour, back in 2018, was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the sublime album “Cant stand The Rezillos”.
The Rezillos are a punk/new wave band formed in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1976. Although emerging at the same time as other bands in the punk rock movement, the Rezillos did not share the nihilism or social commentary of their contemporaries, but instead took a more light-hearted approach to their songs, preferring to describe themselves at the time as “a New Wave beat group”. But if you are reading this, then you probably know that!
Atomic batteries to power, transmatt location and frequency set. It was Destination Venus at 229 The Venue, London. It almost wasn’t to be thanks to various rail disruptions and a strike on some of the underground lines. But we made it! Thank goodness as this was a night of live music not to be missed. This was set to be a terrific gig for the gig calender due to the line up – The Members were the guests on the night. What a line up! A superb mix of two great bands on the one night – well done to AGMP!
The Rezillos are:
Fay Fife – vox, theremin, keys
Eugene Reynolds – vox, guitars, sax and of course THE shades!
Angel Paterson – he plays drums and sports those cool shades
Chris Agnew – he generally brings down the bass thunder, and cool shades.
Phil Marx – chief guitar noise maker, vox, leaping and cool shades.
Ok now we have met the band, what about…
Chatting with Eugene before the gig he did mention that there were some surprises tucked away in the set tonight. Also as observed the during soundcheck there was a brass section! But more on that later. The 229 lights dimmed, the smoke machine whirred into life blowing clouds of the stuff onto the stage, the lights dance, the intro music started and on came the guys to a huge cheer from the packed in crowd at the 229.
Angel hit out the drums, Phil hit the riff, Chris fired up his bass and out came Eugene and Fay. Hold tight London! its gonna be a bumpy ride as Destination Venus fires off proceedings. This was belted out at us faster than a meteor hurtling towards earth! Hell! That was fast. A bit of chat between the band members and they all agreed they would like to visit the Groovy Room. And that was next. This is a track from the bands second album, Zero. And has become a crowd pleaser. The Rezillos had landed! Ignition had happened and the fuse to the rocket had reached the the main engines and were now propelling us towards planet Rezillos!
Chris slapped down on the bass and it was full on for Flying Saucer Attack! With Fay shimmying across the stage during the breaks and drops. I have seen The Rezillos many times, we go way back since the time I road crewed for The Ramones and The Rezillos were the support. They always put on a superb show and performance. But backstage tonight there was a real sense of excitement and anticipation for this gig which had now just exploded in front of us on stage.
Fay and Eugene switch around vocal duties. The set list is always different and so you always get a different show every time. The Rezillos will always catch you off guard. Eugene takes over the main vocal duties for Bad Guy Reaction. His voice is razor sharp tonight as the lyrics bite through the air pulling the crowd into a full on party mode and we were only four songs in!
It’s Top Of The Pops
Phil at this point ripped open his jacket! Err hello! what’s occurring here? A huge smile on his face as Fay gave us a brief intro about a certain programme that used to be on TV on a Thursday night, it was of course Top Of The Pops! Phil fired up the guitar for the opening riff, showing off the t shirt under his jacket, and the few hundred people in the venue decided it was time to get up and pile in. Fists punched the air as hundreds of voices joined in. Simply stunning!
Time for another couple of new (-ish) ones, and so it was back to the album Zero as Fay introduced us to the killer track Spike Heeled Assassin and Fay was off bouncing around the stage, hair flicking, fist waving, head banging and then she would stop and with a huge smile on her face dropped the gentler Tiny Boy From Outer Space. Fay has power in her voice and then some. Eugene took over with “We even sometimes do the B sides” and I Wanna Be Your Man, yes that one by The Beatles, was up. I guess this was a surprise Eugene mentioned as they hadn’t done it live for many years. I had not seen them do this live probably since the early days I mentioned before. This was the B side of Cant Stand My Baby. Chris hit his stride with some superb bass playing for this one as Phil provided some sparking guitar breaks. Chris kept the well loved bass riff running, working with Angel to provide the rhythm and support. He makes it look effortless. Anyone who has played a bass guitar to a Rezillos track will know it isn’t as easy as Chris makes it look.
It Gets Me was next and this was followed by a Revillos track (Its a long story!) Do The Mutilation after Fay gave us some fine and humourous Health and Safety advices about that one! Eugene took over the vocal duties for No the crowd reacted with each shout of “No” and and he was rejoined by Fay as Cold War Reaction followed that. Then that song, sometimes saved for later or for the end of a show was Somebody’s Gonna Get their Head Kicked In Tonight. Oh heck! That did it! Anyone hanging out at the back or just watching got pulled in with this one. Using every journalistic quality I can think of, all I can say at this point is that the 229 went nuts!
At this point Eugene welcomed a brass section to the stage! The Rezillos and a brass section. Sorry About Tomorrow and Zero were given the brass make over. It lifted those songs to another level. Zero in the main is instrumental with Fay on Keys and both doing vocals. The brass added warmth and strength to both songs. Impressive stuff. 20,000 Rezillos Under The Sea and My Baby Does Good Sculptures were given the makeover. 20,000 just sounded superb with two saxes and then guitar and trumpet battling it out in a duelling banjo style.
I Cant Stand My Baby!
The ear melting opening riff from I Cant Stand My Baby hit us from Phil, smacking us between the eyes. Oh My! The Rezillos hadn’t finished with us yet! Here we go! Fay pounced forward – she was ready! Eugene, guitar in hand moved towards the front, his distinct glasses catching the light, the poise, the presence, he was ready. Drums from Angel piled in, he was ready. Chris’ bass thumped with the climbing bass line, hitting us full in the chest, he was ready. Stand by for action London! The Rezillos were still in the house and by the look of it, they meant business! The quite sublime first single I Cant Stand My Baby was delivered. A Tour De Force if you like. It sounded superb, again with the brass smashing through the sheer volume of The Rezillos. The sound at the 229 tonight was off the chart. The band left the stage. It wasn’t over….
Phil took to the stage for an extended solo guitar intro for Getting Me Down as the band came back to a huge cheer. Mystery Action was hammered home safely. Fay prepped up for a superb River Deep Mountain High. I have seen Fay deliver this a few times, every time she does it, it just seems to change and improve but with the brass section giving the whole thing a real wall of sound feel was just superb. Congratulations to who ever put the brass section into the mix. It put some real flavour and and fleshed out those solid songs. Congrats to the musicians involved, a blinding job!
The Rezillos had mixed it up tonight and pulled it off with gusto, sci fi, punk rock and aplomb. They delivered their set with passion, intensity and a sense of just damn good fun. Congratulations guys, keep it going! As bands announce no more tours, or reducing live appearances, The Rezillos showed us there is still some fuel crystals left in the rocket engine yet, they show no signs of slowing it down! Thank goodness, they are indeed a force of nature! Catch them live, you will not be disappointed.
It took a while for the audience to leave when the band finished. The Rezillos had loosened their grip on us but we didnt want to leave! That’s how good the show was. The Rezillos are steeped in history, but they are still very much on target today. The mix of old and new material delivered with such style and gusto, as witnessed at this gig, proves that.
The merch desk was under attack all night. Zero available again on vinyl, New T’s drew fans like moths to a flame, and me included (two new ones for me!). The band has always had a strong relationship with their fans and its great to see that they continue to make time to come out to meet them and sign CD’s and vinyl. As a result, they have a very loyal, and in some cases a long standing fan base.
Well done The Rezillos! Also to AGMP for putting on such a great show.
The Rezillos also have a well managed Facebook page, Twitter (make sure you visit the official Twitter) and and interactive website.
Promoter: Massive thanks to the fabulous outfit AGMP who put on this night – they are on the WWW here!
229 The Venue are here. A cracking venue with top staff looking after everyone – thanks guys x
Please note all original images / video are copyright, please do not copy. If any of the featured artists/promoters/venues want copies of the images – or more if available – please just get in touch.
All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2019.
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