THE REZILLOS + DEPARTMENT S – ALL SAINTS CENTRE, LEWES 27.10.18
My musical journey this weekend took me on a short train journey to Lewes. The venue was the All Saints Centre along Friars Walk. As the name suggests, it is indeed a former Church and it turned out to be a great venue for tonight’s bands – The Rezillos and Department S.
I was really looking forward to this. I had seen Department S a couple of years ago at the Undercover Festival at Brighton Racecourse and they had been one of the highlights for me with an amazing rendition of the seminal song ‘Is Vic There?’ I had never seen The Rezillos at all and everyone I spoke to said that I had missed out and was in for a real treat!
Department S originally evolved in 1980 from punk/ska combo, Guns for Hire, fronted by Vaughn Toulouse and also featuring former Madness drummer John Hasler, with Mike Herbage joining them on guitar. The group then became Department S with the addition of bassist Tony Lordan, drummer Stuart Mizon and keyboardist Eddie Roxy.
Tonight’s current Department S lineup was Eddie Roxy (who has been on keyboards since 1980 and now holds vocal duties since 2007), Pete Jones (on bass and backing vocals from 2014), Phil Thompson (on guitar and backing vocals since 2015) and Alan Galaxy (on drums since 2017).
Department S kicked off their set with ‘Kings’, I immediately knew this was going to be an amazing night. The rock sound of the lead guitar lifted the whole crowd and people started to get a great feel of what was to come. I was standing next to Richie Nice – bass guitarist for the “Gripper Lee 3” and he agreed that the band were really tight and that the sound was great. Next up was ‘On My Own’ which we also enjoyed.
Throughout the set, Eddie Roxy kept the crowd captivated with his cool and moody delivery of each and every song.
The full set list was; ‘Kings’, ‘On My Own’, ‘I Want’, ‘Long March’, ‘Left Right Left’, ‘Wonderful Day’, ‘Is Vic There?’, ‘I Believe’, ‘When All Is Said’.
Eddie told us that all the songs except three were new material, which is an encouraging sign for the future. Even though the crowd didn’t know them, everyone was talking about how great Department S are. I for one will definitely be buying the new material when it’s released. After their set the band were greeting everyone and signing albums. A great start to the evening.
Next up were The Rezillos. I didn’t know what to expect and what came next totally took me by surprise. A great fan of the B52’s and The Cramps I didn’t realise how similar The Rezillos were. I had truly missed out.
The band started out in Edinburgh in 1978, when the aforementioned were also forming. The Rezillos were really influenced by 1950’s Rock ’N’ Roll and 1960s English beat music. I also think that some of the 70s glam rock filtered it’s way through into what is a great fun sound.
The current line up consists of original members Fay Fife (vocals/tantrums) and Eugene Reynolds (vocals/guitar), who are now joined by Angel Paterson (drums), Chris Agnew (bass) and Jim Brady (guitar).
So to the performance.
This is The Rezillos 40th anniversary of the release of the ‘Can’t Stand The Rezillos’ album. So to respect that, we were going to be treated to the whole album start to finish, in the correct running order. Eugene thought that it might not work but it absolutely did.
The first half of the set started with ‘Flying Saucer Attack’, ‘No’, ’Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight’, ‘Top Of The Pops’, ’2000 A.D.’, ’It Gets Me’,’Can’t Stand My Baby’, ‘Glad All Over’, ‘(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures’, ’I Like It’, ’Getting Me Down’, ’Cold Wars’, ’Bad Guy Reaction’.
The whole crowd was absolutely hooked right from the very first note. I was surprised how many songs I knew. Both Fay and Eugene are accomplished artists and had all of us captivated by their performance. The rest of the band were also delivering the fun, which was amazing.
The second half of the set we were promised gems and more fun and that is exactly what we got.
The rest of the set was as follows; ‘Groovy Room’, ‘Sorry About’, ‘Zero’, ‘Mutilation”, “Mystery Action’, ‘Destination Venus’. Then we had the encore, which was just as well because nobody wanted this to stop. The encore was ‘Out Of This World’, ‘River Deep’ and finally ‘20,000 Rezillos Under The Sea’.
If you said to me what was the highlight of the evening. Simple answer would be – Being there!
Two great bands from the 70s and 80s, playing new and old songs that sounded fantastic. If you haven’t seen either of these bands, there is still time on this tour. It only took me 40 years to see The Rezillos, but I wish I had done it a lot of times sooner.
Find out more about the wonderful All Saints Centre venue HERE.
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