Led by the strident Kirk Brandon, Theatre of Hate were formed in the early 1980s from the ashes of the band The Pack. Later the band members would splinter into Spear of Destiny (Brandon's mid eighties project) and The Cult, featuring guitarist Billy Duffy. This lovingly put together series of albums, captures their renowned live performances from 1981 and 1982 as well as reunion shows in 2007 and 2012.

While Brandon's vocal gave the band a unique sound, their live sets were also known for their energy and the unusual guitar punk sound mixed with an instrument normally associated with the likes of Spandau Ballet; the saxophone. Jon 'Boy' Lennard's playing gave the band a moodier feel alongside the angry guitars and bass.

Formidable is the word often used to describe their live shows at the time and the early recording from The Warehouse in Leeds from January 1981 is certainly that. Also included here is the previously released Berlin live show of the same year and a Brussels set from 1982. These recordings have been remastered for this deluxe release.

Alongside them though are two reunion shows from different phases of the band's later life. In 2007 only guitarist Stan Stammers from the original line up couldn't join them for shows that included this recording from Manchester. Brandon had lost none of his verve and the playing sounds almost as fresh as it did twenty years before. They were back again in 2012 and sounding just as energised, including here a wonderful set-closing Do You Believe In the Westworld? with its rollicking bass and guitar.

A booklet includes a raft of illustrations and fresh sleeve-notes penned by Mojo’s Pat Gilbert drawn from interviews with band members and for fans this is a must-have.

LATEST REVIEWS