Duncan Reid & The Big Heads/Spizzenergi/Role Models – Camden, The Black Heart – 11 April 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Dom Daley   
Saturday, 22 April 2017 04:00

It’s a warm humid night in London so it must be something special to get me up to the big smoke on a school night.  I guess Duncan Reid playing a show to preview his brand new studio album is a good enough reason and having those Role Models on board is the cherry on the icing on the cake.


Duncan Reid Camden header


First up tonight are Role Models: after a jaunt around England and Scotland with Scott Sorry, the band are chomping at the bit and sounding tighter than a gnat’s chuff at the moment. Clearly benefiting from being out on the road and playing together, the band have album number three in the pipeline, so tonight was another chance to perform in front of someone else's audience and show them how bloody good they are.  


'Lie For Today', followed by 'Saturday Night Sailor' from the debut album, 'The Go To Guy', sounded killer before flying straight into the excellent '(I Broke My Back) Disappointing You' from the sophomore album 'Forest Lawn'. Anyone who's ever been to the Black Heart can testify how hot it gets in there - well, tonight was no exception and Simon Maxwell was hitting the drums like his life depended on it as he poured petrol onto the fire that was part of a superb rhythm section in this band.  Some killer power pop was being appreciated greatly by the decent crowd who'd ventured out early on this Tuesday night.  


Role Models press pic


With barely time for a breather, 'New Reason' sounded like it was freshly written and, along with brand new track, 'Wizard Van', had the audience trying out some dance moves of their own in the Black Heart heat. 'I Ain't Lucky' passed a brief one and a half minutes before the catchy 'Radio' collided with your brain and decided to take root - hey thanks Rags! Before you knew it we'd reached the last chance saloon and the wonderful 'This Eventually Leads Nowhere' is the perfect full stop to a Role Models set - and again tonight the four guys absolutely smash it with a tight, versatile, varied and thoroughly enjoyable set.  Catch them at Camden Rocks and a few other dates before these guys go back into the studio to record album number three.  There is no band currently hitting the highs that Role Models are in the punked up power pop field quite simply a joy to watch.






After a quick oxygen break I head back into the furnace to catch some of Spizzenergi, who I've only ever seen before at festivals and not really heard much beyond the obvious singles like 'Where's Captain Kirk?'. The band are tight and feature members of The Fiascos and DeRellas; with a sound that is Steve Jones on steroids, a full phat bass and the hint of Adam Ant (if I might be so bold),  a frontman who's part Rotten part Numan with some Ant thrown in for good measure, they are certainly out to entertain.  Spizz flashed his laser pens around the room and showed off his wonderful digital belt - and the stand out track for me happened to be 'Soldier Soldier', which was really good. So, for the first time I'd actually watched a sSpizz set: I must admit I enjoyed what I'd seen and wrack my brain to wonder why our paths haven't crossed before?  




How good was it to see a really busy Black Heart with everyone ready to rock and roll and hear what Duncan and his band of Big Heads had to offer on top of what had already been dished up this evening.  Without any fanfare we were off as 'Montevideo' sounded a lot bigger than on record before 'TCP' took us back in time. There were a couple of songs off the second album that followed and one thing that was duly noted was how big the band sounded; as well as being really tight, there was also variety, with Sophie playing the synth on 'Baby Doll'. 


Duncan Reid Facebook photo


The show was billed as being a preview for the brand new album that's was being launched tonight and preview copies were available before the release date sometime in May. 'Let’s Skip To The Good Bit' was the first introduction to the new record and a vibrant and catchy number it proved to be. The next few tracks  would bounce from the first album to the new album, via 'Thinking' and 'Rolling On' interspersed with 'Just Because You're Paranoid'  and the title track, 'Bombs Away'.  The band looked to be having a ball and the audience were feeding off the palpable energy that was exuding from the stage.  'Kelly’s Gone Insane' preceded the excellent new song that Duncan informed the audience was co-written, or “rescued” by the one and only Andrew Matheson, who was also in attendance this evening: 'C'Mon Josephine' was the song and by the sound of it the new album is going to be killer! And an inspired choice in handing the song over to the former Hollywood Brat.


To finish off the main set, Duncan handed the lead vocals to Nick Hughes, who was under pressure this evening (he was on his second shift on stage) as he piped up on 'Brickfield Nights', as Honest John Plain was also in attendance: in fairness to Nick, he pulled it off with aplomb before 'Soda Pressing' raised the temperature some more.  '77' and 'First Time' signalled the end of the set to rapturous applause that were thoroughly deserved as the set flowed seamlessly from record to record, and Boys songs to solo songs; one thing that shone through was how bloody good a songwriter Duncan is, and how fine a band he has with Sophie, Nick and Karen - living the dream and having a ball doing so. 


It was for the briefest of encores as Duncan led the band through a faultless 'One Night In Rio' and renditions of 'I Don't Care' and, of course, 'Sick On You': then it was all over and we could all nip outside for some fresh (ish) (OK I know we are in London Town) air (you know what I mean).




It was off into the humid night that I wandered looking back on what was another fantastic night of rock and roll wherein Role Models and Duncan Reid & The Big Heads ticked all boxes: yet another two bands with brand new albums coming out in 2017 that will waltz into my top 10.  Also, finally seeing a full Spizz set.


Always a pleasure - never a chore.  When can we do it again?


All content © Über Rock. Not to be reproduced in part or in whole without the express written permission of Über Rock.


Duncan Reid tour header