So where to start with this one. Well the parental advisory message may be both apt and too late but nevertheless anyone of a sensitive disposition should probably look away now.
Sometime last year Black Spiders announced they were to be no more. One last gig was planned and that was to be it. The fans clamoured for more and eventually Pete ‘Spider’ Spiby kicked in the door of their collective padded cell and unleashed his Spiders on the UK one last time. An 8 date Fuck Off Black Spiders Final Tour.
We start in Sheffield, Black Spiders base for many years, for day 6 of the tour. It promises to be a special night. It was certainly memorable. 4 songs in and we lose power to one side of The Corp. Monitors still working but no PA (or lights in the gents). Roadies are running everywhere. Every so often you get the standard ‘put 50p in the meter’ shout but all to no avail. They’ve blown the national grid (or something). An engineer is called but by 10:30 it’s agreed by all that the gig will have to be postponed.
We move onto Nottingham and what was to be (and may still be) Black Spiders last ever gig. In a remarkable reversal of standard behaviour I’d actually bought tickets for this one. I felt after years of guest lists (thanks Dark Shark) it was only polite to finally pay to see ‘em, given I’d never get chance again.
It was my first visit to Rescue Rooms. Adjoining neighbour, Rock City, had always been my favourite venue but I may have to rethink that. Rescue Rooms is a quality venue with a great sound. Tonight it’s a sell out. A heaving mass of bittersweet anticipation.
Ennio Morricone’s La Resi Dei Conti from A Few Dollars More echoes out. Every time I’ve seen Black Spiders it’s been their intro music – The Settling Of The Scores. It’s never been more apt. Tiger Si Atkinson taps out the beat and we’re straight into Si, El Diablo from debut album Sons Of The North.
The first thing that hits you is the sheer power of the band. These guys have been doing this in various guises for some time, their musicianship is second to none. They don’t claim to be reinventing the wheel. They just play balls out, hard, fast magnificent rock. Only they do it better. They’ve always been just a little bit frightening on stage too.
I love it.
Guitarists Mark ‘Dark Shark’ Thomas and Ozzy ‘The Owl’ Lister prowling and snarling, Adam ‘The Fox’ Irwin throwing his bass around as he stares insanely into the moshing throng. Along with ‘Tiger’ Si Atkinson on drums (tonight resplendent in make up and a fetching red dress) you’re never sure if they wanna buy you a pint or rip your still beating heart from your chest. Si could be classed as a lead drummer, standing on his kit conducting the crowd, demanding, and getting, a louder response every time. Fronting all this is Pete ‘Spider’ Spiby. Amongst the mayhem it’s easy to forget just what a skilled rock vocalist Pete is. Especially on tracks like St. Peter. There is some serious range there and he’s bang on the money every time.
They power through a 14 song set that dips into all eras of Black Spiders’ output. The crowd know all the rules – fingers in the air, good natured insults flying, word perfect singalongs. It is undoubtedly a celebration of a class rock band. The genuine love you feel for the band from the fans is overwhelming. One thing is for certain – no one wants Black Spiders to fuck off.
Tonight’s show closer is naturally Stay Down. It used to nestle nicely in the middle of the set but it’s the only song they could end with tonight. Mid song the band abruptly stop. Pete insists the crowd all raise their middle fingers to the band and scream ‘Fuck off Black Spiders’. (It used to be fuck you Black Spiders but this is the last chance we’ll get). Never have I known the words ‘fuck off’ be yelled so lovingly. If you were witnessing it for the first time I can only imagine how bizarre it all seems.
It’s all part of the quality rock ‘n’ roll show that Black Spiders have always put on though. But that’s it, apart from maybe a rearranged Sheffield gig Black Spiders have fucked off. I bid them a fond farewell and hope they change their minds. Right now we need bands that are just about enjoyment, Black Spiders are one of those bands.
Si, El Diablo
Kiss Tried to Kill Me
Raised by Wolves
What Good's a Rock Without a Roll?
Teenage Knife Gang
Blood of the Kings
Just Like a Woman