Wavis O’Shave, Spizz, Headline

Wavis O’Shave gigging with punk legend Spizz and one of the toughest of the ska revival bands; Headline, reviewed in the Record Mirror, 5 April, 1980.
Michael Riley who’d previously been in Steel Pulse was Headline’s singer. They were one hell of a live band.

Wavis O’Shave, Atheltico Spizz 80, Headline

Wavis O’Shave seems intent on joining the select ranks, featuring such entities as Bianca and Britt, of those who do very little asw loudly as possible.
The unrequited lover of Anna Ford made his world debut with The Hooters complete with his, by now, world renowned two-foot false nose.
His sound was suprisingly American, with reference points stemming from Zappa, beach party movie soundtracks abd garage bands of the psychedelia age. But the whole concoction was brought down to earth by his South Shields accented monologues on his various preoccupations with shoes and the famous ITN newscaster.
Like most one joke gimmicks Wavis managed to raise the odd chuckle, particularly after announcing to the bondage panted hoards a song about the death of Sid – and continued to sing an elegy to Sid James. he managed to avoid wearing the joke thin by keeping his set short.
I suppose some are born stars, some seek stardom and some have stardom thrust upon them and Wavis is doing his best to sew up all three options.
I’ve never been able to make up my mind whether to loath or admire Spizz ever since I first saw him support ad act as a decoy phlegm target for Siouxsie and the Banshees in his Spizz Oil incarnation with Pete Petrol. Athletico Spizz 80 still inspire the same feelings of intense hatred to admiration and affectio ad everythig in between.
The music is impossible to pigeonhole being in the main fractured and frenetic. Dirges, frantic bursts of time changes, manic dischords and flecks of melody all merge, confuse and disorintate. I still can’t make up my mind but I’d go again if only for the unbelievably accessible ‘Where’s Captain Kirk?’
Everything that could go wrong did go wrong with Headlines set, from instrumetal breakdown to a 10 minute break for a power failure. But despite the gremlins the six piece band performed a set that was as powerful and enjoyable as anythig I’ve seen this year.
They walked on stage a la Madness LP sleeve, five black and scalped and one white and slicked and grunted “Don’t knock the baldheads.”
They proceeded to play ska with a diamond edge that was as hard and vicious as it beautiful. But these are no more revivalists or pop poseurs. The sound has the usual elements of bluebeat but give a tinge of disco, an almost heavy metal deployment of power and a fierce commitment to their performance.
To quote their song ‘Rudie Don’t Fear’ they are “Tougher than tough, rougher than rough” and a hell of a lot of fun into the bargain. Catch them quicker than your next breath.

Mike Gardner


2 thoughts on “Wavis O’Shave, Spizz, Headline

  1. Wavis

    You’ve been snecked! So was the Record Mirror and a few other rock mags at the time! It was Arthur 2-Stroke who did the ‘Wavis’ gig impersonating me who never did ANY live gigs until his first/last combined in 2009 as Mustapha Dhoorinc.
    ‘Wavis’ could appear into two different towns on the same night impersonated by two different bands! Arthur hammed up a Geordie accent as naturally he sounds like Peter Cook. If I HAD done the gig, there would have bee more than the odd chuckle I’ll say!
    – The REAL Wavis 2017


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