Enmore Theatre, Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Restraint is not often a by-word around these parts but let’s at least try to keep some perspective. A visit to Australia by Television seemed unlikely, if not an absurd proposition, just a few years ago. The band was scarcely active, Richard Lloyd having had long flown the coop, and Tom Verlaine had let a label issue two mothballed solo records that were barely promoted. It seemed if the TV hadn’t been turned off it was in storage and in danger of being forgotten.
The Metropolitan Hotel, Adelaide - September 27, 2013
Tonight was a passionate night of balance, power, and space. Each group told us stories, ran films in our heads.
The streets are empty. Empty as in, it's Tuesday night. Except it's Friday night. Where is everyone?
Just the previous night, the suburbs decanted some 10,000 to land like a torrent of ants in Adelaide's great dome of the popular people's front to see Rihanna, who is, I am told, a superstar. From overseas.
Annandale Hotel - August 1, 2006
If you don't like slobbering, breathless gushes, leave now. OK? I've already copped a broadside from someone about one review of a gig this week - and the fucker wasn't even at the show - but here goes...
What an in-fucking-credibly amazing show. Just about the best thing I've seen this year. The Stooges beats it (although that was surreal an experience I'm still not sure it happened). Soulful, rocking, energetic and dynamic. Perfectly paced and a testimony to a band at the peak of its considerable powers. Cruisey and light at the get go, it shaped as a righteously loud and grooving way to ease us all through a Tuesday night.
Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton, Australia - June 22 and 23, 2013
My dad used to say that nothing was free. There's always a catch. There's a reason that nice man on the street is giving away Bibles, Robert.
He was right, of course. Those free music magazines you pick up for the what's on this weekend guide, the reviews of pub food, new beers and pricey wine, they make their living from the adverts. Stop putting in the stuff that the people with money to spend want to see and they'll stop bending at the creaky knees to pick it up. And the advertisers start to wonder why they're paying four or five hundred bucks a week. Self-evident, yeah? You don't change a money-making formula unless you can make more.
He's the drummer chap in Joy Division and now New Order. Morris has written about how he got there, but with a rather rueful (and lucky for us, gently comic) look back at what a twat he once was. Cleverly written, sensibly contrite and a bit ashamed of himself, this is corking stuff. Even if you weren't interested in his music, in fact.
However, we're also in modern myth territory. That means the tragic suicide of frontman Ian Curtis; a death which seemed to grip the nation's rather maudlin youth and media of the day to such an extent that death of The Ruts' frontman, Malcolm Owen a couple of months later, was completely eclipsed; surely both were equally as tragic.
But no, the Joy Division wave, which was only just rearing up, hit the UK quite hard.
History, so observers say, is written by the winners. More often than not, those observers are the victors so they would say that, wouldn’t they? Nonetheless, it’s a truism that carries weight.
That’s why you’ll see scarce mention of The Clash’s career after Mick Jones was kicked out and it’s partly why the final studio album under the band’s name, “Cut The Crap”, has been excised from the official - read: survivor-approved - body of work. Indeed, that one’s not even available to stream on the ubiquitous Spotify and never had a hope in hell of making it to the extravagant “Sound System” box set. With good reason, say most of us who have heard it…
Which brings us to “We Are The Clash”, an exhaustively researched and well-written book that chronicles the last Clash line-up, a back-to-punk-basics outfit whose ranks included only two “real” members in Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon. The so-called “Clash Mk 2”.
“We Are The Clash” is an important book in so many ways - and not just because it makes up for a lack of documentation of this period of the band.