Tuesday, November 8, 2011


A couple of downloads I was wanting to listen to lead to the concept of making a theme out of this weekends music collection of virtual concerts, going back to some great bands that were on the rise in 1979.  That was the year I finished my first year of graduate school in Oregon, spending the summer running around the Cascade Mountains mapping the geology of 100+ square miles of rugged, forest covered terrain in support of my Masters thesis.  Alone, camping out every day, the wild beauty with views of the snow capped volcanic peaks from the meadows atop the ridges I crested before turning around and plunging back into the forest.  It was one of my favorite summers in life.  I try not to think what would have happened had I been as focused on the music back them as I am now, more interested in attending concerts than studying.  Life could have turned out very differently.

Story in a book
Salvation from the darkness
Needing to believe

Man from long ago
A prophet, one of many
Promises he can't keep

In the robes embrace
Words that make them fall in line
Fear the consequence

First up was Public Image Limited, one of their early shows at the Russel Club in Manchester, UK on June 18, 1979.  An excellent soundboard (?) recording.  Back in Oregon on that day I was running around the forest with backpack, rock hammer in hand jotting down notes with every opportunity at finding exposed rock on the steep sloped forest floor.

During this show they had a new drummer and it showed in this "rehearsal" performance, especially when they played "Public Image," the beat out of sync but the band members trying to make it work.  They stop early into the song and the crowd expresses its displeasure: "Shut up, I told you it was a fucking rehearsal." "Oi, this drummer only joined us three days ago, a big round of applause for him right now, because he's game."  Johnny then asks around whether anyone has a light after calling someone else a "wanker."  Then there was a second false start.  "We admit our mistakes and we know we got many."  At the end Johnny introduces the band members.  "On drums, on drums we have Richard Dudanski!"

Richrad was one of many early drummers, who played with PiL mid-1979. He left soon after the Leeds show disillusioned with PiL's working ethos. Even going to the extent of sending a letter to the editor of 'NME' to explain his actions. PiL simply blamed his departure on his inability to keep time; due to nerves live on stage. Levene also claimed he became increasingly difficult to deal with due to an amphetamine habit; a claim which Dudanski venomously denies: "I never had, and was never near to having, an amphetamine habit! (which doesn't mean to say that I've never taken the stuff). People can say what they like about why "I left/was thrown out" of PIL, ie not being able to keep time, but it is a bit ironic having the drugs bit thrown at me, when in fact the effects of a much more insidious drug on another member were in fact from my point of view the main reason for the band's stagnation at that point, and the reason for my leaving"...

Download it here:

Church every Sunday
He's following all the rules
Does not stop the pain

Next up was Gang of Four performing a live show at Mothers in Chicago (mistakenly identified as NYC) on September 9, 1979. It’s a great recording that captures the fire and energy of the times when it was still all evolving.  Mothers is a bar/nightclub off Division in Chicago. "While they are most well-known for being an upscale, trendy, singles bar with a very strict dress code, Mothers' basement was the home of a number of punk shows during 1979.  This "Summer of Punk" lasted from about July to October of 1979 and only played punk shows during the week."
By this date while in Oregon I was wrapping up the summer field mapping season, probably back in Eugene preparing to resume another semester at the university.

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Lets get back to basics!  I ended the night and rolled over into the following morning listening to Van Halen, a very good recording of a show they played in Osaka, Japan on September 10, 1979.  Classic Van Halen: big sound, Eddie's burning guitar, Dave tring to connect with his foreign audience with his banter between song, telling they were the best audience ever! The World Vacation Tour was a 1979 concert tour by hard rock band Van Halen to support their second album Van Halen II. It was the band's first world tour as a headliner, previously having been a support act for Black Sabbath for that band's 1978 Never Say Die! 10th Anniversary World Tour.

A fan writes of a March 1979 show they did in Logan, Utah:

"I have never stood on the tarmac behind a 747 when it takes off, but it can’t be unlike the experience of seeing Van Halen open a concert. The sheer power of “Light Up the Sky” erupting from the amplifiers as Van Halen took the stage was an experience to behold. What a complete rush! It was a show unlike anything I had ever seen prior to that. There was the technical wizardry of Eddie Van Halen on guitar, offset by the exaggerated macho posing, high-pitched wails and animated song intros of frontman David Lee Roth. There was action all over the stage, augmented by Michael Anthony pounding on his bass and Alex Van Halen

Read it all here:

Download it here:

Saturday night opened up with a short show by Echo and The Bunnymen, made up of Ian, Will, Les and the drum machine! It was August 2, 1979, the first of the 4 night alternative rock festival at the YMCA, Prince of Wales Conference Centre in London, the same night the Joy Division and the Teardrop Explodes also performed. This was Echo and the Bunnymen's 10th ever gig and their first in London before they were signed (The A&R man that signed them was watching them at this gig).

"In his teens the singer, Ian “Mac” McCulloch, was a lanky, short-sighted Bowie-worshipper, already a pop star in his own mind. Will Sergeant, the brooding guitar boffin, and Les Pattinson, the amiable bass-player who built boats for a living, had been at school together."

Read more here:

In this Ian recording sounds really young and in need of additional practice, his voice still trying to find that smoothness that that characterized his later performances.  Even back then he was directing technicians from the stage: "Ollie, this mike stand isn't any good."  "Harry, less echo on the vocals, and more drum machine."

Buy this time during the summer of 1979 I had covered a lot of ground in the Cascades, have a pretty good idea what was going on geologically: successive episodes of volcanism, commencing 15 million years ago and ending in the fresh lava that flowed down to the shores of the swift flowing McKenzie River, the earth's crust cracking and settling as magma chambers deep below inflated the mountain range.

DownloaD IT HERE:

The Bunnymen were followed by the Joy Division, a collection of live performances between March 4, 1979 and April 3, 1980.  Another excellent recording.

"If I had a flair for understatement, I could say that Joy Division were good too. The truth is they were phenomenal - the most physical hard rock group I've seen since Gang Of Four. This Manchester band have been allowed to grow at their own pace, uncramped by commercial pressures. The result is that they've created a totally distinctive, cohesive sound over the last two years...They have the spirit and the feeling." - Adrian Thrills, NME review 11th August 1979.

Download it here:

Saturday night closed with my listening to Public Image Limited's Metal Box, their second album released on November 23, 1979. The title refers to the album's original packaging, which consists of a metal 16mm film canister embossed with the band's logo and containing three 12" 45rpm records. It is ranked at 469 out of 500 of the greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine:

"After the Sex Pistols exploded, Johnny Rotten reclaimed his real name — John Lydon — and started his bold new band. PIL played eerie, futuristic art punk with dub bass and slashing guitar. The U.K. release Metal Box (retitled Second Edition in the U.S.) originally came as three vinyl discs in a metal film canister."

Julian Cope writes:

This sprawling and austere album is worth noting in its original release as it is probably one of the most sonically soaring albums of the seventies. All titles are brevity itself as the numbers are free-form musical expressions pushed through an extreme dub production. Released as a three 12 inch single set in a metal film can completely anonymous save an embossed PIL logo, the cutting of the grooves themselves were so widely separated from each other that they’re visible to the naked eye. This encourages the tracks to boom out in analogue warmth and fullness; deemed necessary by bassist Jah Wobble’s domineering and lush contributions in the low end department (For further evidence of 12” sonic booming, check out The Cramps’ “The Crusher” or Joy Division’s “Novelty.”) It’s a pity this version of the later released “Second Edition” can get pretty cost prohibitive. But for most, the quickest admission into this huge, avant rock structure is “Second Edition.”

“Metal Box” is hard, abrasive, rhythm-dominated and sonically all-there. The opening cut “Albatross” sees Lydon more quietly venomous than before. The oblique lyrics leave no clues, but he’s obviously cut all ties with his past and has moved on, if a bit wearily. “Slow motion…” are the first sung lines, and “Albatross” is just that: a sedate dub groove that sets the tone, hanging every splintery Keith Levene riff, drum and cymbal crash on Jah Wobble’s lumbering and relaxed bass lines are powerful enough to shoulder the whole track for its ten minute duration. “Memories” is all Leslie-f(r)ied guitar, magnetic pull dub bass and tinny hi-hat compressed into a metallic Joe Meek-out. Volume and tempo shift abruptly when a purposefully nasty editing job cues into Lydon’s sung “I could be wrong/It could be hate/As far as I can see/Clinging desperately” lines, The Sex Pistols an already an ever-distancing bad dream. “Swanlake” is about as unflinchingly terrifying a track as P.I.L. ever recorded: a tribute from a son to his recently departed mother. The tempo builds into a bonfire of scrap metal guitar, hi-hatted rhythms with a coursing, zooming bass line and insanely catchy Wobble bass hook to hang the whole thing on. Levene’s glacial synthesizer appear on the horizon, and by the ending everything else is starting to fade like the wilted flowers by the hospital bedside while the synth lines jut further and further out, getting louder and louder until you realise it’s a locked groove (On “Second Edition” it cuts off brutally, but here on the massively cut 12”) repeating forever after.

Read it all here:
Lydon himself verges on the unrecognizable. While he sometimes wanders into the same nasally, Pistols-era vocals, his voice generally remains in a substantially lower register. In exploring the lower regions of his range, Lydon never lets go of the anger that made the Pistols so electric. While other post-punkers would sometimes sound so depressing they were maudlin, Lydon keeps the vitriol flowing all throughout Metal Box. Lydon also evolved as a lyricist. No longer content to rely on his No Future mantra of yore, he expands his lyrical repertoire, touching on themes of his mother's death, murder and the corporate grind. Metal Box is an avenue for Lydon to unleash his inner audiophile out.

Read it all here:
Download it here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi volcano man! Your Gang of Four Mothers is, at 52 MB, probably the version at 160 kbps. I have upped a version at 320 kbps here:


You'll also find the only other two known recordings from 1979 on the site, and Go4 demos from 1977-78. 1980s gigs will be going up soon.

Cheers, Dave Sez.