"They were good, they were young"
November 11, 2019 4:28 AM   Subscribe

Concert by Young Marble Giants is a 44 minute live performance shot in black and white on video in Vancouver in November 1980, just weeks before the hugely influential post-punk band split up. [previously on MeFi]
posted by Kattullus (7 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Wonderful group, nice find, thank you!
posted by carter at 4:50 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

32:00 for the masterful, funky and austere Wurlitzer Jukebox.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 8:00 AM on November 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

this sure brings back ghosts ... as I was a young Vancouverite at the time, on the scene, not entirely uncool. Though I wasn't at this show, I've certainly been that room. The Lux at the Western Front ... unless it's the downstairs gallery. Hard to tell.

Anyway, the first time I heard the term Young Marble Giant, it was probably that same night. A friend of a friend, we'll call him Trevor. One of those guys who grows up utterly normal ... and then something happens in the year or two after high school. He goes deep for the underground, the wilder, weirder scenes that happen down there. This night in particular, I was standing in line with friends outside of the Luv Affair night club. Must've been a Friday or Saturday, because it was busy. Anyway, there's Trevor suddenly and he's not exactly connecting in a rational human way. His pupils are massive, he's clearly seen something that he doesn't have words for, but he's trying to find them, and it's causing him serious distress.

He runs suddenly into the middle of a busy night time Seymour street, stops the traffic as it bombs down the Granville Bridge off-ramp. Tires screech. People scream. Nothing hits him. He raises his hands wide and high and shouts:

"I am a young marble giant!"

And that's about all I remember, almost forty years ago now. Though Trevor did go on to have something of a breakdown, drug and lifestyle related. Maybe a year later, straightened up somewhat now, though clearly still haunted, he made a point of giving me a copy of Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly, urging me take it very seriously.

And then, I guess he went back to his utterly normal roots, because the last I heard of him, he'd got into finance, moved to New York, gotten fabulously wealthy -- one of those American Psycho types, I guess. Except he wasn't like the rest. He was a young marble giant.
posted by philip-random at 8:30 AM on November 11, 2019 [14 favorites]

I love "Colossal Youth" but have never seen them on video. I'm excited to spend some time with this.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 6:25 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ok I'll bite. I was at that show! I'd bought their album a few months previously on the strength of a NME review entitled "How Green Was My Minimalism" (a reference to them being Welsh?) and became obsessed with it. Pretty stunning that it still sounds as uniquely out-of-time now as it did then. It was in the upstairs auditorium at the western front, but instead of playing on the stage, they set up in a back corner of the room, by the coat check, as if they were busking. Most of the gear behind them is not theirs, it just happened to be piled up where it would normally be out of the way. No more than 20 or 30 people in attendance, they were not well known at the time and then as the FPP notes they disappeared entirely. Some years later when my oldest daughter had Hole's "Live through this" on repeat I was able to score cool dad points by playing them the original version of Credit in the Straight World.
PS I am not "Trevor".
posted by dinsdale at 2:38 PM on November 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

Young Marble Giants were like nothing else at that time. It was a very odd time - punk was definitely over, New Romantic and shiny pop hadn't really started to poke its head up. I was listening to a mixture of heavy rock, progressive rock (via Tommy Vance) and on the other hand Rough Trade stuff - YMG, Cabaret Voltaire, Pigbag. I kind of thought that the future would be YMG, Robert Fripp's League of Gentlemen, Robert Wyatt and the Cabs, and the future sort of let me down, although I realise I was imposing hugely unrealistic expectations on it.

In fact, the YMG aesthetic disappeared until Trip Hop came around (unsurprisingly from the same part of the world - YMG were from Cardiff, Trip Hop from Bristol).

Alison Statton was part of my list of Singers I'd Like To See Live But Probably Never Will, and I'm glad to say that I actually managed to get them all (except Scott Walker, who was so unlikely I never bothered to put him on the list). It was a wonderful thing to finally see them play the album at Dingwalls and later at the Union Chapel. And that's the thing - it was always Colossal Youth and the Final Day EP and there never was anything else.

Here's Alison with Weekend (and Phil on bass) on Whistle Test. I really should listen to La Varieté again. None more 1982.
posted by Grangousier at 4:52 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

I discovered Young Marble Giants the same day I discovered Neu. Not bad for a day's work.
posted by y2karl at 1:29 PM on November 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

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