Post Punk vs New Wave? The USA vs The UK? Commercial vs Independant?
July 26, 2007 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Sorry SurfPunks, Athletico Spizz 80, Toyah Wilcox, Jools Holland, John Otway, Splodgenessabounds, 999- I did try)
posted by mattoxic at 6:38 AM on July 26, 2007

It's interesting, looking at that list now and separating the castoffs from the ones that mattered in the long run. Quite a few of those bands ended up mattering, or making a difference (in my world anyway) -- a surprising percentage, really.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:42 AM on July 26, 2007

What a great compilation that was.
posted by notyou at 6:44 AM on July 26, 2007

What a great concert film URGH was and is! I had totally forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder...
posted by digiFramph at 6:45 AM on July 26, 2007

Agreed, Devils Rancher. This movie formed much of my early music taste. Wall of Voodoo, Oingo Biongo, Kennedys, Devo, just to name a few.
posted by mattoxic at 6:46 AM on July 26, 2007

Frejus would have been one hell of a concert, XTC, Skafish and the Police
posted by mattoxic at 6:49 AM on July 26, 2007

"They picked up where your precious Echo left off, and you're sitting around complaining about no more Echo albums."

Sorry, I have to quote that every time Echo and the Bunnymen are mentioned. It's in my contract.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:50 AM on July 26, 2007

or "Dear Mr Bunnyman"
posted by mattoxic at 6:51 AM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by liam at 6:51 AM on July 26, 2007

I loved this record, and only have a worn out cassette copy left. Looks like the CD is going for $90 US over on Amazon.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:54 AM on July 26, 2007

I had seen that Cramps footage before, but always wondered where it was from. Thanks so much for posting this, I had forgotten about it totally.

Since I just finished watching the Decline of Western Civilization and American Hardcore, this will fit very neatly in there. Great find.
posted by psmealey at 6:55 AM on July 26, 2007

I forgot Magazine, dang, not the version from URGH but a fine song
posted by mattoxic at 6:57 AM on July 26, 2007

Wow, I feel so fracking old. Thanks for this post, I'd forgotten about this concert totally.
posted by octothorpe at 7:00 AM on July 26, 2007

had forgotten how great au pairs were. more intense than gang of four.
posted by 3.2.3 at 7:02 AM on July 26, 2007

Great Post! Gracias.
posted by rubyeyo at 7:05 AM on July 26, 2007

Many thanks!
posted by equalpants at 7:07 AM on July 26, 2007

I swear I have watched this about 100 times. I still prefer that version of "Uncontrollable Urge" to the studio. And Oingo Boingo had such great stage presence.
posted by sourwookie at 7:15 AM on July 26, 2007

Hah! I totally forgot about Gary Numan's little car. I think I know what I'm gonna be for Halloween this year hehee!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:16 AM on July 26, 2007

We have had a lot of crappy this is my favorite band posts as of late, but wow, this is unique and very cool.
posted by caddis at 7:17 AM on July 26, 2007

Takes me back to the spring of 1985. I was deep in the midst of flunking out of my freshman year in college when I heard my first Blasters song on WXYC. The only tape the local stores had was a Slash studios compilation, and I freakin' wore it out. It had a huge impact on the musical education of this Charlotte, NC, boy. I recently saw a (much-reduced) Blasters show (self link) near DC, and they still rock.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:20 AM on July 26, 2007

woo-hoo! takes me back to the midnight movies in the early 80s! I loved the movie, and darn near wore out the vinyl of the soundtracks... good times!
posted by crepeMyrtle at 7:34 AM on July 26, 2007

One of the best 'Cramps' shows was in Washington, D.C. at the Ontario theater in 1980. We had 'Blondie' and 'The Ramones'. Later it was 'Talking Heads' and then 'The Plasmatics. The early days of I.M.P. concerts.
posted by doctorschlock at 7:53 AM on July 26, 2007

You won't be seeing this on DVD any time soon. It turns out the contract for "digital media" was made for some defunct laserdisc competitor format, and they can't get the rights to release the DVD.

Well, when I say "they can't" what I mean is two different things:

1. so many of these bands made it big it would be prohibitively expensive!
2. so many of these bands disappeared (or only existed for this one night) that it would be nigh impossible to find the rights holders.

mix that in with bad paperwork in the first place, and you have the recipe for losing part of pop culture history.
posted by taumeson at 7:55 AM on July 26, 2007

Had a little 80s day here... cool stuff. The Gary Numan clip is HILARIOUS.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:09 AM on July 26, 2007

During the 80s, I never would have guessed that I'd ever feel nostalgic for the 80s...
posted by Slothrup at 8:19 AM on July 26, 2007

Saw this on one of the Hi Def channels...Mojo? Freakin fantastic. The Devo song and The Police were highlights for me but I don't think there was a bad moment in the whole thing.
posted by spicynuts at 8:20 AM on July 26, 2007

Whenever someone says "urgh" I always think "Gary Numan's wacky little future soap box racer." I'm not going to look at the video; I remember it being cheese-shaped and this pleases me.
posted by user92371 at 8:22 AM on July 26, 2007

I never saw XTC. They played in Ausitn on Halloween of '81, and I blew off going, since "they came around all the time." They opened for the Police. Eyewitness reports were that The Police were FANTASTIC, and that XTC blew them off the stage. :-(
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:25 AM on July 26, 2007

I wonder why Klaus Nomi never really took off?
posted by pracowity at 8:30 AM on July 26, 2007

God I loved this movie as a youth. Great post.

I remember watching this as a huge punk rock fan and having my opinion totally changed on Devo. (for the better)
posted by lumpenprole at 8:31 AM on July 26, 2007

That Gang of Four video is simply bad ass.
Thank you.
posted by PHINC at 8:40 AM on July 26, 2007

if you are a Germs fan, there is a shot of Darby Crash in the audience watching the Oingo Boingo show. (he's the one with the mohawk.)
posted by cazoo at 8:50 AM on July 26, 2007

In 1981 I saw URGH! screened as a midnight show at an old movie palace in Heidelberg. Folks were dancing in the aisles for most of the film, which was the only time I'd seen that until Stop Making Sense a few years later. Hack. Cough. You kids these days. Cough. You don't know what a good time is. Hurrrrrrrrr-cough. Where are my meds?
posted by Kinbote at 8:55 AM on July 26, 2007

My husband saw one of the XTC/Police shows. I'll always hate him a little bit for that.

When the album was out, there was a DJ on WPRB in Princeton who played it a lot. But he had an Elmer-Fudd-type speech impediment so he pronounced it sort of like EUUGH. I pronounce it the same way to this day.

I wish the Police or somebody with deep pockets would just bite the bullet and distribute the thing. They could use the profits to settle with Athletico Spizz 80 and the like, when and if they chose to sue...but I bet most of them would just be very grateful to have another 15 minutes in the sun.
posted by bink at 8:57 AM on July 26, 2007

I wonder why Klaus Nomi never really took off?

He died of AIDS in '83.
posted by brujita at 9:18 AM on July 26, 2007

OMG! I want this on DVD so badly it's almost unbearable.
posted by oddman at 9:19 AM on July 26, 2007

posted by hortense at 9:29 AM on July 26, 2007

What a great, heartwrenching post. I've checked my local university library and indie video shop for this and come up emptyhanded.

I've always liked asking people "If you could attend one concert at any point in history, what would it be," but this concert might change my answer.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:45 AM on July 26, 2007

I remember this so vividly. Loved this when it came out.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:14 AM on July 26, 2007

This was also a favorite of mine back in my skater days. The Gang of Four performance was one of my favorites, and I wasn't disappointed when I finally saw them play live over 20 years later.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 10:19 AM on July 26, 2007

XTC versus Adam Ant
Content versus form
Fighting for their place in rock and roll
There is no right or wrong

posted by sparkletone at 10:24 AM on July 26, 2007

It's a crime this hasn't been released on DVD. One of the best concert films of all time. Wall of Voodoo and Oingo Boingo are incredible in this film.
posted by birdhaus at 10:27 AM on July 26, 2007

sparkletone: this post had me humming that song, too. Post Punk vs. New Wave? What about Beatle-based pop versus new romantic?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:34 AM on July 26, 2007

Wall of Voodoo was so underrated. Stan Ridgway was an amazing writer and Marc Moreland was an awesome guitarist.

However it must be noted— look at the live footage. Notice what is missing?

Chicks. There are almost NO chicks in the WOV audience (this was true at most of these quirky new-wave and punk shows back in the day).

This is why I suspect these bands never crossed the threshold. They didn't have the crucial 15-17 year old female demographic. That. And the bulk of their audience was never getting laid.
posted by tkchrist at 10:50 AM on July 26, 2007

After seeing the Skafish vid on Urgh, I thought it was just about the Best Thing Ever and spent a couple years seeking out mp3s of his albums. Once I found them it was pretty clear why he toiled in obscurity. Bland synthpop by an uninspired narcissist..

(pretty please whatever-power-may-be, if my dreams crash and burn don't let me become that particular flavor of bedsit lunatic)

So much great stuff on Urgh; Numan, Devo, and Nomi in particular. Joan Jett even turned in a memorable performance. It's good to see that Klaus is finally getting the respect he deserved. Fucking genius.
posted by bunnytricks at 10:58 AM on July 26, 2007

Klaus is finally getting the respect he deserved. Fucking genius.

I think that is a bit strong. He was pretty much a novelty act. Seriously. An interesting performer for a couple tunes. But it's monotonous shtick for anything more than twenty minutes.

In my opinion there was too much of that shit back then. What with Nina Hagen, Grace Jones, all the freak shows. Pretty much what the music media focused on to the detriment of some really great stuff that languished in obscurity. Stuff that holds up today.

The scene got to be defined by padded shoulders, space-goth, robot dancing, and fucked up eye make-up. This does not a genius make.
posted by tkchrist at 11:15 AM on July 26, 2007

It's hard to believe Andy Partridge suffered from chronic stagefright watching that footage.
posted by sourwookie at 11:17 AM on July 26, 2007

What with Nina Hagen, Grace Jones, all the freak shows.

Oh, man. Amen to that. I remember seeing striking photos of Grace Jones back in that day. She looked fierce, totally different. Then I went out and got her record, and man did it suck something awful. (OTOH, Adam and the Ants were pretty great, despite looking like poseurs.)

Not that form trumping function was unique to that era, but there were quite a few turds posing as visionaries in that period. Seems like it's a lot easier today to tell who's good / who cares and distinguish them from who's just a bunch of haircuts backed by a big bankroll.

FYI, the Fleshtones were awesome and still are. I saw them less than a year ago.
posted by psmealey at 11:56 AM on July 26, 2007

It's hard to believe Andy Partridge suffered from chronic stagefright watching that footage.

Thing is, he controlled it with valium, but that got to him after a while. It was when he kicked the valium that performing got unbearable. He is, seriously, one of the best songwriters of his generation who continued to mature and put out outstanding work for about 20 years after he stopped performing live.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:40 PM on July 26, 2007

I'll take a good XTC album every few years if there's no tour, rather than an acceptable XTC tour with a drugged-up Andy Partridge.

Admittedly, that may never happen again. But you can always hope for that. Or a new Dukes of Stratosphear. Or maybe Terry and the Lovemen.
posted by mephron at 1:27 PM on July 26, 2007

This post made me very happy. And it made me realize that there is not enough XTC on my iPod. And that Pere Ubu is the GREATEST BAND EVAR. And that Billy Zoom really was sorta like a creepy rockabilly robot, so it wasn't just me being wasted at that X show.

Thanks for this!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:10 PM on July 26, 2007

This post brought tears to my eyes.

I was an awkward new-wave punk wannabe teenager living in in the middle of the Maine woods. Pre-MTV. Pre-internet. Pretty much isolated. The only source of "weird" music was the Dwayne Bruce Show on WTOS, from the top of Sugarloaf. I could only get reception at night and would rest my head on the radio in bed so as not to bother my parents with the noise (we lived in a converted camp and the walls were paper thin).

This movie (which I seem to remember watching on one of those LP sized video disks), my Commander Salamander catalog, and the Dwayne Bruce show were just about my only connection to the "outside" world.

Thank you for bringing back those memories.
posted by suki at 2:22 PM on July 26, 2007

we watched this on Vh1 a week or so ago, and it was fucking awesome. it has led me to decide that Klaus Nomi is my newest must-have. we spent the whole next day looking up what everyone was up to now. he's likewise a Pere Ubu lover. i've tivoed Nomi Song--it's coming up!
posted by RedEmma at 3:58 PM on July 26, 2007

how the fuck have i never heard of this before?

this post alone justifies the $5. everything else on this site evar is just free icing on the cake.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:06 PM on July 26, 2007

I dvr'd this off MOJO a few weeks ago - mainly for Klaus Nomi. But if you've seen The Nomi Song, you just feel sad at all those session dudes with facial hair and imported Ailey-style dancers that really didn't belong with Klaus at all. This may have seemed like a career highlight, but it was sort of a peak before the eventual descent.

For Police-back-then lovers - do check out Everybody Stares - I haven't been a fan for over twenty years, but that little doc is GREAT.
posted by pinky at 4:21 PM on July 26, 2007

I vaguely remember this being shown on USA network's "Night Flight" show that was on late nights on the weekends back in the 80s.

Fortunately, one of my friends had a tape of it, so we watched this hundreds of times in the early 90s. There were a few songs that we would fast forward through after a while, or just skipping right to DKs, Ubu, Numan, GoF and others for friends who hadn't seen the movie. Great post. I'm glad that all of these clips are available. I just can't believe that this is still unavailable as a DVD.
posted by glycolized at 4:23 PM on July 26, 2007

They play this movie just pretty much every week (usually late night) on VH1classic.

cool post.

remember Fishbone?
posted by vronsky at 4:35 PM on July 26, 2007

Torrent HERE if anyone wants to help up the share/seed ratio
posted by mattoxic at 5:02 PM on July 26, 2007

Slothrup: Amen to that,
posted by pompomtom at 5:13 PM on July 26, 2007

So much prime stuff here. God, The Cramps alone...that is Rock and Roll. Thank you.
posted by Otis at 6:19 PM on July 26, 2007

I remember seeing the DC premier at the Ontario Theater along with X and the Fleshtones performing live. Never liked the Fleshtones; will go see X as often as they come to town.

I remember falling in love with Klaus Nomi that night, and waiting with anticipation for Lux's pants to drop just an inch or so lower.....
posted by Raymond Marble at 8:13 PM on July 26, 2007

He died of AIDS in '83.

Yeah, I knew that. I was just joking about the strangeness of his music and stage persona, and how he wasn't exactly destined for the pop chart. If you check the OED, the earliest recorded use of "WTF?" was by a music journalist at a Nomi show.
posted by pracowity at 11:58 PM on July 26, 2007

Ha! I've got an image of Klaus Nomi as my cell phone screen saver currently. Found URGH in the late 90s . . . came for the vintage Oingo Boingo, stayed for the wonderfully bizarre Nomi.
posted by Nice Donkey at 12:49 AM on July 27, 2007

Oddly prescient, this post. I went and saw John Doe last night at the Mercury Lounge. That guy just never ages. He looked and sounded great. Even did some early tunes ("White Girl", "The New World") and closed with a stirring, absolutely kick ass version of "Gimme Shelter".
posted by psmealey at 6:58 AM on July 27, 2007

I got the torrent. AWESOME.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:47 AM on July 29, 2007

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