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Thursday 2 August 1979 concert review

Magazine: Melody Maker (UK)

Publication date: Saturday 11 August 1979

Reviewer: Steve Taylor


 

IT'S FUN TO PLAY AT THE YMCA THURSDAY: JOY DIVISION

Joy Division broke the mould with the frenetic extremes of music. Disorder propelled itself among on a drum beat even more insistent than on Unknown Pleasures, carrying bearded Peter Hook along to the atonal rock 'n' roll bass of the climax, sweeping everything along like a rolling cloud of atomic blast
They write songs about such hackneyed subjects alienation, mental and social collapse yet they play them with such a curious attitude, almost as if performing some violent and urgent operation upon material, that I find it impossible not to stare in a kind of numb horror
It's difficult to resist moving, too.
She's lost control, Insight, Day of the lords, and a new one, Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio (I think) [= Transmission], knock any unwary bystanders sideways with the accelerated Ramones-like sledgehammering and Ian Curtis' vocals and epileptic dancing
Joy Division speak of apocalypse hopelessness and fragmentation, yet their music acts as an exorcism of passivity and neglect, as near a revitalisation of the spirit of primeval rock 'n' roll as I've experienced in a long while