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Friday 28 September 1979 concert review

Fanzine: City Fun (UK)

Publication date: September 1979

Reviewer: Clancy



Arriving a little late, I catch only the end of special guest TEAR DROP EXPLODE's set. Notably Crazy and Bouncing babies. They have a new keyboard player, as good as the last. Dance rhythms, crazy keyboards, strange and fun. A fine band. Incidentally, admirers of Echo And The Bunnymen will be interested to know that they have a drummer now. He should help to broaden and improve their music
Next on are Foreign Press. Starting impressively, exiting even, they fail to sustain interest, although technically more than proficient. They produce a formless wall of noise, melody and rhythm are absent, no tune
Over recent months, Joy Division have at last attracted deserved attention. They have been playing great gigs for a long time. Tonight was no exception
The Factory is full. Joy Division begin subversively,
Curtis on guitar, Albrecht [= Bernard Sumner] on organ, a new song, eerie and atmospheric. Reverting to their usual formation they move through gems from the LP [= Unknown Pleasures]. Wilderness and Insight are particularly memorable, new songs, too, each as compelling and original. This band amaze me how they never stand still, moving forward, smoothly incorporating new songs into their set
Curtis requests for no white spotlight. There are no starts in this band, each is equally vital to the whole sound
She's lost control, "She turned around....... said I'd lost control again"..... As if on cue a fight breaks out. The band stare, appear to hesitate, seem unmoved. The crowd restless, quieten down. Faces almost grim with concentration, shirts drenched in sweat, Joy Division continue. Albrecht [= Bernard Sumner] guitar cutting precisely, Morris's drums more than just a beat and Hook's strong bass twisting through their sound. All is perfected by Curtis's earnest vocals and superb, listenable lyrics
One more song.
Curtis cries "They keep calling me" [= Dead souls], and Joy Division finish. The ecstatic crowd call for an encore. The band soon return. They seem to have lost some of their old reluctance to encore. Transmission is the song, but they falter and stop. "Sorry, that was the 45-version [= Transmission]". Beginning again, a fight breaks out at the front, more vicious this time. The band stop. Events are confused. Pete Hook and Ian Curtis bravely jump into the crowd to intervene. One of the culprits is pursued. Returning to the stage, Hook is furious and leaves not to return
Curtis stays and without Hook they play their final song Welcome to the atrocity exhibition [= Atrocity exhibition]. Appropriate
Violence once again raises its ugly head at the Russell. An otherwise excellent set from Joy Division is marred and interrupted. The tragedy is that the Russell is closing down temporarily, permanently if the court case goes against them. Incidents such as this hardly add to its reputation
Another contributory factor, I feel, has been the less than ideal way in which the Russell has been managed. So, Manchester is once more in danger of losing a great live music club. It seems that the Despicable Disco Dive, Rafters, might be opening again for bands. A more unsuitable live venue is hard to imagine. How could the large crowd that attended Joy Division possibly squeeze in and still see? The Russell is ideal for bands in that you can see from almost anywhere, so please don't close the Factory