New Order delivered a beautiful and unique performance at old Granada Television Studios in Manchester. This was their first of 5 concerts with a 12-member synthesizer ensemble—which continues July 1st, 6th, 13th and 15th at the Manchester International Festival

The Manchester legends delivered a 15-song set, with the synth players were in two rows of six stacked on top of each other behind the stage—not unlike a modern opera.

Frontman Bernard Sumner made good on his promise of deep cuts, as New Order performed six songs not played live in Decades (Yes, they played that too), performing Joy Division’s Disorder for the first time since 1980, and the very first time ever as New Order.


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Specials – “A Message To You Rudy”


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Specials – “A Message To You Rudy”.

The Specials followed up the success of their debut single, “Gangsters” with the double A-sided single, “A Message to You Rudy”/”Nite Klub” in the fall of 1979. They had opened their account with a song that borrowed liberally from Prince Buster, now they would pay tribute to the Jamaican born, but
British hitmaker Dandy Livingstone.

His rocksteady classic may not have made the pop charts, but it sold in vast quantities throughout the expatriate West Indian community and was a sound system favorite. The Specials are remarkably faithful to Livingstone’s original, giving it just a bit of a kick in the production and mix. The joint vocals, however, give it a bit of a twist, further emphasizing the anthemic qualities of the number.

However, it was the appearance of former Skatalite trombonist Rico Rodriguez and his long-time friend Dick Cuthell on cornet that drove home the Jamaican feel of this sublime single. And with that The Specials took their Two Tone message straight into the Top 10.


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Joy Division – “She’s Lost Control”


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Joy Division – “She’s Lost Control”

She walked upon the edge of no escape…

They used an aerosol to create some drum effects – another of Martin’s many innovations. He liked to record different sounds that he’d work on to sound like drums but different. For one of the tracks he recorded us kicking a flight-case in time. Also I suspect a Ring Modulator on the real damped snare.

The other thing you hear on this track is Steve’s Synare, which was a drum synthesizer with a white-noise generator that he used on both “She’s Lost Control” and “Insight”. He was one of the first drummers to use them, if I’m not mistaken. That was one of the great things about him – and Barney, actually. They’re both very experimental, always wanting to try out new things, which I must admit I resisted because I was always like, “Let’s just play. We play great together. What do you want to add stuff for?” In Barney’s case it was a bit of a two-edged sword because, while it was great that he was always on the lookout to do things differently, you did tend to feel that he wasn’t entirely happy with you.

He loved all this new technology, and always did the whole time I knew him, but the technology was reducing the need for players. They say that’s why drum machines were invented, so the lead vocalist didn’t have to talk to the drummer. Bass synths so that the singer doesn’t have to talk to the bass player. You could just programme them yourself and find yourself in your own little world while we’re all hanging on for grim death. I never believed in any of that. I always believed that in a group the strength comes from the camaraderie, the chemistry, the people playing together. You should never exclude anybody; you should encourage rather than exclude. No song is worth alienating a group member.

Ian was apparently moved to write this lyric after an incident at work. It’s about an epileptic young lady who was having problems finding and keeping a job, who eventually died while fitting. That must have been terrifying for him. The first I knew of that was when Bernard mentioned it on a Joy Division documentary. Again, I wasn’t really paying much attention to the lyrics. It’s teamwork. You just see your teammate doing his bit, he looks and sounds up to speed, so, great, that leaves you to concentrate on your own side of things. There’s no analysis going on. Nobody was going, “Let’s have a look at your lyrics, Ian. Let’s have a talk about them. Let’s dissect the lyric”. He probably would have just gone mad and told you to fuck off. He delivered his vocals with the perfect amount of passion and spirit, exactly what we wanted. Saying that, reading the lyrics now, his use of repetition and onomatopoeic delivery is startling.
Now, of course, Ian Curtis is recognized as one of music’s greatest lyricists, a fact that wasn’t established during his lifetime. In interviews all they seem to pounce on was the Nazi aspects. That just used to upset him. It’s a funny thing interviews. When you’re a struggling band nobody wants to know, so you just live without the press. You don’t even consider it to be important. All of a sudden you’re popular and everybody wants to talk with you. Then it seems vital.

Peter Hook in “Unknown Pleasures – Inside Joy Division”.




Here is what might be the earliest footage that exists of the Cure, or as they were then known—as of July 3, 1977 when this performance took place—the Easy Cure.

The place was the Queens Square Bandstand in Crawley, and the Easy Cure consisted of Robert Smith (guitar), Lol Tolhurst (drums), Porl Thompson (guitar), Michael Dempsey (bass), and Peter O’Toole (vocals). Previously, Smith, Thompson, Dempsey and Tolhurst had played together in a band called Malice that went through a few lead singers before O’Toole joined in April of 1977. Soon afterward the band recorded a demo in the dining room at Smith’s parents’ house and won a talent contest that saw them signed to a recording contract with the German record label Ariola-Hansa. The Easy Cure name came from the title of a song written by Tolhurst. 

This footage was shot on July 3, which was one of the single hottest days of 1977 in the UK. The highest temperature recorded on that day was 28°C at Heathrow Airport, only 30 miles from Crawley. Seen in the film, a young woman waves a fan to cool herself down, and some of the men watching have removed their shirts due to the brutal heat. The youthful group is apparently performing a song here called “I Wish I Was Your Mother.” Soon after this was shot O’Toole left the band for a kibbutz in Israel and Smith became the lead vocalist.

.dangerous minds

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Cure – Easy Cure 1st Demo 1977-1978


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Cure – Easy Cure 1st Demo 1977-1978.

Here is the 1st demo of the Cure, or as they were then known – the Easy Cure.

Some studio demos recorded by the Easy Cure at Sound and Vision Studios in London for Hansa International: Beginning with the pervy but extraordinary “See the Children,” and then continuing with “Meathook,” “I Want to be Old” “Listen,” and “I Just Need Myself, :all of their signature sounds were already in place by this point. Even if this does sound “formative” (that’s exactly what it was) it’s still pretty amazing and the sound quality is very good. Hansa execs, who’d apparently awarded them the contract thinking they’d be a malleable teen act, hated their planned single “Killing an Arab” (based on Albert Camus’ existentialist novel The Stranger) and they were soon dropped from their contract.

.dangerous minds

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Clash – “I Fought the Law”


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Clash – “I Fought the Law”

Another of their famous covers, “I Fought the Law” still sounds like a song that The Clash should have written. They hadn’t even heard the song until they were in San Francisco recording overdubs for Give ‘Em Enough Rope. The studio had a bunch of old records on the jukebox, and included was Bobby Fuller’s version of “I Fought the Law”. They listened to the song, learned it, and by the time they returned to England a month later, they were playing it live. 

They recorded it and it originally appeared on the The Cost of Living EP in the UK, but their label decided to bundle it in the shuffled US release of The Clash. Their rendition explodes with a cacophony of cymbals and guitars, refusing to let up with a bevy of percussion. The snare hits on “robbin’ people with a six-gun” and just nails the listener to the wall. It’s still hard to believe Strummer didn’t have a hand in the words at all. It’s a match made in protest heaven.

The Only Lyric That Matters: “Robbin’ people with a six-gun/ I fought the law, and the law won”.


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Joy Division – “New Dawn Fades”


THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Joy Division – “New Dawn Fades”.

A change of speed, a change of style…

“New Dawn Fades” is the track that most people say is their favourite. This seems and odd choice to me, because it’s very simple and very economical, certainly from my point of view, because the bass is pretty much constant all the way through.
This riff reminds me of my old amp. I had a 100-watt Marshall Lead Amp, wired for bass. I don’t know what the difference is – something to do with frequencies – but it had a fantastic, rich, warm sound, especially when you played on it. All the songs on “Unknown Pleasures” were written and played on it; it sounded great. It used to sing to me, that amp; such sweet distortion. It was wonderful. I had to sell it because I needed to pay the gas bill. Rob said we didn’t have any money, so I advertised it in the MEN and this kid answered. I even took the amp round to his house in its flight-case.

He said, “you in a band?”
“Yeah, we’re called Joy Division”
“Never heard of you”.
I went, “Yeah, well, you know, we’re up and coming”
“I’m in a band”, he said, gloating. “Six hundred quid a week on the cruise ships, on the liners. Fucking great. It’s full of old biddies; knuckle-deep in Lily of the Valley, me, mate. Hundred and sixty-five, yeah.”
I was like “Whatever”. He took my amp off me, my beloved amp. Me and Iris were going to have our gas cut off otherwise.

So I went back to Rob. “Right, you’ll have to buy me an amp now, out of the group’s money, because I haven’t got one. I’ve sold it.”
“You stupid twat”, he said. “I would have bought it off you. I would have given you the money.”
“Well I asked and you wouldn’t give it me”.
“Oh don’t be so fucking soft, Hooky.”
What the fuck was “soft” about that I don’t know and never will. But anyway. That was the story of the amp. It really did contribute to the sound of the album, without a shadow of doubt. I wonder where it is now.

While we’re on the subject of amplifiers a mention must go to Barney’s acquisition of the Vox UL730, a wonderful find. This amp has a fantastic sound and was his pride and joy, and again added a lot to the album. Even Martin loved it. It famously took over a whole PA at Liverpool Eric’s once. We’d all been complaining about how loud it was, so Barney had bought an Altair power soak, which supposedly enabled you to have the same sound only quieter. I don’t want to get too technical, but the idea was you used the Altair to quieten the amp then took a DI from it to the PA. This we did, but the UL730 obviously had ideas of its own and took over the whole sound system. You could hear nothing else. This amp was stolen with all the gear in America on the first New Order tour. Even I grieved.
Peter Hook in “Unknown Pleasures – Inside Joy Division”.