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Minutemen concert review


100 Club in London, UK

Thu, 10 Feb 1983, 42 years ago

  • one of the best
  • Posted by: markdavess
  • On date:

This was late February, 1983, at the 100 Club on Oxford Street in London. I met and talked to Mike Watt when he played at the Windmill in Brixton, maybe 2015, with Mike Watt + The Missingmen, and he agreed with me then, though he said he'd never thought about it before, that this was probably The Minutemen's first European gig (and his too). They came back after playing with Black Flag around mainland Europe about 3 weeks later, I think, and played at the Brixton Ace, which Mike mentioned, me replying that that's 'just up the road, I just walked past it on the way here' (later it was the Fridge, at the time of our conversation, the Electric). He remembered that that place (Brixton Ace) 'is wider than it is long' and also mentioned them being 'stoked' to play at the 100 Club, because the Sex Pistols had played there (though, in fact, maybe he didn't realise it has a history going back to 1942 and some other notables for him probably played there earlier too, like The Rolling Stones, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, The Who, Art Pepper, Muddy Waters and Louis Armstrong). Mike said they would have mainly played stuff from What Makes a Man Start Fires? (there is a bootleg recording somewhere, of them playing Germany during this tour, so that would confirm a lot of that), but I know they played 'Search', the first track from The Punch Line, because it was the only song I knew at the time, having heard it (bought it) on the compilation Rodney on the ROQ, Vol. 2 (which is, apparently, how Thurston Moore first heard them too). Also I think they played 'Joe McCarthy's Ghost', though I could be mistaken, because I bought the Paranoid Time EP not long after, and seem to remember watching George do that drum intro from the side of the stage. My main memories, as I told Mike, were how the crowd, not a huge one, stood, spaced apart, and 'just stood there, looking at you', to which Mike said, 'I remember', and then D. Boon at some point decided to come out dancing and skanking in the crowd, probably to shake us up, accidentally thumping my friend and bandmate, Alan, in the chest in the process. When I told Mike this, I'm sure I saw a distinct tinge of sadness cross his face. And, yeah, Mike was, as I told him, 'grinning and bouncing around', which is, I think when he mentioned the 'being stoked to play where the Sex Pistols had played' part. I was so lucky, as a European, to see this band. I almost went to the Brixton Ace gig later, also with Black Flag and the The Nig-Heist, just like this night, but I guess money and time restrictions kept me away. The music was definitely very cool and intriguing. It may be I was one of very few or even the only person in the crowd who'd heard them before, though just one song. For sure, for all of us, most of the material was completely new, and the kind of stuff the band played, and how they played it, something very different for us, so maybe all that 'just standing there' was listening intently, and not quite knowing how to respond. I wish I'd been in California so I could have seen them a bunch of times. Lots of video out there these days though, so check it out, and the records too, of course.

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