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Various - Leigh Rock Festival 1979

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 20 / 8 / 2006



Various - Leigh Rock Festival 1979
Label: Select Label
Format: CD

intro

Muddy-sounding double CD recorded at 1979's srarsely-attended Leigh Rock Festival, and which featured sets from Joy Division, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, A Certain Ratio and the Teardrop Explodes


The Leigh Rock Festival was one of the most important festivals of the post punk era. Originally billed as the Factory label meeting the Zoo label, it was held in a small town outside of Manchester on the way to Wigan. This was one of Echo and the Bunnymen’s first ever festivals, but sadly they are not on this double CD, so I’m hoping there will be another set of recordings from this famous festival. This event was held over the same weekend as the Reading Festival which then was in its infancy. All the recordings on this disc hail from its last day, 27th August 1979. The sleeve notes say that just under 400 people attended but on the evidence of the noise of the audience on these recordings and the pictures on the sleeve it sounds like it was more in the line of about 30 and their dogs. The performances from all four major acts-Joy Division, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, A Certain Ratio and the Teardrop Explodes-were all early on in each band's career, and they were still perfecting their stage craft and art. The three day ticket to attend the whole festival cost £5 and each day was £2. The average gig ticket at that time was about £3.50 for most new wave acts, so this was exceptionally good value for money. This double CD is very limited and hand numbered. Part of the bands’ contract was that they let their performances be released from this as a live recording in the future, but somehow I don’t think they imagined that it would come out 27 years later. The first CD features the Manchester bands, while the second CD features the Liverpool groups. Of the five bands collected here, only one performance by the now otherwise forgotten Eltifits is really audible and clear, while the rest of the performances, recorded on primitive equipment and hissy tapes, are to be honest dreadful. Each band received a fee of just £8. The gigs themselves sounded great and capture the bands’ original charm, but the quality spoils it all. I would have bought it for the Teardrop Explodes alone, but I'm sure that it is not been passed by the bands’ managements and I know for a fact that Julian Cope doesn’t know about its release. The Joy Division set is very bass-driven and mostly inaudible until towards the end, while A Certain Ratio’s set has a can't-be-heard vocal, but the dance element of the band’s music shines through. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s set is quite poppy and the most listenable to because it is synth based. The Teardrops’ set is very psychedelic and wonderful even despite the roughness of the gig. There is also an unreleased instrumental too. Worth having only for die hards really, as it has a £17 price tag on it !



Track Listing:-
1 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark- Messages
2 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark- Bunker Soldiers
3 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark- Julia's Song
4 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark- VCBXL
5 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark- Almost
6 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark- Red Frame White Light
7 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark- Mystery Reality
8 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark- Electricity
9 The Teardrop Explodes- Second Head
10 The Teardrop Explodes- Brave Boys Keep Their Promises
11 The Teardrop Explodes- Sleeping Gas
12 The Teardrop Explodes- Take A Chance
13 The Teardrop Explodes- Ha Ha I'm A Drowning
14 The Teardrop Explodes- Read It In Books
15 The Teardrop Explodes- Straight Reigns
16 The Teardrop Explodes- Camera Camera
17 The Teardrop Explodes- Went Crazy
18 Joy Division- Disorder / Stage Announcements
19 Joy Division- Leaders Of Men
20 Joy Division- Colony
21 Joy Division- Insight
22 Joy Division- Digital
23 Joy Division- Dead Souls
24 Joy Division- Shadow Play
25 Joy Division- She’s Lost Control
26 Joy Division- Transmission
27 Joy Division- Interzone
28 Joy Division- Sound Of Music - Intro
29 Eltifits- Their Grip
30 A Certain Ratio- Faceless
31 A Certain Ratio- I Feel
32 A Certain Ratio- All Night Party
33 A Certain Ratio- The Choir
34 A Certain Ratio- Crippled Child
35 A Certain Ratio- Flight



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