Thursday, March 10, 2011
XTC were the best live band from 1979-82 and that's all.
At the bottom of this blog will be a link to a (very enjoyable) 20-song file of live XTC songs I've lovingly compiled from various online sources--it's all bootleg stuff--radio broadcasts mostly--so I don't believe I'm doing anything nasty. One of the main sources is xtc4u.org
But to save you time, I took the best of the best (in my opinion).
They really, really were an amazing live band. I wish I could have witnessed one of these shows. To my ears, they were the best of the era.
Listen to other bands of the same era.
The Clash?--there were some musical limitations. and little joy.
Elvis Costello and the Attractions?--a tend to rush and the live sound was thin.
Buzzcocks?--oh, sloppy. but fun.
The Police?--a lot of push-pull. Sting's early voice wears thin. Stewart tries too hard.
XTC took risks, sounded human, sounded like they were having a ton of fun, all of them played their instruments really well, Andy P had a commanding live voice, they sounded big and loud, and there was a spontaneity, or so it sounds. Instruments and rhythms bouncing and clanging off each other. And there is ENERGY TO SPARE.
The drag of course, is that they had to stop. Andy Partridge, after giving up Valium in 1981 (after a many-year addiction), realized he had crippling stage fright (and right there is a wonder of wonders: one Valium and I'm comatose for 8 hours. Andy was taking several daily, and drinking, and going out and playing 2 hour speed-a-thon shows. We're all wired differently, I guess). He battled the panic attacks for the final year, but it got the best of him one fateful night in Paris, in March, 1982.
Andy, in the past, has dissed their live shows, but in fact I'm sure it's his being defensive for the forty thousand times he's had to answer the question, "why'd ya stop playing live? ya gonna start playing live again? why not?"
I referred earlier to my fondness for what I call "wedge bands", or bands that aren't automatically accepted as cool. This could also be defined as bands who need some defining or explanation. XTC's one of those bands. I was sure in the wilderness for a while, getting lots of shrugs and blank stares when I'd go on one of my XTC spiels. That has since changed. However, I do still feel like I'm the only one of my XTC fan friends (all of which are people with whom I'm in one band or another) who so dig hearing this stuff from their all-too-short touring years .
Download this link post haste and enjoy some legal XTC that you may have some trouble coming down from.
20 Amazing Live Performances By XTC--1979-82
Homo Safari/Beatown January 29, 1980 - Paradise Theater - Boston
Real by reel. London 9/17/79
The Rhythm London 9/17/79
Respectable Street Capitol Theatre - Sydney, Australia - September 7, 1980
Meccanic Dancing Ann Arbor 1/22/80
Roads Girdle the Globe Ann Arbor 1/22/80
Ten Feet Tall 1/16/80 Hurrahs - NYC
No Thugs in Our House Amsterdam March 8, 1982
When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty 1/16/80 Hurrahs - NYC
Life Begins at the Hop January 29, 1980 - Paradise Theater - Boston
No Language In Our Lungs Capitol Theatre - Sydney, Australia - September 7, 1980
Helicopter January 29, 1980 - Paradise Theater - Boston
All Along the Watchtower Amsterdam March 8, 1982
Living Through Another Cuba April 17, 1981 - Cherry Hill, NJ
Generals And Majors April 17, 1981
Outside World January 29, 1980 - Paradise Theater - Boston
Dance Band January 29, 1980 - Paradise Theater - Boston
Set myself on fire London 9/17/79
Radios in Motion 1/16/80 Hurrahs - NYC
Are You Receiving Me? 1/16/80 Hurrahs - NYC