Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Sheffield Sun Goes Down

I missed my Express National connection and had to fork out another twenty quid for a megabus coach to reach Sheffield with Enough Time! However, I had a good feeling about the deal and it did indeed pay off well. Halfway through my journey north I snagged the best seat at the front on the top deck and took in the sloping industrial approach to the city blasting "Absolute Dissent" as loud as possible. "The Great Cull" caught the attention of another Gatherer who sat across the aisle from me and when we'd arrived In Excelsis we spoke about the Londod gig and many other things. This was a longtime Gatherer called Tea who works as an asbestos stripper and had been wardancing since1980. He invited me to stay at his flat which was only a five minute walk from the venue, Corporation. On the wall of his kitchen was a photo of two Absent Friends, Dean and Glenroy who'd also been to early Killing Joke gigs. Dean died choking on vomit in a police cell and Glenroy died of sickle cell anaemia after a misdiagnosis.

We made our way out of the highrise across the dual carriageway to the Corporation only to find the gig sold out! As neither of us had bought advance tickets, this became a minor obstacle to eliminate as we made our way to the Fire Dances. A nearby pub was packed with Gatherers and I quickly did a recce telling my tale to several friendly drinkers. Eventually a tall fellow in a Dwarves T-shirt whose name I have now sadly forgotten had a spare ticket and sold it to me for the same amount he's paid for it. I contuinued to try to find a ticket for Tea with no luck and eventually left to see the Icarus Line, after getting to get to know a veritable army of Sheffield Gatherers! Time was marching on, tick, tick Chop, Chop! I wanted to get a bit more Iggy worship from "The Cocaine Kid" and his dirty stooges so left Tea outside and he eventually got a ticket just five minutes before Killing Joke took over the "European Super State."

The gig was jam packed towards the middle bit quite movable down the front due to many late arrivals and a narrow shape. The strobe lights were a bit wild and from "SUN GOES DOWN" I knew what this was for: to be forever in this moment! A rabid version of the tribal twilight anthem led into wild "Rapture" surely the most uplifting piece of music ever composed! If this is your new age, I say OK to CHANGE! I ran into old friend Lisa Gannon at the bar but had to rush off into the awesome onslaught of the "Poleshift" and inevitably also encountered Jon Chapman in a trip barwards. There was sadly no encore, as Jaz was reported to be to sick to even stand up let alone bellow a requiem after such a fierce and energetic show. Some Gatherers took their childish frustartions at the situation out by hurling empty plastic cups at the heads of girls leaning on the stage. I told all who would listen to calm down as they'd just had a great gig and for all they know someone in the band might just have died!

Out on the streets it was strange to see the show: lots of young 'uns queuing to get into Corporation as the Gathering departed, so they could make a disco mating money mountain. I made Tea laugh by singing "The Hum" to the bemused children as we marched to a pub with his good friend Jimmy, where another inevitably inferior band were strutting their stuff.

The next day Tea had a nice surprise for me. He dug out an old Killing Joke bootleg tape he'd recorded at their Sheffield Top Rank gig in 1985. Not only was it the best quality audience recording of Killing Joke I'd ever heard, he'd recorded all the intro music and the soundcheck too! The soundcheck was particularly interesting, consisting of more repetitive riffing instrumental versions of SUN GOES DOWN, Requiem and Kings and Queens. He told me he'd never copied this excellent old tape for anyone else as he didn't want bootleggers making money off it. I thought it would make a fantastic official bootleg release and mentioned this to Jon Chapman later in Newcastle. Tea was planning to digitise the tape, so hopefully something can be sorted out in the future.

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