5/23/1981 Unknown UK Newspaper (5-4-81 Hammersmith Odeon, England Show Review)
Incurable! The Cure: Hammersmith Odeon
This evening started and ended with music from Joy Division, appropriate as I heard ‘She’s Lost Control’ coming through at least twice during The Cure’s set, but everybody’s doing it and they’re better than most. The difference is that JD created a mood and then said something with it, where The Cure simply create a mood, the lyrics comparing with the very worst sixth form poetry: "dancing at the funeral party" indeed!
First, Carnage Visors, an animated film shown on a large screen, with stills of the puppets in various positions appearing simultaneously on two smaller ones. I found it tedious and totally incomprehensible, the band’s haunting soundtrack adding nothing to it.
The three imaginary boys take their places as it ends, silhouetted against the screens now used to much greater effect as blocks of colour in the sparse lighting scheme.
To avoid monotony, they vary the tone from intense through to very intense, but while the latter is atmospheric and sombre, any idiot with a synthesizer and a smattering of Kafka can do the same. It’s when the angst is added to a pop sensibility, the synth swapped for that hollow, twangy guitar that they excel. Then I can love The Cure.
The earlier, quirky and fragile tunes like ’10.15’ and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ show up the grim ‘Faith’ tracks for the empty poses that they are; and the more meaningful they try to be, the less they actually manage to say.
They deserve an audience of earnest young men of the type founded at New Order gigs to share their collective angst, but instead were faced with hoardes of ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level students, closet existentialists who yell for ‘A Forest’ all the way through, and sing along as if they were at a Gary Glitter show, spoiling the whole atmosphere by smiling when they should have been depressed.
The encore, of course, was ‘Killing An Arab’, a song that was released while I was still at school, knee deep in French Lit. and existentialism myself. Which leads to Jean-Paul’ Inevitable Question: Are you free, Robert Smith?