5/1/1979 Sounds (5-22-79 Birmingham, England Show Review)
The Cure Birmingham
So mispromoted was this gig that it wasn't until The cure actually walked on stage at Barbarellas that I realised they were playing and not the Neon Hearts who, had they turned up at all, would only have been supporting anyway.
'Instead' (from the audience's point of view) we got the happy little Cure, who began full bounce and ended full of bile. Faced with an audience of Neon Hearts fans who were not so much hostile as completely indifferent, the band gave up halfway through, brandished two metaphorical fingers and began playing for amusement rather than approval.
A similar attitude was in evidence when they supported Generation X late last year at Aston University, and ended up playing a totally improvised 'Paranoid' for the sake of a dozen or so belligerent greasers heckling from the front row.
Tonight's abandoning of restraint results in a treatment of 'Killing An Arab' that can best be described as 'surreal', and a promising new song, 'Accuracy', was dropped stone dead before it was even halfway through.
The contrasting levels of worthiness in a Cure set are remarkable. The first few numbers ('It's Not You', 'Boys Don't Cry', etc.) are completely derivative, disposable thrashes, only saved from complete contempt by Michael Dempsey's marvellous bass playing. 'Foxy Lady' is a good idea badly executed, whereas 'Do The Hansa' is a good idea well executed (dig that scatting!).
The slower songs are best (the title of one particularly good one unfortunately eldues me) and 'Killing An Arab' and '10.15' have presumably been rammed down your throats already.
In other words, enjoyable. They have numerous good, inventive ideas, but they are some way from making best use of all of them (the only correct element in their front cover a month ago was the 'embryonic' analogy). Someone should lock The Cure back in the closet for six months, or else one more band will shrivel up and die, victims to a time proven syndrome, generally known as Too Much Too Soon.