1/20/1979 New Musical Express (12-19-78 Islington, England Show Review)
The Cure Hope and Anchor
This was a cruel date on The Cure's calendar.
Guitarist Robert Smith had flu and Lol Tolhurst's drumkit kept falling over. The Hope's basement displayed the charm of a cross-Channel lorry deck, and the PA vied with the gas heater in the inadequate stakes.
Ostensibly, The Cure had little going for them; yet they salvaged this unluxurious event from oblivion, largely through their own embryonic musical talent and their ability to inject a dose of enjoy-serum into the Mivvied corpuscles of punters present.
Despite their charity-rack instruments, the band played a crisp set. Their sound was compact and effervescent. Each song was a two-minute cameo of ferrous punkrock. Their coup-de-gig was the Camus inspired ditty "Killing An Arab": a zany crossbreed of 4/4 thrash and Moorish bazoukie fever.
The Cure's novel approach to rock is emphasised by bassman Michael Dempsey's skillfully versatile handling of lead and melody lines played over a rhythmic drum / guitar backdrop. Intriguing, but it tended to make things top-heavy. Such is the nature of three-piecedom: streamlined impact is often gained at the expense of amplitude. The Cure are competent enough to add a fourth hand to the crew without sacrificing the excitement and originality of their live performance.
A youthful nervousness, dotted with moments of controlled deadpan enhanced their stage presence; they played with sufficient enthusiasm to overcome the Spartan test-tube conditions of this chilly niterie.
Hollering for two encores, the crowd risked frostbite to clap for The Cure.
- Rick Joseph