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3/1/1980  Unknown UK Source (3-23-80 The Marquee London, England Show Review)
Lives Extra
The Cure
Marquee

At their first gig for two months the Cure presented a low profile on stage - minimal lighting, a low key affair. All attention was focused on the music, which became stretched under the strain and rarely overcame the pressure and pushed back. The well-known songs were greeted with cheers and sporadic outbursts of dancing which petered out in the generally subdued atmosphere. If only the band had put more enthusiasm into playing the joint could have been jumping.

'Three Imaginary Boys' begins with the synthesiser sighing and receding like an abbing tide, then the encroaching bass and drums draw the spirit downwards and Robert Smith sings 'Can you help me?' as if he already knows that the answer is No. In a more upbeat mood the fast, boppy 'Fire In Cairo' should have set the audience on fire but failed, the chorus spelt-out in a manner reminiscent of Patti Smith's version of 'Gloria' and degenerating into an exciting, demented, scrambled string of drawn-out vowels.

Of the new material could 'In Your Hands' musically perhaps be a Banshees tribute? It's a slow, sad song, strangely paced but cleverly achieved (or was it just out of time?). This was followed by two more tracks from the first album: 'The Subway Song', a simple effective tale about a girl being followed home late at night, evoked by dogging bass and drums and plaintive harmonica; then '10.15 On A Saturday Night' featuring an outstanding juxtaposition of bass and vocals, which transposed and mix, ultimately the vocals fading but repeated in the bass line. Simon Gallup's expertise on the bass in this number belies his earlier emulation of Jean-Jacques Burnel in 'The Subway Song'.

Experimentation with new psychedelia creeps into 'At Night', the raunchy, rasping guitar and clear overtones of synthesiser blending into varying depths of electronic fuzzing. This is echoed at other times by reverberating vocals which recede, become distant and intangible - trying to catch the meaning is like grasping at something in a dream sequence.

But then 'Jumping Someone Else's Train' leaps out at you, fast, abrasive, with its accurate, damning lyrics. For an encore they played abrasive, with its accurate, damning lyrics. For an encore they played 'Secrets' which lyrically repeats the preoccupation with things happening at night and is distinguished by a simple, repetitive, catchy guitar riff and percussive synthesiser. The raw 'Killing An Arab' is marred by near-complacent rendition but still jars and jangles. Finally the set turns full circle, finishing with the first song played ('17 Seconds' from the forthcoming album).

- Sharon Amos

 

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