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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lost Album Spotlight

Acoustic Daze: Gateshead Station Sunderland 5/11/85
The Clash

Record quality: C+
Performance: A-

For the month of May 1985, broken by all sorts of frustrations, The Clash went on a "Busking tour," playing unannounced gigs in public places before crowds as small as 3 or 4 people.

"May 3 Garage Club; I remember me and my mate dicky making our way to the Garage on that night. We were in both Nottingham's "No Tears " at the time and were out after a gig. We could hear the strains of someone busking "career opportunitys [sic]" floating down the street. I remember commenting that "Someone thinks they're the Clash". We rounded the corner of the small street the Garage was on and there were the Clash playing out on the street. There were only 3 or 4 people watching. As we got up to them they had just finished the number. Joe asked what we wanted to hear. Someone said "White riot" and they just launched into it.They came into the club and held court in the first bar and were very friendly. I'm pretty sure they didn't play in the club. " - Stuart Nock

"I was sitting in the MJ coffee lounge at Leed Uni. Someone came in and said: "There's a bloke outside, looks just like Joe Strummer." Yeah, right. That's going to happen. So I take my time, drink my coffee, go take a piss and amble downstairs. I get there just in time to see them play the last few bars of the last song. And it wasn't even a Clash song. Apparently they busked the queue of the Phonographiqe later on that evening. But I missed that as well. See The Last Days of the Clash - Vince White pg 230"

This really is a must listen for any fans of the Clash. This is their music at its most raw, exposed to its bare bones; acoustic guitars, drum sticks banging off of whatever they could find, and foot stomps. It takes a while for the crowd to either build or get involved (by the end everyone's singing or banging), but when they do, its a chorus as joyful and invigorating as anything in rock music, and perhaps points to the way punk was able to combine and transcend so many previous genres of music (reggae, R&B, rockabilly, girl group) to arrive at an essence of feeling and unity. The Clash's albums had become increasingly polished, over-produced; this is a rejection of all of that, and one can hear how relieved the band feels free of everything but their music.

From the Essential Clash Bootleg Bible:

05/11/85 - Gateshead Subway Station Sunderland, England
Available on: Back to Basics (LP) , Acoustic Daze (CD), traders’ copies

Their spirits broken by the miserable Cut the Crap sessions, the Clash made one last stab to come together as a real band. Joe , Nick and Kosmo set up the now-infamous ‘Busking’ tour and the Clash took off for Northern Britain in a flatbed truck, with a handful of beat up acoustic guitars and some drumkits as their only gear. Interestingly enough, they had a fabulous time, despite being deprived of the company of one Bernard Rhodes. This show is the essential document. Two more tracks sacrificed at the altar of the Cut the Crap get played for those making their own alternate CTC comp and the rest is pure silliness and high camp. It sounds like they were having a ball. Too bad it all fell apart immediately after.

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