Joy Division – Performances 01

Ever since the end of Joy Division people have been hungry for more material. The band only left two regular albums (Closer + Unknown Pleasures) and two compilations (Substance + Still). Plus an unofficial album recorded as their first incarnation Warsaw, and two Peel Sessions, compiled on one cd. Furthermore countless live recordings exists, most of them as bootlegs, and in recent years also some officially approved ones. I’m not sure about the status of this “Performances 01″ release, the label seems to be quite obscure, but on the other hand I obtained it through a respected mailorder (Infrarot). This set consists of two LP’s and a bonus 7”, all pressed on blue vinyl. The title implies that this is part 1 of a series… The coloured vinyl is a nice gimmick, but I would have appreciated it more if the sleeve was more elaborate, it’s completely white except for a rather vague photo. There is an insert sheet with the tracklisting, but it only has the size of a flyer. Also the labels of the records are blanco, so you have to puzzle which side is what. But this release is still a dedicated piece of work, in a limited edition of 600 copies.

Record one contains a concert given in the Bains-Douches club in Paris on 18 December 1979, a quite well-known performance. It has also been officially released on cd in 2001. A great deal of “Closer” (not yet released at the time of the concert) is on the menu, as well as the singles ‘Love will Tear us Apart’, ‘She’s lost Control’ and ‘Transmission’. The concert is ended with the old song ‘Warsaw’. The sound quality is reasonably good, though the vocals are a bit deep in the mix and the guitars sound a bit sharp on the first two tracks. Some of the highlights are ‘Disorder’, ‘Insight’, ‘Shadowplay’, ‘Transmission’ and ‘Twenty Four Hours’, these songs really show how passionate a Joy Division concert could be. The sound quality of ‘Colony’ and ‘Warsaw’ is not very good, as if another source is used for these tracks.

Record two contains a concert recorded half a year earlier in the Russel Club (also known as Factory I) in their hometown Manchester. This was the first large concert where Joy Division was headliner. Many tracks of “Unknown Pleasures” are present. I find the sound quality less good than the Paris concert. The version of ‘Atrocity Exhibition’ sounds especially desperate. Also the versions of ‘Dead Souls’ and ‘She’s Lost Control’ are pretty impressive. Still I find this concert not as good as the one in Paris, the material sounds more crude. You can also say that the band has improved in the half year which separates the concerts.

On the bonus 7″ 4 tracks from various recording sessions in 1979 are included, which were never officially released. In general they are a little rawer than the originals. ‘Digital’ sounds rather bare in comparison to the version later included on “Still”.’Atrocity Exhibition’, one of the tracks recorded for a radio session but which was considered to be not ‘middle-of-the-road’ enough to be broadcasted, has some strong guitar work. The demos of ‘Transmission’ and ‘Novely’ were recorded with Martin Hannett as producer. The final versions were later recorded on a single in October. Especially the percussion on ‘Novelty’ sounds different. Nice historical material.

artist: Joy Division
label: Dudeschar