8 Nov 2008
Impending loudness 
The Durutti Column played the Barbican Hall on Thursday 6 November; it was correctly described as an extremely rare London appearance.

At the (somewhat delayed) soundcheck Keir sat in for Bruce on drums which were placed firmly in the middle of the large Barbican Hall stage. Vini ran through the main riff of Jumping Jack Flash.

Shortly after the scheduled 19:30 on-stage time, The Durutti Column were introduced individually by name although only Vini appeared on stage at this time. Dressed in orange t-shirt, jeans and Converse, he thanked everyone for coming and, as ever, apologised for the impending loudness.

After a solo (and particularly well sung) Gun, Vini welcomed "Miss Poppy Morgan" on stage for two piano duets which he "hijacked" with his guitar.

Poppy then left, to be replaced by Bruce (black shirt, black waistcoat and matching black beret with poppy) and Keir. An extra-extended version of Otis was familiar but the quite gorgeous piano outro made this one of the best renditions in recent memory.

It should be pointed out at this stage that the splendidly warm acoustics of the Barbican and a front-of-house sound engineer who clearly knew what he was doing combined with a band who were clearly relishing (and enjoying!) the experience to produce quite delightful sounds. The top two tiers were not sold for this event so everyone was sat in the Stalls (which were about 90% sold).

The only hiccup came during Jacqueline when Vini jumped the gun and the whole initial drum solo was skipped. Perhaps this was to meet running time restrictions. However, the same thing happened at the Ruby Lounge, so maybe not.

The second half of the set comprised Woman, The Missing Boy, The Beggar [a squall of feedback came from Keir's bass which at Vini's suggestion he then plugged into the piano amp. Vini quipped that Keir was doing exactly what he was going to do in the next song] and we closed with Requiem for my Mother with Vini mentioning that they had to get off stage.


Piano duet 1
Piano duet 2
The Missing Boy
The Beggar
Requiem for my Mother

Hi to Iain and Bunny, Simon, Keir, Bruce, Vini and Poppy. Thanks to the Barbican for the tea.

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Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

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The Durutti Column