An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Dead Can Dance Dance Again

This is going to be a good year. I can feel it. In years gone by being young and wrapped up in a scene, in bands and in a culture of people, I got to see many bands and hear lots of music. But out of the hundreds of bands I’ve seen in my younger years, I look back and realise that the vast majority of the bands I saw were actually pretty dire. I went to see bands because in the days before the internet it was the best way to try and find new music. Especially in the UK, as radio was always terrible unless you could stay up really late every night.

In the last few years after getting fed up of seeing so many predictable bands, I decided to see less and choose more wisely. This has resulted in seeing some amazing gigs. This year has already delivered once and looks to be even more promising. For the third time I was fortunate to see Rammstein play a couple of weeks ago. Rammstein always put on a fantastic show, the sound quality was awesome and the whole experience, as always with Rammstein, was mind blowing. I’ve not been too impressed with their more recent releases, preferring the more raw approach that made their name. But this tour was to promote a kind of” best of” album so got all their well known songs for 2 hours. Of course plenty of flamethrowers, ejaculating phallus’ and silly theatrics were thrown in as usual.

I also went to see Florence and The Machine, which was an eye opener in a different way. The gig was excellent and the performance incredibly good, but as with all popular culture, was spoilt by thousands of screaming little 15 year old girlies. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to see impressionable folk picking music out for enjoyment, but I have seen this so many times, the thousands of girlies singing every word, tearful and full of admiration, will be nowhere to be seen in 5 years once the chart success and the popularity fades. This is a concept I simply cannot understand, how popularity decides and persuades an individuals taste in music. Music is an art form, how can the art form be any different if one person loves it or a million people love it? How can the the tastes of the masses change the art form. The art is what it is. Love it, hate it, but please don’t just listen to it because everyone else is?!!?

There have been two pieces of news I’ve been waiting to hear for the past few years. Both were very unlikely, and chances were, never going to happen. The two bands I really want to reform and do a gig in the UK are The Tea Party and Dead Can Dance. Slowly over the passed few months I saw news that The Tea Party had reformed against all the odds. Then rumours on the internet forums were going round that Dead Can Dance may be doing another tour. This was great news if true. Dead Can Dance split up around 1998, they got together just to do a world tour in 2005, but no new releases. I saw them in London in 2005 and it was an experience that was unmissable. An incredible vibe, wonderful rhythms, a beautiful voice, fantastic songs, a very varied mix in the audience who all showed a great respect for the music. Stayed very quiet when the music played then roared into applause after each song. I knew at the time that the chances of seeing Dead Can Dance again were very unlikely. It certainly felt like a final farewell tour.

Then just before Christmas of 2011 came the news that not only were Dead Can Dance to tour in 2012 but were also expecting to record a new album. This is amazing. Only one date of the world tour hits the UK, so at 9am on the morning of the day the tickets went on sale, I was frantically calling the box office 1 minute before it opened, hitting redial on the telephone hoping to get through. It was nerve racking, the Portuguese tickets had sold out in four hours. But I got through and got 2nd row seats. I have never been that excited to buy concert tickets before and it was not a pleasurable experience trying to get them. I would hate to think what a Cliff Richard fan must go through every time he tours (I expect it’s even more desperate, grannies can’t throw their knickers very far, so nearest the front is best).

So I see myself as very fortunate to have got such a good ticket to such a good opportunity to see one of the best bands in the world. Let’s hope my luck holds out and The Tea Party start to gig outside of Canada.

If anyone has the opportunity, you must see Dead Can Dance. It may well be the last chance to see them live and trust me, if you never see a concert again, you must see Dead Can Dance live. I hope that they release the new album on vinyl. Vinyl is just a better product to collect, more of a product. Few bands have a history of having a classic album under their belt. It’s practically unheard of to have a band that has never released a poor album. Every album that Dead Can Dance have created has been genius.

Dead Can Dance are what makes collecting 4AD just a joy and honour. If you have a gig coming up in your country, make every chance to go and see them, see you there!


  1. I adore Dead Can Dance - I liked them before I liked "Goth" in general, and I'd ADORE seeing them live, the problem is I'd have to cross the UK to see them and probably can't afford tickets, let alone transport. I really wanted to see them back in 2005, and have been waiting this long... Unfortunately my circumstances took a turn for the worse, so now I have little funds :/ I'm just glad that they're performing together again. Hearing them live must be utterly and indescribably wonderful.

  2. To see them live is a combined experience with both the band and the audience, an experience that is quite unique I think. Such a shame you cannot make it, but then there is the consolation prize of a new album to still look forward to. Thanks HouseCat