30 Years Ago: BIG BLACK live in London (Video & Tour Diary extracts)

Daily Noise -

30 Years Ago: BIG BLACK live in London (Video & Tour Diary extracts)

I am now quite happy to be breaking up. Things getting much too big and uncontrollable. All along we've wanted to keep our hands on everything, so nothing happened that we didn't want to. With international multi-format/multi-territorial shit, that's proving elusive. I prefer to cut it off rather than have it turn into another Gross Rock Spectacle. Speaking of Gross Rock Spectacles, tonight's gig at Hammersmith Clarendon is sold out already. It's being videotaped and twenty-four-tracked. "Posterity," says Paul. "Possible money-grubbing bootleg," says I, suspiciously. We'll see. At least we're not playing with Nibble Ebb again. Noel, who's been driving us around in UK, will be playing with his band AC Temple. There have been rumors of a "special guest appearance" tonight. We'll see if they mean it.

Steve Albini, 1987 Tour Diary

BIG BLACK played live in London on this day in 1987. It was recorded and the killer performance was released on VHS, later on CD and LP, as Pigpile.

The Paul mentioned in the above excerpt is Paul Smith; then owner of Blast First, BIG BLACK's UK label (Touch and Go in the US).

The rumoured special guests were Bruce and Graham from WIRE:

IF I DIE RIGHT NOW, IT WILL ALL HAVE BEEN WORTH IT. Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis came onstage with us and played an encore of "Heartbeat" that was actually pretty good in spots. It was awful in spots too, but heck -- you do stuff like this only once, so you better get what you can out of it. Like the Sonic/Iggy thing. Maybe that was great, maybe not. They did it, though, which is a step up from not having done it.

Steve Albini, 1987 Tour Diary

The set proper was pretty raucous as well. Ended up grinding the guitar on a few pop children with vertical walls of hair. Some anti-vivisectionist or something spent the whole set splashing red paint on me. At first I thought I was bleeding, which isn't unusual, except that the blood on my shirt was sort of magenta-colored. Then I saw somebody with a bottle. Dope smoker I'll bet. Security-types were hauling heat casualties across the stage to medic-types outside all night. After the set, I took off for the cracker babe's place. Lizards need an external heat source at all times.
...
At the London gig 1300 got in, but there were 300 people turned away, including people on the guest list who had traveled from Scotland. Oh yeah, the Fall came, but were turned away, as were the Gun Club. I'd like to arrange it so the Gun Club never get in. Anywhere. There's a one-trick has-been outfit for ya.

Steve Albini, 1987 Tour Diary

The gig, part of their final tour, took place at the Clarendon Hotel Ballroom in Hammersmith. The Clarendon was a 1930s public house on Hammersmith Broadway, by the roundabout, which hosted many punk and metal gigs in the 1980s. The venue was demolished around 1990 as part of the redevelopment of the area. You can see the state of construction around 1991 in the Bottom opening credits:

By the end, I think we improved; on the live record and video we were probably as good as we were ever gonna be. That gig was exciting--there was this giant belch and everyone involved in this giant belch felt immensely relieved afterwards.

Steve Albini / Big Black interview, NME, 1992