32 Years Ago: HUSKER DU live in London (TV broadcast)


HÜSKER DÜ live at the Camden Palace on this day in 1985. This was their first time in England, and I think their first time playing outside the US. Earlier European gigs were planned but cancelled.

The concert was recorded for Live From London by Trilion Pictures and broadcast on TVS (Television South / ITV).

The band only agreed for the gig to be broadcast on the Live From London programme, but like many of the recordings it was released - unofficially in this case - on VHS.

HÜSKER DÜ returned to London a few months later to begin a September European tour.

You'll see in the credits this concert was produced in association with Melody Maker, here's their writeup from 25 May 1985:

MY opinion? Hüsker do, most others don't even come close. Loud, fast, aggressive music can easily degenerate into a hackneyed mess, Hüsker don't.
Your average music fan on the Clapham omnibus would have been confused by this gig. They would just about be able to accept Hüsker Dü playing their English debut at the insipid Camden Palace if they were told it was being filmed for the "Live in London" television series. Their credulity would be further strained if they realised that the gig had started before 7pm. They wouldn't believe it if they were informed that the concert took place in an alcohol-free zone. The final straw would be the contradiction between the extraordinary sound being made by the very ordinary looking threesome.
Bob Mould on guitar and vocals looks like a bouncer who took a wrong turning backstage and accidentally found himself in front of an audience. Grant Hart on drums, vocals and shoulder length hair, looked like an Enid fan who'd turned up at the wrong venue. Greg Norton looked like Graeme Souness, never breaking into a sweat. If I was a roadie, I wouldn't have gone near him without a pair of ankle pads - and earplugs.
The music was loud, and it got LOUDer. Despite the initial shellshock, 1977 this was not. Hüsker Dü write songs with distinct melodies. And they don't shout, they sing. It takes a few songs to get used to the aural assault, but tunes do rear their pretty heads above the wall of sound. It is difficult to believe that only one guitar can be responsible for so much mayhem.
Hüsker Dü have slowed down since their first album, "Land Speed Record", they're now only as fast as The Ramones. They mainly concentrated on a mixture of new material and songs from their recently released "New Day Rising" - even throwing in a cover of "Ticket To Ride"!
The high spot for me was the contrast between the catchy songs such as "Books About UFOs" - with its Sixties-like vocal inflections - and the furious slabs of pure noise and feedback. This was used to great effect and the end of the awesome 10-minute version of "Reoccurring Dreams" - a "Sister Ray" for the Eighties.
There's recently been a lot of publicity about the retrogressive country 'n' American revolution hitting England. It's true, there is an invasion of these shores by American guitar-based bands - but it's being led by Hüsker Dü and Sonic Youth, not the cowpunk pat currently giving a new lease of life to yesteryear's cliches.
The only member of the Hüsker Dü entourage who remotely failed at their job was the tour scheduler. They had to play the next night in Cleveland - Ohio, that is. I only had to go back to Kilburn - London, that is.
- Ziyad Georgis