Cabaret Voltaire, "Live at the Hacienda '83/'86"
Months of wrestling with a DVD player which didn't initially read this disc has finally paid off and the results were well worth all the fuss. The first DVD to surface from Cabaret Voltaire takes two aural/visual snapshots of only slightly different periods in their evolution, recorded live in Manchester's infamous club.Cherry Red
The first one was recorded right after CV made their deal with Stevo and Virgin as 'The Crackdown' surfaced. On record, their sound was drastically changed, Cabaret Voltaire traded in their punk for funk, the droning guitar noise and tape recordings were traded in for keyboards and samplers. The live performance, however, capture a band who is quite clearly the same group as before, only expanding with new techniques and methods. Mal was almost sloppily trying his hands at funk bass while Kirk, in his rather new role as a full-time keyboardist, incorporated sound bytes and samples along with both sequenced and played keyboard riffs along with the occasional saxophone and guitar. The drummer, however, served to accent the beats that the core duo had already brought to the stage in a pre-programmed format on future classics like "24/24" and "The Crackdown." With songs like "Over and Over," however, the band had one step in their own past, playing completely live without keyboard accompaniment. Three years later, the electronic techniques were perfected, Mal's evolution as bassist/vocalist is impressively evident, and the band's emphasis on visuals was marked by intense video accompaniment. At this point in their career, the group had parted ways with Stevo and Virgin, while recording with EMI loomed in the future. (It's almost ironic how Mute bought their Rough Trade catalogue and EMI bought Mute and Virgin.) While songs like "Just Fascination" and "I Want You" were now crowd favorites, early versions of songs like "Sex, Money, Freaks" were being tried out. The visuals in both of these performances aren't the most exciting, as there really weren't high budgets for video productions, but for a fan, the archive is simply a must-have. In addition to the two concerts, three music videos are included: the entertaining "No Escape," which has the first lineup lip-synching in a very desolate, cold looking area of what could be Northern England, "Sluggin For Jesus," pieced together from CV's own personal video footage and "Yashar," equipped with dancing girls in the typical 1980s post-punk nu-wave outfits of white shirts and dark vests! For those who have problems with viewing this, try to hit the "menu" or "go to" buttons on your DVD player and the whole thing should work just fine. For DVD-less fans, an audio CD of this is due soon from Cherry Red.