One of the often overlooked pros of The Hacienda's forward-thinking approach to gig promotion was that, despite many of the gigs they promoted being notoriously under-subscribed, the venue had been expensively kitted out with state of the art video equipment &, at the end of the night, every band that played there was presented with a recording of that evening's show, for better or worse. Several of these tapes would be licensed for release the Factory Records-funded Ikon VHS label - notably Joy Division's inadvertently iconic Here Are The Young Men, & The Birthday Party's brutal Pleasureheads Must Burn! - though many of them were only ever produced in minuscule quantities (VCRs cost a bomb back then, after all, & a 30 minute pre-recorded cassette retailed for the equivalent of £100 nowadays).

One of my favourite bands of the 1981-82 era, Germany's E/B/M-innovators Liaisons Dangereuses, only released one Conny Plank-helmed L.P. during their brief lifetime though, fortunately, it's a bloody good one (never bettered, in fact). Following a single whirlwind tour of Europe, & hyped by the British music press as "the next big thing", they unceremoniously parted company - though nobody seems quite sure why. Fortunately, the Manchester date of said sojourn was taped for posterity, & was briefly issued by Ikon, quickly becoming a veritable Holy Grail for anybody with a serious interest in pioneering post-punk electronic sound, or in techno's murky genesis. Recorded on 7th July 1982, their Hacienda gig was (legendarily) so sparsely attended that, frequently, the only figure on the dancefloor was a flustered Stephen Morris, desperately rushing hither & thither in an attempt to discover where the anticipated crowd had melted away to. Incidentally, there's a copy of the original VHS for sale on Discogs at the moment, a steal at £160+.

Though a handful of extracts from Liaisons Dangereuses' Manchester performance have been viewable c/o Youtube for several years now, this is the first time that their Ikon tape has been uploaded anywhere in it's entirety. Three decades on, it remains a breath-taking, trailblazing performance that, tantalisingly, showcases many otherwise unavailable songs, suggesting that a second album may already have been gestating, thereby posing the inevitable query: do demos thereof exist?

1 comment: