(Sounds, 9th January 1982)
PULP, NEW MODEL SOLDIER, MARK MYWORDS
The thaw was just setting in at the Arctic wastes of Clarverton, the University doing a passable imitation of the fountains at Trafalgar Square as bursting pipes relieved themselves. University gigs can be bland but not this one, promoted by their New Wave Society - an enterprising package of two bands and an alternative comedian, all from Sheffield.
First band, Pulp, had surprising maturity considering they were all still at school. Driven along at a furious rate by Wayne Furniss on drums and Jamie Pinchbeck on bass, at the beginning they almost left their singer Jarius [sic] Cocker behind. Cocker, in appearance the archetypal lanky cartoon schoolkid with a haystack of curly hair topping a face overwhelmed by specs five times too big had talent both as a singer and front man, a wonderful easy assurance in his patter between numbers. A recent lucky break for the band has been a spot on the John Peel show and a track on a new Sheffield compilation album.
Hit of the evening was Mark Mywords, a brilliant comedian who did a spot about an alternative TV arts programme. Worried about the growth of video spreading from births to marriage he implored us to 'keep death live'! Acclaimed TV programmes came in for some stick: 'About time the animals in the jungle got together and went on an exhibition and watched David Attenborough mating!'
Mark Mywords did give some insight into his own background, 'I come from Sheffield, you know, where they make all that cutlery - crazy! - they all eat with their fingers up there! When I discovered women I was surprised they didn't all have a staple in their middle. My old man brews his own beer, I'm a paedophile when it comes to home brew." Mark Mywords ought to get up to the Edinburgh Fringe and do a late night spot, he would be a riot.
New Model Soldier were a three piece, David Kurley on vocals, Paul Fenn on guitar, Andrew Middleton, bass. They played challenging music which you either got into ordidn't. With no rhythmic lifeline from a drummer it took time to appreciate their set. David Kurley's abrasive, emotional vocals flying above a musical underlay produced some moving music. The band's own assessment of their music as 'not easy listening' was true, but it was worth some effort from the audience.
Sheffield is currently a cult city in the music business. I wonder if the younger bands in OW's area are as good...
This is the earliest concert for which a recording is definitely known to exist. An MP3 of 'I Scrubbed the Crabs that Killed Sheffield' is in circulation, and WAV recordings of 'Please Don't Worry' and 'Zhivago' are also in limited circulation.