The top 3 hits of the time, in 1982, were “Eye Of The Tiger” by Survivor, “I Love Rock & Roll” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and “867-5309 Jenny” by Tommy Tutone. Now throw on a Nitzer Ebb track…and notice the contrast.
For those of us, in the 80s, who were looking for music with a little more substance and creativity, we dove into the more Alternative repertoire. This included Electronic Body Music (EBM), such as Nitzer Ebb.
Depeche Mode would release “A Broken Frame” in 1982. Many would say that Depeche Mode was the gateway into the industrial music of the time.
Front 242, Cabaret Voltaire, The Neon Judgement, A Split-Second, Front Line Assembly, the list goes on and on.
You would hear these songs at clubs such as the Sphynx, or where I worked at the time, The Thunderdome, also on Stanley street.
Vaughan “Bon” Harris (Drums, synths, programming, and vocals) and Douglas McCarthy (Vocals) formed the band in Essex, England in 1982.
Five years later, That Total Age was released and with the help of Depeche Mode who had them open for their Music For The Masses Tour in 1987, Nitzer Ebb adopted new fans.
Daniel Myer, who was missing the other half of the band Rinaldo Bite started us off. The beats were sick and it was hard to stand still, no matter how much you tried.
The best way I could describe the sound is if you can picture a scene from a club circa Blade Runner.
It really was a mixture of the past and the future, intertwined in such a way that simply worked. My only wish was that they had vinyl…I would have scooped that up!
It was a great way to start the show. The venue was fairly packed and so started our trip back in time, for those of us that lived in that era.
Fun thing to do at one of these shows…tell your friends, who haven’t arrived yet, to find you. It’s easy…I’m wearing black.
Bon & Douglas both walked on stage to cheers from the crowd. Of course, they were dressed in black. Douglas, wearing a suit jacket and dark sunglasses looked very chic. Behind him, Bon started the programmed tracks and took up the drums on the pads in front of him. He banged those drums like his life depended on it.
Douglas would pace the stage, back and forth, as though he was the ball in a tennis match.
They started with “Come Alive” off the EP As-Is, a more mellow electronic song.
Song after song, the momentum slowly built till “Getting Closer” where they shifted gears in intensity. Bon left his drum machine to cry out at the top of his lungs: “Yeahhhhh!”
Of course, they finished very strong with 4 songs that had everyone dancing. “Join in the Chant”, a club favorite back in the day.
Probably my favorite one was “Control I’m Here” with its electronic beat that would mix perfectly with some Depeche Mode, or Nine Inch Nails.
They would end the set with “Let Your Body Learn” and “Murderous.”
A long pause before the encore, they eventually came back for one last song “Godhead.”
It really brought me back to the club where I controlled the lights to every little nuance in the songs. Behind my turntables where I would spin these songs and mix them, beat to beat, without the help of a sync beat button.
It was a rebellious part of my young adulthood, yet as I listen to these songs again, I can appreciate that I left that life behind. It’s good to remember the passage that life takes you, and for that journey, these songs were the soundtrack of the movie of my mind.
I’m not stuck in a musical loop, or an era, I always seek new and exciting sounds. But seeing bands that I’ve invested so many hours listening to, without ever seeing live is rewarding in a way.
Experiencing Bon and Douglas, only 2 and 3 years my senior, doing what they love. Both old and new fans joined in the chant and danced till we were sore (quite easy to do at 50).
Photos: Ramy ElhoufyShare this :