1980-08-30 Crocs, Rayleigh, Essex, England, UK

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Notes

DM was the support act for Soft Cell. In 1999, Marc Almond wrote an memoir called 'Tainted Life' in which he recalls this evening. Below is the excerpt from that book:

"Things had to improve, I thought, after we'd played our worst gig ever, a headline show at the pseudo-glamorous Crocs Nightclub in Rayleigh, Essex. Supporting us were Depeche Mode, on their home turf. It would have been like us supporting Depeche Mode in Leeds. The crowd had some to see Depeche Mode, who played their set with all new equipment, improved tapes and sequences, dressed immaculately in glittering New Romantic outfits, complete with blusher and coiffured hair - Daniel Miller's vision realized: the perfect, pristine, professional pop band. Not only did they play well, you could hear every word Dave Gahan sang. They went down a storm, the audience shouting and baying for more. Then there was us.

I shambled on, dressed in black, dishevelled, drunk, and staggering around on too much cheap speed. The set seemed to start well enough, but then it all turned to disaster. I suddenly couldn't hear myself, and the backing tapes sounded distorted - like hoovers and washing machines competing with a hydraulic drill. I couldn't hear the monitors, and the microphone kept cutting out. Still I staggered through the motions. Then, through the dry ice, I saw them, slowly coming into focus - a line of the Who's Who of British electronic pop music. Members of Ultravox, Spandau Ballet and Visage were watching. I couldn't concentrate. All I could see were their faces, chatting inattentively, sneering - and then laughing. Louder and louder. And then the crowd started throwing coins. To add insult to injury, they only threw pennies. One hit me and I completely lost it. My voice faltered and gave in, which didn't matter anyway because I'd forgotten all the words. Everything ground to an excruciating halt. Well, it didn't stop exactly, just everything seemed to get slower and slower - like an old gramophone running down. I left the stage and Dave followed, both from us downcast and defeated, feeling like poor northern cousins from the sticks.

Afterwards Tony Mayo from Naked Lunch came up to me and laughed in my face. 'You couldn't make a decent dance record if you tried,' he said. I hoped his bitterness stemmed at least in part from the fact that Stevo had turned him down in favour of us. I hoped he was wrong. I learned afterwards that Rusty Egan, club promoter and drummer with Visage, had advised Stevo to drop us. Ironically, less than six months later Rusty would become one of our biggest fans, playing thirty-minute mixes of 'Memorabilia' when DJing at his club nights. As perfectly charming today as the was then, he was also part of the publishing team that we would sign to in our early deal. However, I had to admit that we were bad that night, and I would have advised Stevo to drop us had I been him."

Marc also said the same thing to 'Sounds' magazine at the time, when journalist Beverley Glick mentioned the club's name, Croc’s Glamour Club.

“Glamour? There’s more glamour in a fried egg! I think that was the worst gig we’ve ever done. Our backing tapes sounded awful, it was so cold you could see your breath, and when the bloke on the mixing desk turned us up really loud. Unfortunately, members of Spandau Ballet and Visage were there to check us out and they immediately rushed around and started slagging us off. They said we were ‘an oblique northern industrial band’. They were right – we were awful. But what a start to a career – me limping around the stage with aching legs.”

Gary Numan also attended a Composition Of Sound gig at Crocs. This could have been one of the 1980-08-16 or 1980-09-20 gigs, but judging by the info above it seems that the 1980-08-30 Crocs gig was the most hyped, and therefore it would be most likely that Numan attended this gig. Numan said to Jonathan Miller for his "Stripped" biography:

"They [CoS] were on the edge of the dancefloor - no stage, no risers. I thought they were brilliant, but didn't talk to them at the time as something happened and I had to leave. I had an idea that Beggars Banquet might be interested in them, and thought it would be cool to try and get them a [record] deal[1]. Unfortunately, I can't remember now if I ever mentioned it to Beggards, although I think I did."

References

  1. Jonathan Miller states that Vince Clarke and Dave Gahan had already gone to Beggars Banquet at this point, and got rejected.