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Pere Ubu – Lady From Shanghai

Fire

Pere Ubu - Lady From ShanghaiBeing a late explorer of Pere Ubu, my first encounter with them was The Tenement Year album from 1988, and I was sure I had found a pop band, but with something out of the ordinary still. Going back into their discography – to more experimental releases such as The Modern Dance or Dub Housing, not to mention the boxed set Datapanik in Year Zero, which also contained the early singles – showed me a band quite far from a pop kind of attitude, but still it had rhythm and beats and catchy pop songs in between all the experimental weirdness in their rock music. So when David Thomas – the only constant through all these years, and probably the main creative force –

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Pere Ubu – Datapanik in the Year Zero/London * Texas

Cooking Vinyl / Recommended Records

Pere Ubu evolved in a different universe to the rest of 70s rock. In mainstream history as we know and remember it, The Sex Pistols single-handedly swept aside years of proggishness, clearing a completely new path and establishing the new year-zero (OK, that’s a parodic exaggeration, but it isn’t far from what it felt like at the time). But in Ubu world, then centred entirely on the flatlining industrial town of Cleveland, Ohio, long before the Bill Grundy affair and God Save the Queen, the riddle had already been solved and the code already broken. Their early, self-released run of singles on the Hearpen label (30 Seconds Over Tokyo, Final Solution, Street Waves and The Modern Dance) admittedly owe debts to The Stooges and Velvet

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Pere Ubu (live)

The Royal Festival Hall South Bank Centre, London 27th September 2000

Performing for their 25th anniversary, Pere Ubu delivered such a marvelous performance as to bring me around to wondering why I don’t listen to this band everyday. And why are they not lauded as the one of the best of the last quarter century? Why is Pere Ubu not a household word? Just as well really, as they do inspire that very possessive cult underground sort of attitude among their fine stock of fans. Not many other bands since could dismiss their powerful influence, and most worth a shit have happily given credit where credit is due.

However up and down the reception of Pere Ubu has been over the last 25 years, the Royal Festival Hall definitely got a good dose of the up. Dave Thomas led the band through an alphabetical play list of all the best

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