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Joy Division – I’m Not Afraid Anymore (Godfather Records GR 551)

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Rating: 1.9/5 (14 votes cast)

I’m Not Afraid Anymore (Godfather Records GR 551)

(78:36):  Moonlight Club, London, UK, April 3, 1980:  Love Will Tear Us Apart, Glass, Digital, Heart And Soul, Isolation, Disorder, Atrocity Exhibition, Atmosphere.  Moonlight Club, London, UK, April 2, 1980, The Sound Of Music, Dead Souls.  The Factory, Hulme, Manchester, UK, September 28, 1979:  Atmosphere, Wilderness, Shadowplay, Insight.  Genetic Records Demo Session, Eden Studios, London, UK, March 4, 1979 (Producer: Martin Rushent):  Digital.  Piccadilly Radio Session, Pennine Sound Studios, Oldham, UK, June 4, 1979 (Producer: Stuart James):  Atrocity Exhibition.  First Transmission Recording Session, Central Sound Studios, Manchester, UK, July 1979 (Producer: Martin Hannett):  Transmission, Novelty

I’m Not Afraid Anymorecollect several interesting documents from the all-too-short of one of England’s more innovative post-punk bands.  Their debut LP Unknown Pleasures sold poorly soon after its June 1979 release.  Several months later, in the spring of 1980, they released a new single “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and were preparing for their first tour of the US when they played three shows at the Moonlight Club in London between April 2nd to April 4th (with a fourth show at the Rainbow Theatre also on April 4th).

The half hour audience recording for the April 3rd show is borderline excellent.  The taper is very close to the stage and captures the music in nice clarity.  It was released several years ago on Factory By The Moonlight (Andiamo Musica Italia) is a 2LP set released in 2003 with the other Moonlight shows and can be found alone on the single LP Heart Of Darkness (JOY 001) released the following year.  The Moonlight Club (SCD-42) is a CD copy of Factory By The Moonlight (with the same artwork) and Live Transmissions (Independent Music IMJD962CD) also contains the tape.

Godfather use precise and subtle mastering to enhance the sound of the tape, making it more of an enjoyable listen.  April 3rd is a better performance despite Joy Division performing the worst version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”  It is interesting to note the lack of songs from their debut LP and instead relying only upon new songs that would appear on the forthcoming Closer and the first posthumous album Still.

The style of the new music already sees them moving away from their punk roots and utilizing more synthesizer / dance music with “Isolation,” pop like “Heart And Soul,” the epic “Atrocity Exhibition” and the hypnotic “Atmosphere.”  The seeds for New Order can already be heard in this performance.

Two songs, “The Sound Of Music” and ”Dead Souls,” are included from the April 2nd show, the first night at Moonlight Club.  It comes from another very good to excellent audience recording, made by the same one who taped the other shows.  The entire set can be found on the aforementioned titles.  

The final live tape is the twenty minute soundboard recording from the September 28th, 1979 Manchester show making its silver title debut.  This tape surfaced in 2009.  It’s an excellent recording which cuts in during “Atmosphere.”  The tape cuts out during “Twenty Four Hours” but Godfather elected to omit that fragment. 

In a review of the show published at the time, Paul Barrowford writes: “The lights were dim – Joy Division take to the stage and open with a new song called Atmosphere. The piece is slow, gothic, and features Ian Curtis on guitar. Four or five other songs are played the best being Colony, old favourites like Interzone, Wilderness and especially She’s Lost Control get the audience bopping frantically. 45 minutes later and a superb, controlled set is finished. The band return for Transmission, a false start, try again. At this point an incident occurs which spoils the whole evening. 

“Someone must have been having a go at bass player Peter Hook as half thru Transmission he starts attacking this unknown person with his bass. The incident continues with Hook chasing the person thru the audience and ends in a scuffle near the cloakroom. hook returns to the stage and disappears into the dressing room. The band (minus Hook) continue with Step Inside [ie Atrocity Exhibition] and finish.”

The final four songs are unreleased tracks that were not used on 1997 Heart And Soul boxset.  Although these four songs do appear in the set, the utilized other versions instead of these outtakes.  Overall I’m Not Afraid Anymore is a very good compilation of Joy Division documents in excellent sound quality and in excellent packaging.   

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Joy Division - I'm Not Afraid Anymore (Godfather Records GR 551), 1.9 out of 5 based on 14 ratings

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