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Mac wasn’t alone in his lack of enthusiasm.

An Old Fire Station packed to the hilt with

Even Dave Newton of Local Support, who’d had

boatloads of baby-cham/cider-drinking 14 year

positive things to say about the band’s first demo

old schoolgirls/boys left me feeling quite geriatric:

tape, couldn’t find much to recommend on their

especially as the bar shut at 9:30 and the evening

second. (It didn’t help that the tape contained a

faded before 10 — so that they didn’t miss the last

whopping 14 songs.) “The horns certainly help

bus back to Abingdon, I guess.

to keep the attention,” he wrote, “but the tape

Not long after 8, on came the Illiterate Hands:

has very few outstanding tracks and those that

the six of them looking like those nauseating kids

did grab me were ruined by [Thom’s] American

from that Xmas Casio ad, and their accents and

accent... It was hard work listening to this lot,”

equipment perhaps showed that their parents

Newton added with a trace of exasperation.

had indeed been filling their Christmas stockings

Despite such reactions, the group continued

with the said Casio gear (from £200 to £2000).

to hone its live act over the next year, whenever

But still, the sound was anything but immature or

its members’ class schedules allowed. Their most

pampered, walking a straight line through rock’s

notable engagements included a date opening

past (and future?). The best thing this lot have got

for the Icicle Works at Exeter College, Oxford,

going for them is their songs — punchy, poppy,

a gig at the London School of Economics, and a

memorable tunes, neatly touched up by the lyrics.

February 1988 show at the Old Fire Station on

If they last past the sixth form, then the Illiterate

George Street in the centre of Oxford, supported

Hands may well find a niche in pop’s future.

by a band called the Illiterate Hands, whose

Following this bunch, just after 9, were On A

members included Jonny Greenwood and Andy

Friday, playing a rare gig in town. R.E.M. vocals

Yorke. (As he had at Standlake Primary, Andy

(highlighted by the west coast Jumpin’ Jack

followed his older brother to Abingdon, where he

Flash’), neat pace, a touch of Stax and a touch

and Jonny, both aspiring guitarists, had formed

of sax (three saxophones, to be precise!). Tight,

a fast friendship.) Dave Newton attended this

entertaining, powerful, melodic, driving pop and

show and wrote an amusing review of it in Local

most certainly foot tapping (at least)...

Support that’s worth quoting at length:

Soon after this gig, Jonny was finally rewarded for his perseverance by being accepted into

48

Exit Music Radiohead_Story  

The reedition of Mac Randall's take on Radiohead's unnoficial biography, revised with all-new photography on the band's shows. A part of the...

Exit Music Radiohead_Story  

The reedition of Mac Randall's take on Radiohead's unnoficial biography, revised with all-new photography on the band's shows. A part of the...

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