The Monochrome Set Durham University 1981

The Monochrome Set Durham University 1981
monoThe Monochrome Set was formed in London in 1978. The original line-up consisted of Indian-born lead singer and songwriter Bid, Canadian guitarist Lester Square, drummer John Haney and bass guitarist Charlie Harper. The band went through several bassists in the next few years. Experimental filmmaker Tony Potts began working with the band in 1979, designing their lighting and stage sets with the use of film projections for their live shows. The band’s early shows were defined by the shadowy, stage images created by his films and he is often described as being their “fifth member”. Today they are spoken of in reverential terms and are thought of as a seminal, legendary new wave / art-rock band. I only recall seeing the Monochrome Set once, at this gig at Durham University Dunelm Ballroom in 1981. By this point the line-up was John, Bid, Lester and Andy Warren on bass. My memories of the band are of a weird, slightly avant-garde arty new wave ensemble, very black and white (hence their name); quite strange.
From their official site: “You can never pin down The Monochrome Set. They’re so difficult in many ways, yet easy to appreciate.
They’ve been together now …. since the dying days of punk, developing a music which oscillates between furtive seriousness and high enjoyment and tries to connect fantasy with the world. Label them and their music at your peril. Because of the Rough Trade alliance, brief enigmatic press coverage, shadowy pictures, the casualness of the group, their seemingly aloof airs and faces, and the apparent strictness of their live performances, the wrong impression of the group is being communicated. I’m not sure they are doing all they can to change this.” Support came from local heroes the Carpettes.
The band have recently reformed and have been playing concerts to renewed acclaim.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Neil Thompson on October 31, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    My band, The Carpettes, were the support band at this gig – we drove up from London to do a two night stint in Durham! On Friday the 13th we did a gig at St. Cuthbert’s with The Dance Band (horrible night) and then this gig which was a brilliant night – we played well – and I thought the Monochrome Set were brilliant that night (we’d already gigged with them in London)

    Reply

  2. Posted by vintagerock on November 1, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Many thanks Neil I saw your band The Carpettes on a number of occasions and always enjoyed it. My memories of who I saw when are often hazy these days however……

    Reply

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