Booting the Beeb, Vol. 1: City Daze

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Skids were one of the brighter bands to emerge out of Britain (Scotland) during the second wave of punk/new wave mania, riding the same kind of art-school angst that inspired Be Bop Deluxe a few years before, and looking forward to the early '80s a few years hence. Simple Minds, interestingly, were messing around in the same kind of musical backwaters. Whereas they eventually became one of the biggest bands in the world, however, Skids simply decomposed, split between Big Country on the one hand, and singer Richard Jobson's poetic ambitions on the other. What a waste. Dating from a March 1979 BBC concert broadcast and overcoming the somewhat sludgy sound, City Daze offers an astonishing and extraordinarily punchy snapshot of the band as they were in their prime -- before, that is, they matured into the pompous horseheads of their last couple of albums, and only a couple of months after "Into the Valley" gave them their first major hit.

With the band showcasing their newly released Scared to Dance debut album, this broadcast offers a fair comment on both Skids' ambitions and their abilities: frenetically quirky, capable of unleashing some absurdly compelling choruses, and yes, Stuart Adamson's guitars do sound like bagpipes in places. In fact, the only thing missing here is some sense of Jobson's manic skanking-dervish dance. That really did have to be seen to be believed.

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