The Monochrome Set

M-80: Live at the Marathon 80 Festival, Minneapolis 1979

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The sound is too close and flat -- coming right off the soundboard with little room for ambience or the audience mixed in -- but when it comes to its worth, M-80 is a delicious treat for the hardcore Monochrome Set fan. This live album captures a 1980 show in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota as part of a Rough Trade Records tour package. The band was in its early stages, with "The Strange Boutique," "Alphaville," and "He's Frank" as their calling cards, plus original bassist Jeremy Harrington was still on board, captured on the tour where he decided to stay in the U.S. and skip the return flight home. The performance is a bit faster and up compared to the studio recordings, although it's not tense, as the band seem a well-oiled machine sharing a chemistry that benefits from months on the road. Sound drops out here and there, a side effect of the album being sourced from a video recording, which was made available on a bonus DVD packed into the album's physical CD release.

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