running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

Definitive Gaze

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

As I posted back in November, the seminal post-punk band MAGAZINE recently reformed and have undergone a short tour. As well as their unique and influential sound, and their super-group lineup (including Barry Adamson on bass and Howard Devoto on vocals), the band's erstwhile collaborator and equally renowned designer, Malcolm Garrett, is back in the fold. At the gig I attended (Glasgow Academy, Feb 16th) the merchandise corner featured a brilliant array of band-related paraphenalia.

Alongside the obligatory tour t-shirts, there were some rare recordings on CD, some carefully designed brochures, and a clutch of exquisite A2 posters. What made everything so pleasing was that all were designed by Garrett especially for this reunion.

The posters were a strictly limited edition of 100 hand silk screened A2, printed on high quality 270gms 'Colorplan' super-white art board. They were signed by Garrett and the band, but they were out of my price-range at a hefty £75 each.

The Malcolm Garrett designed Magazine Tour T-Shirts : Motorcade Black

The t-shirts were somewhat cheaper (£20) but no less stunning - a tour version and a quote version. The CD covers also featured the same visual design - the narrow uppercase sans fontstyling which appeared on all the bands visual output during their heyday.

The final touch was having the t-shirt colours named after Magazine songs. So we had Motorcade Black and Permafrost Grey - and for those of you who know the songs, you will appreciate the apt descriptions. All the merchandise is available to purchase on Magazine's managment website Wire-Sound.

As for the music, it all sounded very contemporary and at some points was genuinely epic. The band couldn't start their second song because the applause for the opener 'The Light Pours Out of Me' seemed to last for a minor eternity.

To add to the intensity of the evening, the huge stage backdrop featured the iconic and paranoid head visuals created by the artist Linder Sterling for Magazine's 1977 debut LP 'Real Life'. She recently had six of her collages from the punk era purchased by the Tate gallery and is considered a key influence in visual art from the period.

There are fine reviews all over the place - all I'll do here is link to a couple and note the setlist:

Intro - The Thin Air
The Light Pours Out of Me
Model Worker
The Great Beautician
The Honeymoon Killers
Because You're Frightened
You Never Knew Me
Rhythm of Cruelty
I Want To Burn Again
This Poison
A Song from Under the Floorboards
The Book
Twenty Years Ago
Definitive Gaze
Shot By Both Sides

Thank You (Falentinme Be Mice Elf Again)

I Love You You Big Dummy

External Reviews:
The Times, The Guardian.