Joy Division concert

19th January 1980: Club Vera, Groningen, The Netherlands

This following articles were published in 'Nieuwsblad van het Noorden', a regional newspaper in the north of Holland. Syb Wynia, was the papers music critic.

From the 'forthcoming events' section - published 18th January 1980

Joy Division is one of those English groups of which Vera at Groningen presents so much at their program these days. The kind of music that introduces the eighties, with music that is made in a such a way that huge crowds were not walking away with it already in 1979.

Joy Division comes from Manchester and wants to know this as well. Just like Wire, XTC and a handful of other groups, Joy Division lets us hear how life is in England, the country that was one of the earliest with the industrial revolution and that seems to reap the sour fruits of it now.

Club Vera photographed in 2008. (C) Copyright Joy Division - The Eternal web site (Michel Enkiri) and reproduced here with permission 

In 2016 Greenie Drums took this photo in the exact place the original was taken
Concert review: Impressive concert from gloomy Joy Division - published 21st January 1980
Happening: concert of Joy Division. Band members: Ian Curtis: vocals, Bernard Dickin: guitar and notes, Peter Hook: bass-guitar, Stephen Morris: drums. Support Act: Red Rizla and The Stubs. Venue: Vera, Groningen. Attendance: 300.
The choice of the band's name bears witness to a brilliant cynicism. Like an undertaker describing his job as being a joker. For it's not a joyous message that the four young musicians from Manchester bring us. Music, lyrics as well as presentation are imbued with an ominous presentation of the present and hopeless expectations for the future.

A thundering bass-guitar and a chunking drum sound are being completed with long, crying guitar riffs and a singing-voice that's addressing us in a gloomy tone, like late Jim Morrison. The bass-player and the guitarist are standing almost motionless on stage, whilst the singer is moving in a spastic, as it seems from Iggy Pop adopted, style: his face is being lighted in a spooky way by a powerful lamp from beneath.
The sound equipment is adjusted in a way that the low tones are being extra emphasized. With the grim atmosphere that Joy Division evoked in this manner at Vera, the group attracted attention in an insistent way, and that continued from the first bars till the last sustained note of the songs, that start just out of nothing and end without the well-known bombastic ado. It's not Joy Division's idea to add esteemed superfluous ornaments and maybe that's why this concert was so impressive.

The strong pictorial, tense music calls up associations with desolate industrial cities where something is about to happen. Joy Division creates a sort of pessimistic suspense, and the cute way in which the group knows how to convey this feeling, compelled big admiration. It's no light-hearted
amusement-music that is being brought by Joy Division, and radio stations are not enthusiast to broadcast this genre. Even record companies don't think this music will pay bread, because their debut album 'Unknown Pleasures' hasn't been officially released in Holland. How wrongful this is, appeared Saturday afternoon at a fair crowded Vera. The capacities of Joy Division are evident and lyrics, music and working method of the group are seeming to reflect reality more than the deceiving happy dreamworldpop that's being recommended by the media. Little by little it's getting clearer how far The Stranglers were ahead of their time and that the music of tomorrow is the music of groups like Gang of Four, The Pop Group, Wire and Joy Division. Vera continues in this line: on the 17th of February Gang of Four will give a concert. - SYB WYNIA