XTC – In Concert From Cuckoo’s Nest – Costa Mesa, California – February 20, 1980 – KUCI-FM, Irvine –
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XTC in concert from Cuckoo’s Nest in Costa Mesa and recorded by the UC Irvine College Station, KUCI-FM on February 20, 1980.
AllMusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote a pretty comprehensive bio of the band, which should lay it all out for you if you aren’t already familiar with XTC or the artistry of Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding (here’s an excerpt):
By Stephen Thomas Erlewine
XTC was one of the smartest — and catchiest — British pop bands to emerge from the punk and new wave explosion of the late ’70s. From the tense, jerky riffs of their early singles to the lushly arranged, meticulous pop of their later albums, XTC’s music has always been driven by the hook-laden songwriting of guitarist Andy Partridge and bassist Colin Moulding. While popular success has eluded them in both Britain and America, the group has developed a devoted cult following in both countries that remains loyal over two decades after their first records.
White MusicPartridge, Moulding, and drummer Terry Chambers formed the first version of the band in Swindon, Wiltshire around 1976, calling themselves Star Park. As punk rock took off in 1977, the group changed their name to Helium Kidz and added keyboardist Barry Andrews. After being turned down by CBS Records, the band changed their name to XTC and secured a record contract with Virgin; they released their first EP, 3-D, in October of 1977. White Music, the band’s first full-length album, was recorded in a week and released by the end of the year. Critics praised the angular yet melodic pop, and the album reached number 38 in the U.K. charts. However, none of the singles released from the album charted (including “This Is Pop”), nor did “Are You Receiving Me?,” the teaser single for their second album, Go 2 (1978).
Drums and WiresAfter returning from a brief U.S. tour, Andrews quit the band; he would eventually form Shriekback as well as the League of Gentlemen (the latter with Robert Fripp) and also pursue a solo career. Instead of another keyboard player, the band decided to hire guitarist (and fellow Swindon resident) David Gregory was added to the lineup after Andrews’ departure and the group recorded their first charting single, “Life Begins at the Hop.” XTC released their third album, the steadier, more pop-oriented Drums and Wires, that summer; the record climbed to number 37 on the charts, thanks to the hit single “Making Plans for Nigel.”
Black SeaXTC continued to smooth out their edges on 1980’s Black Sea, bringing in elements of mid-’60s Beatles and Kinks to their guitar-driven pop; thanks to the singles “Generals and Majors” and “Towers of London,” it was the group’s most successful American album, peaking at number 41 while reaching number 16 on the British charts.”
Now – about the concert; It’s a little over-modulated in places and takes a few songs to iron out. Remember, it’s a college station broadcast, so it’s a hit-or-miss proposition. The band is in fine form, and covers up a multitude of sins – but the BBC it ain’t. Still, any XTC is great XTC and that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the hell out of this one.
So have at it.