The Monochrome Set – Live at The Paradiso, Amsterdam – September 20, 1980 – VPRO – Hilversum
The Monochrome Set in concert this weekend – recorded at the famed Amsterdam Paradiso on September 20,1980 by the venerable Dutch radio outlet VPRO.
The Monochrome Set are a highly influential English new wave band, originally formed in London in 1978 by Bid (vocals & guitar), Lester Square (lead guitar), and J D Haney (from The Art Attacks, on drums); a bassist called Charlie was added shortly thereafter.
Bid & Lester had been in a band called The B-Sides in 1976, which also included Adam Ant and Andy Warren (who both then formed Adam & The Ants). Andy would go on to record the first Ants album, “Dirk Wears White Sox”, before joining The Monochrome Set in late 1979.
Over the course of 1978, TMS gained a strong following, and Simon Croft replaced Charlie on bass. They recorded a demo, “He’s Frank (Slight Return)”, which was later released in 1980 on Rough Trade. At the end of the year, Jeremy Harrington replaced Croft on bass and vocals.
Experimental filmmaker Tony Potts began collaborating with the band in 1979, designing lighting and stage sets with film projections for their live appearances. The band’s early persona was defined by the shadowy, uncertain stage images created by the films to such an extent that he is often described as being the band’s “fifth member”.
In 1979, they signed to Rough Trade and released three singles, “He’s Frank”, “Eine Symphonie Des Grauens”, and “The Monochrome Set”, all of which charted in the Indie Top Ten, though sales from Indie shops were not eligible for the national charts.
At the end of the year, Andy Warren replaced Harrington on bass and vocals, and the band signed to DinDisc (a subsidiary of Virgin). They released their debut studio album, “Strange Boutique”, produced by Bob Sargeant in 1980. Their follow-up album, “Love Zombies”, was produced by Alvin Clark and the band, later that same year.
In 2018, the 40th year since the band formed, their 14th studio album, “Maisieworld” and a box set, “The Monochrome Set 1979–1985: Complete Recordings”, were released.
As a reminder of their initial incarnation – hit the play button and have a seat.