Not that I should need a lot of prodding, but this recent feature at The Guitar Magazine exhorting the brilliance of Magazine’s 1978 debut album Real Life has me dipping back into those early days of post-punk. The article does a good job looking at the band’s formation, with a post-Buzzcocks Howard Devoto coming together with a young John McGeoch to record what would be a landmark album, despite not selling very much.
Often, as with the early ringing chords of Motorcade, it’s more about what he doesn’t do. Space is ceded to Barry Adamson’s showy bassline and Devoto’s dead-eyed vocals until the moment a couple of minutes in that he slams his foot down with a ripping solo. McGeoch had the chops of a pyrotechnic rocker and the rudimentary discipline of a punk.The Genius Of… Real Life by Magazine @ Guitar
Which leads to this live performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test in September 1978, featuring the album’s opening track and a non-album single, “Give Me Everything”, that would come out in a couple months. Though hardly genteel on record, these live performances have a real live-wire energy that elevates the material. I’m not sure if there’s more footage from their appearance on the show, but if there is I certainly hope it surfaces as well.