(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series where the team/Film share what they watched, why it’s worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)
The film: “Urgh! A Musical War”
Where you can stream it: Kanopi
Field: The late 70s and early 80s were a wonderfully strange, artistic and experimental time for pop music. Thanks to advances in synths and electronic audio equipment, new sounds were created in all genres (rap, dance, rock, punk, jazz, etc.), and artists were able to synthesize the DIY and anti-establishment ethos punk rock with glam the carefully styled dedication of rock to excess. The results gloriously vomited up a new wave of arty, experimental sounds that would lurk just below the mainstream, and often be at the forefront of it. Back in 1982, director Derek Burbidge and producer Michael White put together a long list of the hottest New Wave bands of the day, as well as real obscurities: Splodgenessabonuds any? — and filmed them performing in various concert halls around the world, piecing together what might be the best concert film of the decade. A quick overview of the acts in “Urgh!” :
The Police, Toyah Wilcox, Wall of Voodoo, John Cooper Clarke, Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Chelsea (a precursor to Generation X, which was the birthplace of Billy Idol), Oingo Boingo, Echo & the Bunnymen, Jools Holland , XTC, Klaus Nomi (pictured above), Athletico Spizz 80, The Go-Go’s, Dead Kennedys, Steel Pulse, Gary Numan and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
Also: Magazine, Surf Punks, The Members, Au Pairs, The Cramps, Invisible Sex (which is a great band name), Pere Ubu, Devo, Martha and the Muffins, Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias and Gang of Four.
Also also: 999, Talking Heads, The Cure, X, Skafish, the aforementioned Splodgenessabounds and UB40.
Each of these acts performs a song, with two encores from The Police and a closing number from Klaus Nomi. Weirdest of them all: The “biggest” act of those listed above, The Police, is probably the least interesting of the bunch.