Watch rare 1980 video of the Cure playing ‘A Forest’ in Allston — on Robert Smith’s 21st birthday
Jan Crocker strikes again.
Two weeks after the Boston music-video pioneer and M.I.T. teaching assistant posted his never-before-seen footage of the Police playing the Rat in 1978, Crocker pulls a Mr. Butch and shifts his focus from Kenmore Square to Allston. A few days ago, he posted rare video of the Cure playing short-lived Packard’s Corner rock club the Underground in April of 1980 — the night of Robert Smith’s 21st birthday.
Video from this Cure’s show, the final stop on their first North American tour, has been available on YouTube for some time. But this is believed to be some of the first live footage seen in a long while (maybe ever?) of the Cure playing “A Forest”, the second single of the British post-punk band’s second album Seventeen Seconds, released around the same time as the Allston show. Video was recorded by Crocker and the MIT Film/Video Group, and Mission of Burma opened the show.
Here’s more info from the video description:
“Filmed with four Newvicon low-light black and white cameras and looped through a Shintron special effects generator, we were set up to switch the show live. The Shintron froze up during the opening set by Mission of Burma and [due to] MIT Engineer Terry Lockhart’s quick thinking and rapid fix, the cameras were looped threw a color encoder we had on board, and a single color RGB was assigned to three cameras with the fourth remaining black and white. Thus the constant color
effect you see in the video. I edited the original footage for a screening in Boston in 2010. Thanks go out to the MIT Film’Video Section and especially Benjamin Bergery who was a constant creative companion on several of the videos I produced at MIT.”
Located at 1110 Commonwealth Ave., Underground in Allston was open from February 1980 to June 1981, yet made a considerable impact on the Boston music scene, welcoming a host of European bands to its L-shaped room. It hosted one of the first U.S. shows by New Order (in September 1980, four months after the suicide of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis), and bands like Bauhaus, Bush Tetras, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, A Certain Ratio, and Lydia Lunch and 8-Eyed Spy also played the room during in its brief period of operation.
The Cure, it should be noted, are playing Agganis Arena, just up the block along Commonwealth Avenue from the Underground, on June 16.
Watch the Cure video below, and check out more of Crocker’s work via his KINODV site.