This week, Attrition (not the deterioration of things but the band) announced the 40th anniversary of their "Live At The General Wolfe 21.04.83" in Coventry performance!
To be clear, the release of the show wasn't until 2014 but it's still a fascinating snapshot of who they were at that moment in time.
My experience with Attrition was around a decade late by the time I got around to them, which makes recordings like this a rapid injection of new listens for me.
What makes this even better is the venue The General Wolfe Pub in Coventry where it was recorded, a spot that it's historically known to have had a lot of, now infamous music icons perform during its prime.
I especially like this about it from my experience of booking at small but important venues long ago.
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"Live at The General Wolfe 21.04.83" Pub - Coventry, UK
Attrition had yet to release their first album, "The Attrition of Reason" when this was recorded.
Rather than get to the mundanity of a review for this release, let's dive into the time, the moment, and the place where all of this took place with my five questions with Martin Bowes himself!
Five questions with Martin Bowes of Attrition
Wow! 40-years since this show took place! Who else was on that bill with you?
I had to look through my scrapbooks for this.... found the local newspaper photo and discovered we were opening for a band called Crown of Thorns. I never heard of them after we played with them that night.
What are your recollections about that night, the venue, and the crowd?
We played the General Wolfe a few times in the early 80s as it was a good local venue that often had name bands playing there when they came to Coventry.
I remember this one as we had got into using drum machines and synths a lot since the first time we'd played there in 1981 and we experimented with new instruments and new songs that night. The crowd however was sparse if I remember rightly.
What was on tap, the popular booze at the time?
I have no idea what they sold at the venue, but as Coventry was very much a Mitchells and Butlers brewer area I would imagine Brew 11 would have been flowing...
This performance precedes the release of your full-length debut, 1984's "The Attrition of Reason". In relation to that release, how close were you to having that album prepared and how did this performance showcase your debut at the time?
It was a year after this show that we recorded our debut album, and by then the songs had developed into the more experimental sound we became known for (Described famously at the time in Sounds magazine as a "Punk Floyd") so none of this show's songs ended up on the album… but one song, "Cut it Fine" was later on the Glass records compilation LP, and 2 others... "Monkey in a Bin" and "Surge and Run" became our debut 12-inch single which was released in March 1984 (we were so pleased that John Peel picked up on it at the time.)
This recording was released in 2014. Any chance we might see a release of Live At The Star Club of 81?
I have digitized almost every live or demo recording we made in the early days and if I remember rightly the sound of "Live at the Star Club" was pretty poor, being recorded with the built-in mic of a mono cassette recorder. But never say never... I prefer to release rather than throw away.
In fact today I just sent off a live-in-the-studio album featuring that original lineup for a limited CD release next month.
Attrition's "Live at The General Wolfe 21.04.83" is available as a free download for a limited time via Bandcamp so be sure to do that!
If you would like to support us and the artist at the same time, get it from Amazon!*
How About The Pub Now?
In 2018 it was reported that The General Wolfe Pub had been turned into a steakhouse.
Prior to that, it had been abandoned and according to Google Maps, is closed once again.
At the very least, The General Wolfe Pub building isn't torn down and I could be wrong here but. judging from the infrastructure in Coventry or anywhere else in the UK, buildings like this remain.
If you have any updates on what's going on with this building, subscribe for an account and comment on this post!
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[Live images exclusively provided by Martin Bowes]