Live At Reading University, 1979 (2LP)The Jam

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Format: Vinyl LP

In February 1978 an event occurred that put the UK music scene into a spin: in San Francisco on the final date of their first America tour, the Sex Pistols had split up amid scenes of chaos onstage and off. Their self-destructive punk prophesy had been fulfilled; which left some of the other punk groups unsure whether to call it a day too. All of a sudden, The Clash, Buzzcocks, et al looked dangerously like conventional groups pursuing a standard-issue major-label career. The Jam didn't have such worries: all they'd ever wanted was to be as big and successful as possible.

The Music Machine show on March 2 was The Jam's sixth live show of the year and one of four low-key shows in the capital to fanfare their new 'News Of The World' single under the banner 'The London Blitz'.

Rewind four months: in November 1977, 'This Is The Modern World' had been released to mixed reviews. An uneven record with a rushed feel, it was split between frantic, speed-fuelled genuflections to punk � 'In The Street Today', 'London Traffic' (written by Foxton) � and the first remarkable examples of The Jam's soon-to-be-classic Mod-rock sound � 'The Modern World',' Standards', 'Life From A Window'.

The Jam's performance at the Music Machine in March 1978 followed in the wake of two European dates � in Brussels and Paris � and triumphant return appearances at the Marquee and 100 Club. Standing opposite Mornington Crescent tube station at the bottom end of Camden High Street, the Music Machine (later Camden Palace and today Koko) had been built as a Victorian musical hall and was later the theatre where The Goons recorded their radio shows. By the time The Jam played there, it was establishing itself as an important rock venue, whose 1,500 capacity made it a useful stop-gap between the larger clubs and sizeable theatres like Hammersmith Odeon and the Rainbow.

The recording of the gig � bristling with energy and aggression - reveals it leant heavily on 'This Is The Modern World' material and the 'News Of The World' 45 (which would be the group's only Foxton-penned A-side), with post-'In The City' B-sides and soul standards making up the bulk of the remaining songs. This makes the presence of professionally recorded performances of tracks like 'Aunties And Uncles', 'I Need You' and 'London Girl' something of a coup.

1The Modern World
2Sounds From The Street
3Away From The Numbers
4All Mod Cons / To Be Someone (Didn't We Have A Nice Time)
5It's Too Bad
6Mr. Clean
7Billy Hunt
8In The Street Today
10Tonight At Noon
1Down In The Tube Station At Midnight
2News Of The World
3Here Comes The Weekend
4Bricks And Mortar / Batman
5The Place I Love
6David Watts
8'A' Bomb In Wardour Street