Welcoming the “gospel yeh-yeh sound” into the 379 to 50 rundown, “They Live By Night” by The Make-Up; as featured on their 1996 debut album “Destination: Love – Live! At Cold Rice”.
Despite its title, this album was not actually recorded live, but in the studio with audience noise etc added in later. However, their live shows are crucial to understanding The Make-Up’s appeal, certainly one of the most exciting bands I’ve ever seen in the flesh. Featuring 3 members from the equally riotous Nation of Ulysses (including Iain Svenonius, a half Iggy, half James Brown shamanic showman), plus the addition of Michelle Mae on bass, I first saw The Make-Up in April 1996 at the Roadhouse, a suitably sweaty basement venue in Manchester. Positioned right at the front for this incendiary punk, soul and surf rock collision, shouting into the microphone as it was offered up, that gig will always be a special memory for me. They then supported Sonic Youth at Manchester Academy later that week, so I was able to see The Make-Up command a much larger venue as well.
Although their strength was definitely as a live band, The Make-Up also assembled an impressive back catalogue of 4 studio and 2 live albums, as well as various singles, in just 5 years before dissolving in 2000. Hugely influential on a new generation of bands such as The Hives, they reformed in 2012 for a performance at the ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror Festival at Ally Pally (where they were again electrifying) and have toured intermittently since. I last saw them in Barcelona at Primavera Sound 2017, hopefully not for the final time. Choosing a specific song wasn’t clear cut, but “They Live By Night” takes the slot – a perennial live favourite and a forceful introduction to the “gospel yeh-yeh sound” of The Make-Up.
VIDEOS AND OTHER STUFF
- “They Live By Night” live video at Primavera Sound 2017
- “They Live By Night” album version on YouTube (just audio, no video)
- Other great Make-Up songs that just missed out include: Here Comes The Judge, We Can’t Be Contained, We’re Having A Baby, Evidence Is Everywhere
- Bonus: “Here Comes The Judge” live video at ATP, Ally Pally, May 2012
- Bonus: “Here Comes The Judge” live video at Black Cat, Washington DC, May 2017
- “They Live By Night” is featured on my 379 to 50: 26 to 50 Spotify playlist
- Also featured (along with “Ulythium” by Nation of Ulysses) on my 379: Punk (and post-punk) Spotify playlist
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