808state live at The Astoria, London 30 June 1990

Report from Record Mirror, 14 July 1990:

808 State
Astoria, London

Eric - the man with the fan

Nothing stands in the way of the 808 State cybernetic machine. Marching on the route to London, old electro, techno and even an old Stone Roses bassline are sucked in and remodelled as new component parts.

In a packed Astoria, band members dance around the stripped metal skeletons which support their keyboards — man in hypnotic harmony with machine. Lasers suspend the legend '808' with bold declaration above the heads of a tuned-in crowd. The atmosphere is thick with a chorus of whistles — tin-plated veterans of a thousand and one orbitals — and the mass of raving lads and lasses respond like a group of coached-down friends and relatives.

With the air of a stocky pit-bull, sporting his 'Sixth Day' T-shirt like a uniform, Manchester's answer to New York motormouth Big Daddy Kane, bounds onstage. MC Tunes is a formidable figure and his gruff raps keep up the steam as 'I Am The Resurrection"s bass breakdown is hammered into cog-like compatibility. A bottle of water, casually passed out, is returned as if by habit, breaking down recognised distinctions between entertainer and audience, performer and punter.

Introduced as "the one that started us off", 'Pacific State' threatens to send nearby dancers toppling off tables, and the fan dancing onstage into a spaced-out frenzy. Its mechanised clutter spits bullets at the feet of those who dare to defy its dance strategies, coupled with a cool flute to take off the sting. And 'Techno City' is the true pulsing sound of Madchester: twin-town Detroit.

The closing variation on the 'Loving You' theme is dedicated to the London crowd. "You've been a f**kin' great audience", we're commended. "Enough respect to London." And the same to you, matey.

Davydd Chong

Graham with guitar

MC Tunes