The Dark – a Boston band from the 80’s

I had a blast doing sound for this band for the 1-2 years I did. Not only did they have really good grooves, in any tempo slow or fast, they were also a tight band with idiosyncratically interesting musicians, all of them. They could even jam from song to song in a twisted psychedelic way (though they would probably have been repulsed by the “jam” reference). Plus, they had a percussionist who included a set of Boo Bams on stage! (remember them?) Loved the sound of them through a PA.

They also had a slew of good songs that included thought-provoking lyrics, coupled with that moving groove, so it significantly enhanced the show experience to actually hear/understand the lyrics clearly in the mix. (Again, I don’t think they would have admitted back then to expressing ‘social commentary’ but it was a very real part of their ‘guerrilla’ aesthetic at the time.) It was fun to have the challenge of getting the vocals over all the sound coming off the stage without blowing out the smallish clubs we were playing.

It is somewhat sadly not surprising that many of these 30+ year old songs seem even more timely today than they were then… ( Wait, TV89, The Morons Are Coming, Dance to Death, Dark World, Self Fulfilling Prophecy, House Are Falling, Happier, Rules, Whatever You Need, New Job, The Sensitive Executive, What Are Friends For?)    diamonds in the rough…

…and on a more positive note, a nice aside to the recordings are the random band and audience comments at the beginning, ending and in between the songs displaying, for that time,  a loose, fun and funny group of people.

The majority of shows were recorded on a Sony Walkman Pro cassette deck using a Sony 939 M/S stereo mic which was always located at the sound board where ever it happened to be located (which was typically not optimum in a typically not optimum room to begin with) up about 7 feet in the air. The shows that were recorded directly off the sound board are Irving Plaza, City Gardens and maybe one of the Unknown shows.

Given the recording medium was cassettes with 45 minutes per side, there are times within the recordings that have abrupt song endings and beginnings which generally meant I had finally remembered to look at the tape deck to see if the Record buttons had been engaged, or if the tape had run out and needed to be turned over. Ahhh, back in the day…

…it can be a nice listening environment to be in the car when you have 35-50 minute drive in front of you. Adjust Bass and Treble to taste and enjoy.

The Vanguard, Boston University 10/1/82

 

City Gardens, Trenton, NJ 1/31/82 1st set Sunday


City Gardens, Trenton, NJ 1/31/82 2nd set Sunday

City Gardens, Trenton, NJ Sunday1/31/82 notes:
For context, the band had played this club 2 nights before (Friday) and the club management asked if we wanted to play on Sunday as we were driving back up to Boston from playing in the NJ/DC area so this gave us a ‘break’. It was surreal. I marked on the cassette box that the place was half a football field long, 50 feet wide and 15 foot ceilings. In this huge space on that Sunday we played to a total of 10 people in the audience including 3 crew members and, 150 feet back at a long bar, right out of the Sopranos, were 3 “regulars” and the bartender.

So the band was very loose and their band banter was relaxed and funny, especially in the second set. Crazy versions of Roll Over Beethoven and some other off the cuff stuff that was not part of their ‘normal’ show.

 

The 930 Club, Washington, DC 1982 1st set

The 930 Club, Washington, DC 1982 2nd set

 

Inman Sq. Men’s Bar 9/3/82 1st set

Inman Sq. Men’s Bar 9/3/82 2nd set

 

The Rat, Kenmore Sq, Boston 11/27/1982

 

The Mudd Club, NYC May 22, 1982

 

The Mudd Club, NYC June 11, 1982

 

Irving Plaza, NYC May 2,1982  recorded off the board, not audience mics

 

Leverette House, Harvard Univ 10/2/82 1st & 2nd set

Leverette House, Harvard Univ 10/2/82 3rd set

 

Boston/Prov? 1982 1st set

Boston/Prov? 1982 2nd set

 

The Rat (1983?)

Beaver Country Day, Cambridge, MA 4/8/81 1st set

Beaver Country Day, Cambridge, MA 4/8/81 2nd set

 

Adams House Harvard Univ 4/30/83 1st set

Adams House Harvard Univ 4/30/83 2nd set

 

Marble Bar, Baltimore 1983? 1st set

Marble Bar, Baltimore 1983? 2nd set

17 thoughts on “The Dark – a Boston band from the 80’s”

  1. What an amazing find! I was playing my poorly digitized copy of Don’t feed the Fashion Sharks and idly googled The Dark. I saw them at least half a dozen times, including a ‘BCN Lunchtime concert; (at the Metro, I think). I made a very low fi recording of that show, and I have always been amazed how much of the lyrics were audible – now I know why. . . and thanks! I would have been standing at your elbow or nearby because I always liked to listen to the good bands from near the board. My tape is (of course) degrading and currently resides in the deep archives . . along with the Archbishop’s Enema Fetish, Unnatural Axe, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and numerous others, almost all un-listenable. . . You refer to listening in your car, but I don’t find a link to download these files. . can you make any or all of them available?
    Did any of the group end up making a living in music? I’d be curious to know what the did after The Dark.
    Anyway, thanks for posting these.

    1. Fantastic – I just reloaded the page and there are the download links! The City Garden show is amazing.
      I had forgotten Reeve Gabrels (sp) was part of Darkworld industries – oh yeah, he went further in music I’d say! Saw him with Tin Machine at the Orpheum.
      Thanks again.

      1. Hi Steven, Happy you found the site. Thanks for pointing put the lack of Download button. Am remedying that now.

        I think there is a bit of the Archbishops on the Leverette House show – 3rd set?)_

        To the best of my awareness, Roger, the guitarist, and Michael, percussion, have stayed in the music biz. Roger is in Berlin and Michael has been (still is?) the artist agent for Aimee Mann since Til Tuesday days. Everyone else is in the Boston area and most all still play around to one extent or another. Or get together randomly to play poker…

        Thanks again for the heads-up on being able to download. Enjoy!

  2. This is, truly, awesome and forever! Thank you so much Jeff!

    You’ve no idea how happy it made me to hear these again.

    – J

  3. On the Beaver Country Day set 2- You can hear the Archbishop’s Enema Fetish playing their hip new pop song ” Mrs. Zinmann!”

      1. So happy to hear The Dark again. Can’t understood why they never attracted any national attention or even a good record deal. So smart, hip, danceable and fun!

  4. Thank you for posting these! I loved this band, saw them at the Channel in 1982-3 while a freshman at BU. My buddy took guitar lessons from Roger.

Leave a Reply