Related Articles: Music, All

The Legendary Pink Dots 25th Anniversary show

The Dots Return 7/8 @ Slims

Think back to a time long long ago. John Lennon was still alive, Bill Gates was broke and Sadam Hussein had only killed a few people. Yes the early 80s were a strange, magical era. When else for instance could the creative consciousness spawn a creature as wondrous as The Legendary Pink Dots. The Dots, as they are -- to the delight of music writers everywhere -- often called, coalesced in London in 1980. The founding players included two young men who went by the names Edward Ka-Spel aka The Prophet Qa-Spel, Qa'Sepel, Che Banana, and D'Archangel, and Phil Knight aka The Silverman and Phil Harmonix. They were not your typical UK punks.

The duo, along with a few other like-minded semi musicians started banging away on assorted electronic instruments and after only two months recorded the first of what would be about 40 albums. 9 copies of Only Dreaming were produced on cassette before the master tape was lost. Such occurrences, like the times they lost a letter from Warner Brothers requesting a meeting and forgot to tape a legendary '98 Fillmore show are typical in Dots lore.

The band thrived during the 80s and while largely ignored in the States, toured extensively throughout Europe and amassed a die-hard fanbase. Tours with Skinny Puppy, Coil and Psychic TV showcased their dark pre-industrial music, which manages to mix classical and pop influences with sampling and relentlessly dark and apocalyptic lyrics. With Ka-Spel and Silverman at the helm the group has counted a revolving membership of over 30 people over the years. At one point during the mid 80s there were actually two separate versions of the band with Ka-Spel singing for both. Luckily the group was based in Amsterdam and most people were too stoned to notice.

2006 marks the 25th anniversary of The Dots and they are celebrating with the release of their 40th album (actually no one has come up with an ironclad discography but 40 is pretty close) and an extensive tour that has them playing more US shows than they have in years. The band play six weeks of dates across the states including two nights at the Knitting Factory in NYC and a Saturday night show at Slim's. The new album, Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves, hit stores on May 30th and continues the Dots tradition of folksy psychedelia and morbid wordplay.

While firmly entrenched in middle age, The Legendary Pink Dots remain one of the more prolific and experimental musical forces around. Like the handful of bands and musicians who never walk the path of bland commercialism (see also Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Gavin Friday) yet retain a rabid following, The Dots remind us that eccentric Brits (and they are usually Brits) with electronic instruments were once a staple of pop culture and for that we should be thankful, even if 1980 also gave us "Dallas" and CNN.

For more info check out:

The Legendary Pink Dots 25th Anniversary show
with Big City Orchestra
at Slim's, 7/8
tickets: $16/$18