The following article was published in N-SPHERE May 2010 issue.


UK Decay returns to Berlin for the first time, some 30 years after their 1981 debut as a semi anniversary show. As it often happens with bands who accumulate a cult following them for one reason or another, the return of UK Decay to the stage has all the proper ingredients for a comeback. Since 2000 interest built up as to what happened to UK Decay. They picked up on the signal. It started with their UK Decay community site that quickly grew as old and new fans volunteered information, clippings and most importantly, support. Finally in 2008 some small local gigs began as they tested the reunification waters. The result? Immediate interest by a reinvigorated audience. Abbo, Eddie, and Spon reciprocated with the same energy, and a new generation of Community began. How relevant is this community?

In 1980, UK Decay expanded from their politicized punk single For My Country and opened the doors to something different in the punk movement, a more theatric and darker element. UK Decay was already a well established band in the London area by the time bands like Bauhaus, Theatre of Hate and Sex Gang Children were refining what would become known as positive punk and, ultimately, gothic.

History lesson aside, UK Decay’s Berlin performance was, as they say, A Night For Celebration. This gig was booked well in advance, and the anticipation was high. As support, local Berliners The Wars and Ulterior from London opened the show. These two bands provided the modernized version of the standard that bands like Joy Division and (indeed) UK Decay, established. Ulterior made a good impression with their guitar driven rough cut electronic rock, where you can hear a mix of Sisters of Mercy and even Placebo. The Wars, intended as the opening band of the evening, switched spots on the bill for some reason or another, but the effect was essentially the same. By the time UK Decay was ready to perform, the full house was twitching in anticipation. Hit the fog machine and the bass rolls in slowly with Unexpected Guest. Like a curtain being drawn back, they establish the atmosphere in an instant. Included in the set were songs from across their entire discography, Unwind, Message Distortion, Stage Struck, Testament and even Werewolf. But the most essential element of their set was the integrity and empathy that these stage veterans shared with the audience: Abbo’s smirk at a specific lyric, or the rapport with the audience as he recalled the photographer from their show in Berlin decades ago.

This is what makes UK Decay’s return a success, in carrying over a legacy. From the instigation of a genre that has spawned millions of fans and thousands of bands, coming full circle to here and now. They did not only retain their original strength, but they brought back even more. THIS is the Twist In The Tale, that is often missed by new and old bands alike, and certainly something that you should not miss next time UK Decay plays in your part of the world.

by Mark Splatter

photo by Diana Daia

Full article here.