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Between the recording and the release of Being Boiled, the group began to reconsider their stance on live performance.
They had previously decided against playing live, primarily because they felt uncomfortable on stage (Philip: "I'm just too embarrassed about dancing. The others describe me looking like a clumsy giraffe if I even make the slightest attempt."), but also because live performance seemed irrelevant to their work.
Philip: "Other groups get together with two guitars and a drummer and a singer, and they'll thrash out a song and learn to play it, and then they'll go out and play it live, and then maybe get to make a record of it. The first thing we do when we get anything we like is put it down on a tape, and then see about adding to it, which is a very different set-up."
Psalter Lane art college, Sheffield
However, frustrated at their lack of progress at the time, the group were eventually persuaded by friends to play live, assisted by backing tapes. Their first show took place at Bar 2 in Sheffield's Psalter Lane art college (above) on June 12th 1978, in front of a bank of deliberately badly-tuned television sets. The event is now marked by a plaque at the venue (see Old Imagery: Miscellaneous).
Ian, describing the group's early live shows: "The tape recorder would be placed centre stage, where a drummer would be, deliberately, and all the rhythms and bass would be on there. The show started with us deliberately walking on and turning the tape recorder on, and the stuff would start without us playing anything... which was pretty provocative at the time."
Philip: "It was just so not like a band 'should' be, and everyone did laugh at us."
Martyn: "Oh, they did. We were a joke in Sheffield. We were an affront to their sensibilities. People wanted to hit us and stuff."
Ian: "I remember someone actually threw a pint of beer over Martyn and his keyboard, which was a bit shocking 'cause we couldn't afford insurance or anything. So I built a cage to surround the synth to protect it, which all the writers thought was a powerful statement of alienation."
Philip: "In fact, it was a beer guard."
For many years, stories of the League making their first television appearance around this time have circulated, claiming that the group appeared on the Granada network's What's On TV show to promote Being Boiled. The stories claim that Philip was interviewed wearing a wedding dress and that the network's switchboard was quickly jammed with complaints from viewers, outraged at Philip's attire. However, this myth was recently dispelled by Ian, though he was sorry to do so, admitting it would have been a "nice idea"!
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