POST-PUNK ROYALTY THE THE TO PERFORM AT MELBOURNE FESTIVAL
Melbourne International Arts Festival today announced post-punk royalty, The The will return to Melbourne for the first time in almost thirty years to perform in this year’s event.
Following sold out performances in London in June, singer and songwriter Matt Johnson and his band The The are back performing songs from his longstanding repertoire that haven’t been heard or witnessed live in almost 20 years as well as new music.
A radical figure during Thatcher’s reign, Matt Johnson and The The were among the most critically-acclaimed and politically engaged bands of the 1980s, becoming post-punk icons of their generation alongside The Smiths and New Order. Ground-breaking albums such as Soul Mining (1989) and Infected (1986) have been considered among the decade’s finest releases. The The was Matt Johnson’s vehicle with a revolving cast of pop identities and cult figures including Johnny Marr of The Smith’s, Jools Holland, and Melbourne’s own JG Thirwell.
Melbourne Festival Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway said: ‘As a massive fan of post-punk music as a teenager in the eighties in England, it’s a no-brainer when you hear The The are planning to tour after nearly 30 years, it takes a second to say “yes” to bringing this special event to Melbourne.’
Matt Johnson began his career in 1979 writing personal songs of turmoil before he shifted his gaze to global geopolitics. This must-see event will feature The The’s renowned songs with lyrics heavily drenched in death, love, sex and the meaning of it all, such as 1982’s halting Uncertain Smile capturing teen angst, 1989’s The Beat(en) Generation which wraps a political message around Johnson’s famed gravely tones, and the textured sounds of Armageddon Days Are Here (Again) from 1989’s Mind Bomb, before taking a deep dive into the adored music and lyrics of Soul Mining.
‘I wanted to strip down many of the songs and actually reduce the sonic palette. We won’t be using any samplers, click-tracks, sequencers or synthesisers. It’s just five musicians, performing reinterpretations of my back catalogue. The songs are not intended to be reproduction of the album versions, and many of them don’t sound like they do on the old recordings. Some of the songs do, but if people really want to hear the albums, they should just put on headphones and listen to the albums.’ – Matt Johnson on The The 2018 tour.
★★★★★ ‘Part comeback, part requiem, all extraordinary.’ – The London Telegraph
‘This is weighty art-school friendly post punk… Matt Johnson’s voice was as resonant as ever, while the music jumped from clattering jazz to scuzzy punk to jittery funk with conviction.’ – The London Times
Melbourne International Arts Festival presents
Thursday 4 October 2018
Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre
Tickets on sale now!