Posts Tagged ‘Chronic Town’

Image result for earliest photo of R.E.M

In what’s believed to be the earliest pro-shot footage of R.E.M in concert: a 50-minute live set filmed on October. 10th, 1982, for broadcast on TV by a South Carolina station about six months before the release of the band’s debut, Murmur.

As you can see below, the setlist, to no surprise, is heavy on songs from the Chronic Town EP and Murmur, and includes “Ages of You,” which wouldn’t surface until the Dead Letter Office compilation was released in 1987.  Watch for the band’s producer, Mitch Easter, and future fifth member Peter Holsapple to pop on stage, and certainly stick around for the reggae-like jam labeled as “Skank” that closes the set.

Watch the full performance from The Pier in Raleigh, N.C.

This was filmed less than two months after “Chronic Town” was released on I.R.S.Records and it’s an outstanding document. It is also the earliest known professionally show footage of an R.E.M. show.
The setlist:

1. Wolves, Lower 0:52
2. Laughing 5:41
3. 1,000,000 9:46
(NOTE: Mitch Easter, who produced “Chronic Town” as well as “Murmur” and “Reckoning” (with Don Dixon), joins the band on guitar)
4. Moral Kiosk 13:07
5. Catapult 16:25
6. West of the Fields 20:14
7. Radio Free Europe 23:15
8. Ages of You 27:59
(NOTE: Originally intended for “Chronic Town”, replaced by “Wolves, Lower” at the request of Miles Copeland, later turned up on “Dead Letter Office”)
9. We Walk 31:45
10. Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars) 35:38
(NOTE: As identified by peechpanda in the comments section, Peter Holsapple appears to join the band on guitar for this song)
11. Skank (Jam) 40:25

R.E.M.-Chronic-Town

On this day (August. 10th) in 1982: Athens, Georgia alternative rock band R.E.M. released the ‘Chronic Town’ EP, the first result of their signing with IRS Records the previous May; the tracks had been recorded with producer Mitch Easter back in October, 1981 when the group was considering setting up their own label; the disc provided the first extended illustration of R.E.M.’s signature musical style – jangling guitars, chords played in arpeggio, murmured vocals & obscure lyrics – & introduced such early, lo-fi classics as “Gardening At Night” & “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)”.

I.R.S. released Chronic Town in August 1982 as its first American release. Reaction to the EP varied; one I.R.S. radio promoter said that many of his contacts at universities radio didn’t know what to make of the record, but added, “The Georgia stations and some of the more together college stations across the country jumped on it.” The band filmed its first video for “Wolves, Lower” to promote the record. The EP sold 20,000 copies in its first year.

“Chronic Town” is five songs that spring to life full of immediacy and action and healthy impatience. Songs that won’t be denied.” NME praised the songs’ auras of mystery, and concluded, “R.E.M. ring true, and it’s great to hear something as unforced and cunning as this.

The debut 5 track EP from R.E.M. titled ‘Chronic Town’ was the beginning of a long love affair for many of us with the boys from Athens, GA. The original vinyl EP R.E.M. labeled the A side (tracks 1–3) as the “Chronic Town” side and the B side (tracks 4 and 5) as the “Poster Torn” side.

 

All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe.

Side one – “Chronic Town”
  1. “Wolves, Lower” – 4:10
  2. Gardening at Night – 3:29
  3. “Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)” – 3:54
Side two – “Poster Torn”
  1. “1,000,000” – 3:06
  2. “Stumble” – 5:40