The singer announces from the stage 'We'd like to play you some new songs now'. The audience, from the floor, hears 'Run away, run away, the building is on fire!'
That's the dilemma that faces most bands who try something different. For some it turns out to be the final reason for calling it a day. This Halloween marks the thirtieth anniversary of the night The Radiators left town. The town being London, the Radiators being the Dublin punk band who had recently lost the words From Space at the end of their name.
In April 1977 The Radiators (From Space, if you like) were punk rock in Ireland. I know that because The Undertones, who were punk rock in Derry, travelled on the bus to Dublin to play support to them in the Baggot Inn. They had recently released the Television Screen single on the Chiswick label in London. A big deal, if not a big record deal. It was a fast, three chord, RnB song. Many a band would have been happy to leave it at that. But not the Radiators.
They relocated to London in 1978 full of new songs, to work on a second LP with Tony ' I produced David Bowie, and I married Mary Hopkin' Visconti. The rawness of their singles and TV Tube Heart were forgotten and more sophisticated and tuneful songs were being worked on all that summer.
By Halloween night they were ready to let the rest of the world (or that section that had paid to get into the Electric ballroom in Camden Town) hear what they'd been working on - their Ghostown LP. Songs like Million Dollar Hero, Kitty Ricketts and Song Of The Faithful Departed recognised now as their best recordings, were not what the London audience wanted on that night. They wanted fast punk rock. They didn't get it - and it turned out to be the last time they played in the UK. Support band on the night was Stiff Little Fingers, who know what their audience wants and knows how to get it. The Radiators continued, released the Ghostown LP to critical acclaim.
The problem is, critics don't buy records. Not in any great numbers. Over the next three years the band struggled on with various changes in the line-up before officially winding up in 1981. (They've since reformed of course - and From Space returned as well)