Penetration is a punk rock band from County Durham, England formed in 1976. They re-formed in 2001 with several new members. Fronted by distinctive singer, Pauline Murray, their debut single, 'Don't Dictate', is now acknowledged as a classic punk rock single and their debut album, Moving Targets (1978), is still widely admired.
Formed in Ferryhill as The Points they played their first gig at the Rock Garden pub in Middlesbrough in October 1976, after which they changed their name after a 1973 song by Iggy & The Stooges. Their second gig was supporting The Stranglers at Newcastle City Hall. Significantly, the band also played at the now-legendary punk club The Roxy during its first 100 days. On 9 April 1977, the band appeared on the same bill as Generation X. Early in their career, the band also supported The Vibrators and toured with the Buzzcocks.
After the release of their second single, Penetration recorded the first of two sessions for John Peel at BBC Radio 1 in July 1978. Later that year, the band released their debut album. Moving Targets was number 6 in the Sounds Critics' albums of the year; and it made number 13 in the NME critics' chart. In 1979, Penetration toured Europe, the US and Britain but the gruelling schedule began to take its toll and, following a disappointing reaction to second album Coming Up For Air, the band split in October.
In 1980 Pauline Murray collaborated with The Invisible Girls, which also included Penetration member Robert Blamire as well as other Manchester musicians such as Vini Reilly, guitarist in The Durutti Column, Steve Hopkins and John Maher. Produced by Martin Hannett, the resulting album spawned the singles 'Dream Sequence' and 'Mr.X', with a further non-album single 'Searching for Heaven' released in 1981. Pauline’s solo work was compiled and repackaged by boutique reissue label LTM last year.
Penetration reformed for shows in 2001 which turned into a permanent thing and have since played Rebellion Punk Festival in Blackpool many times. In 2011 Pauline Murray established Polestar Studios with Robert Blamire in Byker where bands can rent out rehearsal and recording space and Penetration released an acclaimed album of new material called Resolution in October 2015. The current line-up of the band is Pauline Murray, Robert Blamire, John Maher (ex-Buzzcocks drummer), Paul Harvey and Steve Wallace.
The Distractions were very well known on the post-punk Manchester music scene of the late 70s/early 80s. They released records on the TJM, Factory, Island and Rough Trade labels to excellent reviews, including the classic single ‘Time Goes By So Slow’ single in 1979, as well as sharing bills with Joy Division, The Buzzcocks, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Fall, The Members, Squeeze and many others. They played all corners of the UK and Ireland as well as doing gigs in New York before splitting up.
David Hepworth described their debut album, “Nobody’s Perfect” as, “An enchanting and vaguely disturbing collection of vulnerable pop”.
During early 2010, vocalist Mike Finney and guitarist Steve Perrin revisited material that had been recorded during a brief reunion in the late '90s resulting in their Black Velvet EP which was released via Occultation Recordings. They returned to the studio in June 2010 to record new material – this time for a 12' vinyl EP, Come Home and, after teaming up with other musicians, finally released the second Distractions album, The End Of The Pier in August 2012. At the same point, this version of the group played two sell-out shows in Salford.
However, with Perrin living in New Zealand, further work was put on hold until 2015 when Finney and original drummer Alex got together with some friends after being asked to play at a memorial gig for Manchester punk legend John the Postman. It went down so well they decided to continue as a live act playing their singles as well as songs from “Nobody’s Perfect”.
The current Distractions line-up is Mike Finney vocals, Alex Sidebottom Drums, Joe Brehony Bass, Chris Dutton Guitar, Jonny Poole Guitar
Three Day Weekend
Three Day Weekend are a new band from Preston who play melodic indie-pop.
PENETRATION are here, with THE DISTRACTIONS & THREE DAY WEEKEND on Friday 10th November, 2017. Doors open at 8pm.
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