First generation punk act Penetration celebrate 40 years as a touring and recording band with an autumn U.K. tour.
Having played their first London show at the legendary Roxy club in April 1977 before releasing Don’t Dictate as their debut single that November, the group deem 2017 to be not only their own 40th anniversary, but also that of when punk hit the provinces.
A dozen dates in October/November, including the opening night of the tour which is at the 02 Academy in Liverpool, will feature a set that traces the musical path taken by the band from its origins, including early demo songs, right up to 2015’s triumphant comeback album, Resolution. It will work through their repertoire in chronological order.
Penetration were formed in Ferryhill, County Durham in late 1976 at the very beginning of the punk phenomenon. Their bass, drums and twin guitar line-up were distinctive musical features, while singer Pauline Murray’s fearless yet vulnerable vocals fitted perfectly with their anthemic and often complex song arrangements. They signed to Virgin in 1977 and released the classic Don’t Dictate single in the autumn. Their debut album, Moving Targets, was released in 1978 to critical acclaim and commercial success, reaching no. 22 in the album chart.
Their second album, Coming Up For Air, was produced by Steve Lillywhite (in between helming the debuts of both Siouxsie & The Banshees and U2) and was recorded immediately after a long U.S. tour. The sessions were rushed, but even so produced excellent songs such as Come Into The Open and Shout Above The Noise that ensured a healthy Top 40 chart placing for the finished record. However, a combination of stress and pressure from label and management proved telling factors when Murray announced onstage at Newcastle City Hall that Penetration were splitting up upon completion of their autumn 1979 U.K. tour to promote the album.
Personal life changes and disillusion with the industry caused Murray to turn her back on music in 1982 aged 23. When she eventually started to write again it was as a fiercely independent artist. Setting up the Polestar label with Blamire, she released several singles during the latter half of the ‘80s (including covers of songs by Alex Chilton and John Cale) and an album entitled Storm Clouds in 1989. The following year she also set up Polestar Studios, a music rehearsal and recording facility in Newcastle.
With the band re-emerging in 2015 with the group’s third album Resolution, it is only right that the Punk ethic should continue, and with this tour the resolution of a 40 year journey is on hand, a journey which deserves much celebration of a pioneer of the genre.
Tickets for the night at the 02 Academy in Liverpool can be purchased from the Academy Box office on Hotham Street.