The Cramps at the Haçienda


At last: something that has no connection with HP Lovecraft… This was one of several design jobs during a very busy summer, a long-delayed DVD release by Savoy of the Cramps playing Manchester’s trendiest club of the 1980s, the Haçienda. The posthumous reputation of the Hac (as it was locally known) has been inflated in recent years; you’ll hear much about its thriving dance nights but little about the early days when the huge and often chilly space was seldom even half full. The Cramps played there twice in 1984, and like many bands with a cult following, managed to fill the floor with eager fans; Savoy’s video captures the second performance on May 23rd. It was standard policy at the Haçienda to film every event, and some of the more popular performances—William Burroughs’ reading, a concert by The Birthday Party—were later released by Ikon, the video wing of Factory Records. Two cameras on either side of the Haçienda balcony covered the stage but on the night of the Cramps’ performance none of the Ikon staff wanted to assist Linda Dutton in filming the gig. So this recording is a rudimentary one—a single U-matic camera and mono sound—but Linda captured a tremendous hour-long concert with an outstanding Iggy Pop-like performance from Lux Interior.


For my design I wanted to avoid Goth clichés and create something in keeping with the band’s trashy rock’n’roll aesthetic. All the portraits are by Kris Guidio from the comic strips he was producing in the early 1980s for Lindsay Hutton’s Next Big Thing zine; the lurid headlines are lifted from film posters found in back issues of Psychotronic Video magazine. The DVD has an 8-page booklet and an interface which I also designed although this is merely functional, nothing like the elaborate animated affair I created for The Mindscape of Alan Moore. When concerts such as this are routinely put onto YouTube for free it hardly seems worth going to all this trouble, but for Savoy it provides another connection to a favourite band. The PAL DVD is priced at £10, and may be ordered direct.


Previously on { feuilleton }
Haçienda ephemera
Lux Interior, 1946–2009
The Final Academy

4 thoughts on “The Cramps at the Haçienda”

  1. Sweatiest Stage Moment personally witnessed:
    Lux takes off a high heel and pours out a pint of brine on the stage of Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
    in Providence.

  2. He wasn’t wearing high heels for this gig but he probably could have done the same with his vinyl trousers. His top vanished after the first bout of stage diving. This was just before they switched to lamé outfits.

  3. Perfect design, John, I love it!

    Saw the Cramps in Chicago a few years later, was a great show and the venue was packed. Wish I could remember more but I was entirely too fucked up that night. Go figure!

  4. I was there at that Hacienda gig in 1984-i thought they only played it once! The gig i was at was superb-The cRamps were in rockin form. Lux had his pvc kit on and when he dived into the crowd -he got tore to shreds. I even managed to get one of his pvc arms, twirked it above my head and launched it back into the baying crowd of gorehounds. He was actually down to his leopard skin ys by the time he got back on stage! Ike Knox was the other bassist/guitarist that night….

Comments are closed.

Discover more from { feuilleton }

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading