mariano rivera on the backstreets
our 39th anniversary

music friday: sector 27, “where can we go tonight”

A few years ago, when Music Fridays were still Friday Random Tens, I included Sector 27’s “Where Can We Go Tonight”. I wrote, “We actually saw this band in concert. Tom Robinson had laryngitis, so his vocals were completely shot. We all loved him anyway. For my money, this is a better song/anthem than ‘Glad to Be Gay.’”

Robinson, of course, led the Tom Robinson Band, which seemed very important for a year or two in the late 70s. Actually, “seemed” is unfair … they were an important band in those punk days. But they crashed soon after their second album. Still, “Glad to Be Gay” remains an iconic anthem, and their Power in the Darkness album, which admittedly hits the nail a bit too closely to the head with its rabble-rousing politics, nonetheless was powerful in large part because of those politics. That, and guitarist Danny Kustow kicked ass. All of these are present in “Up Against the Wall”, which kicks off this documentary on the band:

A few years later, Robinson formed Sector 27, which featured a more subtle use of politics (the politics hadn’t disappeared, despite what some said). They released one album … it was a good one (Christgau gave it an “A” and placed it 4th on his Pazz & Jop Dean’s List, behind only London Calling, Remain in Light, and Dirty Mind). It didn’t sell, and soon that band, too, dissolved. Luckily, they left us with that album (if you can find it, which isn’t easy). One of the best songs was “Not Ready”, available on YouTube, audio only:

And then there’s today’s featured song, “Where Do We Go Tonight”, which actually has a video. Back in 2008, when I first posted a link to the video, I left a comment at YouTube: “Tom, we saw you and Sector 27 back in the day, and I can remember saying ‘man, this new band is YOUNG!’ (We're about your age.) Watching the video now ... well, everyone looks young :-).” Robinson himself was the one who had posted the video, and he replied to my comment, “Blimey - well, it WAS nearly 30 years ago !!! Glad you still like the stuff... Tom x”. Yes, Tom, I still like the stuff: