Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013 8:00 PM CST
Mayne Stage, Chicago, IL
18 years and over
This Liverpool, England-based band was formed in 1979 around the core of Gary Daly (10 May 1962, Kirkby, Merseyside, England; vocals) and Eddie Lundon (b. 9 June 1962, Kirkby, Merseyside, England; guitar). In 1982, their first single, ‘African And White’, initially on the independent Inevitable label, was picked up for distribution by Virgin Records and made a critical impact, despite only just breaking into the UK Top 50. The single’s b-side was ‘Red Sails’, a perfect early example of China Crisis’ pastoral electro pop.
Having now signed to the Virgin Records label, the duo formed a more permanent line-up with the recruitment of Gazza Johnson (bass) and Kevin Wilkinson (b. 1958, England, d. 17 July 1999, England; drums). The following single, ‘Christian’, taken from the debut album Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms (subtitled Some People Think It’s Fun To Entertain), was a UK number 12 hit. Working With Fire And Steel (subtitled Possible Pop Songs Volume Two) built on the band’s critical standing, and featured the UK Top 50 singles‘Tragedy And Mystery’ and ‘Working With Fire And Steel’. The former featured China Crisis’ trademark ethereal oboe accompaniment. The same album’s ‘Wishful Thinking’ gave the band a UK Top 10 hit in 1984, while the following year gave them two further Top 20 hits with ‘Black Man Ray’ and ‘King In A Catholic Style (Wake Up)’. While Flaunt The Imperfection, produced by Walter Becker, reached the UK Top 10, the uneven follow-up What Price Paradise (produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley), saw a drop in China Crisis’ fortunes, when the album peaked at number 63.
A two-year hiatus saw a reunion with Becker, which resulted in the critically acclaimed Diary Of A Hollow Horse, although this success was not reflected in sales. After their split with Virgin Records and the release of a deserved reappraisal of their career with a compilation in 1990, activities within the China Crisis camp were restricted to low-key releases on independent labels, none of which helped restore the band’s commercial standing.