Art school students, ex-punks and psychobillys, boys and girls, gays, straights, don’t-knows and don’t-cares, Camden and Kensington Market stallholders, professional squatters, kids on the dole, kids in bands, nocturnal music journalists, edgy fashionistas, androgynous randoms and even a smattering of bona fide popstars – from Nick Cave to Siouxsie Sioux, Marc Almond, Robert Smith, Killing Joke and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. All were welcome to pile in, gawp at the hair, ripped, torn, bleached and rubberised fashions, and death-mask make-up and take in the dancefloor’s heady musical mix of beats-heavy post-punk pioneers, outsider icons like Wayne County and The Cramps, and a teetering pile of lusty glam rock singles from the likes of T. Rex and The Sweet.
The club even had its own house band, Specimen, fronted by charismatic and ghoulishly handsome frontman Olli Wisdom (RIP) as well as playing host to a slew of first-wave bands of what came to be known as “goth”. And it is with Specimen’s Jon Klein (later, a Banshee, too) and keyboardist Jonny Slut (later founder of legendary club night Nag Nag Nag) along with Sophie Chery from another stalwart Batcave band, Sexbeat, who’ve worked with Demon in putting together this deluxe and definitive musical and visual accompaniment to a moment that sparked a global youth cult.
The Batcave’s liberating air of anything-goes creativity spawned, encouraged and hosted a new generation of bands while its fashion aesthetic – fishnets, rubber, leather, diamante, piercings, jewellery, and absolutely *anything* in black – seeped first into the wider alternative scene and then the mainstream in Britain before spreading its tentacles literally all around the world. From Sydney to Mexico City to Paris to Brazil to Berlin – what came to be known as goth here in early-80s London, is arguably one of the UK’s greatest cultural exports. The goth aesthetic forged in those tiny west end dives has gone on to inform generation after generation of bands from Nine Inch Nails to Yungblud as well as walking fashion runways for Burberry, McQueen and Galiano and giving Hollywood a whole new dark palette to work with – from Tim Burton’s weird cinematic adventures to TV shows as diverse as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and American Horror Story.
This 20-track 2LP cut down is the first of its kind. It captures both the fun and freedom of The Batcave and a revolutionary moment in time. It’s also the first to reflect the musical influences on the scene and how that scene pointed forwards. Above everything else, it’s a fascinating evocation of what you’d have actually heard had you stumbled into that sweaty, energetic dive between ’82 and ’84. With its very strong tracklisting, Young Limbs Rise Again includes music from just about everybody that mattered – from The Cure to The Sisters Of Mercy to The Birthday Party.
As Specimen’s Jonny Slut says – “It was a light bulb for all the freaks and people like myself who were from the sticks and wanted a bit more from life. Freaks, weirdos, sexual deviants … There’s people around who’ll always be attracted by something shiny, glittering, exciting…It was more Gotham City than Aleister Crowley.”
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (12” Version) – Specimen
Alice – The Sisters Of Mercy
Pagan Lovesong (Vibeakimbo) - Virgin Prunes
Sexbeat - Sexbeat
Release The Bats - The Birthday Party
Ignore The Machine - Alien Sex Fiend
Follow The Leaders - Killing Joke
Human Fly – The Cramps
Let’s Go To Bed – The Cure
Slowdive - Siouxsie And The Banshees
Resurrection Joe (Long Version) - The Cult
Deathwish - Christian Death
The Hop - Theatre Of Hate
Soul Inside - Soft Cell
I Wish I Was A Girl - Wasted Youth
Roman Candle (12” Version) - Flesh For Lulu
Incubus Succubus II - Xmal Deutschland
Propaganda - Play Dead
Punch Drunk - Gene Loves Jezebel
My Daddy Is A Vampire - The Meteors