Hoping to discover new acts and garner some publicity, two independent record labels organize a “battle of the bands” tour around England. At each venue, local groups are chosen to perform with the vague promise that the winners of the contest will be given a recording contract. One stop on the tour is a small basement club in a once vibrant industrial city that has fallen on hard times. By the time the last of the 17 chosen bands begins playing it is 2:30 in the morning and most of the audience has left. Among the few stragglers is a 28-year-old television presenter who is scouting bands for a record label he has just started. Although they are musically inferior to nearly every other group performing that night, it’s this last band that grabs his attention, and he soon signs them. As he recalls years later, "Every other band that night at Rafters was on stage because they wanted to be onstage, they wanted to be rock stars, they wanted to be in the music business. This lot were on stage because they had no other fucking choice."
(Tony Wilson, Joy Division)