Crass gigs in Middlesbrough early 1980s

Crass gigs in Middlesbrough early 1980s
Do They Owe Us A Living? Course they F***ing Do!
crass I was lucky enough to see Crass live twice in the early 80s. I went to both gigs with my mate Dave, the first gig was in Middlesbrough Rock Garden, and the second a year or two later in Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt. I have very vivid memories of the Rock Garden gig. The Rock Garden was an amazing venue, an old beer kellar, with sticky floors and full of punks and some of the edgiest looking skins you have ever seen. Dave and I went to many gigs there, it always exciting, and we often felt in fear of our lives, particularly as we both had long hair, and didn’t come from Middlesbrough. For Crass the place was packed, so packed that you couldn’t move. We were the only people in there with long hair; everyone else was a punk or a skin. There were black and white TVs all over the place, at first showing static and flashing screens and then images of war crimes, the holocaust, horishima, etc. Crass were just great. Dave and I loved Owe us a Living, Banned from the Roxy and Shaved Women and its.. Screaming Babies, Screaming Babies..chorus; the whole place went mental and sang along. Imagine being in a room full of punks, so full that you can’t move, the sound is loud, deafening, and the place is going wild, beer is being thrown everywhere and you are getting pushed all over. Well thats what it was like. Dave and I drove home singing Sreaming Babies… We were back to see Crass again a year or so later at The Crypt. In comparison that gig was quite tame, as I recall. Not as full (the crypt is a bigger venue) and no where near as wild or scary. They was no other band like them, nor has there been since. I picked up this comment from YouTube: “CRASS! are the most influencial punk band ever, not to mention, the PUNKEST band ever. they were not about the bull shit, and never sold out. they were a true punk band and spoke what they knew was right, not caring who opposed.” I can’t agree more. Well said.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Steve Pearn on August 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I should have been at that Crass gig(11.10.80) – I phoned the Rock Garden up,and arranged a time to go and buy the tickets.
    I took the Saturday shift off work,and got the bus from Shotton Colliery to Boro but was told by one of the cleaners that the manager had to go out,but wouldn’t be long.I waited for ages but to no avail and returned home Crass ticketless!
    Come the night of the gig,none of my mates could be arsed to go, and I didn’t want to go on my own,so that was that!
    I did get to see Crass twice,Ferryhill 101 club(30.04.82)and Cleator Moor Civic Hall(??.05.84)
    I used to write to Crass and Poison Girls, and Richard Famous told me the 11.10.80 Rock Garden gig was ‘quite violent’.


    • Posted by vintagerock on August 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      Great memories. I didn’t know that Crass played Ferryhill; I would have liked to have been at that gig. Yes; gigs at the Rock Garden always felt edgy to me, and there were often fights. I don’t recall the Crass gig being particularly violent, but I can quite believe that it was. My mate and I sometimes felt in fear of our lives on two counts; first because we came from Sunderland rather than Boro, and secondly because we had (very) long hair and everyone else had a skinhead or a purple mohican. Notwithstanding that, I really enjoyed going to the Rock Garden and my mate Dave and I had some great nights there, and saw some great bands. I’ve got tickets to see Penetration at the Rock Garden Reunion show on Saturday, featuring Penetration, who were always a favourite of mine. I haven’t seen them since those days, and I’m really looking forward to it.


  2. Posted by Ian Lambert on September 6, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    I was at the Rock Garden gig… tha Place was backed and went mental once they started! One massive fight come mosh pit in-front of the stage on the concrete flagstone floor..with lads taking it over then getting
    Pushed back out….scary but exciting at the same time while stood further back looking down from the wooden tables and benches. Brilliant night…and played Feeding of the 500
    to death on my record player.


  3. Posted by Tim Harvey on October 21, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    Was at the Ferryhill gig in ’82…so good…slept in a bus stop as missed the last ride home…


    • Posted by vintagerock on October 21, 2022 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Tim I wasn’t aware of the concert in Ferryhill. Sounds wonderful! I spent many nights sleeping rough after concerts. It all adds to the atmosphere and experience of the event! Happy memories and happy days Peter


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