Generation X Redcar Coatham Bowl 1978

Generation X Redcar Coatham Bowl
generationx Generation X were a breath of fresh air as a live band, fusing punk attitude with power pop tunes, and fronted by two powerful characters in Billy Idol and Tony James. Billy Idol was dynamite on stage; all peroxide hair, ego, curled lip and attitude. And Tony James understood that a good rock band had to build on our rock n roll heritage and not cast it all aside, as many his punk contemporaries tried. Generation X took the best of punk, T Rex, and Mott, blended in some pop hooks, and a little Elvis, and produced a band that was great fun. I saw them twice around 1978 and 1979, the line-up being Idol (vocals), Tony (bass), Derwood (guitar) and Mark Laff (drums). They weren’t the best band musically, and both of the performances I saw were pretty rough and raw, but there was an energy, image, and swagger about them that made their gigs enjoyable and memorable. The first time I saw them was at Newcastle University students union. At the time the local punk contingent held a lot of resentment and outright hostility towards students, partly because the punks saw the new bands as being “theirs”, and yet the gigs at the Students Union were “student only”. This led to confrontation at a number of gigs, in particular at the Clash White Riot tour gig in Newcastle, where punks were battling with students at the door in an attempt to gain entry. Quite a few punks from the town managed to get into the Generation X gig somehow, and there were some scuffles, and lots of beer being thrown about. The band played a short set, probably less than an hour, and finished with their then-current single “Ready Steady Go”. There was no encore, which incensed the punks. A chant of “Ready Steady F*** Off” started and the punks clambered onto the stage and started to wreck Generation X’s gear. The gig was good but the end was nasty, which soured the evening. The next time I saw them was much more fun. By this time they had released “King Rocker” and were living the part of being rock stars. Billy Idol was awesome and clearly thought he was Elvis, Tony James had his bass hanging down at his knees and was throwing rock star poses, and Derwood was wearing a Charge of the Light Brigade jacket and looking the biz. Mark Laff was at the back banging away and being Keith Moon. Great stuff. Bring back Sunday nights at Redcar Bowl and / or put me in a time machine and take me back to 1978.

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