The New Alex Harvey Band Newcastle City Hall 1980

The New Alex Harvey Band Newcastle City Hall 1980
alex1980 The last time I saw Alex Harvey in concert was at Newcastle City Hall in January 1980. Alex left SAHB in 1977, after their performance at the Reading Festival. He released a solo album, The Mafia Stole my Guitar, in 1979. This gig was announced at relatively short notice, with very little publicity. I went with Marie, unsure as to what to expect. The concert was very poorly attended with the crowd filling only the front section of the stalls. There can’t have been more than 200 people there. I read that at a gig at his home venue Glasgow Apollo the night before, they were giving tickers away in the street to try to fill the venue. Alex was dressed in a white jacket, black shirt and white tie; very much the gangster image. His band featured Matthew Cang on guitar, Simon Charterton on drums, Tommy Eyre (who had been a member of SAHB in the last days) on keyboards, Gordon Seller on bass and veteran sax and horns player Don Weller. The set was a mix of tracks from the new album and a few old favourites (Midnight Moses, Framed, Delilah I think) plus a couple of covers: Shaking All Over, and Just a Gigolo feature on the album, but I also recall Alex playing a couple of other older standards. As a performance it was ok, but I had the grandeur and madness of SAHB in my mind, and I’m afraid this didn’t compare to Alex’s past glories. A couple of years later Alex sadly passed away as a result of a heart attack after a gig in Belgium. He was 47. We will never see the like of Alex again. He was larger than life, crazy, without fear, and for a few short years SAHB were the best live act on the circuit, and were one of the bands who laid the foundations for the punk revolution which was to follow. Vambo Rool.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rob on April 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    I remember seeing Alex at Sunderland Mayfair (Mecca) which must have been in 1981 as he was in a bit of a state and visibly upset about the death of Bob Marley if I remember correctly and the gig was a bit of a shambles. He seemed pretty out of it and the band tried in vain to get him back on track. Would have liked to seen the classic line up.


  2. Posted by MAL on July 31, 2015 at 8:49 am

    I was at that gig. I was the stage diver who was on stage with the band and sang ‘No Woman No Cry’ with 2 other guys and Alex. My final stage dive resulted in the crown moving and me hitting the floor, I remember nothing after that. A fekking great gig…

    Mal from Jarrow


  3. Posted by Headley Grange. on March 28, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    I saw them on 22 Oct 81 in Plymouth. I remember it being a decent gig – albeit seated. At the time I was sure that the guitarist was Bernie Tormé – I’d seen him with Gillan a couple of years earlier and it looked like the same bloke – but I can’t find any evidence of it online, so I guess I was mistaken.

    At one point during the concert a character in the audience who was dressed half punk, half new romantic shouted something. The guy was really excited when Alex called him up on stage – until Alex made him shut up, stand stock-still and belted him round the back of the heed every time he tried to move.

    Wish it had been the full band, but Alex still had loads of stage presence and a very scary stare if his eyes landed on you.


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