Rock Against Racism Punk gig Newcastle Guildhall 1977

Rock Against Racism Punk gig Newcastle Guildhall 1977
rockagainstracism This Rock Against Racism gig featured The Big G (aka Harry Hack and the Big G), Punishment of Luxury, The Press Studs and Speed. I remember The Big G and Punilux well. Both bands gigged regularly around the north east in the late 1970s, and they have both also recently reformed. I am afraid I don’t recall the Press Studs. The excellent bored teenagers site lists them as: “A very short lived Punk 5-Piece from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne who played fairly regularly at “Gatsby’s”. Speed were one of the first Punk bands to form in the North East, and were around in the early days along with Penetration. They were all very young at the time and used to gatecrash other peoples gigs, jump on stage and play! I am sure I saw this happen at a gig at Newcastle Poly one night. Rock Against Racism was a new concept in 1977, which organised quite a few gigs in the north east, including this one at the Guildhall, which I attended, largely to see Punishment of Luxury who were very impressive at the time.

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Harry Hack and the Big G at the Guildhall

Said Peter Howard of Harry Hack and the Big G “We were one of Newcastle’s first punk bands in 1977,” said Peter, now 54. “We couldn’t afford Vivienne Westwood up here and the whole punk thing was far more of a home-made affair than the London scene. Punk was a bit of a shock to a lot of people in the North. At the Prince of Wales pub, on the West Road, we were all banned for life because one of us was wearing a skeleton earring. There was another gig in the Newton Park Hotel where after the first song the manager marched up and pulled the plug. But some of the students who’d been watching invited us to finish the gig over the road at the Coach Lane Campus union.”

The Big G were: Rob Dixon: Harry Hack. Peter Howard: Walter Hack. Mick Emerson: Red Helmet. Anth Martin: EH Flash. Jane Wade: Kid Mutant. Norman Emerson: Mean Average.

In July 1977, the band were billed third at the Guildhall on Newcastle’s Quayside, supporting County Durham’s Penetration and punk pioneers The Adverts. Sixth on the bill were the little-known band Warsaw, formed the previous year in Salford, Manchester. “They were rubbish,” Peter remembers, but later Warsaw renamed themselves Joy Division and won world-wide fame. (Newcastle Evening Chronicle).

Vocalist Johnny Fusion of Speed moved to London  and went on to form Band of Holy Joy“Formed from the ashes of an unrecorded ’77 punk band, Speed, Band Of Holy Joy’s

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Speed at the Guildhall

initial musical forays were largely in the domain of industrial bricolage and occasional bursts of madness. By the time they began releasing records under their own name in the 1980s, the band’s humanist tendencies came to the fore, with astounding portraits of people on the periphery, resulting in such classics as Rosemary Smith, Mad Dot and Don’t Stick Knives In Babbies Heads. The sharp sensibilities of founder and leader Johny Brown eventually led to a star-making deal with Rough Trade, a few near hits and career momentum shattered when the label collapsed mere days after what might have been the band’s breakthrough album.”

Many thanks to Mark for the pictures of The Big G and Speed.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bobby Clark. on August 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I was in a punk band called The End, and we were first on the bill at a rock against racism gig at the guild hall in 1977 and think this may of been the gig…..we didn’t play on stage but in the far corner of the room…ha ha!

    Reply

  2. Posted by David Simpson on February 17, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    I was in a band called NATO and we played the 1978 bedrock festival at the guildhall. Anybody remember us? Dave.

    Reply

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