Screaming Lord Sutch Sunderland Polytechnic Wearmouth Hall sometime in the early ’70s (probably 1973) and at the Barbary Coast Sunderland 9th February 1984

sutchtixPicture the scene. It was sometime in the early ’70s, probably 1973. I was in my mid-teens and had started to take concert-going pretty seriously. It was a Saturday night student dance in Wearmouth Hall, which was the student union building of Sunderland Polytechnic. The great thing about those dances at that time, was you never knew who you were going to see. There was no internet to check gig listings in those days. I would turn up on a Saturday night with a couple of mates, and the name of the act for the night would be written in chalk on a blackboard at the door. So you could go along and it would say “Arthur Brown” or “Home” or some other act who was touring at the time. One night we turned up and the board displayed the name “Screaming Lord Sutch”. We weren’t sure what to expect, and in fact nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to experience. So we paid our entrance fee, which was probably 30p or so, and got ourselves a spot at the front of the stage. After some tight a band came of stage playing some basic rock’n’roll. Soon a few guys carried a coffin on stage and set it down right in front of us. We could hear a voice singing, and soon realised that it was coming from the coffin. The lid suddenly flung open revealing a crazy guy, face covered in make-up, wearing a cape and a top hat. This was my introduction to the mad Sreaming Lord Sutch. Sutch started to prowl the front of the stage. He picked up a large axe, and pretended to try and chop our heads off. Girls down the front were screaming. The music was pretty basic rock’n’roll, but the stage show was awesome. The highlight was a song called “Jack the Ripper” during which Sutch paced around the stage threatening to kill any female students that were close by.  He was looking for “Mary”….At one point he pulled Mary’s bloodied head out of his doctor’s bag…to much screaming from the crowd. It was pure music hall, tacky, yet powerful and great fun. One of the best shows I had ever seen at the time.
I saw Screaming Lord Sutch once more, in 1984. This time the gig was billed as a Wild Rock & Roll Night, and was held at the Barbary Coast Club, Sunderland. The Barbary Coast used to be the Boilermakers Club, which played host to local bands in the ’70s; Son of a Bitch (who became Saxon) played there a lot, along with strippers before the match on a Saturday. by 1984 it had become a nightclub, and had a reputation for fights, and earned the nickname “The Barbaric”. There was no trouble that night; the place was full of teds, and we had a long wait before our hero Sutch came on stage. The show was very similar to the gig I had attended 10 years earlier. Good fun, perhaps not as powerful the second time.
sutchFrom Wikipedia: “David Edward Sutch (10 November 1940 – 16 June 1999) also known as 3rd Earl of Harrow, or simply Screaming Lord Sutch, was an English musician. He was the founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and served as its leader from 1983 to 1999, during which time he stood in numerous parliamentary elections. He holds the record for losing all 40 elections in which he stood. As a singer he variously worked with Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Watts and Nicky Hopkins.
RIP the original monster raving loony Screaming Lord Sutch. We will never see his like again.

The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
There’s a man who walks the streets of London late at night
The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
With a little black bag that’s oh-so tight
The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
He’s got a big black cloak hangin’ down his back
The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
Well, that’s a one big cat I just a hate to fight
The Ripper, Jack The Ripper

When he walks down the streets
To every girl he meets, he says, is your name Mary Blood?

The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
(Jack the Ripper, Screaming Lord Sutch)
PS I looked up Black Cat who are mentioned on the ticket for the 1984 gig. There were a rockabilly band, and often backed Sutch at the time.

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