Small Faces Newcastle City Hall 19th April & 17th September 1977

Small Faces Newcastle City Hall 19th April & 17th September 1977
smallfacesprogSmall Faces are one of the most important bands ever. As well as being central to the mod movement they also produced some of the best 60s pop in Lazy Sunday and Itchycoo Park, pioneered blues-rock and presented a blue-print that Zeppelin would model themselves on (listen to You Need Loving from their 1966 album) and experimented with mixing soul/blues/pop with psych on Tin Soldier and the wonderful Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake album. I have written before about how I believe that Steve Marriott was one of our greatest ever singers and performers. The more I watch old videos of Marriott in Small Faces and Humble Pie, the more I realise just how sensational and unique he was.
I never got to see Small Faces in the 60s, they split up before I got into concert going. I did see Humble Pie several times, and was always totally blown away by Steve Marriott’s soul, emotion and power. So when Small Faces reunited after the Faces broke up in 1975, I was totally up for seeing them. The guys first reformed briefly to film videos miming to the reissued “Itchycoo Park” which hit the charts again. Ronnie Lane left after the first rehearsal due to an argument. smallfacespril1977Although the others didn’t know he was already unwell and was beginning to display the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. McLagan, Jones and Marriott decided to stay together as Small Faces, recruiting ex- Roxy Music bassist Rick Wills to take Lane’s place. As well as touring they also recorded two albums: Playmates (1977) and 78 In The Shade (1978) neither of which were very successful.
The Small Faces played at Newcastle City Hall twice in 1977; in April and September. The first show was pretty full, perhaps even sold-out, but the second gig was quite poorly attended. Perhaps it was just too soon after the first (there was after all only 5 months between the two gigs). I was near the back for the first concert and right down the front for the second gig. They were supported by cockney punks Cock Sparrer at the first concert. Cock Sparrer would go on to pioneer the skinhead Oi movement. I remember thinking that they were incredibly raw, very like the Jam and old Small Faces. Ace young guitarist Jimmy McCulloch also briefly joined Small Faces after leaving Wings, and was with them at the second of the City Hall gigs. I think old mate P P Arnold was also with them, providing backing vocals. Blue (fronted by ex-Marmalade Hughie Nicholson) were support at the September concert. Unfortunately for Small Faces, music in Britain was rapidly changing and punk rock was becoming firmly established. smallfacessep77The reunion concerts and the albums didn’t result in the success and adoration that, in my view, they should have. At the time, this reunion wasn’t recognised for what it was, another chance to experience one of our greatest ever bands and one of our greatest ever front men. The time just wasn’t right for this reunion and Small Faces broke up again in 1978. For me, it was amazing to see Small Faces live at the City Hall. The shows were incredible, and I simply marveled at actually seeing Marriott perform Tin Soldier and All or Nothing, both of which remain two of my all time favourites. Their like will never be seen again.
The set for the concerts consisted of old faves and a few new songs including: Whatcha Gonna Do About It; Everybody Needs Somebody to Love; High and Happy; All or Nothing; Find It; Itchycoo Park; Smiling in Tune; Tin Soldier; Playmates; Looking for Love; Lazy Sunday

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