Split Enz Redcar Coatham Bowl September 1976

Split Enz Redcar Coatham Bowl September 1976
imageSplit Enz were one of the most successful New Zealand musical acts of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the forerunner of Crowded House, in that the band featured Tim Finn and later Neil Finn, along with Phil Judd. I saw them only the once, at a gig at Redcar Coatham Bowl which took place in September or October 1976. Split Enz were on tour in the UK as support act for Lindisfarne spin-off Jack The Lad, however for some reason Jack The Lad couldn’t make this gig (I think one of the band was ill) so the gig went ahead with Split Enz headlining. A group of us went down to Redcar for the gig, as e often did on Sunday nights in the mid to late 70s. When we got there we were told that Jack The Lad wouldn’t be appearing but we chose to go into the gig anyway, as we were interested to see what Split Enz were link, having read about them in the music press.
These guys were quite weird with a very theatrical show, and heavy use of make-up. Their music was also quite unique; quite arty with lots of jerky melodies with hints of prog and pop. You could see influences from vaudeville, new wave in their music and the show.
“Split Enz is a strange band. They walk out on stage like a collection of clockwork scarecrows and their music is like a beserk mechanism. There are six musicians, a spoon player cum dancer and a sound effects guy. And everyone of ’em follows their own line of idiosyncratic action. Rhythms and melodies bounce off each other, collide, join hands, change partners – the show just about always teeters on the edge of total anarchy – and sometimes it falls off altogether.” (Anthony O’Grady, Rock Australia, 1975).
Split Enz had just released their second album “Second Thoughts” which was recorded in London with Roxy Music’s guitarist Phil Manzanera as producer. This was a follow up to the album “Mental Notes”, and four of the songs were reworked versions of songs from that debut album. Their set in 1976 will have been drawn from those two early albums. Split Enz hit the UK singles chart a few years later when “I Got You” made No. 12 in 1980.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Eddie McKinnon on August 5, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    I was at that Split Enz gig as well and they were great and Crowded House were even better. I was Teesside Poly then and me and friends regularly saw some great bands at the Coatham Bowl, a friendly and intimate venue for bands. A couple of other great memories are the Climax Blues Band and Graham Parker and The Rumour. All the best.


    • Posted by vintagerock on August 5, 2020 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Eddie

      Yes I used to look forward to my weekly drive, with my mates, from Sunderland down to Redcar on a Sunday night to see some great bands: X-Ray Spex, Magazine, Wishbone Ash, UFO and the B-52s all come to mind. Happy days Peter


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