Stray Cats Newcastle Mayfair 1980 & Sunderland Poly 1981

Stray Cats Newcastle Mayfair 1980 & Sunderland Poly 1981
straycats80tixThe Stray Cats were an American rockabilly band formed in 1979 by ace guitarist and vocalist Brian Setzer, double bassist Lee Rocker, and drummer Slim Jim Phantom. The group came through just after punk and new wave and relocated to London, hitting the charts in 1980 with “Runaway Boys” and again in 1981 with “Rock This Town” and “Stray Cat Strut”. Marie and I went to see them at the Mayfair on their first UK tour, just after “Runaway Boys” was released. They were just starting to make a name for themselves and the ballroom was pretty empty, as I recall. They pulled out an amazing high energy performance, Brian Setzer being particularly impressive. Stray Cats were a breath of fresh air at the time, a welcome diversion from punk and new wave, and very different from anything else around. straycats81tix You could, of course, see the rock’n’roll and rockabilly influences; Brian Setzer becoming a cross between Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins, and Gene Vincent on stage. By the time I saw them again at Sunderland Poly Wearmouth Hall, less than one year later, the place was packed, and lots of rockin’ and rollin’ went down that night. Great gigs by a great band.
The Stray Cats reunite now and then for live performances, and Brian Setzer is now part of his 1990s swing-revival band The Brian Setzer Orchestra, and a pretty amazing guitarist.

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by FrenchyCat on October 22, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Stray Cats at their beginning! Wasn’t lucky to see them at that time, but it’s still the best rock n’ roll band in the world for me. Thanks for these memories…


  2. Posted by Vinno on February 4, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Saw the Stray Cats on their first tour , Runaway Boys on GO TO and first album released a stormed!Saw them in the Studios in Bristol bout 1981, Setzer looked amazing with dyed blonde Pompidou and I’d never seen a stretch guitar or double-bass played , the x3 lads were awesome , great night.


  3. Posted by Pete Thomas on October 24, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    The gig at Sunderland Poly included the local Hells Angels Chapter on security. It was murder as I remember.


  4. I was there, a 4’ Tall & 15 year old with a mascara tash courtesy of my sister. we still got in, got beer and rocked. First live gig and I’ll never forget it. Great night.


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