The Vibrators live 1976 – 1978

The Vibrators live 1977 – 1978
V2Well I’m getting within sight of the end of my project. I’ve covered the letters up to and including “X”, leaving only “Y” and “Z” to do. I’ve been working through my concert memories with the aid of my tickets and programmes, which means I’ve missed some bands for whom I don’t have anything in my collection. For instance, any gig where I paid on the door, and wasn’t given a ticket, may have been missed. So over the remaining period I will be jumping about a bit, trying to cover those bands, or at least the ones I can remember and who I feel should be mentioned. I also have some festival events to cover. Still I reckon another couple of months and I will probably be finished. Mitch reminded me that I hadn’t written about The Vibrators, so here goes.
Ian “Knox” Carnocan, bassist Pat Collier, guitarist John Ellis and drummer Eddie formed The Vibrators in early 1976, and they played their first gig supporting The Stranglers in London. The band’s debut single “We Vibrate” came out in November 1977 and was one of the first punk singles. Marie and I first saw the band at Middlesbrough Rock Garden in December 1976. The gig was close to Christmas, I think it may have been 23rd December, and if I remember correctly, the band played two nights at the venue. This was one of the first gigs at the Rock Garden and our first visit, of many, to the venue which was to become the home of punk rock in the North East. I remember them playing “We Vibrate” which was quite a catchy rock’n’roll single. The Rock Garden was quite empty, punk (and the venue) were just starting to take off. We saw the Vibrators again at a packed gig in Newcastle Poly bar a few months later. seaburnhallI remember we were standing right in front of Knox, and the music was deafening in the small venue.
Early in 1977 I saw The Vibrators again, this time at Newcastle City Hall supporting Iggy Pop (the “Idiot” tour with David Bowie on keyboards). Around this time they released their classic “Baby Baby” single, which was a big live favourite, followed by their debut lp “Pure Mania”, a punk rock classic, which spent five weeks in the UK album charts. A second, live, single from the album “London Girls” (another great song, which I remember seeing them play), came out in Summer 1977. We next saw The Vibrators supporting Ian Hunter at Newcastle Mayfair (Hunter’s “Overnight Angels” tour). Bassist Pat Collier left soon after the Ian Hunter tour, and was replaced by Gary Tibbs (who would go on to play with Roxy Music and Adam and the Ants). The last time I recall seeing The Vibrators was at a headline gig at Seaburn Hall, Sunderland (pictured). This was soon after they released the single “Automatic Lover”, which reached No. 35 in the UK singles chart and got the band a spot on Top of the Pops. They released their second lp “V2” in April 1977; another punk classic, and the line-up of the band started to change shortly afterwards. Drummer Eddie continues to lead The Vibrators today. The Vibrators were a great live act, full of energy and with some classic punk tunes, and a very important part of the early punk scene.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Neil Thompson on February 23, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Sorry to bother you again, Peter – it’s Neil from the Carpettes with more memories (I’m getting to sound like Uncle Albert from Only fools and horses!) Anyway – during the War – no, I’ll start again. In 1977 I was in the Virgin Megastore in Newcastle one afternoon and there was an announcement made – ‘they’re supporting Ian Hunter tonight and they’re here, so now everybody The Vibrators are coming out to sign autographs and stuff – and here they come!’ So, out they came and nobody (and I mean nobody) took any notice of them whatsoever! I thought I should go over and talk to them so they were all over me, quite funny actually, John wanted to write his autograph on my nose! and they gave me a badge (gradually a few people started talking to them so it wasn’t so bad in the end)
    Forward to the beginning of 1978 and I phoned Keith, the promoter at Redcar Coatham Bowl for a gig where the Carpettes might be a suitable support. He had one on March 1st – Darts! – but there’s a problem – me and my brother, Mitch had just bought tickets for Eddie and the Hot Rods for the same night at Newcastle City Hall – big decision to be made there and then – so I told Keith it wasn’t suitable for us (I didn’t tell him we would have done it if not for the Hot Rods gig!) ‘No problem – phone me back next week’ was his reply – so I did – and he had another gig – March 11th with the Vibrators – brilliant – we’ll take it – this was a much more suitable gig for us anyway.
    We did the gig and went down OK – it was still early days for us and probably weren’t that good at the time – but I remember they had the biggest light show I have ever seen at each side of the stage – after a few songs my guitar and my hands were covered in sweat and I gave up trying to play any solos cause they were just a sweaty mess – I thought that this was something I would have to get used to if playing on a big stage but I never had any problems ever again with lights. It was a great gig to get early on in our career and Keith gave us our last North East gig before moving down London at the Eston Grange Festival (August 28th 78) with Sassafrass and the Dodgers (now there’s a lineup!) Great times, all the best


    • Posted by vintagerock on February 23, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Neil Great story. Many thanks indeed Peter
      PS The V badges were quite a fashion item at the time, as I recall 🙂


  2. I went along to the Seaburn Hall gig having been to see the Jam at the same venue a week or so earlier. This time however they were really cracking down on people who were underage and they wouldn’t let us in! Disappointed we wandered round to the side door where Pauline Murray from Penetration, who were supporting, had just popped outside. She asked us if we were going to the gig and we explained what had happened. I can’t remember if she suggested it or if we just took advantage but we were soon in through the stage door and out into the hall. Unfortunately for us the corridor we went down came out right next to the DJ and we were soon ejected again! Don’t think I ever did get to see the Vibrators!


    • Posted by vintagerock on February 26, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Many thanks indeed and thanks for reminding me that the great Penetration were supporting that night. I couldn’t remember whether they supported the Vibrators or the Jam, or the Saints who also played there around the same time. That reminds me I think I need to write about the Saints gig! Cheers Peter


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