Archive for the ‘Byzantium’ Category

Other memories ……

Other memories
il_570xN.500152569_3ounI’m now at the end of my project and tomorrow I’ll do a final summing up and reflections on the whole thing. But today I wanted to cover some of the bands that I have missed along the way. These are bands that I have seen, but for one reason or another I haven’t written about; mostly because I didn’t have a programme or a ticket stub to remind me of seeing them, so they sadly got lost during my (largely) alphabetically driven journey. In fact, I could probably have continued posting for a few more weeks, covering these acts, but I had to call a halt at some point. The truth is my memories of these gigs are scant, and I would have found it difficult to construct a post for each one. Most of them were/are very fine bands so apologies for not including them as a post of their own; but as I say, I had to draw a line under this project somewhere, and today is it!
So ….. I also have memories of seeing:
Cozy Powell’s Hammer who hit the charts with “Dance with the Devil” and featured Bernie Marsden (guitar), Clive Chamen (bass), Don Airey (keyboards) and Frank Aiello (Bedlam) on vocals. Cozy Powell again in Bedlam who were a great, loud and really heavy band with Dave Ball (ex Procol Harum) on guitar.
The great and legendary Geno Washington (“Hipster Flipsters, Finger Poppin’ Daddies”) playing to a sadly pretty small audience at Kirklevington Country Club some time in the ’70s.
The Saints (Australian punk band, known for “Stranded”) at Seaburn Hall Sunderland.
The Passions, around the time of “I’m in Love with a German Film Star”, at Middlesbrough Rock Garden around 1981.
Southern Comfort (“Woodstock”), but I think after Iain Matthews had left.
Bell ‘n’ Arc featuring the awesome Graham Bell on vocals, and also with local heroes John Turnbull, Mick Gallagher, Kenny Craddock and Alan White..
Great prog acts like T2 who released the legendary album “It’ll All Work Out in Boomland”, Ginhouse and the carzy Principal Edwards Magic Theatre.
Pere Ubu with the enigmatic David Thomas at Newcastle University, around the time of “The Modern Dance”.
Elephants Memory (they were one John Lennon’s backing bank in the USA) at Sunderland Mecca.
Dirt, Poison Girls and Rubella Ballet at Sunderland Bunker.
The awesome England, from Cumbria with the great Olli Alcock, who played a twin neck and was a simply incredible guitarist, and is still playing around Cumbria (someone I should really try and see again). They released a self-titled limited private issue album in the ’70s; I found a signed copy at a car boot 10 years or so ago; bought it for 50p and sold it on though eBay for £100! Result. Wish I’d kept it actually.
Ducks Deluxe at the Marquee Club in London; I think England may have been support. One of our party got incredibly drunk and an ambulance was called; we spent the night in the local hospital.
The Pleasers who were a heavily early ’60s Beatles influenced power pop act, who were around in the late ’70s and were amazing.
Trapeze featuring Glen Hughes (and after he left), a few times. A very under-rated band.
Steve Tilston in the bar at Sunerland Poly.
Great support acts like A Band Called O, Byzantium, SNAFU and Sassafras.
The truly awesome Flying Hat Band featuring Glen Tipton before his days with Judas Priest. I remember standing right in front of Glen, totally knocked out by his guitar skill.
Guilty pleasure. The Rubettes around the time of “Sugar Baby Love” wearing the caps and co-ordinated suits: amazing! Showaddywaddy: great teddy boy suits and rock n roll that going everyone dancing. Hot Chocolate; I was a fan of their early hits; “Love is Life” and “Emma” in particular; they gigged loads in the early ’70s and I saw them many times.
The Nashville Teens (Tobacco Road) on a double bill with the Downliners Sect; great R’n’B.
The rock n roll revival act Wild Angels featuring the little bundle of energy Mal Gray.
So apologies to all those acts for not devoting a day and a blog post to them, and to all the other bands I have seen and forgotten to list; and there will be lots of them…..
Tomorrow I’ll do a summing up and reflect on my project, to finally draw it to a close.

Status Quo gigs 1973 Piledriver

quoprog1972 and 1973 were busy years for Status Quo. They gigged relentlessly, playing up and down the country, and further afield, in clubs, ballrooms, student unions and festivals. They were building up a reputation as one of the best and most consistent live acts, guaranteed to deliver a night of no-nonsense rock and boogie with a few slower numbers and blues thrown in. Mike Rossi was the cheeky front man, always good for a bit banter with the crowd. You felt like he was taking directly to you. Rick was the rhythm machine, as he continues to be today. Alan was the tough little rocker thumping away on that bass, and coming to the front to take the lead vocals on some of the harder rockers. And John was at the back, a mane of long hair, pounding away at his drums. The stage show was frantic and fast with the heads down routine, as pictured here from my early 1972 programme and on the back of the Piledriver album, featuring as the show progressed.
quopiledriveIn 1972 Quo were back in the UK singles chart with “Paper Plane” and late that year they released their defining album “Piledriver”. “Piledriver” consolidated all their hard work on the live circuit in an album that had great rockers in “Don’t Waste My Time” and “Big Fat Mama” and slow blues ballads like “Unspoken Words” and “A Year”. I found a review on Amazon by A Customer which expresses just how great the album is much better than I could: “This album changed my life. When I first played through the irrepressible bounce of Don’t Waste My Time, the show-stopping drive of Big Fat Mama and Paper Plane and right through to the end of the long, heavy, pounding version of the Doors’ Roadhouse Blues, my listening habits were changed forever. It was the first time I had heard such energy and intensity committed to record. Even today, the sound has a fearsome edge, a live rawness that defies technology, but that can only be borne of real attitude. All these years on, the Quo themselves might have mellowed and achieved a state of comfortable familiarity, but this piece of work never will. It was forged in a raging furnace, and is still hot enough to burn.”quotixThe impact of “Piledriver” mustn’t be underestimated. It was a big achievement as a band, and one of the must-have albums for all of us at the time. Quo are often scoffed at these days, but back in 1973 they were on a roll, and were simply the best live rock’n’roll machine in the land. I saw Status Quo three times during this period: 20th March 1973 at Newcastle City Hall, 27th April 1973 in Sunderland (the Quo gigography lists this gig as being at the Locarno but I recall seeing them at both the Locarno and at the Rink around this time), and on 25th August 1973 I saw them play another storming triumph at the Reading Festival. Support at the Newcastle City Hall gig was Byzantium who gigged a lot at that time. Byzantium were a psychedelic music band of the 1970s who released three albums and are perhaps best remembered for their role in the early career of Chaz Jankel of Ian Dury and the Blockheads fame.
A typical Status Quo Setlist of the period: Junior’s Wailing, Someones Learning, In My Chair, Umleitung, Railroad, Caroline, Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home, Big Fat Mama, Paper Plane, Don’t waste My time, Roadhouse Blues, Mean Girl, Bye Bye Johnny.
This was classic Quo, starting out on a period of massive success, some great songs and incredible live shows. Tomorrow I will move to the “Hello” period.

The Faces Sunderland Top Rank and Sunderland Locarno 1972 and 1973

The Faces Sunderland Top Rank and Sunderland Locarno 1972 and 1973
The Faces were great fun and seemed to be playing all over the place, all of the time, in the early 1970s. Two memorable gigs took place at Sunderland Top Rank on March 5th 1972 and at Sunderland Locarno on April 13 1973.I remember the Top Rank (or Rink to us) gig very well. This was a big gig for everyone at my school. I took time off school to go and queue for tickets; demand was huge as Rod Stewart and The Faces had had some massive hits with Maggie May, Stay With Me and other great singles. This was one gig that I queued up early for on the night, going straight from school. I was one of the first in the queue with some of my mates and we ended up right at the front, crushed against the stage, where we stayed all night. I can think of nothing worse now; being crushed and unable to move all night, but at the time it was great! Support came from Byzantium who I saw a few times in the early 70s and were always good. The gig itself was great; Rod and the guys were just amazing. There were lots of my friends from school there and we spent days talking about how great it was. My friend John recalls the gig: “I remember the Faces as a good time band, musically rather sloppy and overall a bit ragged. I recall it was the night before one on my mock O levels, one of he easier ones I presume , maybe English. My recollections on the setlist are very weak, Internet search suggests Stay with Me and Losing You which I think I can recall as I always liked those two.The balance of the set was all Faces standard stuff Three Button Hand me Down, Maybe I’ m Amazed, Street Fighting Man, Miss Judy’s Farm, Love in Vain, Stay with Me and I’m Losing You. I think I can remember Maggie May and Every Picture but I certainly could be wrong.” I’m pretty sure they did play Maggie May. After the show some of us stood in a big queue to go back stage and meet the band. We waited for a long time but only the first few people in the queue were let in, including some mates from school who reported back that they partied with the band into the next morning. I remember the Locarno gig less, probably because I didn’t queue up and was at the back of the hall, and the place was packed to the walls. I think the support was a local act, perhaps Beckett, and John Peel was certainly DJ for the night. Peel joined the Faces on stage and is on record as stating several times that this was the best gig he had ever been to, which means it must have been pretty good! Postscript: My mate Norm reminded me that most of the Sunderland football team were at the Locarno gig and ended up on stage with the band. This was the team that went on to win the FA cup a few weeks later. Norm also thinks that the same gig was first cancelled, and them rescheduled a week or so later. That sort of rings true with me, now that he has reminded me.