Archive for the ‘Geordie’ Category

Pan’s People Sunderland Locarno 1973?

imageTop of the Pops (TOTP) was a big deal when we were kids. We would gather around the television every Thursday night, waiting to see our favourites bands, the latest chart hits and the familiar faces of the DJs. And one very important part of Top of the Pops was Pan’s People. In a world with no MTV and no pop videos, Pan’s People danced to hits when the group or singer was not available to perform on the show. Pan’s People were every young boy’s dream dancing in skimpy outfits and hot pants to the latest chart sounds. Pan’s People joined TOTP in May 1968. By 1970 they became a weekly feature. The original Pan’s People line-up consisted of Louise Clark, Flick Colby, “Babs” Lord, Ruth Pearson, Andi Rutherford and Dee Dee Wilde. Flick Colby stood down from dancing in 1971 to concentrate on choreographing their routines. Andi was replaced by Cherry Gillespie in 1972.
One night, I think it was in 1973 or 1974, Pan’s People paid a visit to Sunderland. It was a midnight to 4am show, and the girls shared the bill with local chart heroes Geordie. I’d been out for a drink with friends and turned up at the Locarno after closing time, around 11pm. We joined a massive queue and waited for the venue to open. I think Geordie were on stage first, but can’t be sure. I also seem to recall that there was a guest Radio 1 DJ, but don’t remember who it was. Pan’s People performed in the early hours of the morning, doing a series of dance routines on the ballroom floor to chart hits of the time. The Mecca was crammed, full of drunken guys cheering at the girls. My memory of the evening is very faint, but I’m sure it wasn’t a dream and that I did really see Pan’s People.
Dee Dee Wilde, dancer: “We got our big break after a couple of us passed auditions for the Go-Jos – Top of the Pops’ original group of dancers. We couldn’t think of a name, but Flick said, “Well, Pan is the god of music and fertility and he has six handmaidens …” So at 4am and bleary-eyed after several bottles of wine we became Pan’s People…..In the glam-rock era, we wore every outfit from beautiful to dreadful….Our sexuality was very tongue-in-cheek – girls next door being a little bit sexy – and people loved that. At the time, we were the most famous group of girls in Britain, the Spice Girls and Girls Aloud rolled into one.”
Babs Powell: “If one or two of the routines were raunchy or teasing, it was because the music suggested it. Mary Whitehouse hated us and later on we had one or two women’s lib protests. We did loads of TV shows, from Frankie Howerd to Happening For Lulu, and gigs all over the country. We did one in Cheshire once on a Thursday night and someone said: “‘Ere! How can you be the real Pan’s People that we’ve just paid to see when you’re on Top of the Pops right now?” Then a big fight broke out at the back of the stage. They hadn’t realised that the programme was filmed on Wednesdays.”
(Pan’s People – Our Story, Signum Books, 2012).

Slade Carnage at Sunderland Empire 12th April 1978

sladeempiretix“Rock fans wreak havoc in Empire”
(From The Sunderland Echo, 13th April 1978)
“Seats and brass rails were smashed and twisted at the Sunderland Empire last night, as rock group Slade worked a young audience to fever pitch.
House manager, Mr Ron Jameson said today that the cost of the damage had not yet been counted, but it was expected to run to hundreds of pounds.
“The youngsters tend to stand on the arms and backs of the seats which smashes the framework, and the sheer weight of numbers pressing up against the brass rails bent them easily”
He added that although there was an audience of only 800 – less than half the theatre’s capacity – they had been very involved in the performance, and at times some became carried away with the highly charged atmosphere.”
You can find a copy of the original article from the Echo on the Sladescrapbook website:
The next time I saw Slade was at Sunderland Empire, a gig which ended with serious damage to the first few rows of the seats. Support came from local rockers Geordie. I was quite close to the front, with a group of mates, and we watched the first few rows of seats collapse under the weight of fans pushing, shoving and generally going crazy. By the end of the concert all that was left of the first five or so rows was a pile of smashed up wood. The same thing happened at a Boomtown Rats gig around the same time.
The set list at the Empire will have been something like this: Hear Me Calling; Get on Up; Be; Take Me Bak ‘Ome; My Baby Left Me; Burning in the Heat of Love; Everyday; Far Far Away; Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing; Gudbuy T’Jane; Give Us a Goal!; Get Down and Get With It; Mama Weer All Crazee Now; Cum on Feel the Noize; Keep on Rocking
My ticket for the gig looks a bit of a mess. I have written “Slade” on it (at the time the Empire tickets didn’t list the act who was playing) but the change of date was done by the Empire when we bought the tickets. It looks like they were reusing some tickets from another night!
Slade went further into the wilderness in 1979, playing cabaret and residencies at Baileys Nightspots up and down the country. The next time I saw them was another wild night, at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, which I’ll write about tomorrow.

Geordie in concert

geordie1 The band Geordie are probably better known because of their lead singer Brian Johnson, who is now lead singer with AC/DC, than as a band in their own right. But they had a few hits in the early to mid 70s and gigged constantly, particularly in their hometown Newcastle and the rest of the North East of England. Geordie feautured Brian Johnson on vocals, and Vic Malcolm on guitar, and hit the charts with “Don’t do that” (their first single which reached No. 32); “All because of you” (No. 6); “Can you do it” (No. 13); and “Electric lady” (No. 32). Geordie grew out of the workingmens club circuit. There were many rock bands playing the clubs at the time, playing mainly covers of bands like Free and Deep Purple. Geordie developed their blend of rock to become a sort of heavy rock glam act, of a similar ilk to Slade and Sweet. geordie2 In fact they supported Slade on a UK tour. I saw Geordie many times in concert during 1973 and 1974, particularly at Sunderland Locarno, where they performed on several occasions. Brian left Geordie in 1976 and was asked to john AC/DC in 1980 after the death of Bon Scott, and the rest is history. A Geordie gig was always good fun, and a great live singalong favourite (if a little corny) was their version of the traditional song “Geordie’s lost his liggie”…”he lost it down the nettie… he got a case of dynamite…and he blew the stinking nettie along the Scotswood Road… was in his bloody pocket”! Work that one out! Happy days.