Archive for the ‘Hazel O’Connor’ Category

Futurama 2 Festival Queens Hall Leeds 14th September 1980

Futurama 2 Festival Queens Hall Leeds 14th September 1980
futuramatixThis was the second Futurama festival and it took place at Queens Hall, which was in the centre of Leeds. The Saturday line-up featured U2 (low down on the bill), Echo & The Bunnymen, Soft Cell and Siouxsie & The Banshees (who headlined). I attended the Sunday with my mate Dave and it featured The Psychedelic Furs, Gary Glitter, The Durutti Colum, Classix Nouveaux, Young Marble Giants, Hazel O’Connor, The Soft Boys, Flowers, Naked Lunch, Blurt, Artery, Notsensibles, Vice Versa, Desperate Bicycles, Frantic Elevators, Athletico Spizz 80, Brian Brain, Tribesmen, Boots for Dancing and Household Name. We arrived during the afternoon and missed some of the bands. Queens Hall was a cavernous building, which was originally a tram and bus depot. It was used as a concert venue during the 1980s. It has since been demolished and is now a car park.
When we arrived it looked like a war zone. Punk fans from all over the north, and further afield, had decamped there for the weekend, and had been in the venue all night, sleeping on the floors; there was trash everywhere. We saw faces that we recognised from Middlesbrough Rock Garden, which had closed for the weekend as everyone was going to the festival. We chatted to a few people; everyone was talking about how great Siouxsie (who had headlined the Saturday night) had been. There were stalls around the place and pop-up art performances in dark corners of the hall. I recall one performance which involved a guy having a crap in a bucket; we moved on. The bands were playing on a stage at the end of the massive hall. futuramaflyer
This was an opportunity to see bands who went on to stardom: The Frantic Elevators became Simply Red, and Vice Versa became ABC. There was a great mix of bands at the event and the atmosphere was wonderful, really friendly. Although on the surface this festival appeared messy and shambolic, it is actually one of the best I have every attended for the musical range and the feeling in the crowd. Highlights of the day were Hazel O-Connor, who was in the charts with “Eighth Day” and became the robot from “Breaking Glass”, Durutti Column featuring Vini Reilly’s meadering guitar, and the 4″ by 2″s who were a proto-Oi! band featuring Jimmy Lydon (John Lydon’s brother) and also at one point featured Youth of Killing Joke. But the highlight was an incredible performance by Notsensibles, a punk band from Burnley who had some success with their single “I’m in Love with Margaret Thatcher”. Their set included a lot of tongue-in-cheek songs, all performed in their strong Northern accent. They’d brought a large contingent of fans, who all sang along with every daft song. Notsensibles motto was “all we want to do is make silly records and play silly gigs”. There is a video on YouTube of them performing “Death To Disco” at the event:
The festival ran very late into the night (inevitable given the incredible number of bands who were performing) and we left around midnight during Psychedelic Furs set to drive back up North and home, thus missing the headliner who was (also incredibly) the now shamed star Gary Glitter. The Futurama festival had a history of choosing off-the-wall headliners; on another occasion the closing acts was a reformed Bay City Rollers (now that must have been something to experience). A crazy, mad, fun event with some great bands. Happy happy days 🙂

Hazel O’Connor Newcastle City Hall 1st December 1980 and 17th September 1981

Hazel O’Connor Newcastle City Hall 1st December 1980 and 17th September 1981
hazeltixBreaking Glass is a great film, and a pretty gritty, but quite realistic and authentic, reflection of the music business of the late ’70s. I first saw Hazel O’Connor at the Futurama festival which took place at Leeds Queens Hall in September 1980. Breaking Glass had just been released, and Eighth Day was climbing up the charts. Futuruma was an amazing event, which I must blog about one day. Hazel_o'connorprog1It featured some great bands, but Hazel was the highlight of the second day of the festival, and her performance prompted me to go and see the movie. A few months later and she was headlining Newcastle City Hall, with support from Duran Duran (I have no recollection of seeing Duran than night; maybe I stayed in the bar 🙂 ). Hazel was one of the best newcomers to emerge from the new wave scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Her music showed much more versatility than most punk acts of the time, ranging from the rockier “Eighth Day” and “Decadent Days” to the beautiful “Will You?”, which remains one of my favourite songs. She was also an energetic and quite “in your face” performer. Hazel was back at the City Hall a year later in 1981, this time with support from (according to internet sources) 21 Guns and Positive Noise (however, my programme shows Bumble and the Beez as support?). Hazel+O'Connorprog2I found a setlist from a 1981 show: So You’re Born; D-Days; Men Of Good Fortune; Runaway; Hanging Around (yes, the Stranglers song, I’d forgotten that she used to play this; Hugh Cornwell was her boyfriend at the time); Animal Farm; Blackman; Do What You Gotta Do; Hello Old Friend; Cover Plus; Dawn Chorus; Will You?; Sons And Lovers; Eighth Day; That’s Life; I Won’t Give Up; Give Me An Inch. Think its time to dig our my vinyl copy of “Breaking Glass.”
“On the eighth day machine just got upset, A problem man had never seen as yet, No time for flight, a blinding light, And nothing but a void, forever night. He said, “Behold what man has done, There’s not a world for anyone, Nobody laughed, nobody cried, World’s at an end, everyone has died” (O’Connor, 1980).