Archive for the ‘Human League’ Category

Siouxsie and the Banshees Middlesbrough 13th Oct 1977, Durham 15th April 1978 & Newcastle 30th Oct 1978

Siouxsie and the Banshees Middlesbrough 13th Oct 1977, Durham 15th April 1978 & Newcastle 30th Oct 1978siouxsietix78
The Banshees stood out from the rest of the punk bands in their style, their attitude, and the mysterious, somewhat discordant, dark noise that they made. There was an air of danger about them, depth, mysteriousness, and Siouxsie herself was stunning, a force of nature, a revelation.
I first saw the Banshees supporting Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers at Middlesbrough Town Hall on 13th October 1977. Marie and I turned up early specifically to see Siouxsie. The venue was far from full, and this was a raw, ramshackle, Banshees; still feeling their way and learning their craft. But you could see that there was something different and special about them. The uniqueness of their music, Siouxsie’s style and arrogance, their image, all shone through the amateurishness. Siouxise was full of edge that night, fearless, and obviously out to shock. She was dressed in a see-through net top, a leather cap and looked just great. She commanded the stage with crazy dancing and goose stepping. The band were very young at the time and looked it; this was the first and best line-up of the Banshees; with Sioux on vocals, Severin on bass, Kenny Morris on drums, and John McKay on guitar, before they released their first landmark album “The Scream”. I can’t be certain what they played that night, but remember being impressed. I am pretty sure they played Metal Postcard, Carcass, T Rex’s 20th Century Boy (Souxsie announced the song “From one Carcass to Another” which I remember clearly as I thought it pretty bad taste at the time, as Bolan had died just a few weeks before), Love in a Void, The Lords Prayer, and Helter Skelter. For me they were the best band of the night and I went on to see them many more times over the next few years.
The next time I saw them was at a packed Durham University Dunelm Ballroom on 15th April 1978. By now the Banshees were a proper band, a major force. The venue was packed, the crowd crazy, the Banshees loud and intense and Siouxsie pure electric magic. The evening was spoilt by trouble and fights. There was a scary edginess in the air. As we left the venue we faced a massive line of skinheads blocking the ramp leading out to the street. “We hate punks!”…mass brawls….the police soon arrived. We ran to the car and made a swift, and lucky, escape.
The Banshees first single Hong Kong Garden was released in August 1978, they were soon in the charts, and then went out on a full UK tour of major concert halls. I saw them at Newcastle City Hall on 30th October 1978. Support was Spizz Oil (did Spizz really wear a helmet and keep hitting himself on the head, or did I dream that?), and the original Human League. The concert was sold out, and the music and the performance were joyous, swirling, challenging and totally engaging. From the first crashing, discordant opening bars of Helter Skelter, through the majestic pop of Hong Kong Garden, to the closing song The Lord’s Prayer, Siouxsie had us all totally captivated. Thinking of the punk bands that I saw live at the time; The Pistols were raw, powerful, important and vital; The Clash were rocky, political, fast, furious and “meant it”, The Jam were sharp, smart, and poppy; and The Damned were simply crazy, madcap, laugh. But the Banshees were different, daring, challenging, uncompromising, and produced sounds that came from somewhere dark, adventurous, rhythmic and yet uplifting. As you might have gathered; I was a big fan.
Based on published setlists, it is likely that the Banshees set at the City Hall was something like this: Helter Skelter; The Staircase (Mystery); Mirage; Metal Postcard (Mittageisen); Jigsaw Feeling; Switch; Hong Kong Garden; Nicotine Stain; Suburban Relapse; Overground; Pure; The Lord’s Prayer. Encore: Love in a Void
“Hong Kong Garden; Tourists swarm to see your face; Confucius has a puzzling grace; Disoriented you enter in; Unleashing scent of wild jasmine.” (Hong Kong Garden, Siouxsie And The Banshees, 1978)
More about the Banshees tomorrow.

The Human League in concert in Newcastle 1978 – 1987

The Human League in concert in Newcastle 1978 – 1987
humanleague I first saw The Human League when they supported Siouxsie and the Banshees at Newcastle City Hall in 1978. This was the Banshees first major UK tour and it gave the Human League a chance to play before sold out concerts halls up and down the country. I was impressed by this new band and their electronic synth-based sound, which stood out from the norm at the time, when everyone else was playing standard guitar-based punk. I’d also heard their first single Being Boiled which was also pretty good, and live they played a pretty strange and fine version of Gary Glitter’s Rock n Roll Part 2. Phil’s long one-sided fringe was pretty strange and outrageous at the time; you couldn’t fail to take notice of this band. The next time I saw the Human League was at Newcastle Mayfair in 1980 (May 15th). I seem to recall that I was with my friend Ian and that we went down to the Mayfair late (probably around 10.30) after going to a 10CC concert at the City Hall. Its always strange going into a packed gig late, when the band is already on stage; I’ve done it several times and I always feel quite out of things. When we arrived at the Mayfair the Human League were already well into their set; I remember some pretty heavy dark electronic stuff being played. This was at the time of their second album Travelogue, and the last tour with founding band members Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who left the band shortly after this gig and went on to form Heaven 17. Many people thought that this might have been the end of the band but remaining members Phil Oakey and Adrian Wright continued, moving The Human League towards a new musical direction with a new line-up. In fact the next stage in the Human League story was pretty strange, and a spot of good luck or genious, depending on how you look at it. Oakey, in a panic to complete the band’s line-up so that he could honour existing tour dates,went out in Sheffield city centre clubs with the intention of recruiting female backing vocalists. In the Crazy Daisy Nightclub he spotted two teenage girls dancing together on the dance floor. Susan Ann Sulley and Joanne Catherall were schoolgirls on a night out together. Oakey asked both girls to join the tour as dancers and incidental vocalists, and history was about to be made. The Human League morphed into a pop band, and the Dare album and the massive No 1 single Don’t You Want Me followed. It was a few years later before I got to see the new line up live at the City Hall in 1987. By then they had been in the charts several more times. The 1987 was very much a greatest hits show and good fun. I’ve never seen the band since, although they continue to this day. Typical setlist from 1980: The Black Hit of Space; The Touchables; Dreams of Leaving; The word before the last; Life Kills; Almost Medieval; Circus of Death; Crow and a Baby; Only After Dark; Being Boiled; Blind Youth; WXJL Tonight. Encore: Marianne; Empire State Human. Typical setlist from 1987: Hard Times; Money; The Things That Dreams Are Made Of
The Real Thing; Do or Die; Human; Sound of the Crowd; Love Action; Jam; Love on the Run; Seconds; The Lebanon; (Together in) Electric Dreams; Party; Mirror Man; Don’t You Want Me. Encore: Fascination; Rock n’ Roll