Posts Tagged ‘goth’

Gary Numan Newcastle City Hall 11 May 2022

nu tixThis was a return to experiencing Gary Numan in a couple of ways. The last time I was at a Gary Numan concert was in 1981 at Wembley Empire pool (now Wembley Arena) for his farewell concert. This was a fantastic end to a short career which started with his massive initial breakthrough hit “Are Friends Electric?” Numan was something completely new and different set against the background of punk and new wave in the late 1970s. I was lucky enough to see his first tour at Newcastle City Hall, followed by the “cars” tour at the same venue. Then he decided to retire and I made the pilgrimage to Wembley for his final show. Happy happy memories.

numan 6The second return to experiencing Gary Numan was for my sister-in-law Elaine. My late wife and I took Elaine as a youngster, to see Numan on that wonderful first tour where a robotic Gary mesmerised us with his new blend of electronica, rock and pop music. Flanked by robot figures and a wonderful light show with music unlike anything we had heard before it was a great introduction to the world of Gary Numan. Elaine, then a teenage girl, just loved it. So this was her first outing to see Gary Numan since that experience of his initial tour.

numan 4Now I had seen that Gary had been touring again for some years now and kept meaning to go along and see him. His return to the City Hall, where we saw those early shows, was just too much to resist. And Elaine was looking forward to see what the new Gary would be like. I also was intrigued to experience Gary Numan again. So, lots of memories of great shows from a long time ago. Time, the lives of myself and Elaine, and Gary, have moved on. What would the show be like?

numan 7First up was support act French band Divine Shade. They were an electronic/heavy bass band clearly influenced by Gary Numan. Think a heavy Gary Numan/dark Depeche Mode/LOUD. They were really loud and we were down the front next to the speakers. We could feel the vibration running through us; just like old times and the first time I saw Black Sabbath when Geezer Butler’s bass hit me in my stomach. Excellent! A great start to the show. They clearly enjoyed it also. From their Facebook page: “Thank you Newcastle ! It was great ! Cool fact from the nice security gard, our little dressing room was the Beatles favorite one.” Now there is a fact I didn’t know!

numan 3I wasn’t sure what to expect from Gary Numan this time around. To say he didn’t disappoint would be an understatement. He was fantastic from the very start, keeping the pace up right until the end. The set was a mixture of old and new. I was delighted that the second song was my old favourite “Me! I Disconnect from You” the lyrics of which now take on a new meaning in light of the fact that Gary has publicly mentioned his shyness. It brought back memories of that Wembley show over 40 years ago when I remember it as a standout song. Gary is very much the front man now, revealing more of himself to us, much darker, dressed all in black with red stripes running down his face. His music is louder, rockier and darker. He is flanked by a bass player and a guitarist each with shaven heads, wearing black skirts and large black boots. Quite menacing, dark and Gothic.

numan 1I hadn’t realised just how much Gary Numan’s music had changed over the years. I was clearly out of touch. He has stripped things down to the basics and produced a much darker, heavier sound. In front of us was a new, louder, more intense front man than the young boy Elaine and I experienced all those years ago. The old songs were given a much heavier treatment and included some of my favourites such as “Down in the Park”, “Cars” and closer “I Die, You Die”. Throughout the show Gary stood on stage sometimes pulling back on the mic stand, going down on his knees and then throwing his arms up in the air. Very much the show man. The crowd loved it and gave him one of the warmest receptions I have seen for a long time. Fabulous.

He returned for two encores, the last of which was “Are Friends Electric?” Elaine, Jackie my carer and I really enjoyed it. Elaine said it was a better show than the first time and I didn’t disagree.

Setlist: Intruder; Me! I Disconnect From You; Halo; The Gift; Metal; Ghost Nation; Is This World Not Enough; Films; Pure; Resurrection; Down in the Park; And It Breaks Me Again; Dead Sun Rising; Cars; My Name Is Ruin; Love Hurt Bleed; The Chosen; I Die: You Die;

Encore: Remind Me to Smile; Are ‘Friends’ Electric?

Sex Gang Children Dingwalls Newcastle 1983?

Sex Gang Children Dingwalls Newcastle 1983?
sexgangSex Gang Children were an early goth, post-punk band that formed in the early 80s, and were one of the more well-known bands of the “Batcave” scene. The “Batcave” was a night club in London at the time, which is often credited with being one of the places out of which “goth” grew. Sex Gang Children were fronted by Andi Sex Gang on vocals. I remember them as a very dark (of course) band, with dramatic songs, heavy bass and tribal drumming. This gig was probably in 1983, around the time that Sex Gang Children released their only studio album “Song and Legend” which made the top of the UK Indie Chart and contained the single “Sebastiane”.
Their setlist of the time was something like this: Cannibal Queen; German Nun; State of Mind; Draconian Dream; Beasts; Kill Machine; Killer ‘K’; Dieche; Oh Funny Man; Sebastiane; Song and Legend. Encore: The Crack Up

The Mission Newcastle City Hall 1987 and 1988

The Mission Newcastle City Hall 1987 and 1988
mission87 I saw the Mission on four occasions during ’87 and ’88; three times at Newcastle City Hall, and supporting U2 at Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium (in August 1987). They were a mesmerising live act, whose set included dark, heavy rock, psych, and some great cover versions. The first time I saw them was 20th March 1987 at the City Hall. The support act was All About Eve, who were to go on to achieve success in their own right. They opened with a great heavy-psych version of The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows”, which set the mood for the rest of the gig. Their own material was all jangling guitars, swirling rhythms, and dark, deep goth vocals from front man Wayne Hussey. He formed the Mission after spells with Pauline Murray’s Invisible Girls, and the Sisters of Mercy.
mission88a Hussey was simply a revelation on stage, there was a unique connection between him and the fans; he took control of the entire hall and everyone joined together in a swirling, sprawling mass of music and celebration. Wayne would dance around like a dervish, all in black, lots of jewelry, wearing a wide brimmed hat, sometimes throwing read roses into the audience. The stage set would feature dark, heavy imagery and the song titles themselves conveyed gothic messages from a darker world: “Serpent’s Kiss”, “Sacrilege”, “Blood Brother”: all quite deep, dark, doomy stuff (but great :)). There was a strong feeling of camaraderie at a Mission gig. The band had a group of intensely loyal fans, known as the Eskimos (not sure why ?), who travelled to every gig and were always down the front clambering on top of each other and diving on stage to dance with the band. The classic line-up was singer/ guitarist Hussey, bassist Craig Adams, lead guitarist Simon Hinkler and drummer Mick Brown. Live favourites of mine at the time were: a great cover of Free’s “Wishing Well”, the single “Severina” and “Serpents Kiss”. For the gig on 4th March 1988 the support act was Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, and on 29th November 1988 it was The Mighty Lemon Drops. These were wild, joyous, nights with a strong happy, family feel about them. There was a sense of occasion, of being part of something special and quite stunning; a oneness of band and audience, an intensity and passion; very very different to any other gigs at the time. The Mission were, without a doubt, one of the best live acts around during the late 80s. mission88b Set list from March 1987: Tomorrow never knows, Stay with me, Garden of delight, Like a hurricane, Let sleeping dogs die, Severina, Serpents kiss, Over the hills and far away, Sacrilege, wake, Blood brother, 1969, Love me to death, Wasteland, Wishing well, Shelter from the storm.
Setlist from March 1988: Beyond the pale, And the dance goes on, Like a hurricane, Child’s play, Serpents kiss, Garden of delight, Tower of strength, The crystal ocean, Dream on, Sacrilege, Wasteland, 1969, Wishing well, Blood brother, Love me to death, Shelter from the storm.
Setlist from November 1988: Wasteland, Serpents kiss, Severina, Belief, Stay with me, Kingdom come, Deliverance, Tower of strength, The crystal ocean, The grip of disease, Dream on, Sacrilege, 1969, Beyond the pale, Like a hurricane, Child’s play, Dancing barefoot, Gone to the devil (Hungry as the hunter), Shelter from the storm /
PS I found an explanation of the name “The Eskimos” on a forum. Apparently the group of fans was originally called “the Missionaries”. At one point when travelling through Europe, a customs guy called one of the group an “eskimo” when going throught a checkpoint, and the name stuck. Not sure that makes me any the wiser, however :).

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Edinburgh Usher Hall 1 Nov 2013

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Edinburgh Usher Hall 1 Nov 2013
nickcaveLast night Laura and I crossed the border to Scotland, where we took a step over another border into the darker side of rock, for a night in the company of Nick Cave and his compatriots the Bad Seeds. I’ve only ever seen Nick Cave once before, and that was as at a solo concert at the Sage Gateshead some years ago. This was the first time that Laura had seen him, although she is a fan and familiar with much of his music. We had seats in the upper circle looking directly down on the proceedings, with a good view of the stage and the packed stalls where all the seats had been removed, and fans were crammed around the stage, awaiting an audience with Nick. Support came from solo artist Shilpa Ray who played a short set of her own songs, accompanied only by herself on harmonium. Her sound is a sort of bluesy punk with searing, screeching vocals.
NickCave Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds came of stage shortly before 9pm, and were truly amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performance which maintained such passion, power and intensity throughout. Nick was dressed all in black, looking like a cool, young Bela Lugosi, and the songs were all very dark in both mood and lyric. Crazed bearded violinist Warren Ellis tore shreds out of his instrument and was a perfect foil to frontman Cave. Nick prowled around the front of the stage singing and talking directly to the first few rows of fans. The guy seemingly has no fear, and seemed to completely lose himself in the performance. The songs were, at one end of the spectrum, all power chords, manic instrumental breaks, with Cave dancing crazily and haranguing the front rows; to another extreme of dark, sombre, power ballads with Cave at the piano. Highlights for me were Jubilee Street, Tupelo, Red Right, The Mercy Seat, and Stagger Lee. The main set finished with Push the Sky Away, but the band returned for a incredible five song encore including Deanna, the great Breathless (my favourite 🙂 ) and closer Give Us a Kiss. The show finished just before 11pm, and we had an uneventful drive back down the A1; arriving home around 1.45am.
Setlist: We No Who U R; Jubilee Street; Midnight Man; Tupelo; Red Right Hand; Mermaids; From Her to Eternity; Stranger Than Kindness; God Is in the House; He Wants You; Into My Arms; Higgs Boson Blues; Hiding All Away; The Mercy Seat; Stagger Lee; Push the Sky Away. Encore: We Real Cool; Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry; Deanna; Breathless; Give Us a Kiss

Killing Joke Middlesbrough Gaskins Sat 25th April 1981

Killing Joke Middlesbrough Gaskins Sat 25th April 1981
killingjoke “Killing Joke lurk in rock and roll’s shadow world where they weave with electronic instruments of mystic fire magical incantations and dark grinding musical shapes that linger in the air like Aleister Crowley’s opium-scented nightsweats” (
And so it was when Dave and I experienced “The Joke” at Middlesbrough Gaskins in 1981. Gaskins was a club in Middlesbrough town centre which played host to a number of punk gigs in the early 80s, frequented by the same crowd that assembled at the Rock Garden, the Town Hall Crypyt and Redcar Coatham Bowl. The first thing I recall about this gig was arriving to an empty ballroom with a large pentagram set out on the dance floor in front of the stage. The gig started to fill up, and the aforementioned pentagram was inhabited by a fire eater, known as “Dave The Wizard” who then proceeded to breath fire at us, while performing a primeval war dance. Dark spooky stuff. This was the world of Killing Joke at the time, very influenced by Mr Crowley, black magic and the dark side. The line-up was Jaz Coleman on vocals and organ, Kevin “Geordie” Walker on guitar, Martin “Youth” Glover on bass, and Paul Ferguson on drums. Jaz had his face painted with black make-up, and Youth looked very like Sid Vicious. And the music was loud, dark, doomy, pounding and relentless. There was something sinister and unnerving about the evening; a power and energy that transcended the music being performed. This was music from the dark side and took punk to another epic level.
From a fanzine site: “NC: Can you tell us about the fire-eater? JAZ: Oh yes, that’s a long time ago. The Wizard, he used to blow fire. He was a real nut case, that guy. He used to blow fire and war dance. He has not done it for a long time. He had some interesting ideas. He blows fire, this is about him not us, but he blows fire, he does not blow it in the sort of conventional theatre-come-cabaret sort of act. He blows it in a very ritualistic sort of way. He takes fire as being your will, your desire, and he uses it in that way, and it was really good at that time, and it just seemed to fit, and that was it” (No Class Fanzine No 1).

Fields of the Nephilim Newcastle Mayfair 1988

Fields of the Nephilim Newcastle Mayfair 1988
I got quite into goth music in the late 80s, and read a lot about Fields of the Nephilim. I was intrigued by their “dust and death” image; these guys looked pretty cool in their dusty leathers and large brim cowboy hats, straight out of a spaghetti western. Their music was a strange mix of doomy heavy rock, with soft growled vocals. Live they were a strange experience; very moody and challenging, but ultimately this was a gig I still remember to this day. This was the “Precious to the Lost” tour. The stage was filled with some sort of combination of dry ice, smoke or dust and the band were dressed in long ragged, cowboy clothes, covered in flour to give their trademark dusty look. The lighting was dark and doomy and the songs slow, rhythmic with strong bass lines and powerful vocals. I picked up a copy of their fan mag “Helter Skelter” at the gig. The picture on the cover will give you an idea of the band’s image. Their website also explains where they are coming from: “Fields of the Nephilim is the creation of vocalist and front man Carl McCoy, a seeker of the greater truth”. Their lyrics draw from the occult and related mythologies. This band still continues to this day, playing gigs every now and then and commands quite a legendary status. A setlist from a gig around that time shows the band playing the following songs: Preacher Man; Love Under Will; Endemoniada; Psychonaut; Trees Come Down; Celebrate; The Watchman; For Her Light; At the Gates of Silent Memory; Chord of Souls. Encore: Last Exit for the Lost; Moonchild; Phobia. I would guess that they will have played some of these songs at the gig I attended.

The Cure Whitley Bay Ice Rink 1985

The Cure Whitley Bay Ice Rink 1985
By 1985 The Cure had graduated to playing at Whitley Bay Ice Rink, which was a cavernous (and cold!) venue which was frequented by bigger bands during the 80s, before Newcastle Arena was built. By 1985 The Cure had hit the single chart on several occasions, including the superb “Love Cats”. I went along to this gig with my mate Dave, and we were both quite into the band at the time. I seem to remember that we both liked “Love Cats”. Support came from Hard Corps, who were a French band. By the time of this gig, The Cure were centred very much around Robert Smith, as band leader and the focus of the live performance. The Cure in concert had become much more of a rock / pop show, and Smith was coming into his own as a front man. Setlist: The Baby Screams, Play For Today, A Night Like This, Primary, Kyoto Song, The Blood, The Hanging Garden, Charlotte Sometimes, Inbetween Days, Let’s Go To Bed, The Walk, Push, Screw, One Hundred Years, A Forest, Sinking. First Encore: Give Me It, Boys Don’t Cry. Second Encore: You Really Got Me, I Dig You. It was over 20 years till I saw The Cure again, when Laura, David and I went to see them at Wembley Arena.

The Cure Newcastle City Hall 1982

The Cure Newcastle City Hall 1982
Support Zerra1
A year after seeing The Cure at the City Hall, they were back again at the same venue. The band were in their heavy goth phase, and this before they started to have serious chart success. Support came from Zerra1 who were an Irish band from the U2 mould. (Update note: I found another old Cure programme upstairs in my collection. It is probably from this tour, or another early tour, so I have added it here) Setlist: The Figurehead, M, In Your House, Cold, The Drowning Man, A Short Term Effect, The Hanging Garden, Siamese Twins, Other Voices, Three Imaginary Boys, Primary, One Hundred Years, Play For Today, A Forest, Pornography. Encore: 10.15 Saturday Night, Killing An Arab, All Mine.

The Cure Newcastle late 70s and early 80s

The Cure Newcastle late 70s and early 80s
I saw The Cure quite a few times in the early days of their career. The first time that I saw them was at the Reading Festival in 1979, when they appeared low down on the bill on the Friday night. I remember that I had read a lot about them, and I’d also had heard the single “Killing an Arab” on the radio. So I made of point of being in the arena and watching them that night. They went down prety well, and showed some promise, even at that early stage. I also saw them at a gig in Newcastle University Ballrom on a Saturday night sometime in 1980. I also saw them as support act for Siouxsie and the Banshees at Newcastle Poly. Robert Smith played two sets that night, first with The Cure and then as guitarist for The Banshees. My favourite Cure song at the time was “A Forest”, and it probably still is today. By 1981 they had graduated to playing the City Hall. The great Cure gig list site shows the setlist for the 1981 Newcastle gig as: The Funeral Party, M, The Drowning Man, All Cats Are Grey, Three Imaginary Boys, Primary, At Night, Fire In Cairo, Play For Today, Grinding Halt, A Forest, Faith, Jumping Someone Else’s Train, Another Journey By Train, Killing An Arab, Forever. Looking at other setlists from the same tour, indicates that the Newcastle set was comparatively short in comparison with some of the other gigs on the tour, with some shows featuring many more songs. I have a lovely little programme from those days (see scan) which is a song book, and contains the lyrics from many of their early songs. I’m not sure at which gig I bought this, but it must have been from one of their early tours. I saw The Cure twice more in the 80s, and will blog on those gigs over the next couple of days. There was then a gap of 23 years before I saw them again, at Wembley, in 2008.CURE 21

Update 22 December 2021
Many thanks indeed for the lovely image of the poster for the concert which Jimmy Burns (a.k.a. Punk Hoarder) kindly sent me and has allowed me to add this to my post. It brings back great memories of a great band. I didn’t realise at the time how important the cure would become in the history of new wave, punk, goth and pop music. They really have provided millions of people with enjoyment and entertainment over the years. And their back catalogue is extensive, wide-ranging in style and lots of fun!

Bauhaus Newcastle City Hall 1983

Bauhaus Newcastle City Hall 1983: Burning From The Inside Tour
Any band who has a song entitled Bela Lugosi is Dead can’t be bad. Particularly when they also cover Telegram Sam and Ziggy Stardust. I love old horror movies, and read Famous Monsters of Filmland every week during the 60s, and I was also a Bolan and Bowie fan, so Bauhaus’ image interested me enough to go along and see them. This tour was for the Burning From the Inside album, which was due to come out later that year. The programme for the tour reminds me how dark and doomy the band were; lots of dark pictures with very serious posing; this was the birth of goth. The programme starts with a T S Elliot poem: “This is the way the world ends” which set the tone for the show. The lighting was dark, and the music a mix of punk, rock and glam, with Pete Murphy displaying great stage presence. They had just had a hit with She’s in Parties. I remember them playing that particular song, and finishing with Bela Lugosi’s Dead. The band split up shortly after the tour, however they have reformed several times since. Setlist: Burning From the Inside; In Fear of Fear; Terror Couple Kill Colonel; Spy in the Cab; Kingdom’s Coming; She’s in Parties; Antonin Artaud; King Volcano; The Passion of Lovers; Slice of Life; Hair of the Dog; In Heaven; Hollow Hills; Stigmata Martyr; Kick in the Eye; Dark Entries; Bela Lugosi’s Dead