Posts Tagged ‘punk’

Punk No. 1 Exhibition Newcastle Central Library 3 – 31 May 2022. Private viewing 7 May 2022

jim 0Jimmy Burns is not only a massive punk hoarder and collector, he is also a real gent. We first touched base some time ago when Jimmy contacted me through the blog and shared some images of posters which he had, of punk concerts I had been to in the past. Jimmy then kindly let me use these images on my blog. Since then we have kept in touch and I was delighted when he told me that part of his massive punk memorabilia collection was to be displayed in Newcastle Central library.
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Jimmy kindly offered to meet me at the library and give me a private personal tour of his exhibition, which is by the way, excellent and well worth visiting. He met me and my carer Jan at the entrance to the library and we went upstairs in the lift to the space where his collection is currently on show. What he revealed to me was a treasure trove of memorabilia which takes the visitor through the history of punk, particularly in the north-east. This includes very rare posters of punk bands including Sex Pistols posters from early gigs, including their legendary show at Huddersfield on Christmas Day 1977, which was to be their last UK concert (before the later reunions). There is also a massive collection of badges, tickets, vinyl and original, very rare, punk clothing such as a Destroy T-shirt from the original Kings Road shop of Malcolm McLaren and Vivian Westwood.
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To say that Jimmy has assembled a unique collection of punk items which not only covers the north-east but is of national importance, is an understatement. I very much doubt anyone else has such a collection. And indeed, only part of his collection is currently on display in the library. Jimmy has put this together largely through personal connections he has made over the years.

We were soon chatting about punk concerts that we had both been to “back in the day” and shared some great memories of mad evenings in Newcastle Mayfair and Newcastle University. We both had particularly strong memories of quite crazy, violent gigs such as The Specials at jim 9Newcastle Mayfair. Happy days.

Jan and I were both knocked out by the exhibition and by Jimmy’s passion for anything to do with vintage punk rock. Thank you so much Jimmy for spending time with us, talking us through the exhibition and sharing happy memories with me. I really appreciate it and look forward to chatting with you more in the future. Good luck with the exhibition. I’m sure that many people will go to see it and that it will be well received. If you are interested in punk rock then I would urge you to go along and visit the exhibition while it is cjim 5urrently on display in Newcastle Central library.

A great afternoon spent in great company discussing some of the best music to emerge in the late 70s and early 80s and some of the best concerts to ever take place in the north-east around that time.

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John Cooper Clarke Sage Gateshead 30 April 2022

COOPER TIXWent to see an old friend the other night. John Cooper Clarke. He of punkish poetry and 1970s Manchester fame. Laura and Dale came too. Have had the pleasure of his company many times. Since the late 1970s. Cool he was then. And now. The MC for the evening was a Cockney guy. He was clearly of the punk ilk; very coolish too. The support act was another poet. Mike Garry. From the Manchester area. Long hairish, also quite punkish. Recited from his book. Does readings in schools, prisons, with communities and internationally. Clever use of voice and rhythm. Cool guy. Strange to see the Sage stage with only a mic stand in the centre. No gear. Very minimalist. Soon a short interval came upon us. Time for a pint of Newcastle Brown. Brown dog.

COOPER 2“John Cooper Clarke, also known as the Bard of Salford, is a phenomenon: Poet Laureate of Punk, rock star, fashion icon, TV and radio presenter, social and cultural commentator – he’s one of Britain’s most beloved and influential writers and performers.” (From the man’s website).

Then our man cometh. Joined the pleasantly full hall. Full of devotees. And cool he was. As ever. Cool hair. Cool cap. Cool black jeans. Cool jacket. Matched cap. Coolest of all: winklepicker, Cuban heel, Chelsea boots. Like mine. Mine don’t fit me anymore. Sad. Lots of poetry filled the hall. Very funny. Quick pace. Fast rhythm. Almost rap. Manchester twang. Carer Jan laughed a lot. Crowd knew and loved him. Hung on to every word. Very clever words. Read a lot from new book. Finished with some familiar ones: “Beasley Street”; “Evidently Chickentown” (lots of swearing: excellent); “T**t”. Great show Dr John. Thank you for your words. Thank you for your company. Thank you for your wisdom. Through your words we see you and understand you.COOPER CLARKE 1

Thanks to Jan: photographer for the evening. Thanks to Chris: put to bedder for the evening. Poetry rhythm resounding through my head.

Setlist (something along these lines): Hire Car; Get Back On Drugs You Fat F***; The Luckiest Guy Alive; Bedblocker Blues; She’s got a metal plate in her head; Beasley Street; Beasley Boulevard; Pies; I’ve Fallen In Love With My Wife; Evidently Chickentown.

Encore: Tw**; I Wanna Be Yours

The Stranglers Newcastle City Hall 18 February 2022

strangstixWell here I am. Back at the City Hall with The Stranglers. So many memories. Happy days again, yet tinged with mixed emotions, some of elation, some of sadness. So many different perspectives: the venue, the band, myself, family. I will explain each of these below.

The Venue. Newcastle City Hall is almost like a second home to me. I have seen so many concerts there; probably several hundred, maybe over 1000. My first was back in early 1971 when I saw Iron Butterfly supported by Yes and Dada (who included the late, sadly missed, superb vocalist Robert Palmer and Elkie STRANG4Brooks who, of course, went on to much greater success in Vinegar Joe, again with Robert Palmer, and as a soloist). Soon I saw the Rolling Stones there, a few weeks later, and then many more bands over the years including Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen, and many, many more over a 50+ year period. For the first time they had somehow managed to remove all of the seats from the downstairs area, allowing a massive crowd of Stranglers fans to jump around and have fun to the music. It was very strange, yet refreshing, to be part of a very different experience in a very differently configured City Hall.

The Band. This is The Stranglers Final Full UK Tour. The tour has been postponed for some time partly due to Covid and partly because of the sad passing of founder member Dave Greenfield; he of the great swirling, driving keyboards that underpinned, and led, all of those Stranglers classics. At one point the STRANG2tour was almost cancelled but fan demand persuaded the members to continue in tribute to Dave Greenfield’s massive contribution to the band and their music. Only Jean-Jacques Burnel remains from the original lineup. Drummer Jet Black retired some years ago. Lead singer and songwriter Hugh Cornwell left many years ago, and after a few line-up changes including one with both a vocalist and a guitarist, his position is filled by local Sunderland lad Baz Warne with Baz taking over vocal and guitar duties and becoming the band’s main front man. The Stranglers were the first punk band to play Newcastle City Hall in 1977, a concert which I attended and was absolutely stupendous. Later in 1977 they returned and after some altercations between Hugh, Jean-Jacques and the bouncers which ended up in a massive stage invasion The Stranglers were banned from the City Hall for a number of years. But the soul of the band remains as does the power of the music. Nothing is diminished, we are overwhelmed by a constant barrage of classic songs: right back to the start with “Grip” and “Peaches”, through the massive hits “Sweet Little Girl” and “Golden Brown” and many, many more along the way. This is The Stranglers at their best and just as I remember them from the many times I have seen them over the years. If this was to be the last time I experience this band, it couldn’t be any better. Jean-Jacques is a joy to see, quietly leading the band, his bass playing as booming and driving as ever. Baz has a bit fun with the Newcastle crowd, in terms of the Geordies/Makem rivalry. There are lots of encores and lots of dancing and moshing down at the front. For the first encore Jean-Jacques and Baz return as an acoustic duo and treat us to a couple of beautiful, more subdued, songs. The pace and volume then return for the second encore and the band finish, triumphant. The crowd go home overjoyed at the experience.

Myself. Even after a few years in a wheelchair I am still getting used to the experience of being different to, and separate from, the majority of the crowd. However there are some benefits. I am sitting with my carer and my sister-in-law (more of this below) perched on a disabled ramp up above the crowd, with a STRANG3great view over the heads of the jumping, swirling, moshing, crazy crowd below us.

Family. In 1977 I was accompanied to the Stranglers concert by my late wife, Marie. We took along her sister, now my sister-in-law, Elaine. Elaine was at the time a young teenager, excited by the new music known as punk. She is now one of my carers, but on this occasion came along to see The Stranglers as my guest. This was the first time she had seen them since that concert back in 1977. So 45 years later she was experiencing The Stranglers again. Her verdict was that they were just as good as they were “back in the day”! Having Elaine with me again, brought back lots of memories and mixed emotions. It is strange the twists and turns one experiences in one’s life.

I must not forget to give credit to the support act, Ruts DC; who are basically The Ruts without their sadly departed singer. We arrived late, but in time to see them perform their hit songs “I’m in a Rut” and RUTTS“Babylon’s Burning”. Both of these were very credible versions and it was great to hear them again.

So, to summarise. A night of very mixed emotions but overall one I greatly enjoyed. The last time I saw The Stranglers was in a muddy field at Glastonbury, once again with my late wife Marie. This time was probably the last, but was another excellent experience. Overall a happy night.

Many thanks to my carer Jackie for taking the photographs and doing a great job too.

Setlist: Toiler on the Sea; Something Better Change; Sometimes; Water ; Skin Deep; This Song; Nice ‘n’ Sleazy; Don’t Bring Harry; Strange Little Girl; Always the Sun ; Peaches; Golden Brown The Last Men on the Moon; (Get a) Grip (on Yourself) ; Curfew; White Stallion; Relentless; Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus); Walk On By; Straighten Out; Duchess; Hanging Around

Encore: The Lines; And If You Should See Dave…

Encore 2: Theme From Get Carter; Tank; No More Heroes

John Lydon, I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right Durham Gala Theatre 18 October 2021

LYDON TIX“He’s a legend and an icon, a revolutionary and an immortal. John Lydon – aka Johnny Rotten – changed the face of music and sparked a cultural revolution. The frontman and lyricist of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd (PiL) caused a political earthquake and transformed music for good. To coincide with the publication of his new book, the brilliant, funny and insightful I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right, he is touring the UK. Lydon will talk about how he sees life, along with his unique and extraordinary career, and take audience questions during a pyrotechnic, one-off tour. Lydon will be sharing his thoughts with audiences. He Could Be Wrong. He Could Be Right.”(Tour announcement, 2019)

LYDON 5You couldn’t get much more of a contrast: Cliff Richard two days ago and then John Lydon! Two very different icons of popular music. But then, perhaps not as far apart as you might imagine: “Lydon, the uncompromising man of punk, explained his admiration for Cliff Richard: “My parents had a fantastic collection. It wasn’t just Irish folk tunes and accordion diddly-doos, there was early Beatles and lots of Cliff Richard too. The first record I would have ever wanted to buy was ‘Move It!’ by Cliff Richard. It was a really good song at the time and still is.” Richard may be a bit square now, but he influenced tonnes of acts form the sixties. “Early Cliff was a riotous assembly of sorts, and he had moves that left a good impression on a 5 year old.”” (Far Out)

I waited some time for this one. It was originally announced in 2019 and scheduled for 2020; then postponed until 2021. This is quite a lengthy tour, seeing Lydon visit venues up and down the country, promoting his latest book: I could be Wrong, I could be Right. I bought a copy of the book when it was initially issued; one of 5000 signed copies, each presented in a lovely box featuring one of John’s paintings on the cover (see images). Now I have seen John at a similar event a few years ago when he was promoting his last book, in Manchester, where I was lucky enough to meet the man himself and have him sign my book. I have already written about that encounter.

LYDON 1The stage was nicely set out with two red velvet chairs, one for John and one for his on tour interviewer. We weren’t allowed to take photographs, hence the image of the stage setup. The evening consisted of two segments separated by a short interval. The entire show lasted around two hours. The first segment was devoted to John telling us some memories of his life. The second and final segment took the form of a question-and-answer session. Attendees were allowed to write questions on special cards and post these in a box, placed at the front of the stage, during the interval.

John was on good form. He really doesn’t care what he says or who he may offend; but then, that’s just him, as he always was. The first segment started with John talking about his early years and being brought up by Irish Catholic parents: a father who finished every sentence with “you f**king c**t!” This phrase would reappear throughout the evening along with many other expletives. One thing I have learned about John, is that he is a mixture of 100% authentic, some exaggeration and speaks from the heart. Through all that he is very, very funny and there is a total honesty about the guy. I hope all that mix makes some sense, somehow. Anyway, that’s how he comes over to me. And so the story continues. We learn a lot about his childhood in a Catholic school run by nuns and priests who abused him in several LYDON 4ways. He talks a lot, and becomes quite emotional, about his wife Nora who has Alzheimers and for whom John is now primary carer. He has been with Nora since the 1970s and she is of German origin and the mother of the late Ari Up of the all girl punk band, The Slits. He clearly has a deep love for the lady and speaks with great affection about how best to deal with, in a very positive way, those who suffer from Alzheimers. He talks also about Jimmy Savile and how he outed Savile on the BBC in the 1970s, only to be banned by the Corporation from then on. He talks briefly about Sex Pistols and the recent court case, referring to his former bandmates in less than harmonious terms; involving more expletives. I guess I won’t be going to any Sex Pistols reunion gig for some time; if ever! “Speaking on the opening night of his extensive ‘I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right’ spoken-word tour this week, he ranted: “They’ve turned themselves into really greedy, selfish, nasty f****. But c’est la vie.” (Contactmusic) “JOHNNY Rotten shouted “liars, liars filthy liars!” on Good Morning Britain” (The Sun)

During the interval I chat with my carer Lisa and my sister-in-law Elaine, who has come along with us to the show as she is a fan of John and the Pistols. Now there is a story about this if you will bear with me for a minute. When I was going to see Sex Pistols at Scarborough Penthouse with my late wife, Marie and my friend Trevor, Elaine was a young teenager and cried for us to take her along to see the band. However, the Penthouse being an over 18 venue, we felt we could not risk it as she may not have been allowed entry. She was very upset, and has remained a fan since those days. Back to the show. I also partake in a nice cold pint of LYDON 3Guinness which goes down really well (even through one of those horrible paper straws).

The final segment of the show is the question-and-answer. This features questions about the recent legal case, and one which, most of all, both surprises and pleases me. John is asked who his favourite bands were before he joined Sex Pistols. His answer is, Roxy Music, The Kinks, and to my surprise: the Edgar Broughton Band, Pink Fairies and Status Quo. About the latter, he explains that Status Quo were a pretty great rock band in the early 70s; a sentiment which I fully agree with. He talks about putting his head into the bass bin at a Status Quo concert, something which I remember doing at a Motorhead gig. Very foolish. But Edgar Broughton! I was delighted to hear that he was a fellow fan. Indeed he went on to quote the main line of Edgar Broughton’s single “Gone Blue”: “I love that little hole in the back of her head”. I still don’t fully understand what Edgar was referring to there. Anyway, back to John. Another question asked if he believed Sid would still be alive if he had not met Nancy. John answered “No” and revealed that Sid’s mother was a heroin addict who gave Sid some heroin for his 14th birthday! He spoke quite emotionally and touchingly about his love of Sid and how he was his best mate. He also revealed a love of one of my own heroes: Alice Cooper, and talked about how he auditioned for Sex Pistols in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s SEX shop in the Kings Road, by singing Alice’s “Eighteen” and “Schools Out” in front of a jukebox. The evening finished with John discussing his love of reggae music, how it influenced Public Image Ltd and leading us in a singalong similar to his single “Rise”.

LYDON 2Both Lisa and Elaine really enjoyed the show, as did I. A very entertaining evening with an icon of punk rock and popular culture. It doesn’t come much better than Cliff one night and John two nights later. A short taxi ride and we were back home where Lisa and Elaine hoisted me back into my bed with thoughts of John and Edgar Broughton swirling around in my head, no doubt aided by the pint of Guinness. A great night.

Patti Smith Veeps live stream from Electric Lady Studios 10 September 2021 2 AM BST!!

patti lady tixThis was (I think) my third live streaming event by Patti Smith. This was a little bit special as it was billed as a one-off live streaming event (no re-watching afterwards) from the famous Electric Lady Studios. There was one problem. It was at 2 AM BST (British Standard Time). Now my days of being awake, or getting up, at 2 AM are well past. I am just too old for this lark! It was different when I was younger and I was lying in a station bench in King’s Cross, Edinburgh Waverley or Victoria, but these days this was a real test of strength and willpower. Anyway, a little against my better judgement, I bought my ticket from Veeps. On the night before the event I drank my usual evening tipple, one can of draught Guinness, and went to sleep around 10 PM. At 1:45 AM my carer for the evening, Chris, woke me up, perched the computer above me in bed and switched it on ready for the show to start.

patti lady 3The event was billed as: “Patti Smith returns to Veeps for a very special collaboration with Electric Lady Studios and Spotify: streaming from the legendary recording facility on September 9th. A message from Patti “We are very proud to be part of this very special series at our favourite recording studio. It was a unique challenge and offered us an exciting and innovative platform”.”

This was particularly interesting and tempting because of the venue. Electric Lady Studios is a famous recording studio in Greenwich Village, New York City. It was commissioned by Jimi Hendrix in 1968. Hendrix spent only ten weeks recording in Electric Lady before his death in 1970, but it was later used by many famous artists from the 1970s onwards, including Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, and David Bowie.

Patti has recently recorded a short album at Electric Lady Studios, and this event was a live performance of that album.

So, there I was, now fully awake and alert, waiting for Patti Smith to appear. It is always interesting at these live streaming events reading the chat box to see who else is watching alongside me (metaphorically). So, I notice messages such as “hello Patti from Tokyo”, “hi from London”, “hi there from Berlin”, “waiting for you Patti, from New York”, and so on… You get the idea.

patti lady 1Soon Patti did appear and we were treated to a great performance of the songs from the album. The aforementioned album contains a selection of old Patti Smith’s songs and some covers including a wonderful version of Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings”. The lady was on top form and was backed by her usual musicians including long-time collaborator Lenny Kaye. Great! Now, a few people in the chat box were questioning whether the performance was really live or pre-recorded. To be honest, the way the songs blended from one to the next did feel like a pre-recorded performance and Patti had little to say on the evening. However, to me it didn’t matter; it was still another opportunity to see the great lady performing at her best. The set was short, matching the length of the album. Some people in the chat seemed disappointed at this. Me, I was quite satisfied, and in some ways, a little relieved that I could return to my sleep; dreams of Patti Smith live swirling around in my head. I awoke the next morning, a little tired, but actually none the worse for my experience.

patti lady 2Setlist: April Fool; Ghost Dance; Blame it on the Sun; Broken Flag; Birdland; One Too Many Mornings; Peaceable Kingdom

Patti Smith Birthday live stream 30 December 2020

patti4An invitation from Patti Smith dropped into my mailbox:

“The winter solstice filled me with new energy, I hope for you as well. I am writing to thank you for your support, and spending time with Tony, my daughter Jesse Paris and I on Black Friday. We hope to feel your presence again on my birthday, Wednesday, December 30th. There will be the full band beneath a full moon.”

How could I resist? Celebrating Patti’s 74th birthday with herself and her band in the comfort of my own room. Excellent! There was one small drawback, however. This time the concert was at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time (USA) which was 2 AM UK Greenwich Mean Time. Still a man has to do what a man has to do; so I pressed the button and bought a ticket.

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So it was that, last Wednesday, both Alexa and my nightshift carer Jackie were given precise instructions to wake me up at 1:45 AM so that I was ready for the start of Patti’s concert. The plan worked precisely and I was awake, remarkably refreshed, ready for the show. This time Patti was accompanied by her band including long time member Lenny Kaye, who had also celebrated his 74th birthday only a few days earlier. A small tot of whiskey surprisingly helped keep me awake and was an ideal accompaniment for the early morning (or late evening, depending on your perspective) concert.

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The set was a collection of Patti Smith favourites from throughout her career. She started with “Grateful” dedicated to Jerry Garcia, followed by “Kimberly”. Then we were transported right back to the start with a wonderful “Free Money”, building up to its majestic climax, Patti’s voice sounding as strong and unique as ever. “My Blakean Year” was followed by a short poetry reading. Then it was back to familiar Patti Smith territory, with a number of favourites including “Dancing Barefoot” which she dedicated to her late husband Fred “Sonic” Smith; both of their children performing with her.

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The set climaxed with a great rendition of her collaboration with Bruce Springsteen, “Because the Night”, which she also dedicated to Fred “Sonic” Smith. Hughes in Billboard (2018) declared “Because the Night” “a layered tribute for Fred and Patti’s love, as well as the family and art that came from it.” (Billboard, Hughes, 2018) Then it was time to sing “Happy Birthday” to the great lady herself, complete with birthday cake. I noticed that she blew out the candles with a fan; I guess really blowing them out is not acceptable in the Covid world; it is strange how things have changed in so many little ways. Finally, a lovely hours entertainment closed with “People Have the Power” and a reference to the new political regime in the USA. 3 AM and it was time to go back to sleep. Happy Birthday Patti.

Setlist: Grateful; Kimberly; Free Money; My Blakean Year; Poem; Ghost Dance; Dancing Barefoot; We Three; Beneath the Southern Cross; Because the Night; Happy Birthday to You; People Have the Power

Live Birthday Performance with her band: Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, Tony Shanahan, Jay Dee Daugherty, Jesse Paris Smith and Jackson Smith

Patti Smith A Black Friday Performance Veeps livestream 27 November 2020

patti ticketSo I finally entered the live streaming era. I couldn’t resist, of course, “seeing” Patti Smith “in concert” in a Veeps live streaming event on Black Friday. I must admit to being quite intrigued and excited about how my hero Patti would join me in my living room through my laptop. What would it be like? Could it in any way match a real live event?

Well all was to be revealed at 8 PM on 27th November. Having resisted the rush for online bargains on Black Friday, I made up for it by treating myself to joining Patti, her daughter Jessie Paris Smith and long-term sidekick Tony Shanahan for a concert in my living room. Patti appeared, on time (no long waiting for the artist to appear in this medium) in what looked like her Bowery upstairs room set out as a studio, with her patti tix 2daughter Jessie Paris on keyboards and Tony Shanahan or electric piano.

Patti started with a reading from her book “Year of the Monkey”, followed by a series of songs, most of which I recognised, on which she accompanied herself with an acoustic guitar and the keyboards of her fellow musicians. These included “My Blakean Year”(based around her thoughts and feelings of the poet William Blake), another poem “The Woes of the Young Scientists”, a beautiful cover of “After the Gold Rush” (for Neil Young’s 75th birthday the week before),”Elegie” for Jimi Hendrix, whose birthday it would have been that day (“Happy Birthday Jimi”, said Patti sweetly) and the lovely “This Is the Girl”, Patti illustrating the song with some lovely small hand/arm movements. The set closed with songs from more familiar territory including “Dancing Barefoot”, “People Have the Power” and, finally “Pissing in a River”. Patti was on fine form throughout, looking as lovely and natural as ever. A great performance by all three musicians.patti 1

Well, what are my final conclusions of a live streaming event? Did Patti really join me in my living room? Well, of course not, but there was a strange intimacy to the performance. Did it match up to a real-life event? No, nothing can match the atmosphere of a live rock performance, but it was okay as a substitute during these strange times. Would I go to another such event? Yes, perhaps, depending upon the artist and the context. Did I enjoy it? Come on, yes of course I enjoyed it. After all, it is Patti Smith!

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Setlist: Year of the Monkey (reading); Grateful; My Blakean Year; The Woes of the Young Scientists (Poem); After the Gold Rush (Neil Young cover); This Is the Girl; Elegie; Dancing Barefoot; Beneath the Southern Cross; Peaceable Kingdom / People Have the Power; Pissing in a River

The Pretenders Newcastle City Hall 30 September 2017

“I’m special, so special,” (Brass in Pocket, The Pretenders, 1979)

pretenders tixChrissie Hynde is as sassy, soulful, passionate and uncompromising as ever. No longer a young rocker who grew out of punk, new wave, working in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop in the Kings Road, who almost married Sid Vicious, and did marry her hero Ray Davies, Hynde still strikes a commanding pose and comes armed with a set of rocky, jangling songs which are as relevant and as much fun as they ever were.

Laura, Jackie my carer and I went along to the City Hall looking forward to hearing a string of hits, some great rock ‘n’ roll, and seeing the living icon that is Chrissie Hynde. The girls sitting beside us were a little worse for wear, singing along with every song and every now and then threatening to fall on top of, and flatten, Laura. All the ingredients for a fun night out, on the town (or should I say “the toon”).

And a fun night it was. The Pretenders treated us to a set of new songs, old hits, Chrissie Hynde solo tunes and more. After a couple of songs I didn’t recognise the old classics started to emerge: “Message of Love”, the exquisite “Talk of the Town” and then we were back to the start and “Kid” with images of the young Chrissie being soaked in beer thrown over her by members of the crowd at the Mayfair in the late 70s flashing through my mind.

The band may be different with only Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers remaining from the original Pretenders but the sound and the songs remain the same. The new members bring new life and continue the soulful, edgy, rock ‘n’ roll that is The Pretenders.

pretenders prog“Don’t Get Me Wrong” was followed by “I’ll Stand by You” and then after a few more songs my mind was flashing back again to the first time I saw the band in the Mayfair with the Kinks classic “Stop Your Sobbing”. “Back on the Chain Gang” took us towards the end.

But we knew it wasn’t really going to be the end. The encore included the classic ballad “I Go to Sleep” and finished with (of course, what else but) “Brass in Pocket” taking me back to a Friday night in Newcastle Polytechnic Students Union, the week the song was number one in the charts, standing on the tables with Marie, while the place erupted around us. It was so many years ago and yet in many ways it seems only like yesterday.

The girls next to us finally fell on the floor. We went out into the cold night and got in to our respective taxis, Laura back to her house in Newcastle and Jackie and I back to Sunderland. Happy days.

Setlist: Alone; Gotta Wait; Message of Love; Talk of the Town; Down the Wrong Way; Let’s Get Lost;   Kid; Private Life; Don’t Get Me Wrong; I’ll Stand by You; Night in My Veins; Don’t Cut Your Hair;  Boots of Chinese Plastic; Hymn to Her; Break Up the Concrete; Stop Your Sobbing; Adding the Blue;  Back on the Chain Gang; Mystery Achievement. Encore: I Go to Sleep; Middle of the Road; Thumbelina; Brass in Pocket

 

 

Blitzkrieg Bop: Various gigs 1977 and 1978

_DSC3253 [LR]Mark recently sent me some great photographs of punk bands playing locally in the late 70s and I have been including these in my posts. One band that I now realise I should have highlighted before is Teesside punk rockers Blitzkrieg Bop, who I saw many times often supporting “name” punk bands. The line-up of Blitzkrieg Bop changed several times but the main character I remember was “Blank Frank” the lead vocalist.

The core line-up of the band started as John Hodgson aka Blank Frank, Alan Cornforth aka Nicky Knoxx & Damian (Dimmer) Blackwell aka Telly Sett. After many line-up changes this trio finally emerged as Blitzkrieg Bop in February 1977, joined by Mick Hylton (aka Mick Sick) and Anne Hodgson (aka Gloria). They recorded their debut single “Let’s Go” / “Bugger Off” / “9 Till 5” and released a limited run of 500 copies in early June 1977. By this time guitarist Dimmer Blackwell had left and the band carried on as a four piece. The single sold out within days and received a good review in the NME. (Adapted from Wikipedia).

I definitely saw Blitzkrieg Bop support Radio Stars at Newcastle Poly (7th October 1977) a_DSC3235 [CROP][LR] gig in which their set was interrupted by young band Speed who would often turn up and play at gigs unannounced. I also saw them supporting Generation X at Newcastle University (11th March 1978), X-Ray Spex at Redcar Coatham Bowl (23rd April 1978) and Penetration at Redcar Coatham Bowl (8th December 1978). I also saw them supporting Penetration at Middlesbrough Rock Garden on at least a couple of occasions (possibly 27th January 1978 and/or 18th March 1978). (Thanks to the great Blitzkrieg Bop site for the dates of the gigs).

Like many of the local punk bands of the time, Blitzkrieg Bop were a breath of fresh air: crazy, kooky, cool (all at the same time!), fast, reckless, exciting and best of all LOUD! Happy, happy days.

Thanks again to Mark for his great photographs of Blitzkrieg Bop, taken at Middlesbrough Rock Garden.

In the next few days I shall return to some more recent gigs and cover concerts I have seen over the last few years including KISS, Rolling Stones, The Who and many more.

The Stranglers Newcastle Polytechnic Green bar 23 February 1977

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My Ticket

This is an update of an earlier post, thanks to Mark the promoter, who sent me more details of the first three punk gigs in Newcastle. This was the second gig of the three, the first being the Vibrators and the last being Penetration; both of which I have already written about.

I first saw the Stranglers in the Green bar of Newcastle Poly in February 1977, and have a natty little ticket from the event (pictured here) which shows a victim of (I think) the Boston Strangler. The bar was completely packed. The audience was a mix of students, and locals with a smattering of people starting to wear punk gear. A group of fashion students were into the punk scene and would dress in Vivienne Westwood gear which they must have bought from Seditionaries in London. The Stranglers played a blistering performance featuring early songs, many of which were to appear on their soon to be released first album, “Rattus Norvegicus”. Their only release at the time of the Poly gig was the first single “Grip”/”London Lady”. “London Lady” was probably my favourite song of theirs at the time.

I found a bootleg listed for a performance at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, also on 23rd February 1977. The Rock Garden gig was in fact the night after, on 24th February 1977. The recording shows the set as being: Get A Grip On Yourself; Sometimes; Bitching; School Mam; Peasant In The Big Shitty; Straighten Out; Hanging Around; Ugly; London Lady; Down In The Sewer; Something Better Change; Go Buddy Go. If that set list is correct it seems that the band had already written, and were playing, tracks such as “Bitching” and “School Mam” that would end up on their second album “No More Heroes”.

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Picture courtesy of Mark from a later gig at The City Hall

Mark says: “The Stranglers originally asked for more money than we had in the bank. But they made us an offer… if we put them up for the night, they would reduce their fee by £50, which made the gig possible. They were a great bunch of guys, very interesting to talk to. And they gave my and my bother a lift in their old rover car to the gig at the Rock Garden in Middlesbrough which was the next day. I recorded the Middlesbrough gig and is available amongst collectors (Aha, so that is where the aforementioned bootleg came from; it was courtesy of you Mark!) I also recorded the Newcastle Poly gig, but the sound on the recording was no good, so I didn’t keep it (the sound at the gig itself was great). All the posters had the same design, except different colours. The Stranglers sent publicity stuff, which I used for the tickets. But I designed my own poster, because I didn’t want people copying the poster to forge tickets. At that time, the Stranglers were the best known punk band after the Pistols.”

“RIP Dave Greenfield. His keyboards defined The Stranglers sound.” Well said Bryan.