Posts Tagged ‘reggae’

Billy Ocean Newcastle City Hall 22 April 2023

ocean tix“Billy is a Geordie”. So the chant went from the Newcastle crowd. Billy joined in and danced around while the crowd kept chant going. This occurred halfway through the set and demonstrated the love and respect the Newcastle crowd have for Billy Ocean. He has appeared at the venue several times before and to my shame, I have always thought about going, but for some reason always passed up the chance.

ocean4This time I went along and the impetus came from the man himself. I saw pictures of him and he looks so cool these days. He is reborn as a Rasta Man with long grey dreadlocks right down his back, almost to his waist. Completely unrecognisable from cool soul singer of the 80s. So when I saw recent pictures of Rasta Billy I decided I should go and show my support for the cool guy. And after all, I do know lots of his songs.

ocean suppThe City Hall was packed. Carer Jan and I arrived during the set of the support act, a young female singer Anthonia Edwards who was just great. I discovered afterwards that she was the winner of the UK TV show The Voice in 2022. She warmed the crowd up well. After a short interval Billy took to the stage and everyone was up on their feet singing and dancing from the start. The hits just kept on coming. I had forgotten how many hits this guy has had over the years. Some great songs and some really massive worldwide smashes. The second song in is “Love Really Hurts Without You”. Lots of singing along and dancing. Billy is Mr Cool, with a cream suit, collar and tie, natty little jacket pocket hanky and those wonderful dreads going right down his back. Respect. A few more songs in and another massive smash that we all singalong to: “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car”. Roll forward a few more and “Red Light Spells Danger” is another fantastic crowd pleaser.

ocean2Then he returns to his true roots, Bob Marley, and he does justice to “no woman, no cry”. My thoughts run back to the hot summer of 1976 when Marie and I were dancing along to Bob Marley performing that very song in Leeds Students Union Refectory. Billy brings back magic memories. The ballad “Suddenly” is just lovely. Billy the Geordie leaves us with, of course, “When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going”. Another massive singalong, the capacity crowd simply love the guy and his performance is superb. For many of the songs he holds his microphone towards the audience who take over the singing.

ocean progNow sometimes I don’t like it when an artist allows the audience to take over, but the vibe between Billy and the City Hall crowd is so strong and there is so much love for the guy, it works well. It is like we are all with him, the artist and the audience together as one; as it should be. A few moments later and he is back. There is only one song left to perform: “Caribbean Queen”. We all singalong with Billy the born-again Rasta man Geordie. Magic.ocean3
So that concludes my three days of concerts: Mike and the Mechanics, Matt Goss and Billy Ocean. Three very different acts and all excellent in their own way. A bit of a rest before my next concert.

Setlist: One World; Love Really Hurts Without You; Nights (Feel Like Getting Down); There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry); Love Zone; Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car; “Billy Is A Geordie”; The Colour of Love; Red Light Spells Danger; No Woman, No Cry; Mystery; Suddenly; Loverboy; When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going.

Encore: Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)

Jimmy Cliff Newcastle Riverside 6th August 2015

Jimmy Cliff Newcastle Riverside 6th August 2015
jimmycliffSeeing Jimmy Cliff has been on my bucket list for many years. Well last week I finally got to see him and The Man he didn’t let me down. The Riverside was ram packed with a lively mix of soul dudes, punks and roots rockets all ready to dance, sing and shout along with those great toons. The place was hot, Jimmy Cliff was on fire and the band were lively and loud. Great songs: “You Can Get It If You Really Want”,”Wild World”, “Vietnam”, “Many Rivers to Cross” sung with passion by Jimmy and by half the crowd too. But for me the toppest of top classic is and always will be, as The Man told us, the song which “I Man brought reggae to the world”: “The Harder They Come”. Takes me back to a day when reggae was fresh, new, exciting, raw, different. I’ve said it before and I will no doubt say it again, but the old guys are (at least to me) truly the best. Great to see a guy who lives up to his own legend. 100% class act. Respect. image
Setlist (something like): Bongo Man / Rivers of Babylon; You Can Get It If You Really Want; Hard Road to Travel; Rebel Rebel; Wild World; This Is My Love Song; Under the Sun, Moon and Stars; I Can See Clearly Now; Reggae Night; Vietnam; The Harder They Come; Many Rivers to Cross; King of Kings; Miss Jamaica; Wonderful World, Beautiful People; Let Your Yeah Be Yeah; Treat the Youths Right; Rub-A-Dub Partner; Reggae Music
Encore: Special; Roots Woman
“So as sure as the sun will shine
I’m gonna get my share now of what’s mine
And then the harder they come
The harder they’ll fall, one and all” (Jimmy Cliff, 1972)

UB40 live 1980 to 1982

UB40 live 1980 to 1982
ub40tix80UB40 emerged out of the renewed interest in reggae during the punk and new wave movement of the late 70s and early 80s. UB40 were formed by Robin Campbell, his younger brother Ali, Earl Falconer, Brian Travers, James Brown, and Norman Hassan, who were all friends in Birmingham. They recruited Michael Virtue and Astro and aligned themselves to left-wing political ideals, naming themselves after an unemployment benefit form. I first saw them live during the summer of 1980 around the time of their debut single “King / Food For Thought” which reached the UK Top 5. I saw UB40 twice in the same week at Sunderland Mayfair on 23rd July 1980, and then supporting the Police at Milton Keynes Bowl on 26th July 1980.ub40tix
UB40’s music was very different to anything else at the time. Political lyrics, sung over reggae rhythms with some lengthy instrumental passages, with horn solos and some rap and scat singing. Visually they were also very different, with so many musicians on stage. I remember going to the Sunderland gig having only heard “Food for Thought” and being pleasantly surprised by their performance.
ub40progUB40’s first album “Signing Off” was released in September 1980. The album cover shows a yellow British UB40 unemployment benefit card from which the band took their name, stamped with the words SIGNING OFF, signally that the band were leaving the world of unemployment and had arrived on the music scene. “Signing Off” went to No. 2 in the UK and stayed on the album chart for 72 weeks. I saw UB40 twice more, at Newcastle City Hall on 9th June 1981 & 19th January 1982. Both of these were great, fun gigs.
UB40 setlist from 1980: Tyler; My Way of Thinking; Burden of Shame; Strange Fruit; Adella; One In Ten; I Think It’s Going to Rain Today; Summertime; King; 25%.
Encore: Food For Thought; Little by Little
“Ivory Madonna dying in the dust, Waiting for the manna coming from the west.
Barren is her bosom, empty as her eyes, Death a certain harvest scattered from the skies.” (Food for Thought, UB40, 1980)

The Slits : Simply Whats Happening; Newcastle City Hall 23rd September 1979

The Slits, Don Cherry & Happy House, Prince Hammer & Creation Rebel: Simply Whats Happening; Newcastle City Hall 23rd September 1979
slitstixThis was a very adventurous and quite ground breaking tour, which united female punk thrash icons The Slits with legendary innovative jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and Jamaican reggae masters Prince Hammer and Creation Rebel. An early example of punk acting as a platform for world music fusion, this collection of artists toured the major concert halls in the UK, calling at Newcastle City Hall. I’d seen the Slits perform twice before as support for the Clash, and also supporting the Buzzcocks. They had just released their first album “Cut”. Viv Albertine “We knew we were a first, which could be uncomfortable, and we were much more revolutionary than the Pistols and the Clash. They were rock bands, whereas we were using world music and reggae, filtered through our own musicality. We were like a female Spinal Tap, really: we argued, toured and wanted to make a classic album that never dated.” (Interview by Caroline Sullivan, The Guardian, Monday 24 June 2013)
slitsprogThe Slits line-up was the late Ari Up on vocals, guitarist Viv Albertine, Tessa Pollitt on bass and (soon to be Banshee) Budgie on drums. I think Neneh Cherry, Don’s daughter joined them for the tour. Ari Up was a crazy wild front lady, complete with dreads, outlandish outfits and nifty dancing.
From the programme: “This is simply what’s happening…..what’s happening here is real music played by people from three different cultures. Three different musics united by one expression – freedom.
Enjoy yourself, keep room in your head and heart for music from all different cultures and places – we all live under the same sun…” Disc O’Dell
Sadly, with no massive audience draw on the tour, attendance was not great. The Newcastle show was very poorly attended with only a couple of hundred people in a hall which holds 2,400. Pity, because this was an interesting evening with some different and challenging music. The programme (pictured here) is also very different and contains some scribbly doodling artwork and slogans, presumably drawn by one or more of the band.

Steel Pulse Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt 11th June 1978

Steel Pulse Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt 11th June 1978
steelpulsetixSteel Pulse are a roots reggae band, from the Handsworth area of Birmingham. They formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School, composed of David Hinds (lead vocals, guitar), Basil Gabbidon (lead guitar, vocals), and Ronald McQueen (bass). They achieved considerable success in the late 70s as part of the interest in reggae alongside the growth of punk. This gig at Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt was around the time they released their first album “Handsworth Revolution”. The place was packed and this was a great concert. I recall that they played the single “Ku Klux Klan” which discussed the evils of racism, and during which they donned the Klan hoods, Heavy stuff.

Graham Parker and the Rumour Newcastle Academy 1st June 2014

Graham Parker and the Rumour Newcastle Academy 1st June 2014
grahampA few weeks ago I was writing about my memories of seeing Graham Parker in the 70s. At the time I wrote” “there was no better band than Graham Parker and the Rumour in the late 70s. They exploded out of pub rock and were part of the scene, and sound, which influenced punk and new wave. Graham Parker was the coolest guy on the planet and rocked and sang white soul and R&B like no-one else (OK maybe that’s a little unfair on Van Morrisson who was clearly a strong influence on Graham). The Rumour came with all the right pub-rock credentials featuring the legnedary Brinsley Schwarz (lead guitar) and Bob Andrews (keyboards) (both ex Brinsley Schwarz), Martin Belmont (rhythm guitar, ex Ducks Deluxe) and Andrew Bodnar (bass) and Steve Goulding (drums).”
At the time I didn’t know that I would be seeing them again, for the first time in 30-odd years. In 2011, Parker called up his old Rumour band mates and asked them to work with him again; they produced a new album that was their first together in over 30 years, and went out to play some shows. Last night they made their way back to Newcastle. Graham Parker explained how, outside the venue, a guy caught him and showed him a ticket for their concert at the City Hall in 1979, which he had signed at the time. He asked Graham to sign it again; which he duly did. He recalled those nights at the City Hall and other venues (the Poly as I recall) to cheers from the crowd, most of whom were surely at those gigs themselves. grahamparkerprogOf the reunion Parker says: “This has not been about touring for touring’s sake, or about making money….but we felt we had to get out there for a short while at least and be a part of the “This Is 40″ entourage….and bash some instruments around for the heck of it.” The tour has been having rave reviews; for example: “There was no need for any concerns over the 35-year gap. GP and the Rumour resolutely remain one of rock’s great live acts and the intervening years have done nothing to diminish their enduring powers. ” (the Birmingham Mail)
Well he didn’t let us down. Parker is still the same cool, cocky, energetic guy that he always was. From the moment they opened with Fool’s Gold, you just knew it was going to be good. The Rumour are still the tightest, hottest, rock, soul and reggae band on the planet (skanky beats, as Parker called them) and Parker is as animated and soulful as ever. Great stuff.
The setlist was something like this; I may have missed some: Fool’s Gold; Hotel Chambermaid; Snake Oil Capital of the World; Coathangers; No Holding Back; Howlin’ Wind; New Song; Live in Shadows; Lady Doctor; Love Gets You Twisted; Stick to Me; Watch the Moon Come Down; Get Started, Start a Fire; Discovering Japan; Nobody Hurts You; Pourin” it all out; Local Girls. Encore: You Can’t Be Too Strong; Don’t Ask Me Questions. Encore 2: Soul Shoes

The Specials Newcastle Mayfair 9th November 1979 19th September 1980

The Specials Newcastle Mayfair 9th November 1979 18th September 1980
specialstix In Autumn 1979 The Specials released their debut album, entitled simply ‘Specials’ and a 40 date ‘2 Tone Tour’ of the country began featuring The Specials, Madness and The Selecter. The tour ended at Newcastle Mayfair on 9th November 1979 and played to a packed house. The music was great, marred by some fighting in the crowd. From a review of the time: “Madness and The Selecter join The Specials for an all band finale of Skinhead Moonstomp which had become a tradition of the tour. A horde of fans invaded the stage and cause chaos. Which has by now become a tradition of the tour.” All three bands played excellent sets that night and bootleg recordings exist of the Specials and Madness from the concert.
Specials setlist: (Dawning of a) New Era; Do the Dog; It’s Up to You; Monkey Man; Rat Race; Blank Expression; Rude Boys Outa Jail; Concrete Jungle; Too Hot; Doesn’t Make It Alright; Stupid Marriage; Too Much Too Young; The Guns of Navarone; Little Bitch; A Message to You, Rudy; Nite Klub; Gangsters; Longshot Kick De Bucket; Skinhead Moonstomp; You’re Wondering Now
The Specials were back at the Mayfair for an equally crazy show in 1980. Support came from The Swinging Cats. Jerry Dammers talking about crowd stage invasions at the time: “At first it was a great laugh – we’re all in this together, there’s no stars here. Then people were getting on-stage two numbers into the set. It became tedious and dangerous, but you couldn’t stop it. One gig we told the audience it was too dangerous and they wouldn’t have it and it ended up in a massive ruck with the bouncers.”

SPECIALSUpdate 27 December 2021. Many thanks to Jimmy Burns (a.k.a. Punk Hoarder) who kindly provided me with an image of the poster for the second gig. Another crazy, crazy night. People were trying to climb on stage and sing and dance with the band. This caused lots of fun, but also numerous interruptions in the show. The Specials were really on top form in those days and a great live band who went on to have some very special (no pun intended) chart hits. I wish I could relive the punk era and go to some of those concerts again. I also wish I had taken a camera. But at least I was there to experience it and still hold (some of) my memories. Happy days!

The Police & U2 Gateshead Stadium 31st July 1982

The Police Gateshead Stadium 1982
Support Acts: U2, The Beat, Gang Of Four, Lords Of The New Church.
policegatesheadtixSting: “Seven years ago I left this town and I said I would make it. It’s nice to come back and make you part of the success.”
Another one day event headlined by The Police. This one was local to me (no three hour drive home; great 🙂 ). The weather was ok, dull but no major rain problems. Attendance was estimated at around 12,000; well below the capacity, and there was lots of empty space in the stadium. The Police were good, but for me and most of he crowd, the revelation of the day was U2. I had seen U2 a few times before this gig, and thought they were good, but it was at this Gateshead gig that I realised just how powerful a U2 performance could be. Bono was simply sensational; his singing, passion, energy and performance were amazing. He climbed all over the lighting towers and had the entire crowd on his side by the end of their set. The Police found it hard to follow U2, and Sting wasn’t in a particularly good mood; but after a slow start, all those hits got the crowd singing along. The standard Police three piece line-up was augmented by a brass section for this show.
From reviews of the time:
“U2 took advantage of the day’s upswing to reinforce the numerous claims made on their behalf to be ‘the next big thing’. Currently cooped up in the country getting their third album together, they exploded with a barrage of pent-up energy that no amount of pastoral activity can fulfil. “(Sounds)
policegatesheadprog“The Police were totally predictable. Coming on over a tape to ecstatic applause from the half empty stadium, Sting yodelled and changed basses for every other song in sight …. I can’t say that they played badly – they’re much too professional and slick for that – but their many hits were trotted out with a lack of excitement which suggests that their days as a group may be numbered [interesting comment in hindsight]….The audience loved it – but then at £8.30 a time they could hardly afford not to could they? ” (Record Mirror)
U2 setlist: Gloria; I Threw A Brick; A Day Without Me; An Cat Dubh; Into The Heart; Rejoice; Electric Co; I Will Follow; Out Of Control. Encore(s): A Celebration; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; The Ocean
The Police setlist: Message In A Bottle; Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic; Walking On The Moon; Spirits In The Material World; Hungry For You; When The World Is Running Down; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; De do do do, De da da da; Demolition Man; Shadows In The Rain; Driven To Tears; Bring On The Night; One World (Not Three); Invisible Sun (with Bono); Roxanne; Don’t Stand So Close To Me; Can’t Stand Losing You; Regatta de Blanc; Be My Girl; Can’t Stand Losing You; So Lonely

The Members Dunelm House Durham University 1980

The Members Dunelm House Durham University Sat 16th Feb 1980
memberstixI saw quite a few bands at Durham University Students Union, which held student dances in Dunelm House during the 70s. The trouble was I usually paid at the door, and as result I have few ticket stubs to remind me of the bands that I saw there. I recall attending gigs there by Adam and the Ants, Curved Air, Slade, Climax Blues Band, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and probably many more that I have forgotten. This is one of the rare gigs that I do have a ticket stub for. The Members were “formed in Surrey, England, in the summer of 1977, …. and played at the Roxy and all the other Punk clubs on the London circuit. The original band – composed of Nicky Tesco (vocals), Jean-Marie Caroll (guitar), Nigel Bennett (guitar), Adrian Lillywhite (drums), and Chris Payne (bass) – was among the first to successfully blend reggae rhythms with punk’s attitude and aggression.” (from the Members’ official site). I saw these guys at least three times; at this gig, supporting Eddie and the Hot Rods at the City Hall and at the Reading Festival. Nicky Tesco was a great front man, who sang with a passion and really engaged with the crowd. Members’ music was a cross between punk and reggae which worked pretty well, and the hit single “The Sounds of the Suburbs” was played everywhere I went in 1979, when it reached No 12 in the UK charts, which was their biggest hit. The Members were good fun, although the only song that really sticks in my mind is “The Sounds of the Suburbs”, which was a favourite of mine “back in the day”. The Members have recently reformed although I don’t think Nicky Tesco is in the line-up. Still I bet its fun to see them again.
“Same old boring Sunday morning old mans out washing the car, Mums in the kitchen cooking Sunday dinner her best meal moaning while it lasts. Johnnys upstairs in his bedroom sitting in the dark, Annoying the neighbours with his punk rock electric guitar.
This is the Sound, This is the Sound of the Suburbs, This is the Sound, This is the Sound of the Suburbs !!!! 🙂 (The Members, 1979).

Bob Marley and the Wailers Leeds University Refectory June 1976

Bob Marley and the Wailers Leeds University Refectory June 1976
bobmarley This was the red hot summer of 1976 and Bob Marley was big news. “No Woman, No Cry” had hit the charts, and his legendary 1975 show at the Lyceum was a massive success which received rave reviews in the rock press. Leeds University was the nearest gig to the North East of England on Bob Marley’s 1976 tour, but it had been sold out for weeks in advance, and I didn’t have a ticket. Marie and I decided to drive down to Leeds on the off chance of buying a couple of tickets outside. We arrived early and joined crowds of people sitting on the grass and in the union bar, waiting for the doors to open. I wandered around asking if anyone had any spare tickets and eventually managed to buy a couple of from a guy in a nearby pub (I think it may have been the Packhorse?). I paid a little more than face value. The Union refectory was completely packed to the walls for the gig, and it was so hot and sweaty in that hall that night. I wasn’t that familiar with Bob Marley’s material at the time, but I do remember recognising “I Shot the Sheriff”, “No Woman, No Cry” and “Get Up, Stand Up”. At this time the Wailers featured Family Man, Junior Marvin, and the I-Threes with Rita Marley. I remember finding it a very different sort of concert to the rock gigs that I was used to at the time. In particular, the music was much quieter, and the reggae beats and rhythms were so relentless, and had everyone dancing. The dreadlocks, the rastafarian dress, the I-Threes in their robes; this was all so new to me. A world away from heavy rock, and punk was yet to really emerge. A strong smell of dope hung in the air. Bob Marley seemed so natural and unassuming on stage, yet there was a quiet charisma about him. You just knew that he meant every word he sang. A great gig. Possibly one of the best I have been to, and another that I wish I could live again. Setlist: Trenchtown Rock; Them Belly Full (But We Hungry); Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Roadblock); I Shot the Sheriff; Crazy Baldhead; Want More; No Woman, No Cry; Lively Up Yourself; Roots, Rock, Reggae; Positive Vibration; Rat Race; War; No More Trouble; Get Up, Stand Up.