03 December 2014

My first ever gig

Howard Jones, at Liverpool Royal Court.  Howard bloody Jones.  People talk about their first gigs being a cool indie band at some underground club.  For me, it was Howard Jones.  I guess the saving grace is that I was only 13 at the time, and none of my other friends from school had been to a gig at all.  The next day, I took the tour programme in to school trying to be cool.

I have a hard time working out exactly when this was.  The programme isn't clear, but from cross-referencing it must have been in March 1984.  At this time, Howard was very popular.  The first 2 singles released in 1983 had gone into the top 5, New Song

and What is Love?, with Howard moping around Paris


At the time, I was still hanging out with Si McMahon, Steve Bishop and Mike Howarth outside school friends.  They'd got quite into the style, clothes from Fosters or Burton, which I was amazed to find is still going.  I had my red grandfather shirt, blue/grey "pegs" and blue shoes.

I can't remember much about the gig itself.  Support was from Endgames, a Scottish new wave band, pretty unremarkable apart from some pissed up guy throwing up in the crowd near us.  Then quite a crush as Howard came on.  Someone has posted most of a gig he did a few months earlier in his home town, High Wycombe, and I'm sure this gig was fairly similar, with Jed's "crazy" dancing to supplement Howard's musicianship.

There's also a review of the Newcastle gig from this tour, which helps place the date as late March.

In hindsight, not horrendous, a little bump in "status" in class and a good experience.

04 June 2011

Starting from scratch

I've decided to restart this from scratch.  I'm now in a position to upload photos and audio, which embellishes the stories, and I have a little more know how about blogs too.

Watch this space, and keep an eye out on Dimeadozen for digitised tapes of gigs, most of which I wasn't at!

08 March 2008

Proper punk

I'd never been to the 100 Club before, famous for some of the early punk gigs. Met Ali outside Tottenham Court Road tube stop, and courtesy of James got in for free on the guest list. Apparently, Gallows had fucked over the touts the night before by leaving 100 tickets for sale on the door.

The venue has a really odd shape, with the stage along the side of a long thin room, so that it seems very shallow.

It was a fairly early show. The support band, Tortuga, were a dreadful hardcore outfit. Deep growling into the mike. The audience gradually wandered off towards the bars. It was generally a very young audience, with suprisingly fit women!

Gallows came on an were really good, inspiring a decent moshpit. It's not the sort of thing I would usually listen to, but I was happily surprised by the energy of the music. Frank croud surfed, smashed up a mike on the merchandise stand, tried to stand on the bar. They did a Ruts cover with Lethal Bizzle, which ended up with Bizzle diving into the crowd, to be pulled back by his security man, Big James.

The show ended with half the audience on the stage.

02 March 2008

Old times revisited

A big trip down memory lane last night, and not just for me by the looks of the audience, with the Mission's "last" gig. The last of 4 nights at Shepherd's Bush Empire to go out in style, each one focusing on an individual album. It was almost 20 years to the day since I saw them for the first time at Liverpool Royal Court on the Children tour, and 22 years since hearing Serpent's Kiss on the radio. I think I only saw them 5 or 6 times, but it was part of what got me into following a band. Every band round that time had their following, hitching round the country, drinking Thunderbird, with their kit bags. For my sins, I ended up following the Rose of Avalanche to 35 gigs. I also had tonnes of Mish bootlegs, from all their tours, including some of the fan club shows.

We got there to find we had tickets for Level 1, not standing, which was a shame as the mosh pit looked good - maybe I'm a bit old, unfit and wimpy for that these days. All the Eskimos were down there like the old days, with plenty of towers going up.

The first half of the show was them playing the whole of Carved in Sand, plus a couple of B-sides. We arrived as they were already into Amelia. The whole album sounds really good live. The set-list for this part was:

Hands Across The Ocean
Into The Blue
Butterfly On A Wheel
Sea Of Love
Grapes Of Wrath/Lovely
Bird Of Passage
Belief (with Simon Hinkler)
Hungry As The Hunter (with Simon Hinkler)
Deliverance (with Simon Hinkler)
Like A Child Again (with Miles Hunt And Erica Nockalls)
Mr Pleasant (with Miles Hunt And Erica Nockalls)

We had upside down leg dancing during Grapes of Wrath. Wayne commented on hating Paradise, but it came together pretty well. The songs with Simon Hinkler were great and Sharon really enjoyed the set.

The second half was a mix of tunes from across the years, but it was quite an odd mix with various things that only rarely got played live. Even more disappointing was the lack of Wasteland, Beyond the Pale, Sacrilege, Blood Brother... In fact, there was little off Children, though apparently they played Wasteland and Serpent's Kiss at the aftershow. The set didn't quite gel and Sharon got fairly bored at times. The set list was something like this, though I think the order may be wrong - Wake may have been later.

Like A Hurricane
Over The Hills And Far Away
Bridges Burning
And The Dance Goes On
Stay With Me
Island In A Stream
Love Me To Death
Dream On
Forever More
1969 (with Simon Hinkler)
Shelter From The Storm (with Simon Hinkler)
Tower of Strength (with Simon Hinkler)

The newer songs Afterglow and Forever More didn't really do it for me, but I'm going to give the albums a listen. I hadn't really bought anything since a bootleg copy of Masque in Bangkok in 1993!

The encores were awesome, remiscent of that famous Tube performance when the Eskimos were in the audience and they did one of the 12 inch mixes of Tower to end with.

So, the end of an era. I'll go back and listen to the songs. Hope to get a record player set up to pull out the vinyl. I think I had all the 12 inch singles for many years.

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07 January 2006

Yo La Tengo - Hannukah 2-5

We made it to Yo La Tengo's annual run of Hannukah shows at Maxwell's this year. It was the fifth night and Jesse's Frank and Earthy Blog provides a good description. We wouldn't know. We arrived in Hoboken straight from the office. I parked the Escort in a riduculously small space that made even a Mini driver envious. The Honda was in the garage for service and they fucked up the alignment (another story).

After eating, we made it in to see Half Japanese. Despite having a couple of albums, I knew very little about them. Apparently, this was their first live show for quite a while - accounts vary, as someone claimed 1987, yet apparently they opened for Nirvana on the In Utero tour, so someone's lying or just stupid. Jad's brother is definitely weird, but there was some good stuff once YLT got up there to join them.

After Half Japanese finished, everything got a bit weird. I got designated to drive. They brought on an abysmal comic, who could only talk about sucking dick, even god's dick. Then, the roadies spent ages sorting out the stage, despite them having played the same place for the last few nights. Mrs. H felt a bit claustrophobic and had had one too many beers, so went to sit in the bar, leaving me alone and worried about her. I stayed as YLT eventually made it onto stage. It was much louder than I'd expected. Louder than Sonic Youth at the same venue, which was a surprise. Stayed for the first couple of songs (set list at the link above), but then got too worried about Mrs. H to leave her alone and feeling sick in the bar. Shame, as it sounded interesting. Must find a bootleg somewhere.

21 October 2005

Kiss My Arse

4 March 88

Ahh, the Pogues. Went to see them at the Royal Court in Liverpool, 4th March 1988 (date courtesy of this site). It was part of the tour to promote my favourite album of theirs, If I Should Fall From Grace with God.

I think I went with either John Burrows or Tim Holden, but can't be certain. Anyway, it was a huge Irish celebration, drawing on the big influences in Liverpool, with tricolours being waves, and a quite rough gig down the front. Shane was totally drunk, not a surprise really. Kirty McColl joined them on stage for Fairytale of New York.

I haven't yet been able to confirm the set list, but Pogues Live has the following from the previous night in Manchester:

The Broad Majestic Shannon / Medley / Bottle Of Smoke / Repeal Of The Licensing Laws / Kitty / If I Should Fall From Grace With God / Boat Train / Metropolis / A Rainy Night In Soho / Thousands Are Sailing / Streets Of Sorrow-Birmingham Six / FairyTale Of New York (with Kirsty MacColl) / Lullaby Of London / Johnny Come Lately / Turkish Song Of The Damned / Dirty Old Town / Fiesta / Sally MacLennane / The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn / Jesse James (Spider Stacy vocals) / A Pair Of Brown Eyes / The Irish Rover / The Parting Glass

I don't have many specific memories, but it was a good night. I recall the venom in Shane's voice during the Birmingham Six.

There's a video on YouTube of Fairytale from a few nights later in London.

14 July 2005

Trash City or Trash Girl?

Slightly out of order, but I recently came across this link to a recording of the first ever gig I went to in Oxford, shortly after matriculation. Transvision Vamp at Oxford Polytechnic (now a university.)

October 1988 and I went up to Oxford, as a fresh-faced youth. Within the first couple of weeks, I made a good bunch of friends and managed to drag a few of them up the hill to the Poly for this show on 21 October. I Want Your Love had been a big hit, with Wendy James the trashy, slutty blonde singer adorning the music press and Top of the Pops. I'd seen them earlier in the year (28Jun88) back home, which was allegedly one of their first ever gigs (More to follow on that one).

I can't remember exactly who went, but I think Al, Fi, Steph, Katie Healey, maybe Viks, Marc Fearnett were all there. Can't remember who opened for them, and I remember them playing I Want Your Love twice, as they obviously only had the songs from the debut album and a couple of B-sides. It was a mix of pop, glam and guitars. Looking back, they wrote a few good tunes, but aren't going to be up there when we come to reminisce about greatness.

08 March 2005

They Shoot Horses, Don't They

That was the classic, but somewhat cruel, headline that appeared in the NME or Melody Maker for a review of an All About Eve gig, along with a huge photo of Julianne Regan the band's singer.

So, what do you reckon? See the resemblence?

Anyway, this gig (12 Feb 1988) was before all that. All About Eve were one of the up & coming goth bands, along with the rather ridicolous cowboy-goths, the Field of the Nephilim. They'd already supported the Mission on tour, and this was one of their first headline tours. They'd also picked up a "following". More to come on those as this blog (and my life) progresses, but all good goth bands needed a bunch of scruffy gits hitching round the country ex-Army kitbags and going to all the shows. The Mission had the Eskimos, NMA the Militia etc. However, All About Eve were in the process of ditching their more goth routes and going folk on us.

I think it was my first gig at going up to the Mountford Hall at Liverpool Uni. I went with my girlfriend at the time, the virginal Iggy. We got up there quite early and there was a whole bunch of people I knew from my school and the girls' school too. There was some of the goth crowd from biology I'm sure - Tony Jones, Rob Hill, Fran Eyre, Tim Holden, Marc Fearnett, maybe "Bob" Varley too. Not sure if John B was with us. I'm sure Naomi & Lisa Acton were. Then I ran into Si McMahon, a ex-friend from years before, from who I heard the phrase "frig me sideways" for the first time that night, and Steve Bishop.

No idea who the support band was, and I can't remember too much about the gig, apart from going and having a bit of a jump up and down towards the end. Iggy didn't want to get down into the wrecking area. It was by no means full in there, and I do remember them playing Every Angel twice, as proved by this Set list

01 Intro
02 Every Angel
03 Candy Tree
04 Lady Moonlight
05 In The Clouds
06 Flowers In Our Hair
07 Never Promise
08 Shelter From The Rain
09 Wild Hearted Woman
10 More Than This Hour
11 What Kind Of Fool
12 In The Meadow
13 Paradise
14 Our Summer
15 Every Angel

I've got a tape of this somewhere, probably in the parents' garage, which I should dig out for old times' sake.

They'd already ditched the early really goth stuff, such as D for Desire, that got them signed in the first place. Instead playing some of that airy fairy crap that made the album and B-sides to singles round the time. I think I still have a box set limited edition 12 inch of "In the Clouds" somewhere, that I bought as a gullible teenager.

I'm not sure if I ever saw them again. Maybe a spot at a festival. As with what seems like every other sodding band I write about, they are still going. Well, Julianne is, anyway. Tim Bricheno went off and played with the Mission. If they played near here, I'd maybe go for a laugh, but I doubt it.

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06 March 2005

Little did we know

11 January 1988, back to Liverpool for another Bunnymen gig. This time, they're touring on the back of the pretty weak Echo and the Bunnymen album. Songs like Bomber's Bay, while easy on the ear, don't quite cut it with the classics of their catalogue, though Lips Like Sugar kept some of the venom. This time, it was at the Liverpool Empire, my first gig there.

I remember it was me & John B, with Naomi & Lisa. Not sure if there was anyone else sitting with us in the balcony. Certainly Tim H was down in the standing area, and no doubt Fran Eyre and a few others too.

Support was the Primitives, just before they hit it big with Crash. They were getting radio play with songs like Really Stupid, Stop Killing Me and the re-release of the fantastic Thru the Flowers. Cute blonde singer, rocked up jingly pop. They shone for a brief while, then crashed and burned. More about them later in this gig blog.

Then, the Bunnymen. By now, I was more of a fan and knew most of their stuff. Despite the new album, there was still a lot of the older stuff. The set-list was:

Heaven Up Here
With A Hip
Bombers Bay
All I Want
Back Of Love
Seven Seas
Bedbugs & Ballyhoo
The Cutter
Show Of Strength
New Direction
Lips Like Sugar
Over Your Shoulder
Thorn Of Crowns
Do It Clean
All That Jazz
Twist & Shout

Over Your Shoulder was only played rarely and sounded heavily influenced by the Jesus & Mary Chain. I always loved the song, which was a B-side to Bring on the Dancing Horses (along with Bedbugs & Ballyhoo). And Twist & Shout was highly appropriate back home. 60 minutes of the show was broadcast on Radio 1 a few weeks later. We reckoned John's whistles were on the tape :)

After this show, the band played in Glasgow, then headed off to the US for a few shows. Then Mac left. The rest of the band had a meeting, but on the way, Pete de Freitas was tragically killed in a road accident. So, this was the last ever show in Liverpool of the classic Bunnymen line up. They'd return many years later, after pursuing different paths, but it would never quite be the same again.

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02 March 2005

I won!

It's early 1988 and the if you're into alternative music (i.e. not Stock, Aitken & Waterman), the local radio landscape is pretty bleak. It's a matter of waiting around for Radio 1's evening shows to kick in and get some relief (ooer, missus) from Janice Long and the legend himself, Peelie. But wait, from 6-7pm there's The Noise with Tony Snell on Radio City. With an emphasis on local music - anyone remember It's Immaterial? Thought not - it's a bit of a forerunner of some of the better regional music shows, such as Hit the North which launched the career of Mark Radcliffe.

(edit: found another Radio City Tribute site)

Anyway, I used to try to listen to Snelly before my dad got home from work and wanted to hear the news (Radio 4 of course). One evening, they had a competition to win tickets to see the Alarm. The question was "When did the Alarm have the spirit?" or some such. That's easy, I thought, so called up. 1976 I said to the scally at the end of the line, and lo and behold I won. The show was that night, so I called John B and after some persuasion (it was a school night and he rightly thought they were shit), managed to get him to come with me.

Note - how can I remember the question I was asked for some inconsequential radio phone-in over 16 years ago, despite all the memory-loss inducing activities in between, yet I consistently forget the name of anyone I am introduced to nowadays?

We had to go up to Stanley Street to pick up the tickets, before another trek to the Royal Court. This time, they were playing a lot of new (and quite wimpy) songs from the Eye of the Hurricane album. Still, there were the old fave singalongs, and it was a night out.

Afterwards, my girlfriend at the time, the incomparably prudish Iggy, was all annoyed that I hadn't asked her to go with me. I guess she was down with the whole christian rock vibe, which explained her no sex before marriage stance. How bloody naive was I to think I'd be able to change that?

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