Screaming Lord Sutch Sunderland Polytechnic Wearmouth Hall sometime in the early ’70s (probably 1973) and at the Barbary Coast Sunderland 9th February 1984

sutchtixPicture the scene. It was sometime in the early ’70s, probably 1973. I was in my mid-teens and had started to take concert-going pretty seriously. It was a Saturday night student dance in Wearmouth Hall, which was the student union building of Sunderland Polytechnic. The great thing about those dances at that time, was you never knew who you were going to see. There was no internet to check gig listings in those days. I would turn up on a Saturday night with a couple of mates, and the name of the act for the night would be written in chalk on a blackboard at the door. So you could go along and it would say “Arthur Brown” or “Home” or some other act who was touring at the time. One night we turned up and the board displayed the name “Screaming Lord Sutch”. We weren’t sure what to expect, and in fact nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to experience. So we paid our entrance fee, which was probably 30p or so, and got ourselves a spot at the front of the stage. After some tight a band came of stage playing some basic rock’n’roll. Soon a few guys carried a coffin on stage and set it down right in front of us. We could hear a voice singing, and soon realised that it was coming from the coffin. The lid suddenly flung open revealing a crazy guy, face covered in make-up, wearing a cape and a top hat. This was my introduction to the mad Sreaming Lord Sutch. Sutch started to prowl the front of the stage. He picked up a large axe, and pretended to try and chop our heads off. Girls down the front were screaming. The music was pretty basic rock’n’roll, but the stage show was awesome. The highlight was a song called “Jack the Ripper” during which Sutch paced around the stage threatening to kill any female students that were close by.  He was looking for “Mary”….At one point he pulled Mary’s bloodied head out of his doctor’s bag…to much screaming from the crowd. It was pure music hall, tacky, yet powerful and great fun. One of the best shows I had ever seen at the time.
I saw Screaming Lord Sutch once more, in 1984. This time the gig was billed as a Wild Rock & Roll Night, and was held at the Barbary Coast Club, Sunderland. The Barbary Coast used to be the Boilermakers Club, which played host to local bands in the ’70s; Son of a Bitch (who became Saxon) played there a lot, along with strippers before the match on a Saturday. by 1984 it had become a nightclub, and had a reputation for fights, and earned the nickname “The Barbaric”. There was no trouble that night; the place was full of teds, and we had a long wait before our hero Sutch came on stage. The show was very similar to the gig I had attended 10 years earlier. Good fun, perhaps not as powerful the second time.
sutchFrom Wikipedia: “David Edward Sutch (10 November 1940 – 16 June 1999) also known as 3rd Earl of Harrow, or simply Screaming Lord Sutch, was an English musician. He was the founder of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and served as its leader from 1983 to 1999, during which time he stood in numerous parliamentary elections. He holds the record for losing all 40 elections in which he stood. As a singer he variously worked with Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Watts and Nicky Hopkins.
RIP the original monster raving loony Screaming Lord Sutch. We will never see his like again.

The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
There’s a man who walks the streets of London late at night
The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
With a little black bag that’s oh-so tight
The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
He’s got a big black cloak hangin’ down his back
The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
Well, that’s a one big cat I just a hate to fight
The Ripper, Jack The Ripper

When he walks down the streets
To every girl he meets, he says, is your name Mary Blood?

The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
The Ripper, Jack The Ripper
(Jack the Ripper, Screaming Lord Sutch)
PS I looked up Black Cat who are mentioned on the ticket for the 1984 gig. There were a rockabilly band, and often backed Sutch at the time.

Paul Rodgers Newcastle City Hall 12th October 2006

Paul Rodgers Newcastle City Hall 12th October 2006
paulrodgersprog2006I have already written about Paul Rodgers as a solo artist, as a member of Free, as a member of Bad Company and as a member of Queen. He remains, without a doubt, one of our finest blues and soul voices. He has stayed true to the blues and his roots; and he looks as fit, and sings as well, today as he did in the early ’70s when I first saw him perform live with Free. Rather than write about Paul again, I have reproduced the words of a letter which Rodgers had written to Paul Kossoff, a copy of which is included as a handwritten note in the 2006 tour programme. I found it today when I opened the programme.
“Dear Koss. When we were kicking around London together back in ’68 talking about the group we were going to form, who would have thought it would turn out this way. DVDs, digital even videos were a thing of the future. We loved the blues. Driving round town in your mini listening to B B King’s “Live at the Regal”, Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign”, Hendrix and Cream. I remember us laughing when they turned us away from restaurants because our hair was too long.
The first time we jammed together when you showed up with drummer Andy Borenius at my gig with Brown Sugar; you came right up to the stage and said ” I want to get up and jam” and I said “Do you have a guitar?” and you said “Yes I have a Les Paul out in the car”. And I said “Woa this is Finsbury Park man, you need to bring it straight in here or it’ll be gone”. We played B B King’s “Four in the Morning”, “Every Day I have the Blues” and “Stormy Monday Blues”. People came up after and said “You know, time stood still”.
For me in many ways time has stood still since because we made such timeless music.
Thanks for the heart wrenching solo in “Come Together in the Morning”. Thanks for the laughs. Thanks for doing all the driving – you were an excellent driver. Thanks for being a great friend and apologies if we somehow let you down.
See you again one day. Always your friend. Paul”
paulrodgertix2006This was yet another great concert by Paul Rodgers. The set drew from his entire career, and included songs from Free, The Firm, and Bad Company along with a few blues standards. Support came from Paul’s son, Steve Rodgers.
Typical setlist from the 2006 tour: I’ll Be Creepin’; The Stealer; Ride on a Pony; Radioactive; Be My Friend; Warboys (A Prayer For Peace); Feel Like Makin’ Love; Bad Company; I Just Want To See You Smile; Louisiana Blues; Fire and Water; Wishing Well; All Right Now. Encore: I’m a Mover; The Hunter; Can’t Get Enough. Encore 2: Seagull

Ramones Newcastle City Hall 28th September 1978 and 29th January 1980

Ramones Newcastle City Hall 28th September 1978 and 29th January 1980
ramonestix1978I have already written about the first time I saw the Ramones, which was at Newcastle City Hall in 1977. For completeness, and as I come towards the end of acts whose names begin with the letter “R”, I am including an entry on a couple of other times that I saw the band. The Ramones returned to the City Hall in 1978 and 1980. By 1978 Tommy Ramone had left the band, his drum stool being filled by Marky Ramone. Their music had also developed a little further. Although most of their songs remained the very fast short crash bam bop slabs of pure rock ‘n’ roll, they were starting to venture further into pure pop, and their albums also includes, shock horror, some slower songs and even some, dare I say it?, ballads. However, their live shows remained largely unchanged. A night with the Ramones was guaranteed to be a night of fun with Da Brudders playing a set of lots of short hectic songs all in quick succession, and Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee up front singing and playing like there was no tomorrow. ramonestix1980Both of these concerts were great fun. Support for the 1978 tour was the excellent vocalist Snips, who had previously fronted Sharks with Andy Fraser. The 1980 show was opened by The Boys, who were one of the first and legendary punk bands; a three piece featuring Casino Steel, Matt Dangerfield and Honest John Plain.
Setlist from the 1980 show: Blitzkrieg Bop; Teenage Lobotomy; Rockaway Beach; I Don’t Want You; Go Mental; Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment; Rock ‘N’ Roll High School; I Wanna Be Sedated; Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?; She’s the One; I’m Against It; Sheena Is a Punk Rocker; This Ain’t Havana; Commando Baby, I Love You; I’m Affected; Surfin’ Bird; Cretin Hop; All the Way; Judy Is a Punk; California Sun; I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You; Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World; Pinhead; Do You Wanna Dance?; Suzy Is a Headbanger; Let’s Dance; Chinese Rock; Beat on the Brat

Tom Robinson Band Newcastle City Hall 27th September 1978

Tom Robinson Band Newcastle City Hall 27th September 1978
trbtixThe Tom Robinson Band are often overlooked when the history of punk and new wave is written. That’s a shame, because they were one of the best live acts of the period, and their songs contained all of the necessary political messages of the time. I first saw them live in the early days, probably 1977, at Middlesbrough Rock Garden. It was probably only about half full, and the punks were very unsure as to how to take an openly gay singer, but managed some quite nervous singing along to “Glad to be Gay”. Tom Robinson must have had some nerve, it was quite a brave thing to do, to go out and sing that anthem in clubs packed with punk and skins, many of whom had strong right wing views. I was impressed by TRB that night, although it was the first time that I was seeing the band, and I hadn’t heard any of the songs before, it was obvious that they were strong pop songs, with political messages and great hooks. The first, and classic, Line-up of the band was Tom Robinson (vocals, bass), Danny Kustow (guitar), Mark Ambler (keyboards) and Dolphin Taylor (drums). trbprog78 The other band members were all an important part of the mix, particularly Danny Kustow; his guitar playing was excellent and his passion, energy and presence matched Tom’s. And they had a clutch of great tunes, many of which ended up on the first Tom Robinson album, which is one of the strongest debuts of the time. Most people remember the big hit single “2-4-6-8 Motorway”, but there were better tracks on the album including the call to arms: “Up Against the Wall” and “The Winter of ’79″, the simply excellent catchy “Long Hot Summer” and title track “Power in the Darkness”. The big live favourites were the sing-along chirpy ode to a big brother “Martin” (just listened to it on YouTube and it sounds as good as it ever did) and “Glad to be Gay” which seemed to be playing everywhere I went in 1977 and 1978. I saw the Tom Robinson band at a triumphant concert at Newcastle City Hall on 27th September 1978 and also at Reading festival 1978 and at Sunderland Mayfair on 28th March 1979. By the time of the Sunderland gig both Ambler and Dolphin had left the band, and things were never going to be the same. The Tom Robinson band split in 1979, shortly after the 1979 tour and the release of their second, and much less successful, album.
trbprog79Support at the City Hall gig was the excellent Stiff Little Fingers, not as the the ticket says reggae band Third World, and at Sunderland it was The Straits, an all-girl new wave band from Leeds.

“The British Police are the best in the world
I don’t believe one of these stories I’ve heard
‘Bout them raiding our pubs for no reason at all
Lining the customers up by the wall
Picking out people and knocking them down
Resisting arrest as they’re kicked on the ground
Searching their houses and calling them queer
I don’t believe that sort of thing happens here
Sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if you’re happy that way”
(Tom Robinson, 1976)

Refugee Newcastle City Hall 10th December 1973 and 16th June 1974

Refugee Newcastle City Hall 10th December 1973 and 16th June 1974
refugeetix73Refugee played epic classically-based rock music, which was soon to be know as prog rock. They were formed by former The Nice members bassist Lee Jackson and drummer Brian Davison, with the addition of ace virtuoso keyboardist Patrick Moraz, who very ably filled the place held by Keith Emerson in The Nice. Refugee’s music was a natural progression from that of The Nice featuring lengthy organ solos by Moraz, Jackson’s husky rasping vocals and Davison keeping the band on track rhythmically, from behind a massive drum kit.
After The Nice folded, Jackson had formed his own band Jackson Heights, which featured Davison in its latter days. I saw Jackson Heights at least a couple of times at the Lincoln and Reading festivals in 1972. Refugee released one album on Charisma Records, but the band was short-lived as Moraz accepted an offer to join Yes in 1974. refugeetix74
I saw Refugee twice with my friend John; once in late 1973 which must have been one of their first gigs and then again in Summer 1974. They were both excellent concerts, with the set consisting of tracks from their debut and only album and one or two Nice tracks, notably “The Diamond Hard Blues Apples Of The Moon” and their interpretation of Dylan’s “She Belongs To Me”.
The 1974 Newcastle show was recorded and has since been released on CD. It shows the setlist as being: Ritt Mickley, One Left Handed Peter Pan, The Diamond Hard Blues Apples Of The Moon, Someday, Papillon, She Belongs To Me, Grand Canyon Suite, Refugee Jam. Support for the 1974 concert was Darien Spirit.
Note the spelling errors on both tickets: “Refugee” spelt “Refuge” on the 1973 stub, and “Patrick Moraz” becomes “Patrick Moral” :) on the 1973 stub.

Roxy Music Newcastle Arena 12th June 2001

Roxy Music Newcastle Arena 12th June 2001
roxytix2001Roxy Music reformed after a lengthy absence and in 2001 they were touring across the UK again, calling at Newcastle Arena on 12th June. Marie and I went along to see them again; it was 22 years since we last saw the band perform. The tour reunited four original members Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson. The core members were augmented by Colin Good (piano and musical director), Zev Katz (bass), Julia Thornton (percussion and keyboards), Lucy Wilkins (violin), Sarah Brown (backing vocals) and Chris Spedding (second guitar). Support was singer Rosalie Deighton. We were a bit unsure how the old songs would sound and whether they could withstand the test of time (and the acoustics of a cavernous arena) but we needn’t have worried. They were just great. roxyprog2001
It was good to see Roxy Music live again, and the concert (and indeed the tour) was a massive success with critics and fans. The set included many of the old favorites, along with some new tracks. Setlist: Re-make/Re-model, Street Life, Ladytron, While My Heart Is Still Beating, Out Of The Blue, A Song For Europe, My Only Love, Oh Yeah, Both Ends Burning, Tara, Avalon, If There Is Something, More Than This, Mother Of Pearl, Jealous Guy, Editions Of You, Virginia Plain. Encores: Love Is The Drug, Do The Strand, For Your Pleasure.
That brings we to the end of my reflections on Roxy Music in concert. I saw Roxy Music once more, in 2011, and blogged about that concert at the time.

Roxy Music Newcastle City Hall 10th May 1979

Roxy Music Newcastle City Hall 10th May 1979
roxytix79Roxy Music took a break from recording and touring and went their separate ways in 1976 after the release of their fifth album “Siren”, with several of the band members going on to follow solo projects. However, in 1979 they decided to regroup with the core members Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera, and Paul Thompson being augmented by Paul Carrack (from Ace) on keyboards, and Gary Tibbs (ex Vibrators and late of Adam and the Ants) on bass. Eddie Jobson was recording and touring with his own band UK at the time, and did not join the reformed Roxy. They released a new album “Manifesto” and went out on tour, calling at Newcastle City Hall on 10th and 11th May 1979. Dave Skinner played keyboards on the tour, rather than Paul Carrack who played on the album. I went to the first night at Newcastle.roxyprog79 Setlist: Manifesto; Trash; Out of the Blue; Angel Eyes; A Song for Europe; Still Falls the Rain; Mother of Pearl; Ain’t That So; Stronger Through the Years; Ladytron; In Every Dream Home a Heartache; Love Is the Drug; Editions of You; Do the Strand; Re-Make/Re-Model. Virginia Plain was played some nights, but according to the setlist I found, it wasn’t played at the first Newcastle show, which will no doubt have been a disappointment for me. Support came from The Tourists who featured local lad Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox. My memories of the 1979 show are scant. I recall it being a good gig, but not quite at the level of craziness of the 1974 and 1975 shows. I also remember being unfamiliar with the new material from “Manifesto” and missing some of the older songs. Roxy Music soon disbanded once more, and it was another 22 years before I saw them in concert again. I’ll complete my Roxy ramblings by writing about that gig tomorrow.

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