The Adverts, Penetration, Warsaw (Joy Division), Harry Hack Newcastle Guildhall 1977

The Adverts, Penetration, Warsaw (Joy Division) New Wave Bop Newcastle 1977
By 1977 I was seriously into punk and new wave, and the new bands were starting to play gigs up in the North East. I still liked classic rock bands, but was also excited by the urgency and immediacy of punk. This gig was held at Newcastle Guildhall, a venue on Newcastle Quayside, which no longer holds concerts and is now a Tourist Information office. Punk was still in its early days. The Adverts had released One Chord Wonders as a single, but had yet to release Gary Gilmore’s Eyes. Penetration were starting to become known locally, but had yet to land a record deal. Penetration were quite a favourite of mine at the time. Marie and I saw them many times, and often ran into Pauline and the rest of the band at local punk gigs. This gig was memorable for another reason however. The first band up was a new combo who had come from Manchester to play. They were called Warsaw and Pauline and Gary from Penetration told us that they had played with them in Manchester a few days before at The Electric Circus. They had been impressed by them and had invited them up to Newcastle to play the Guildhall. Thus, as a late addition to the bill, there are not listed on the flyer. Marie and I arrived early primarily to make sure that we caught Penetration’s set, and as a result we were there for Warsaw. Warsaw were, of course, to become Joy Division some months later. I would love to be able to report that we experienced something momentous that evening. However, my recollections were of a band who were nervous, and obviously still learning to play. I don’t recall Ian Curtis displaying any of the manic dancing way that would become his trademark. Rather, I remember a shy guy who appeared uncomfortable on stage. I saw Joy Division a year or so later supporting the Buzzcocks and Ian was incredible; however what we saw at the Guildhall was a new, young band playing pretty average garage punk songs. Reports of the time suggest that they will have played early songs: Reaction and Leaders of Men. A recording of Warsaw playing Reaction at Middlesbrough Rock Garden exists, and can be found on YouTube. Next up was local band Harry Hack and the Big G; I recall one song about “Brown Dog” (Newcastle Brown Ale). Pentration were, as always, excellent; they had some great songs which I was starting to know, having seen them many times. The Adverts were also a good live act. TV Smith was a dynamic front man, and Gaye Advert stood quietly alongside him playing bass. Great memories. I note that the flyer states “all bands to be recorded”. I wonder if any recording exists. I would love to hear it.

8 responses to this post.

  1. Very jealous of you having seen Warsaw – especially as they weren’t yet the fully formed object. Like you, I saw Joy Division when they played on The Buzzocks tour (I saw the Leeds University gig) and they were fantastic. I recently wrote a piece about it on my blog and posted a review of the gig from the Leeds Student magazine:


  2. Marko from here. We’d like to use your gig memories and your ticket scan on Joy Division Central – any chance?


    • Posted by vintagerock on June 19, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      Yes please do; I would be delighted. I have still memories of New Order gigs to write as well. I saw one of the very early New Order gigs at Middlesbrough Rock Garden, and gigs at Newcastle and Sunderland Mayfair if you are interested.
      Please do include it. If you are able to include a link to my site also that would be great.
      Thanks Peter


  3. hi, just come accross your memories of warsaw at the guildhall. for years me and a mate spoke about seeing penertation and harry hack at the guildhall and a unusual support band in 77. . eventually after doing some homework we found out that it was warswaw. this prompted me to inform as they had no info about the gig at the time. i was able to contact gary chaplain and asked him to contact with the story. this took some time including contacting a mate who is mates with peter hook to confirm they were at the guildhall, i then had to get in touch with gary chaplain through a mate of a mate. after a lenghty chat with gary it turns out that penertration and harry hack played the guidhall twice in 77 within a couple of months and guess what? me and i mate were at the other gig. so i dont know who our unusual band was were., stu forster, forest hall, ne12


    • Posted by vintagerock on September 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Stu
      I remember talking to Gary Chaplain, who I often saw at gigs, that night and he explained that they had invited Warsaw to play. I don’t recall the other Guidhall gig, but could well have been at it, so can’t help you on that one. I went to most Penetration gigs in the North East in those days, but only recall seeing them at the Guildhall once. Peter


  4. Posted by vintagerock on September 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Hi I’ve always lived in Sunderland and still do. I spent much of the 70s going out every night to gigs in the north east and around the country and still get out now and then 🙂


  5. I knew the organisers and I was the one who was supposed to be doing the recording. But I remember at the time I was also into photography, so every gig I went to, I had the dilemma of whether to take a camera or a tape recorder! I have photos of this gig so I know I didn’t record it. I was working on a fanzine called Bored Stiff, and decided to do a write-up of the gig and wanted photos to go with it.


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