Brand X and Peter Hammill

Brand X and Peter Hammill Newcastle City Hall 1978
This was a somewhat strange pairing, in fact the tour is known as “The Odd Couple Tour” on the Van Der Graaf Generator website. Brand X were a jazz rock fusion band, and were highly respected in the 70s. Phil Collins played with them at one point, although he wasn’t in the drum stool at this gig. I also saw them play at the Reading festival a year or so earlier. I recall the set as being largely (solely?) instrumental, with impressive musicianship. Setlist was apparently (I found this on a website): Access To Data; Black Moon; Smacks Of Euphoric Hysteria; The Ghost Of Mayfield Lodge; The Poke. I went along with some mates for a couple or reasons. Firstly because of the Phil Collins and Genesis connection, and secondly to see Peter Hammill, who had recently left Van Der Graaf Generator to go solo. Peter wass in a pretty crazy phase, and had shaved half his beard (see programme). He was accompanied by violin and sax, and delivered a strange set to a pretty empty hall. Peter’s set was straneg, dark, quirky and everything you would expect of him. A review of the time proclaimed him the “Springsteen of Weird”. This was a memorable gig, although it was a shame that the City Hall was pretty empty. The tour was pretty ambitious in booking this pairing into largish concert halls.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Curiously my ticket for this gig shows I had seat FF28!!! So if we hadn’t taken advantage of the fact that the hall was half empty and sneaked off down the front to sit in J12 we would have been sitting next to you!!!

    Go on admit it, weren’t you just a bit disappointed that Mr Hammill wasn’t still sporting half a beard – I know we were!!!


  2. Posted by vintagerock on May 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Your memory is much better than mine. I honestly couldn’t remember whether he had half a beard or not! I felt sure I had seen him with a half beard. I have a vague recollection of a gig at Newcastle Poly (maybe it was Peter or VDGG or both). Could he have had half beard there?
    The seat numbers are a coincidence!


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