The Skids Middlesbrough Rock Garden and Newcastle City Hall 1979

The Skids Middlesbrough Rock Garden and Newcastle City Hall 1979
skidsprog79The Skids were an amazing live act, much better in my view, than the late Stuart Adamson’s later and much more successful band, Big Country. The Skids had all the uplifting guitar anthems of Adamson, with some tinges of Scottish folk, coupled with the power of punk and the charismatic front man and vocalist Richard Jobson. The rest of the line-up of the original Skids was William Simpson on bass and Thomas Kellichan on drums. I first saw them on 24th March 1979 at a crazy, wild gig at Middlesbrough Rock Garden.
The Skids were high in the charts at the time with the anthemic “Into the Valley” and were incredibly popular, much too popular for the tiny Rock Garden. I figured I needed to buy tickets for this gig, something I didn’t usually do, so drove down to Middlesbrough and got a couple for me and my mate Dave. We drove down for the gig, stopping off for a drink in a pub near Billingham, where we ran into some mates. The conversation went something like this: Me: “Funny seeing you down here. Where you going?” Friends: “We were going to see the Skids at the Rock Garden in Middlesbrough, but its sold out and we were turned away, so we are on our way back home”. Me: “Yes we are going, but we have tickets”. Friends: ” I doubt you will get in, even with tickets. It is rammed packed and they physically can’t get any more people in there. There are fights at the door and the police have arrived and are turning everyone away”. Me: “Wow. Lets drink up and get down there”. Which we did. Our mates were correct. There was pandemonium at the door, and the bouncers first reaction was to say “No chance, not even with tickets”. However after a bit of persuasion they allowed us to push our way in. We could hardly get into the venue, it was completely crammed so that no-one could move. skidstix79They kept the doors at the front, and the fire doors at the back, open to let some air in; it was so hot in there. The open doors were also useful so that the bouncers could throw people out, when fights broke out, and there were lots of those. This was one of those nights where I feared for my life; it was so full, so edgy, pretty dangerous. I think the support was local Borough punk band No Way. Anyway, the Skids came on and the place went totally wild, crazy, punks pogoing, beer everywhere, glasses being thrown about, fights down front. A room full of punks singing along to “Into the Valley” and “The Saints are Coming”. Incredible. I wish I could have bottled nights like that. From then on, we were Skids fans and saw them a couple of more times in the brief career.
The next time was, according to my ticket, at a concert on 12 June 1979 at Newcastle City Hall. However, the Skids gigography lists no such gig, but does list a Skids gig at the City Hall on 29 October 1979. And my programme also lists the gig as being on 29 October 1979. Another mystery for my fading memory. Was the gig perhaps rescheduled? Did they play in both June and October? And if so, where is my ticket for the October gig? Who knows. I have stopped thinking too much about such puzzles; it drives me crazy if I do. My ticket shows local art-rock band Punishment of Luxury as support along with a band called The Edge. I don’t know who The Edge were, but looking at the Skids gig list they supported them a lot of times. By the time of this gig Alistair Moore was on keyboards and Rusty Egan (ex-Rich Kids) had joined on drums. What I do remember was another packed wild, uplifting gig.
I saw the Skids once more and will blog on that gig tomorrow.
Update. Thanks to Mitch for solving my puzzle. The Skids did indeed play Newcastle in June and October 1979. I must have been at both gigs. Mitch has provided the set lists below:
The Skids set list at Newcastle June 1979: The Saints Are Coming, Six Times, Out Of Town, Scale, Scared To Dance, Charles, Melancholy Soldiers, Integral Plot, All The Young Dudes, Of One Skin, Sweet Suburbia, Masquerade, Night And Day, Into The Valley. Encores: Reasons, Masquerade, TV Stars, Of One Skin, Into The Valley.
October 1979 set: Animation, Out Of Town, Melancholy Soldiers, Working For The Yankee Dollar, Dulce Et Decorum Est, Masquerade, The Olympian, Pros And Cons, Scared To Dance, The Saints Are Coming, Thanatos, Home Of The Saved, Charade, Into The Valley. Encores: Charles, Of One Skin, All The Young Dudes, Masquerade.
And how could I forget TV Stars which was the B side of Into the Valley and one of the highlights of their shows at the time, and often the start of great singalongs in the Rock Garden.
“Ena Sharples
David Hunter
Meg Mortimer
Stanley Ogden
ALBERT TATLOCK
ALBERT TATLOCK” (TV Stars, The Skids, 1979)

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on June 4, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Hi Peter. The Skids played at Newcastle City Hall on 12th June 1979 AND 29th October 1979 – I was at both concerts. Punilux and The Edge were the support bands for the June gig and Fingerprintz supported in October. The June gig was superb – much jumping around on stage by the band who were full of enthusiasm and aggression…..and not forgetting Albert Tatlock! However, the energy appeared to wane over the next couple of years as the band imploded.

    As regards The Edge – they released a couple of albums and incuded a couple of (semi) famous names in their ranks – Jon Moss on drums and Lu Edmunds on guitar both freshly released from The Damned. Glyn Havard bass and Gavin Povey on keyboards completed the line up. The Edge were also the ‘house band’ that backed Kirsty MacColl on her magnificent They Don’t Know single.

    The Skids set list at Newcastle June 1979 was –
    The Saints Are Coming, Six Times, Out Of Town, Scale, Scared To Dance, Charles, Melancholy Soldiers, Integral Plot, All The Young Dudes, Of One Skin, Sweet Suburbia, Masquerade, Night And Day, Into The Valley.
    Encores: Reasons, Masquerade, TV Stars, Of One Skin, Into The Valley.

    Their second album – Days In Europa, produced by Bill Nelson – had been released by the time they came back in October 1979. The set at this show was –
    Animation, Out Of Town, Melancholy Soldiers, Working For The Yankee Dollar, Dulce Et Decorum Est, Masquerade, The Olympian, Pros And Cons, Scared To Dance, The Saints Are Coming, Thanatos, Home Of The Saved, Charade, Into The Valley.
    Encores: Charles, Of One Skin, All The Young Dudes, Masquerade.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on June 4, 2014 at 9:25 am

      Hi Mitch excellent Many thanks indeed
      I must have also been at both the June and October gigs
      Of course TV Stars!!! How could I forget??? Albert Tatlock!! By coincidence I am in Manchester at this moment to go on the Coronation Street tour đŸ™‚ thanks again Peter

      Reply

  2. Posted by Steve on June 4, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Saw them at the Rock Garden, no idea what date or who supported. Also saw them at Dudley Civic Hall…..

    Reply

  3. Posted by Nige Bryan on June 5, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I was at that Middlesbrough Rock Garden gig. We’d been planning on going when the tour was announced so booked a 12 seater mini bus to get us from Aycliffe to Boro and back. When we got there it was as if every punk in the world turned up. Into The Valley was on TOTP 2 nights before and that might have had something to do with it . I was 15 and in the 4th year at school so God knows how I got in but I did. A life changing moment as it was my first gig and what a gig to pick for a first one. The place was heaving and I think I was one of the last ones in. Out of the 12 of us only 6 got in. Like you said the place was going mental , Cops arresting people outside . The whole night to me was like something from a film
    The support band were called No Way and did an excellent set . I remember a song of theirs called TV Pox . ive since played this and the song Breaking Point on You Tube , both great songs. They got an enchore and played a superb version of The Clash’s Career Opportunities .
    Standing on the welded benches the Skids came on and the place went mad. I remember the song Charles with its great guitar line blasting the place. Into the Valley , Of One Skin, Melancholy Soldiers , Tv Stars and Saints Are Coming.
    Scarey place for a 15 year old but I was buzzin on the adrenalin That night will stay with me for ever, first of so many live bands .
    Thanks for sharing your memories . I agree with everything you said about it.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on June 6, 2014 at 4:53 am

      Thanks Nige for sharing your memories of a great night. I saw No Way a few times at the Rock Garden and thought they were great. I too remember TV Pox….Happy days Peter

      Reply

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