The Slits : Simply Whats Happening; Newcastle City Hall 23rd September 1979

The Slits, Don Cherry & Happy House, Prince Hammer & Creation Rebel: Simply Whats Happening; Newcastle City Hall 23rd September 1979
slitstixThis was a very adventurous and quite ground breaking tour, which united female punk thrash icons The Slits with legendary innovative jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and Jamaican reggae masters Prince Hammer and Creation Rebel. An early example of punk acting as a platform for world music fusion, this collection of artists toured the major concert halls in the UK, calling at Newcastle City Hall. I’d seen the Slits perform twice before as support for the Clash, and also supporting the Buzzcocks. They had just released their first album “Cut”. Viv Albertine “We knew we were a first, which could be uncomfortable, and we were much more revolutionary than the Pistols and the Clash. They were rock bands, whereas we were using world music and reggae, filtered through our own musicality. We were like a female Spinal Tap, really: we argued, toured and wanted to make a classic album that never dated.” (Interview by Caroline Sullivan, The Guardian, Monday 24 June 2013)
slitsprogThe Slits line-up was the late Ari Up on vocals, guitarist Viv Albertine, Tessa Pollitt on bass and (soon to be Banshee) Budgie on drums. I think Neneh Cherry, Don’s daughter joined them for the tour. Ari Up was a crazy wild front lady, complete with dreads, outlandish outfits and nifty dancing.
From the programme: “This is simply what’s happening…..what’s happening here is real music played by people from three different cultures. Three different musics united by one expression – freedom.
Enjoy yourself, keep room in your head and heart for music from all different cultures and places – we all live under the same sun…” Disc O’Dell
Sadly, with no massive audience draw on the tour, attendance was not great. The Newcastle show was very poorly attended with only a couple of hundred people in a hall which holds 2,400. Pity, because this was an interesting evening with some different and challenging music. The programme (pictured here) is also very different and contains some scribbly doodling artwork and slogans, presumably drawn by one or more of the band.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Peter

    Another great memory. I think the Slits were really under rated. Not great musicians but so influential and ‘Cut’ is a brilliant album. Have you read Viv Albertines new autobiography? Well worth checking out. Brilliantly written account of her time in music up to the present day. She’s still making some interesting music and after 35 years I think people are recognising how good the Slits were.

    Keep up the good work.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on September 14, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Hi Kieran
      Thanks for your support. I’ve been meaning to get a copy of Viv Albertine’s book, and/or go and see her. As you say, she is still out there doing it, and seems that she is as relevant as ever. You are right, the Slits were never really rated by many people at the time, but were actually very influential in all sorts of ways Cheers Peter

      Reply

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