The Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1973
August 1973 and I was back at the Reading Festival. This year I hooked up with a large group of mates from town who had traveled down in a Transit van. I discovered Reading town centre, and the local pubs for the first time this year, and as a result missed some of the bands. The line-up was pretty mixed, with a clear attempt to become international; featuring bands from France, Italy and the USA, and also retaining jazz elements with appearances by Chris Barber and George Melly (who was great and a surprise success).
Friday line-up: Embryo (Germany), Alquin (Holland), Stray Dog (USA), Greenslade, Capability Brown, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen (USA), Jo’Burg Hawk (South Africa), Rory Gallagher. The successes of the day were Commander Cody and of course Rory, who was just amazing. This was classic Rory at his best: Messin’ With the Kid; Laundromat; Walk on Hot Coals; Pistol Slapper Blues; Going to My Home Town; and Bullfrog Blues. The crowd loved him. Capability Brown grew out of the ’60s band Harmony Grass; prog rock with great harmonies. The other thing I discovered was the bridge over the Thames, and we spent many an hour watching people dive off and down into the river (which seemed crazy and dangerous to me).
Saturday line-up: Dave Ellis, Clare Hamill, Tasavallan Presidentti (Finland), Riff Raff, Fumble, Magma (France), Lindisfarne (Mk II), Chris Barber band, Status Quo, Sensation Alex Harvey Band, Strider, Andy Bown, The Faces.
My memories of the Saturday are of Status Quo going down a storm, and the Faces being OK, but the real success of the day being the Sensation Alex Harvey Band. SAHB were just about to release “Next”; I think they started the set with “Faith Healer” which sounded incredible, the intro throbbing across the field. Alex was electric and made a lot of new friends that day. The Faces set was nowhere near as strong as the previous year. This was one of their first gigs after Ronnie Lane had been replaced by Tetsu (who was great by the way); you could sense that the band were losing their enthusiasm and a Rod would soon be on his way. Lots of footballs into the crowd again. Oh and Jesus dancing naked during the afternoon. I don’t recall Andy Bown’s set and didn’t know much about him at the time, other than he was in The Herd with Peter Frampton. I do remember being surprised as how high up on the bill he was. I think this was where he made friends with Quo; he joined them shortly afterwards on keyboards. Fumble were a rock’n’roll revival band who played a lot of gigs at the time; I recall seeing them several times at local student union dances.
Sunday line-up: Aj Webber, John Martyn and Danny Thompson, Ange (France), Tim Hardin and Lesley Duncan with the Tim Horovitz Orchestra, PFM (Italy), Jack the Lad, Medicine Head, Stackridge, George Melly and the Feetwarmers, Jon Hiseman’s Tempest, Mahatma, Jimmy Witherspoon (USA), Spencer Davis, Genesis. I think Roy Buchanan may have played also; he was advertised in early flyers, but doesn’t feature in the programme; I think I recall watching him. The stand-outs on Sunday were (surprisingly) George Melly who wore an incredibly sharp suit and totally engaged the crowd with his crazy jazz campness, and of course Genesis, with Peter Gabriel appearing with a strange pyramid arrangement on his head. Stackridge were good as always (Slark still a favourite of mine); Spencer Davis played all the hits, and had a great band featuring Charlie McCracken, Pete York, Ray Fenwick and Eddie Hardin. Tim Hardin sang his beautiful moving songs (If I was a Carpenter, Reason to Believe) and John Martyn went down well in his early slot, accompanied by the excellent Danny Thompson on double bass. The weather was pretty good as I recall, I don’t think we got much, if any, rain. Not one of the strongest Reading line-ups, but still a good weekend of music and fun, with excellent performances by Rory, George Melly, Alex Harvey, Quo and Genesis. Thanks to Ben Sutherland for making his photograph of the Reading Bridge available through WikiMedia Commons. The programme was once again produced by the local newspaper and cost all of 10p 🙂 . The poster of the Faces comes from the centrepages of the programme.
Archive for the ‘Faces’ Category
The Reading Festival 24th – 26th August 1973
The Reading Festival 1972
I first went to the Reading Festival in 1972 (is it really over 41 years ago 🙂 ?), and continued to go every year until 1980. I missed 1981 as it clashed with a local “Rock on the Tyne” Festival, and have never returned, although I did think of doing so on several occasions. I’m aiming to reflect on one year each week for the next few weeks, starting today with my first Reading experience.
I’d already been to the Lincoln Festival in May 1972 so I felt, as a 15 year old, I was already a hardened festival goer. I didn’t know anyone who wanted to go to Reading, so decided to go along myself. My parents weren’t keen on my idea of hitching so I agreed to go by train. The festival took place over the weekend of August 11th to 13th, 1972 starting on Friday afternoon. For some reason I decided to get the train down to London early on the Thursday night, arriving around midnight. Having nowhere to spend the night I took a tube to Piccadilly Circus and found an all-night cinema. It was showing Elvis films all night; I paid my money and sat close to the front. The cinema was quite empty, the audience was a few couples, some Elvis fans and several people alone like me, and just looking for somewhere to spend the night. I don’t recall which films were shown, I think there were six, and I’m pretty sure one was “Kid Galahad” (which, by the way, is a good movie), and I think another may have been “Fun in Acapulco” and “Girls, Girls, Girls” (not so good). I emerged, very tired, from the cinema in the early hours of the morning, and went across London to get the train to Reading. I didn’t have a ticket for the festival, so when I arrived I joined the queue and bought a weekend ticket. In those days it was all about seeing the bands, so I stayed in the queue to get a good spot in front of the stage. All I had taken was a sleeping bag; no tent; no change of clothes (I told you that I thought myself a hardened festival goer).
The Friday line-up was: Good Habit, Nazareth, Cottonwood, Steamhammer, Jackson Heights, Genesis, Mungo Jerry, Curved Air. The music started at 4pm and there were two stages set alongside each other to make for quick changeovers. I positioned myself close to the front somewhere between the two stages so I had a good view of both. There was a press enclosure right down front, and an area where the Hells Angels would encamp, so you couldn’t get that close to the stage. I got talking to a guy next to me; he was also alone, still at school and a similar age. We stuck together throughout the weekend, keeping each others place in the crowd, and sleeping there on a night in our sleeping bags. This seems crazy now, but hey I was young and just so excited about seeing the bands. You could sleep in the main enclosure in those days; you had to leave in the early morning so that they could clear up and get ready for the next day. Some clearing happened during the night; this didn’t make for a good night sleep as there was a danger that someone stood on you (this happened to me several times). The organisers stopped letting people sleep in the main enclosure a few years later; a punter was run over by a vehicle that was driving around collecting litter….The bands I recall on Friday were: Good Habit (saw them a few times, they used to were monks habits on stage), Nazareth (this was before “Broken Down Angel”; they played a great version of “Morning Dew”); Genesis (Simply amazing. I was a big fan at the time and have written separately about their set which included The Knife, Twilight Alehouse, Watcher Of The Skies, The Musical box, and The Return Of The Giant Hogweed. Classic); Mungo Jerry (got the crowd rocking), and Curved Air (also amazing; It happened today, Backstreet Luv, Sonja Kristina).
The Saturday line-up was: Jonathan Kelly, Solid Gold Cadillac, Man, Linda Lewis, Focus, Edgar Broughton, Jericho, If, Johnny Otis Show, Electric Light Orchestra, The Faces. I watched all of the bands, and also took some time to have a look around the stalls in the arena. I didn’t see any need to venture into town (that would come in later years) and spent the entire weekend within the confines of the festival. The weather was quite warm, sunny with a little drizzle now and then but nothing major, and certainly nothing compared to the rain I experienced at the Lincoln festival earlier in the year. Highlights I can dimly recall now are: Jonathan Kelly (Ballad of Cursed Anna simply wonderful), Solid Gold Cadillac (very jazzy), Man (very long guitar solos; Spunk Rock; great!), Linda Lewis (she looked so tiny on that stage and admitted to being scared), Focus (went down well with the crowd and were one of the successes of the weekend), Edgar Broughton (amazing, I was already a fan. Edgar very unspoken as always. Out Demons Out!!), If (jazzy, great guitarist), Johnny Otis Show (just blogged on them), Electric Light Orchestra (this was a very early performance and one of their first since Roy Wood’s departure. Wasn’t sure what to expect; they were good), The Faces (Rod and the guys on great form, lots of footballs kicked into the crowd, Twisting the Night Away and I’m Losing You were big live favourites of mine at the time).
The Sunday line-up was: Sutherland Brothers, Gillian McPherson, String Driven Thing, Matching Mole, Stackridge, Vinegar Joe, Status Quo, Stray, Roy Wood’s Wizzard, Mahatma Kane Jeeves, Ten Years After, Quintessence. John Peel and Jerry Floyd were comperes for the weekend. Jerry was the regular DJ at the Marquee Club, who organised the festival at the time. I spend much of the weekend chatting about music to the guy that I met on the first day and we struck up quite a friendship. I made a few friend at festivals in those days and would see some people every year but I never ran into this guy again. Wonder where he is now. Highlights of the day were: Matching Mole (featuring Robert Wyatt), Stackridge (“Slark” was a favourite of mine at the time), Vinegar Joe (Elkie just stunning), Status Quo (this was one of the shows that helped them break back. Peel was a big champion of theirs at the time; I think he introduced them as the “Finest rock’n’roll band in the world”, or something like that. They were playing amazing boogie at the time, with Francis giving it some cheeky banter. Someones Learning was a favourite), Stray (excellent, Del in mirror suit), Roy Wood’s Wizzard (pretty good, very retro rock’n’roll. Ballpark Incident had just been released), and Ten Years After (Alvin’s guitar playing was stunning, I’d just seen “Woodstock” and was a big fan). I left as Quintessence’s took to the stage as did many others (TYA were official headliners) to catch the last train to London. The tubes had stopped so I walked across London. I’d missed the midnight train so I spent the night in Kings Cross station.
Monday morning: I was stiff, tired, and scruffy. I got the first train home and went straight to bed 🙂
Wow! that took longer than I thought it would! The scans come from the newspaper style programme which was produced by the Reading Evening Post. The poster (it looks like a cartoon of Leo Lyons from TYA to me?) is from the middle of the programme. Oh and I forgot to mention the “Wally!” chants, which seemed to go on all night.
The Buxton Festival 1974
Line-up: The Faces, Humble Pie, Mott The Hoople, Horslips , Chapman/Whitney StreetWalkers, Trapeze , Chopper, Badger, Strider, Lindisfarne, Man. My friend John and I have spent the week swapping memories of The Faces to help me write my blog. One memory that we share is of the 1974 Buxton Festival which we both attended. I’m not sure if it is a pleasant memory or not; and those of you who attended any of the outdoor Buxton events will know why I say that. Terry Battersby puts in well on the UK Festivals site: “I managed Buxton in 72/73/74.They should have been campaign medals issued”. I managed 73 and 74 and know what he means; I hold my medal with pride; the Buxton festivals were a real endurance test. Buxton is a town high up in the peak district and the festival was sited up on a moor. You couldn’t imagine a worse place to hold a pop festival. All of the three outdoor festivals (there were some indoor events which preceded them) suffered from poor weather, lots of wind and rain, and after 1974 the organisers abandoned the idea of holding any further festivals. I’ll write separately about the 1973 festival in a day or so, it was a strange event at which the Hells Angels took over and ran the event (which was pretty scary). Anyway, back to 1974. I drove down to Buxton with my friend Gilly, who also came to the 1973 event with me. We arrived on Friday afternoon, finding the place cold and windswept. Not being the most prepared festival-goers at the time, we didn’t have a tent and planned on sleeping in the car (not easy in an MG Midget), or in sleeping bags on the ground. When we arrived on the moor we saw lots of people building makeshift huts from planks of wood. I asked them where they found the wood, and they pointed me to a storehouse in the next field. So off I went to retrieve some wood for us to build our own shelter. I was leaving the store with some planks under my arm with a few other guys, when we were stopped by a policeman, who asked us where we were taking the wood. He quickly bundled us all into the back of a police jeep and took us off to a temporary police cabin which they had set up for the weekend. Once in their they searched us, took statements, and made us wait a few hours, telling us that we would probably be charged with theft for taking the wood. When they eventually did let us go we had to walk back to the site, where I found my mate Gilly lying asleep by the car. The bands had started by that point, and we went into the arena and caught as much of the show as we could. I remember seeing Man and Mott the Hoople that night. Mott started with Golden Age of Rock n Roll and were just great. I slept in the car and Gilly slept in a sleeping bag underneath the car. We were both frozen; it was truly awful. Highlights of the next day were Humble Pie (Stevie Marriott was awesome in those days and a big festival favourite), and Roger Chapman and the Streetwalkers. Anyone who was there will remember the magic moment in that dull rainy day when the sun came out during My Friend the Sun, as Roger sang “He’s there in the distance” to a great cheer from the crowd. The Faces were OK, but it wasn’t the best time I saw them; by this point they had added a horn section to the band. I remember keeping warm in the Release tent and chatting to Caroline Coon. My friend John was also there with a group of mates, although I don’t recall us running into each other. His memories: “My own recollections were that the weather was terrible,wet and cold,the facilities non existent and I slept in my dad’s car with three other mates. The Friday bands were good Mott , Man and Lindisarne. On Saturday there was the famous “My Friend the Sun moment” which I do recall and Humble pie were great.The Faces came on late and I remember the stage being pelted with bottles – reports on the Web said this is because they refused to play an encore…..those were the days!!!” Postcript: several weeks after the festival I received a letter summoning me to attend my local police station where I was issued with a formal caution for “stealing” the wood; and that was the last I heard of it. I did run into a couple of the lads who were in the jeep with me at Reading and Knebworth over the years and we always said hello. I wonder where they are now. Thanks to John for the ad showing the line-up for the festival. Note The New York Dolls were listed to play at one point (although they don’t appear in the listing above), but didn’t make it for some reason.
The Faces Newcastle Odeon November 26th 1974
Support from Strider and Bill Barclay Yesterday I blogged about two amazing Faces gig at Sunderland Top Rank and Sunderland Locarno. I saw the band quite a few other times in 1972 and 1973; twice at the Reading Festival in 72 and 73, at the Lincoln Festival in 72, and in 1974 at the Buxton festival. All of the gigs were great fun; the band were at the top of their game at the time. By 1974, however, cracks were starting to show. Ronnie Lane had left the band to be replaced by Tetsu Yamauchi, and it would only be a couple of years before the band disintegrated, Ronnie Wood joined the Stones and Rod went solo. The last time I saw the Faces was at a gig at Newcastle Odeon in late 1974. By this point the band were massive and they managed to sell out two nights. My mate Will and I bought tickets late for this gig and ended up with seats right up at the back of the rear circle, looking down on the stage. Not a great view, but we could look down and watch the place going crazy along with band. Support that night came from folkie comedian Bill Barclay and rockers Strider. The Faces were as fun as ever; lots of craziness and much singing along. They always finished with Twisting the Night Away at that time, and I can picture everyone walking down the stairs of the Odeon still singing along. A sadly missed band. I haven’t managed to get along to any of the Faces reunion shows so far, and Ronnie is busy with the Stones at the moment, which has delayed any plans for further gigs. I heard an interview with Rod on the radio the other day, and he said that he will join up with the Faces for a reunion after Ronnie is clear from Stones work. Hope that happens, and will do my best to attend if it does. The set that night in 1974 will probably have included: It’s All Over Now; Take A Look At The Guy; (I Know) I’m Losing You; Sweet Little Rock’n Roller; Bring It On Home To Me/You Send Me; I’d Rather Go Blind; Stay With Me; Angel; Too Bad/Every Picture Tells A Story; Maggie May; Gasoline Alley; You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything; You Wear It Well; Mine For Me; I Can Feel The Fire; Twistin’ The Night Away.
The Faces Sunderland Top Rank and Sunderland Locarno 1972 and 1973
The Faces were great fun and seemed to be playing all over the place, all of the time, in the early 1970s. Two memorable gigs took place at Sunderland Top Rank on March 5th 1972 and at Sunderland Locarno on April 13 1973.I remember the Top Rank (or Rink to us) gig very well. This was a big gig for everyone at my school. I took time off school to go and queue for tickets; demand was huge as Rod Stewart and The Faces had had some massive hits with Maggie May, Stay With Me and other great singles. This was one gig that I queued up early for on the night, going straight from school. I was one of the first in the queue with some of my mates and we ended up right at the front, crushed against the stage, where we stayed all night. I can think of nothing worse now; being crushed and unable to move all night, but at the time it was great! Support came from Byzantium who I saw a few times in the early 70s and were always good. The gig itself was great; Rod and the guys were just amazing. There were lots of my friends from school there and we spent days talking about how great it was. My friend John recalls the gig: “I remember the Faces as a good time band, musically rather sloppy and overall a bit ragged. I recall it was the night before one on my mock O levels, one of he easier ones I presume , maybe English. My recollections on the setlist are very weak, Internet search suggests Stay with Me and Losing You which I think I can recall as I always liked those two.The balance of the set was all Faces standard stuff Three Button Hand me Down, Maybe I’ m Amazed, Street Fighting Man, Miss Judy’s Farm, Love in Vain, Stay with Me and I’m Losing You. I think I can remember Maggie May and Every Picture but I certainly could be wrong.” I’m pretty sure they did play Maggie May. After the show some of us stood in a big queue to go back stage and meet the band. We waited for a long time but only the first few people in the queue were let in, including some mates from school who reported back that they partied with the band into the next morning. I remember the Locarno gig less, probably because I didn’t queue up and was at the back of the hall, and the place was packed to the walls. I think the support was a local act, perhaps Beckett, and John Peel was certainly DJ for the night. Peel joined the Faces on stage and is on record as stating several times that this was the best gig he had ever been to, which means it must have been pretty good! Postscript: My mate Norm reminded me that most of the Sunderland football team were at the Locarno gig and ended up on stage with the band. This was the team that went on to win the FA cup a few weeks later. Norm also thinks that the same gig was first cancelled, and them rescheduled a week or so later. That sort of rings true with me, now that he has reminded me.
Ian McLagen The Cluny Newcastle 13 August 2011
David and I went to see Ian McLagen of the Small Faces and Faces fame at the Cluny last night. It was great to see a legend playing in an intimate setting. Mac has just completed a set of dates with the Faces, and is out, along with the bass player from his Bump band Jon Notarthomas, touring the clubs of the UK and Ireland, before returning to Texas, where he now lives. His set consists largely of his own songs from recent albums, along with a Small Faces song and a few Faces songs.
He arrived on stage shortly after 9pm and started the set on his own with a song written for his old mate Ronnie Lane, Hello Old Friend. This was followed by Loverman and Been A Long Time, both songs from his recent albums. His keyboard playing is spot on and he looks and sounds great, his rough vocals sounding not unlike his former band mate Rod Stewart. He was soon joined by Jon Notarthomas on bass and gave us the Small Faces B side Get Yourself Together; a song which he explained he had forgotten, until he was reminded of it by Paul Weller.
Faces songs Cindy Incidentally, which Mac wrote with Rod and Ronnie Wood, and Glad and Sorry, a Ronnie Lane song, were also played. One of the encores was The Faces Debris, from A Nods as Good as a Wink, another Ronnie Lane, written for his dad. The set was littered with great banter with the audience and some snippets of stories, including one about Keith Moon, a pink Rolls Royce with speakers on the outside (!), an inflatable doll, and a mad midnight drive through Glasgow in the 60s on a Small Faces/Who tour. Its great to have the chance to see a legend in a small club setting. He also promised more Faces dates in 2012 and said that they should try to get to Newcastle for a show; I would love to see that come true.
Ian McLagen website