The Flamin’ Groovies 1972 Newcastle City Hall and 1976 Redcar Coatham Bowl
Support in 1972 came from Mr Moses Schoolband and Man; Support in 1976 came from the Damned I first saw The Flamin’ Groovies at a concert at Newcasle City Hall in 1972. I keep all my ticket stubs, but don’t have one for this. I must have paid at the door, and not been given a ticket, which sometimes happened in those days. I know that tickets did exist for this gig, as I saw one for sale on eBay a few weeks ago; I bid on it, but sadly I was outbid at the last moment. I went along to the gig on my own, but ran into some friends from town, and joined them in seats near the front. The gig was general admission, with no seat numbers on the tickets, something which never seems to happen now. It was not well attended and there were plenty of empty seats. I went along partly out on curiosity; I had read some good reports of the Flamin’ Groovies from recent festival appearances, and also to see Man, who were one of the supporting acts. First up was a strange band called Mr Moses School Band. As I recall Mr Moses was the singer and he was totally outrageous, crazy and over the top. He finished the set by throwing the mike stand into the crowd, just missing us; again something that you never see these days (definitely not covered by Health and Safety risk assessments). Man were next up. I saw them lots of times in the 70s, at festivals and at the City Hall. They were always amazing; great musicianship, particularly from Micky Jones who played long meandering west coast influenced guitar solos on his Gibson SG which were outstanding and never boring. Spunk Rock was my favourite at the time. The Flamin’ Groovies were quite wierd. If you can imagine mixing 50s rock n roll with garage and blending it with the Rolling Stones you wouldn’t be far off. They started with Jumping Jack Flash, and did a few Stones covers. The singer must have been watching lots of film of Jagger, who he obviously modelled himself on, almost to the point of parody. Their well know album at the time was Teenage Head; I remember them playing the title track and another song which was well known at the time, which was called Slow Death.
Roll forward four years to 1976, and a group of us went to Redcar’s Coatham Bowl to see the Groovies. Once again, there was a strong support in the form of The Damed who were a new, young punk group and very much a band of the moment, while The Flamin’ Groovies were now being hailed as one of the forerunners of punk, a label which I found difficult to understand, given my memories of the City Hall gig. By now they had teamed up with Dave Edmunds and had just released Shake Some Action. I have blogged separately on The Damned, and briefly mentioned their performance that night. Suffice it to say here that they were amazing; young, fresh, fast, crazy, and angry and they just blew the crowd away that night. The Groovies were ok, but it must have been difficult for them to follow the Damned’s high energy performance. They were a very different band from the one I saw in 1972. There were no Jagger impersonations this time, or any old 50s rock n roll songs. The show focussed very much on their own material and on their latest album.
The Flamin’ Groovies now command almost legendary status; I’m pleased that I was lucky enough to see them on these two occasions.
Many thanks to Ken for sending me the two images of his ticket and signed flyer from the 1972 City Hall concert.