Archive for the ‘Nick Lowe’ Category

Frank Zappa & the Tubes Knebworth 9th September 1978

image“Oh God, Not Another Boring Old Knebworth” said the posters. Line-up: The Tubes, Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, Boomtown Rats, Rockpile, Wilko Johnson’s Solid Senders.
This was the second Knebworth festival to take place in 1978, following the Genesis / Jefferson Starship / Tom Petty gig earlier in the summer. I remember thinking it was a bit late in the year for an open air gig and feared the worst from the weather, but actually it was ok on the day; quite fine. I drove down with a group of mates. We argued all the way down about who was the “best” act of the day. Such things seemed to matter a lot in those days. In the car we had a big Zappa fan (me, and I was sure that Zappa was the biggest and best act and should be headlining), a newly converted Tubes fanatic, and a couple of Peter Gabriel / Genesis fans. Zappa and the Tubes were billed as joint headliners, however on the day the Tubes closed the show, which annoyed me a little. We camped and pitched our tents near a big generator (big mistake) which for some reason we didn’t really notice when we set up. However it was humming loudly all night and powering a massive floodlight which shone on our tents, so we didn’t get much sleep.
The show was opened by the Boomtown Rats, Wilko Johnson who had recently left Dr Feelgood and was fronting his new band Solid Senders, and Rockpile featuring Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe. All class acts and a great start to the day. I’ve already written about Peter Gabriel and the Tubes in earlier posts. Both were great; the Tubes closed the festival with a massive crazy show. They were joined by Todd Rundgren for encores of Baba O’Reilly and
The Kids are alright, played in honour of Keith Moon who had died just two days before this concert.
Zappa was great, although I didn’t enjoy his performance as much as the concert I saw in Edinburgh the year before. His band had changed and they played very few songs that I knew. Still, it was a good day with a varied, and very strong line-up, although the lack of a major league headliner resulted in a far from capacity crowd.
We spent the night with a big light shining on us, a loud humming noise from the generator, and a few “Wally” shouts (although they were starting to fade away by this point in the ’70s). Very little sleep and a long drive home in the morning.
Zappa setlist: Rubber Slices (The Deathless Horsie); Introduction and Soundcheck; Dancin’ Fool; Easy Meat; Honey, Don’t You Want a Man Like Me?; Keep it Greasey; Village of the Sun; Poor Suckers (The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing); City of Tiny Lites; A Pound for a Brown on the Bus; Bobby Brown; Conehead; Flakes (part 1); Flakes (part 2); Magic Fingers; Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow; Nanook Rubs It; Saint Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast; Father O’Blivion / Rollo; Bamboozled by Love
Zappa band: Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals); Vinnie Colaiuta (drums); Arthur Barrow (bass); Ed Mann (percussion); Tommy Mars (keyboards); Denny Walley (guitar, vocals); Peter Wolf (keyboards); and Ike Willis (guitar, vocals).

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The Stiff Tour 1977 Middlesbrough Town Hall

The Stiff Tour 1977 Middlesbrough Town Hall and Newcastle Poly
stiffstixThe Stiff tours were a highlight of the late 70s rock calendar. These amazing events featured a selection of artists from Stiff records, travelling up and down the UK dropping into concert halls, university student unions and your local theatre. The first tour was known as the Live Stiffs Tour or 5 Live Stiffs, and took place in late 1977.  My ticket stub from the gig at Middlesbrough Town Hall is here on the right, I’ve been trying to work out what the title for that concert was! Perhaps it was “The First Stiffs’ Tour” ?? Who knows 🙂 This first extravaganza boasted a stellar line-up of the new wave aristocracy with  a young Elvis Costello with his fine Attractions, Ian Dury and the magnificent Blockheads, the crazy, wild and 100% authentic Wreckless Eric, The Jesus of Cool Nick Lowe (featuring rocker supremo Dave Edmunds) and ex Pink Fairies, Motorhead (and great Lewis leather jacket) Larry Wallis. A bunch of mates and I caught the tour at this Middlesbrough Town Hall gig. At the time punk was really taking off around the UK, and the old town hall was packed. I remember seeing Elvis Costello outside talking to a group of kids; my mate Norm recalls him giving them a penny for the guy.  We witnessed some great music with wonderful performances from Elvis and Ian Dury that night. Ian stole the show; he was at his height at the time, performing material from New Boots and Panties!!: “Sweet Gene Vincent”, “Billericay Dickie”, and “Clever Trevor”. The gig ended with everyone on stage performing Dury’s “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”. Amazing!!
The tour called at Newcastle Polytechnic a couple of weeks later. I enjoyed the show so much, I went along again, this time with Marie. Marie has a better memory than me on this gig, and can recall us chatting to Elvis Costello in the union bar. She swears that Captain Sensible was with him, holding court to a few of us, in a typical mad mood, and show off that he is, he ate an entire packet of crisps, including the bag, all in one go in front of us. I do have a vague memory of meeting the Captain, but couldn’t be certain that it was the same night as the Stiffs tour. I wish I had kept a diary…
A bargain at £1.50

The Stiff Tours 1977 and 1978: Be Stiff 1978

The Stiff Tours 1977 and 1978
The Stiff tours were a highlight of the late 70s rock calendar. These events featured a selection of artists from Stiff records, travelling around the UK dropping into concert halls and university student unions. The first tour was known as the Live Stiffs Tour or 5 Live Stiffs, and took place in late 1977. It boasted a great line-up with Elvis Costello and The Attractions, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Wreckless Eric, Nick Lowe (featuring Dave Edmunds) and Larry Wallis. A bunch of mates and I caught the tour at Middlesbrough Town Hall. At the time punk was really taking off around the UK, and the old town hall was packed. I remember seeing Elvis Costello outside talking to a group of kids; my mate Norm recalls him giving them a penny for the guy. We witnessed some great music with wonderful performances from Elvis and Ian Dury that night. Ian stole the show; he was at his height at the time, performing material from New Boots and Panties!!: “Sweet Gene Vincent”, “Billericay Dickie”, and “Clevor Trever”. The gig ended with everyone on stage performing Dury’s “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”. The tour called at Newcastle Polytechnic a couple of weeks later. I enjoyed the show so much, I went along again, this time with Marie. Marie has a better memory than me on this gig, and can recall us chatting to Elvis Costello in the union bar. She swears that Captain Sensible was with him, holding court to a few of us, in a typical mad mood, and ate an entire packet of crisps, including the bag, all in one go. I do have a vague memory of meeting the Captain, but couldn’t be certain that it was the same night as the Stiffs tour. I wish I had kept a diary… The second tour, the Be Stiff 78 tour, again comprised five acts: Wreckless Eric, Lene Lovich, Jona Lewie, Mickey Jupp and Rachel Sweet. Norm and I caught that gig at Newcastle University. The line up wasn’t as strong as 1977, however, it saw Lene Lovich break through to chart stardom, and Wreckless Eric’s “Whole Wide World” is still a favourite of mine.