The Skids Durham University 9th October 1980
I saw the Skids for my fourth, and last, time at a gig at Durham University Dunelm Ballroom on 9th October 1980. The fold out poster-programme shows the band as Scottish gents in their cricket gear; punks no more. They had just released their third album “The Absolute Game” and the line-up was now Richard Jobson on vocals, Stuart Adamson on guitars/vocals, Russell Webb on bass, and Mike Baillie on drums. The album saw The Skid move to a softer, poppier sound. “Bubblegum’s back and it sounds wonderful. In contemporary terms the Skids are to The Clash and the post-modernists what Sweet were to Slade and Bowie: opportunistic enthusiasts with a starry-eye on the charts and an ear for crazy combinations….At its best, The Absolute Game comes close to being great pop music” (Chris Bohn reviewing “The Absolute Game”, NME, 20th September 1980). Things were not good in the Skids camp; internal disagreements had led to further changes in personnel. Soon after the 1980 tour Adamson and Baillie left the band, and it imploded. To be honest I remember little of the Durham gig, that probably means it didn’t have the power, passion or craziness of the previous times I saw the Skids. I’ll remember those nights at the Rock Garden and the City Hall, when these guys were at the top of their game, and one of the best punk / new wave bands around. “Towards the fag end of 1978, some time after cool critics had officially nailed down the coffin lid on punk, the Skids came along and cocked up the post mortem by crafting some of the finest music ever to come out of the great rock ‘n’ roll rejuventation….The sound they developed over three excellent albums was a majestic and highly individual blend of Big Chant pop and joyous punk energy built on Stuart Adamson’s sparklingly innovative guitar-play and embellished by Jobson’s challenging and only occasionally impenetratable lyrics. They had power, glory and unashamed feeling and made it all as singalongable as a video tape of Rogers and Hammerstein highlights.” (Garry Bushell, reviewing the Skids accomplishments in Sounds, 3rd July 1982)
Archive for the ‘Skids’ Category
The Skids Durham University 9th October 1980
The Skids Middlesbrough Rock Garden and Newcastle City Hall 1979
The 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. They 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.
ALBERT TATLOCK” (TV Stars, The Skids, 1979)