Archive for the ‘The Vibrators’ Category

The Vibrators live 1976 – 1978

The Vibrators live 1977 – 1978
V2Well I’m getting within sight of the end of my project. I’ve covered the letters up to and including “X”, leaving only “Y” and “Z” to do. I’ve been working through my concert memories with the aid of my tickets and programmes, which means I’ve missed some bands for whom I don’t have anything in my collection. For instance, any gig where I paid on the door, and wasn’t given a ticket, may have been missed. So over the remaining period I will be jumping about a bit, trying to cover those bands, or at least the ones I can remember and who I feel should be mentioned. I also have some festival events to cover. Still I reckon another couple of months and I will probably be finished. Mitch reminded me that I hadn’t written about The Vibrators, so here goes.
Ian “Knox” Carnocan, bassist Pat Collier, guitarist John Ellis and drummer Eddie formed The Vibrators in early 1976, and they played their first gig supporting The Stranglers in London. The band’s debut single “We Vibrate” came out in November 1977 and was one of the first punk singles. Marie and I first saw the band at Middlesbrough Rock Garden in December 1976. The gig was close to Christmas, I think it may have been 23rd December, and if I remember correctly, the band played two nights at the venue. This was one of the first gigs at the Rock Garden and our first visit, of many, to the venue which was to become the home of punk rock in the North East. I remember them playing “We Vibrate” which was quite a catchy rock’n’roll single. The Rock Garden was quite empty, punk (and the venue) were just starting to take off. We saw the Vibrators again at a packed gig in Newcastle Poly bar a few months later. seaburnhallI remember we were standing right in front of Knox, and the music was deafening in the small venue.
Early in 1977 I saw The Vibrators again, this time at Newcastle City Hall supporting Iggy Pop (the “Idiot” tour with David Bowie on keyboards). Around this time they released their classic “Baby Baby” single, which was a big live favourite, followed by their debut lp “Pure Mania”, a punk rock classic, which spent five weeks in the UK album charts. A second, live, single from the album “London Girls” (another great song, which I remember seeing them play), came out in Summer 1977. We next saw The Vibrators supporting Ian Hunter at Newcastle Mayfair (Hunter’s “Overnight Angels” tour). Bassist Pat Collier left soon after the Ian Hunter tour, and was replaced by Gary Tibbs (who would go on to play with Roxy Music and Adam and the Ants). The last time I recall seeing The Vibrators was at a headline gig at Seaburn Hall, Sunderland (pictured). This was soon after they released the single “Automatic Lover”, which reached No. 35 in the UK singles chart and got the band a spot on Top of the Pops. They released their second lp “V2” in April 1977; another punk classic, and the line-up of the band started to change shortly afterwards. Drummer Eddie continues to lead The Vibrators today. The Vibrators were a great live act, full of energy and with some classic punk tunes, and a very important part of the early punk scene.

Iggy Pop and David Bowie The Idiot Newcastle City Hall 2 March Tour 1977

This was a strange one this. Looking back this gig was pretty important historically, and yet at the time (as is often the case) it didn’t seem so. Iggy wasn’t that well known in the UK at the time. I’d seen him on the TV (was it on the Whistle Test?) throwing himself into the crowd and spreading peanut butter all over his torso at a late 60s gig in the USA. I’d also read the reviews of his seminal, wild gig at the Kings Cross cinema (and regretted not going). I’d seen the Sex Pistols play the Stooges’ No Fun the year before, so knew a little about the Iggy legend and his impact on punk. Generally however little was known about Iggy, and ticket sales for this gig were apparently not going well. A few days before the gig the local paper, the Evening Chronicle, ran an article hinting that David Bowie might be guesting at the gig, presumably to try and boost ticket sales. So a few of us went along to the gig, partly out of curiosity to see if Iggy was as crazy as we’d heard, and partly to see if Bowie really did appear. Still, on the night the City Hall was barely half full. Support came from The Vibrators who were, as I recall, pretty hot at the time, and will have played tracks like We Vibrate and London Girls. Iggy took to the stage and was followed by his band, that included David Bowie, who walked up to a keyboard at the right of the stage without any acknowledgement to the crowd at all. It was very clear that this was Iggy’s show and Bowie was a sideman. The set was a mix of old Stooges classics and tracks from the Idiot lp, and was something like: Raw power; Tv eye; Dirt; 1969; Turn blue; Funtime; Gimme danger; No fun; Sister midnight; I need somebody; search & destroy; I wanna be your dog; Tonight; Some weird sin; China girl. As I recall Iggy was good, but not as wild as usual. He was back to play to a packed City Hall later in the year and went totally crazy, climbing all over the amps, rolling around the stage, with his trousers coming open. A few years later I caught him at Redcar Coatham Bowl (Glen Matlcock on bass, I think), he was smoking on stage and flicking lit cigarettes into the crowd (how times change…). Bowie stayed in the background all night and didn’t speak to the crowd. It was good to see him back on the City Hall stage, but I was hoping that they would perform some Bowie classics. I remember shouting for Moonage Daydream…..Anyway he came back to the City Hall as part of the Low tour the following year. Will report on that tomorrow.