Archive for the ‘Wreckless Eric’ Category

Wreckless Eric Ashington Regal 16th April 1978

Wreckless Eric Ashington Regal 16th April 1978
wrecklesserictixSupport from The Showbiz Kids
Back in the 1970s there were still some lovely old cinemas around, and many of them were being used as venues for concerts. In the North East, I attended gigs in Newcastle Odeon, Jesmond Cinema, Gosforth Royalty and this concert which was in Ashington Regal. These were all beautiful theatres, very ornate, with plush comfortable seats, and sculptures of cherubs looking down at the audience. They brought back memories of going to the pictures in the ’60s and the Saturday morning picture clubs that we would all troop off to, such as the ABC Minors. The whole street would meet at the bus stop and get the bus down to the down to watch old Laurel and Hardy, Flash Gordon and Perils of Pauline films. Sadly all of the cinemas I have mentioned here are now no more.
Regal, Station Road, Ashington, NorthumberlandThe Ashington Regal Theatre was built on the site of the Miners’ Theatre. It opened in 1939, and had a 39 feet wide proscenium, an orchestra pit that could hold 15 musicians, and a cinema organ. It was taken over by the Noble Organisation in 1972, and closed in November 1979, just over a year after this concert. The building then lay derelict for several years until it was eventually demolished, and a nursing home was built on the site.
In 1978, in what I would imagine was a last chance saloon move to keep the cinema open, a series of Sunday concerts were put on at the Regal. I think this Wreckless Eric gig was the only one I attended, although I may also have seen Slade there, but can’t be sure. I know Whitesnake also played the Regal as part of the series, and I think Squeeze may also have featured at one of the shows.
WrecklessEricLPWe knew Wreckless Eric from seeing him on the Stiff tour and for his classic Stiff single “(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World”. Eric had just released his first album, and gave a typical shambolic, yet enjoyable performance. I saw him once more a couple of years later supporting Squeeze at the Mayfair. The Regal concert was quite poorly attended; Wreckless Eric was not such a big name at the time, and headlining a cinema of this size was probably quite an optimistic move. Support came from local band The Showbiz Kids, who were managed by local promoter Geof Docherty (who I think also promoted this gig) and featured Olga (later of the Toy Dolls) and Rob Kane (now of Dr Feelgood).
“We are the boys and girls well known as Minors of the ABC. And every Saturday we all line up, to see the films we like and shout aloud with glee. We like to laugh and have a singsong, such a happy crowd are we. We’re all pals together, we’re minors of the ABC.” Happy days 🙂

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Squeeze and Wreckless Eric Newcastle Mayfair 28th February 1980

Squeeze and Wreckless Eric Newcastle Mayfair 28th February 1980
squeezetixI’d seen Squeeze supporting Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Tubes, Dr Feelgood, and at Reading, but this was the first time, and only time, I saw them as a headline act. This was the classic Squeeze line-up featuring Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook and Jools Holland. Squeeze had just released their third album “Argybargy” and had already made the UK top 20 four times, with their first single “Take Me, I’m Yours” which reached No 19 in 1978, the excellent “Cool for Cats” and “Up the Junction”, both of which reached No. 2 in 1979 and their most recent release at the time, “Another Nail in My Heart”, which made No. 17 in January 1980. Support came from the crazy Wreckless Eric, whose most well-known song is the wonderful “Whole Wide World”. Squeeze were a great live act who produced a clutch of perfect pop songs; my favourite is “Up The Junction” which is just pure class. The setlist for the concert at the Mayfair is likely to have been something like this: Slap and Tickle; Touching Me, Touching You; Slightly Drunk; Pulling Mussels (From the Shell); Hop Skip & Jump; Another Nail in My Heart; Cool for Cats; Messed Around; I Think I’m Go Go; Take Me I’m Yours; If I Didn’t Love You; Misadventure; It’s So Dirty; Goodbye Girl; Up the Junction; There at the Top. Encore: Going Crazy

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.