Posts Tagged ‘glam’

Blackfoot Sue live 1973

Blackfoot Sue live 1973
image“Standing in the Road” was a great single. It had a solid repetitive riff to and strong rhythms. I remember seeing Blackfoot Sue perform the song on Top of the Pops and I was totally knocked out. It reached No 4 in the UK singles chart at the same time as Slade and glamrock, and Blackfoot Sue were naturally compared to the bands of the time. This was a little unfair as the band had a much broader musical repertoire.
Blackfoot Sue was formed in 1970 by identical twin Brummie brothers Tom and David Farmer and Eddie Golga. They toured relentlessly between 1972 and 1974, playing ballrooms and clubs up and down the country. Tom and David Farmer both had really long hair and looked great; Tom played a Rickenbacker bass and David pounded away on drums. “Standing in the Road” had a rhythm section in the middle of the song where they all picked up drumsticks and hit everything in sight including their guitars, coke bottles, beer crates, and whatever was around them.
I saw Blackfoot Sue play at Sunderland Mecca sometime in 1973. I’ve checked their official gig list, and although it lists gigs at Newcastle Mayfair and Sunderland Poly, there is no mention of a Mecca gig. However I’m sure I saw them there. Live they were quite a heavy band, and had great rock tracks like “Messiah” which opened their debut album, and was also the song that opened their live show, and of course “Standing in the Road”. They would close their set with their version of the 1812 Overture which featured guitar feedback, churchbells and all of the guys hammering on David Farmer’s drum kit. My friend John recalls them “smashing up beer crates – or milk crates ? – they were made of wood- at the end of the set to bemusement of the crowd”. “1812” features on their second album, takes up almost a whole side of the lp record, and “ventures into the free-flowing world of progressive rock and gives some idea of the energy of the band on stage – the song was a highlight of their live show” (from the official Blackfoot Sue website). David Farmer: “It was all done with violin bows on the guitars… we had huge great artificial stone letters spelling out “1812”… We used to smash it up with axes and strobe lights flashed while the cannons exploded.” (That must be the smashing up that John recalls).
Blackfoot Sue folded in 1977 and re-emerged as Liner. Tom and Dave Farmer continue to play as Cry Wolf along with their younger brother Gary, and are sometimes joined by Eddie Golga.

Twisted Sister Newcastle Mayfair 15th April 1983

Twisted Sister Newcastle Mayfair 15th April 1983
twistedsisterTwisted Sister were crazy, sick, evil, motherf**kas. Going to see Twisted Sister was like going to a military drill, where the sergeant major dressed as a woman, made you swear, and ridiculed you if you didn’t join in and go totally crazy. These guys took all the evil, nasty, vile, scary, bits from Alic Cooper, New York Dolls, Slade, Bowie and The Stones, dragged them through their worst nightmares of Frankenstein and Dracula, and produced a metal band with an attitude and image like we had never seen before. Twisted Sister music was anthems and choruses sung again and again over slabs of loud, crashing, metal. Oh, and by the way they were just great 🙂  Perfect for a loud rock night at the Mayfair.
Lead singer and 110% crazy guy Dee Snider looked like a 6 feet something biker, dressed in drag, with the tightest, most disgusting bright spandex pants, make-up smeared all over his face like he had been out partying all night, and the craziest mane of bright yellow hair. “We are Twisted F**in’ Sister”. “And I am a sick muthaf**ka!” “Are you a sick muthaf**ka?!” “Say it, I am a sick muthaf**ka!” “Hey that f**in’ guy up there isn’t f**in’ saying it! Does he think he is at f**in’ Woodstock?! We ain’t no f**in’ Grateful Dead, maaaan.” “Come on man, f**in’ shout it. I am a sick muthaf**ka!” “”What do we say to f**in’ people who don’t want to f**in’ party seven days a week, 365 f**in’ days a year? We are sick muthaf**kas! We are sick muthaf**kas! We are sick muthaf**kas!” There was no escape.
Snider: “I tap into everything negative in my personality. I think about the things I hate, the things I’m angry about. I let it all out – I curse, scream, roll around – and afterwards, I feel good…. Metal is an outlet for negative emotions – anger, frustration, hostility. There’s always anger, and you need to let it go. You want to punch somebody in the face – Heavy Metal, you punch your fist in the air. You want to stomp on somebody, you stomp on the floor. You want to scream at your parents, you scream into the air.”
Wonderful. No Twisted Sister; no Motley Crue, no Ratt, no Poison.
Setlist: What You Don’t Know (Sure Can Hurt You); Sin After Sin; Bad Boys (Of Rock ‘n’ Roll); Destroyer; We’re Gonna Make It; Tear It Loose; You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll; Shoot ‘Em Down; Run for Your Life; I Am (I’m Me); It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It); Blaydon Races; Ride to Live, Live to Ride; Under the Blade; Let the Good Times Roll
I saw Twisted Sister later that year at Donington and more recently supporting Alice Cooper.
“We are sick muthaf**kas!”

Sweet Newcastle City Hall 2nd November 1973

Sweet Newcastle City Hall 2nd November 1973
sweettix83“Are you ready, Steve? Aha.
Andy? Yeah! Mick? OK.
Alright, fellas, let’s go!..”
Sweet were a closet heavy metal band, but then you knew that already. Sure, they hit the UK singles charts with some pure (and great) glamrock pop songs, but if you took the trouble to turn those records over, the B sides featured some proper straight-on heavy rock. Determined to seek out the secret rock band hiding behind the glitter, I went along with a couple of mates, and 2,000 screaming girls, to see Sweet at Newcastle City Hall. It was at the height of their fame in late 1973, and the place was jam packed. Sweet came on stage to “The Stripper” music, and launched headlong into “Hell Raiser”. Their camp rock show didn’t let up for the next hour. What can I say? The girls screamed. Sweet played all their hits, and camped it up; seriously tongue in cheek. Wonderful.
Support came from Sun Chariot, according to the ticket (now who were they and whatever happened to them?)
sweetprogSetlist: Hell Raiser; Burning / Someone Else Will; Rock ‘N’ Roll Disgrace; Wig-Wam Bam; Need a Lot of Lovin’; Done Me Wrong Alright; You’re Not Wrong for Lovin’ Me; The Man with the Golden Arm; Little Willy; Teenage Rampage; Rock ‘n’ Roll Medley: Keep On Knockin’ / Shakin’ All Over / Lucille / Great Balls of Fire / Reelin’ and Rockin’ / Peppermint Twist / Shout
Encore: The Ballroom Blitz; Block Buster!
The next time I saw Sweet was at Sunderland Locarno a few years later. I think it was around the time that they were in the charts with “Love is Like Oxygen”. By then their glam period had passed, and many of their teen fans had moved on. It was a rainy weekday night, and the ballroom was pretty empty. But, being the troopers that they were, Sweet put on another great performance.

“And the man at the back said
Everyone attack and it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said
Boy, I wanna warn ya, it’ll turn into a ballroom blitz
Ballroom blitz, ballroom blitz, ballroom blitz
It’s it’s a ballroom blitz, it’s it’s a ballroom blitz”

Sparks Leeds University Refectory 22nd June 1974 & Newcastle City Hall 3rd November 1974

sparksSparks Leeds University Refectory 22nd June 1974.
California brothers Ron and Russel; Mael relocated to the UK In 1973, having already appeared on the Old Grey Whistle test (Bob Harris declared Sparks “a cross between Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention and The Monkees”). They recruited Martin Gordon on bass (later of Jet and Radio Stars), Adrian Fisher (guitar) and Norman “Dinky” Diamond (drums). This line-up of Sparks recorded the breakthrough album “Kimono My House” which featured their No. 2 hit single “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us”. Sparks’ appearances on Top of the Pops were sensational. Front man Russell was the cutesy glam singer with strange jerky hyperactive dancing, flanked by his older brother Ron, seated motionless at the keyboard, flashing evil stares at the camera, and sporting a weird Charlie Chaplin mustache. “This Town” propelled Sparks to almost immediate teen stardom, and in June Sparks went out on their first UK tour. My friend Gillie and I had been blown away by “This Town” and really wanted to see this crazy new band, although we hadn’t heard anything else by them. sparksprogThe nearest date of the tour for us was a concert at Leeds University Students Union, so we drove down to see the band at that gig. It was a Saturday student event, and we weren’t quite sure whether we would get into the show, not being students ourselves. We managed to get a couple of students to sign us in at the door, and we made our way into the vast union refectory. This was our first visit, and we were very excited at the prospect attending a gig in the famous hall where The Who had recorded “Live at Leeds” not that many years before. I think the support act was Old Tennis Shoes, who were a rock and blues band from Preston. Sparks were magnificent. I don’t recall what they played that night other than “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us”, which I think they may have played twice, once during the main set and then again as a final encore. Ron looked just as mysterious and mean as he did on Top of the Pops and Russel was a little ball of energy; he wore a white smock top and danced himself silly the entire evening, climbing up the PA stacks during “This Town” and singing it from the top of a speaker column. Gillie and I drove back up the A1 in my little MG talking about just how great Sparks were. Well worth the trip to Leeds.
sparkstixSparks Newcastle City Hall 3rd November 1974
1974 was a busy year for Sparks. They recorded the follow up to “Kimono My House”, which was their fourth album “Propaganda”, Martin Gordon and Adrian Fisher were replaced by Trevor White and Ian Hampton, and they had two further UK hit singles “Amateur Hour” (which reached No 7) and “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth” (which reached No 13). They toured the UK again, to promote “Propaganda” this time calling at Newcastle City Hall. Support came from Pilot, who had been in the charts with “Magic” and were to have a No 1 single with “January” the following year. Sparks delivered another great performance; by this point in their career they were big teen heroes and the City Hall was full of girls screaming at Russell.

Ratt Invasion of Your Privacy World Tour ’85/’86

Ratt Invasion of Your Privacy World Tour ’85/’86
rattI found a programme for Ratt’s “Invasion of Your Privacy” ’86/’86 world tour in my collection, but I couldn’t find a ticket stub to match. My conundrum was soon solved however, when I realised that I’d seen Ratt down the bill at Donington Monsters of Rock in 1985 and as support for Ozzy Osbourne on 12th February 1986 at Newcastle City Hall. Ratt were very much on their way upward at the time, and must have had their own tour programme, either at Donginton or alongside Ozzy’s merchandise. I have already written about the Ozzy gig, but I didn’t say much about Ratt. As I have a programme to feature here, I figured I should write a little about the band.
Ratt are an American hard rocking band, and were instrumental in the formation of the early ’80s Los Angeles glam metal scene, often referred to as the ‘Sunset Strip’ sound. Like their friendly rivals Mötley Crüe, Ratt’s sound fused pop hooks with the metal ethos along with big hair, and over the top on-stage performances and (on- and off-stage) behaviour. Ratt continue to tour and record today despite several hiatuses and many lineup changes. They were formed and led by vocalist Stephen Pearcy; at the time I saw them the line-up included Warren De Martini and Robbin Crosby on guitars, Bobby Blotzer on drums and Juan Croucier on bass. The tour programme describes Ratt as having “wiry energy”, “desperate rightness” and an attitude which guitarist Crosby calls “gladiator land-gyspies; cement pirates” [whatever that might be 🙂 ]. It tells me that the band went from “sleeping on the floor of a converted garage in Los Angeles, their pillows nestled against their Marshall amps” to massive success with their debut album “Out of the Cellar” and that “we’re finally out of the cellar and into your living rooms. Ratt cannot be exterminated”.
Ratt are little mentioned these days, with much of the publicity and credit for the scene going to Mötley Crüe, who perhaps did out-do them in terms of outrageousness. However, Ratt were without doubt a formidable force at the time, and their shows were glorious celebrations of what is possible if you take pop and glam sensibilities and align them with the values, volume, approach and craziness of heavy metal. Their concerts were something to be experienced, and Ozzy must have found it difficult to follow them on that stage some nights.
Ratt’s line-up has changed a lot over the years; however they are now back to more or less their classic formation with Stephen Pearcy, Warren De Martini, Bobby Blotzer and Juan Croucier all once again in the fold. They are joined by Carlos Cavazo on guitar.
Setlist from 1986: Dangerous but Worth the Risk; Give It All; Wanted Man; In Your Direction; Never Use Love; Walkin’ the Dog; You Think You’re Tough; Lay It Down; You’re in Love; Sweet Cheater; Round and Round
PS Ratt made a big noise and had big hair, so I figured I’d use a bigger than usual image of their tour programme for my post today. Rock on.

Mott the Hoople Buxton July 1974; or how I survived the mud and watched Mott reveal a Golden Age of Rock’n’Roll

Mott the Hoople Buxton July 1974
mott the hooplegoldenageI’ve relived the nightmare that was Buxton 74 in an earlier post on my blog. Terry Battersby puts in well on the UK Festivals site: “I managed Buxton in 72/73/74.They should have been campaign medals issued”. Well I managed 73 and 74 and know what he means. I hold my medal with pride; the Buxton festivals were a real endurance test.
Buxton is a town high up in the peak district and the festival was sited up on a moor. You couldn’t imagine a worse place to hold a pop festival. All the Buxton festivals suffered from poor weather, lots of wind and rain, and after 1974 the organisers abandoned the idea of holding any further festivals. Buxton 74 was a very wet and cold two-day event and Mott headlined the first (Friday) night, topping a bill that featured Man, Horslips and Lindisfarne. Compere was Bob Harris. Mott played an excellent set, and were one of the highlights of the weekend, along with Humble Pie and Rod and The Faces. The line-up of Mott the Hoople at the time was Ian Hunter (vocals, guitar, piano), Pete “Overend” Watts (bass), Dale “Buffin” Griffin (drums), Morgan Fisher (keyboards), and Ariel Bender (guitar).
photo 1Mott had just played a legendary week-long residency at the Uris theatre on Broadway, and the Buxton set definitely had shades of a Broadway performance. The set was similar to that which they’d played on Broadway, but I can’t be sure that it was exactly the same. I’ve reproduced the setlist from the Uris theatre below anyway, for reference purposes. I’m certain that they started the show with the first verse of Don McLean’s “American Pie” which was a big surprise to me. Hunter was in his element; he had grown into the ultimate showman, a cross between a rock star and a ringmaster, and he was on top form that night. He was playing a grand piano with a massive candelabra on top (maybe I imagined that; but please don’t tell me I’m wrong and spoil this great memory :)) and when he got to the line “the day the music died”, he declared: “Or did it? Ladies and gentlemen, The Golden Age Of Rock’n’Roll”…Then it was straight into “The Golden Age of Rock n Roll” and we were off at high speed into a great Mott performance. Hunter became a cross between Little Richard and Jerry Lee, and we forgot how cold and damp we were. buxtonprog Other memories: “All the way from Memphis became “All the way from Buxton” and during “Marionette” lots of marionettes appeared on stage. This was a great set, and managed to liven up all our spirits after such a cold, wet day. Although we didn’t know it at the time, Hunter had already decided to call it a day and leave the band. As my mate and I walked back to my car, where we tried to get some sleep (with little success I fear) we were unaware that we had just witnessed Mott’s last performance on the UK mainland for 35 years (they played a gig on the Isle of Man the next night). It was a fitting performance to end things on.
From the Buxton 74 programme: “Mott’s Rock’n’Roll journey is almost over [did they know something we didn’t ? 🙂 ]. They’re home now….top of the bill on the Rock’n’Roll Circus. Right where they’ve always meant to be. They’ve fought hard and sometimes they’ve had to fight dirty. Don’t talk to them about ‘compromise’ because Mott don’t know what it means. Ask then instead about the hard times, the rough times…..when nothing’s been easy, and only optimism, nerve and aggression have pulled them through…..They’ve proved it now….that they can take more than enough to finish a lesser band, and come through it all to take their place at the top of Rock’n’Roll’s ladder with their heads held high”.
Setlist from the Uris show, on Broadway, New York in May 1974: American Pie; The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll; Sucker; Roll Away the Stone; Sweet Jane; Rest in Peace; All the Way from Memphis; Born Late ’58; One of the Boys; Hymn for the Dudes; Marionette; Drivin’ Sister; Crash Street Kids; Violence; All the Young Dudes; Walkin’ with a Mountain
Thanks to John (who is also a Buxton 74 campaign medal holder) for the photo of his poster showing the line-up for the weekend.

Mötley Crüe Theatre of Pain tour Newcastle City Hall 1986

Mötley Crüe Theatre of Pain tour Newcastle City Hall 1986
motleytix Think big, loud, outrageous, OTT, heavy rock. Think glam, pyrotechnics, Kiss meets The Stooges and you are starting to get it. Mötley Crüe brought the “Theatre of Pain” to Newcastle and just blew us all away 🙂 .
Mötley Crüe are an American heavy metal band who formed in California in 1980. The group was founded by bass guitarist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, who were soon joined by fellow mad compatriots lead guitarist Mick Mars and lead singer Vince Neil. Mötley Crüe have been described as “the world’s most notorious rock band” (Wikipedia). They are also one of the best-selling groups of all time, having sold 80 million albums (Wow!). I first came across Mötley Crüe when I saw them playing way down the bill at Donington Monsters of Rock in 1984. By 1986 they were touring to support their third album “Theatre of Pain”, and these guys were massive. I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to enjoy their outrageous stage show, but I knew that I just had to go along and see if they were as loud and crazy as I had read. The show was actually great fun, if a little tongue in cheek, and the music wasn’t too bad either.
MotleyCrueTheatrefPain The stage set was magnificent. Drummer Tommy Lee towered above us all on a drum riser which revolved through 360 degrees (don’t ask me how that worked 🙂 ?!). Guitarist Mick Mars and bassist Nikki Sixx prowled around the stage, both every bit heavy metal rock gods. And singer and total madman Vince Neil sang his heart out. The audience, well Vince told us many times that we were all “MotherF***ers”, and the Newcastle metal crowd didn’t argue with that; they just lapped it up. A night of total over the top madness! Plus these guys did a great version of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter”; check it out on YouTube. I’ve been trying to work out who the support act was that night, and based on what I can find out there, it seems that the great Cheap Trick played on the UK dates. My memory lets me down again, as I have no recollection at all of seeing Cheap Trick that night. I am sure if they had been support I would have gone along early to see them; maybe I did and have forgotten all about it, which is increasingly likely….
Setlist: Looks That Kill; Use It or Lose It; Shout at the Devil; Fight for Your Rights; Home Sweet Home; Red Hot; Keep Your Eye on the Money; Louder Than Hell; Too Young to Fall in Love; Knock ’em Dead, Kid; Live Wire; Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room (Brownsville Station. Great choice for a cover!); Helter Skelter (The Beatles! Another great choice); Jailhouse Rock (Elvis!)