Posts Tagged ‘punk’

XTC Newcastle City Hall 19th May 1981

XTC Newcastle City Hall 19th May 1981
xtctixI saw XTC a few times at Newcastle University during 1978 and 1979. They played the University students union on 4th February 1978, 4th November 1978 and 27th April 1979. I think I was at least two of those gigs, but can’t recall exactly which ones. This was the early version of the band with a line-up of Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Terry Chambers and Barry Andrews. Andrews left in early 1979 to be replaced by Dave Gregory. Early XTC were all jerky rhythms; much more experimental and punky than the later post-Andrews band, which became poppier. By the time I saw them at Newcastle Mayfair on 21st September 1979 XTC had entered the single charts with the excellent “Life Begins at the Hop” and had just released their new single, the classic “Making Plans for Nigel”. Support came from the Yachts. xtcprog
I saw XTC once more before they quit touring, at a concert at Newcastle City Hall on 19th May 1981. They had just been in the singles chart with “Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)”, another classic pop tune. Support at the City Hall came from Last Touch. “Senses Working Overtime” was XTC’s last Top 10 hit in 1982. After that they became a studio band of Andy Partridge and session musicians.
A great pop band who have been hugely influential. You can hear XTC in Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and many other guitar-oriented jerky pop bands.
Setlist (something like): Real by Reel; Life Begins at the Hop; When You’re Near Me I Have Difficulty; Respectable Street; Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me); Snowman; Paper and Iron (Notes and Coins); Ball and Chain; Love at First Sight; No Language in Our Lungs; Scissor Man; Towers of London; Burning With Optimism’s Flames; Making Plans for Nigel; Living Through Another Cuba; Generals and Majors; Helicopter; Are You Receiving Me?.

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X Ray Spex Redcar Coatham Bowl 23rd April 1978

X Ray Spex Redcar Coatham Bowl 23rd April 1978X-Ray-Spex-Oh-Bondage-Up-Yours
The night the Coatham Bowl turned Dayglo.
Poly Styrene exploded onto the stage; a bundle of crazy youthful energy. Art-I-Ficial !! Off we went, the crowd jumping and pogoing along to the loud raucous noise. A manic hippy looking guy with long hair ran to the front of the stage, squeezing discordant noises from his sax. Poly screamed into the mike, shook her head, swung her dreads around and around, and lost herself in a childish whirling dance. The pace, the noise and the music were relentless. Identity !! ……Warrior in Woolworths (my favourite)….They played many of the tracks which would make their classic debut Germ Free Adolescents so great. X Ray Spex were joyous, hectic, amateur, funny, bright and loud. They were also amazing and one of the most fun acts to emerge from punk. Their songs each had a message, but not in the serious gloomy way of many of the bands of the time. Poly was a one-off and the songs all had catchy hooks and were 100% pure pop. They crashed through Oh Bondage! Up Yours! And then they were gone, back to the planet Plastic, from whence they came. Wonderful.
Support came from local Teesside punk rockers Britzkrieg Bop.
Setlist (something like): Art-I-Ficial; Obsessed With You; Identity; Let’s Submerge; Plastic Bag; I Live Off You; I Am a Poseur; Genetic Engineering; I Am a Cliche; The Day the World Turned Dayglo; Warrior in Woolworths; Oh Bondage! Up Yours!
RIP Poly Styrene

The Undertones live in 1979 & 1980

The Undertones live in 1979 & 1980
undertonestix79I first saw the Undertones at a gig in Middlesbrough Rock Garden on 4th March 1979. The place was completely jam packed and the band were simply incredible. There was a garage pop sensibility about this band, with Feargal’s wonderful warbling vocals, great tunes with instantly catchy hooks, cutting buzz guitar, and honest quirky songs about teenage angst and day to day life. The Undertones were a flash of welcome relief from the heavier political sentiments of many of the punk acts of the time. Their performances were pure raw energy, and they looked like (and were) young guys who had just stepped out of their front room rehearsals. The Rock Garden gig came soon after the release of the momentous “Teenage Kicks” single and before the release of their equally important first album. The original line-up of the band was Feargal Sharkey (vocals), John O’Neill (rhythm guitar), Damian O’Neill (lead guitar), Michael Bradley (bass) and Billy Doherty (drums).
undertonestix80A few months later and the Undertones had been in the UK Top 20 with “Jimmy Jimmy” and were headlining theatres and civic halls up and down the country. I saw them at Newcastle City Hall on 8th October with support from Tenpole Tudor (“Swords of 1,000 Men”).
They were back in the charts in 1980 with “My Perfect Cousin” and the wonderful “Wednesday Week” which was my favourite song of theirs. The Undertones returned to Newcastle City Hall on 8th June 1980 for another glorious performance. Support this time came from the Moondogs, who were a fellow Northern Irish band.

Ultravox! 1978 & 1978

Ultravox! 1977 & 1978
ultravoxredcarEarly Ultravox! were quite different from the Midge Ure fronted band who produced Vienna. I saw the band on a few occasions:
16th April 1977 Middlesbrough Rock Garden
27th August 1977 Reading Festival (low down on the Saturday bill)
5th Feb 1978 Redcar Coatham Bowl
25th August Reading Festival (special guests on the Friday, appearing second on the bill to headliners The Jam)
I may also have seen them at Newcastle Mayfair, but can’t be sure.
The line-up of the band was John Foxx (lead vocals), Chris Cross (bass), Stevie Shears (guitar, replaced by Robin Simon in 1978), Billy Currie (keyboards, synthesisers, violin) and Warren Cann (drums). They recorded three albums: Ultravox!, Ha!-Ha!-Ha! And Systems of Romance. By their third album they had dropped the ! from their name. Ultravox! were an interesting band. Live they appeared a mix of Roxy, Bowie and Kraftwerk, combining glam and pop with punk and electronica. John Foxx was a charismatic and enigmatic front man, sometimes punky, sometimes robotic, always interesting. Foxx’s real name is Dennis Leigh, he chose the stage persona of John Foxx, saying: “Foxx is much more intelligent than I am, better looking, better lit. A kind of naively perfected entity. He’s just like a recording, where you can make several performances until you get it right – or make a composite of several successful sections, then discard the rest.” In 1979 Foxx left the band, who recruited Midge Ure and became a new entity.
Setlist Reading 1977: ROckwrok; Slip Away; The Frozen Ones; Distant Smile; Young Savage; My Sex; Wide Boys; Saturday Night in the City of the Dead; Artificial Life; The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned; Fear in the Western World

The Toy Dolls 1981

The Toy Dolls 1981
toydollstixNow and then I come across a ticket in my collection, and I can’t remember the gig at all. This is one such ticket. Now I think I might have read somewhere that this gig didn’t take place, which might explain why I don’t remember it 🙂
The Toy Dolls, of course, emerged from the Sunderland punk and pub/club rock scene in 1979, and quickly built up a reputation as one of the best live bands around. The Toy Dolls were, and are, led by crazy lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter Olga and produced great tongue in cheek ditties which told stories of local people, clubs and events like “Tommy Kowey’s Car”, “She Goes To Finos”, “James Bond Lives Down Our Street”, “Fisticuffs in Frederick Street” and “Geordie’s Gone to Jail”. They hit the charts in 1984 with a zany cover version of “Nellie the Elephant”. Toy Dolls’ music is fast; part punk, part new wave, part Oi with catchy melodies, humour, and lots of energy. Gary Bushell termed it “punk pathetique”; a subgenre of British punk rock which involved humour and working class cultural themes. This ticket shows the support acts for this “festival” as being local bands Dance Class, who released a great album in the early 80s, and New Studeau. Although I don’t recall this gig, I do remember seeing The Toy Dolls play in local pubs and clubs including the sadly missed Old 29 and West Cornforth (Doggy) club.
A quote from Olga: “I became involved in music as soon as I saw a picture of Suzi Quatro in a magazine when I was delivering newspapers in Sunderland, about 12 or 13-years-old. Punk came to me about four years later, changed my life and suddenly all the barriers were broken down and it was possible for me to become a singer too, or at least pretend I was. Getting bullied at school was a big factor, wanting to prove I could do something, and then hearing Sweet, Slade, Suzi Quatro etc, I knew exactly what I would do with my life at that point.”
The Toy Dolls continue to play and remain successful in Japan, and Europe.

The Tubes Newcastle City Hall 6th November 1977

The Tubes Newcastle City Hall 6th November 1977
tubestix77This was a gig like no other. The Tubes were virtually unknown in the UK, but stories of their crazy OTT stage show were gradually creeping over from the USA. This was the band to out-shock, out-punk, and out-do everyone else, and outrage the general population at the same time. So when “The Toobs” came over for a tour of UK theatres and concert halls we just had to see them. We had tickets for Yes, with Donovan support, at Glasgow Apollo on the same night, but we sold them to friends, as we couldn’t pass on the chance to see this.
Video screens all over the place, dancers, 50ft stacks, lots of props and each song a new concept and the chance for the band to play new roles. So many highlights. You couldn’t take it all in. And just when you thought the Tubes had been as outrageous as they could possibly be, the next song is even crazier, wilder, and more obnoxious.
Alpha male Fee Waybill and the gorgeous Re Styles dueted on’Don’t Touch Me There’ from a motorbike. Fee Way strapped Styles between two video monitors to perform some ‘MondoBondage’. The band become the punk parody “Johnny Bugger and the Dirtboxes”. Waybill threatens us all with a chain saw while singing “I Saw Her Standing There”. For the end of the show Waybill became Quay Lewd, the ultimate glam rock star complete with three feet high platform shoes, and led us all through a crazy rendition of “White Punks on Dope”.
Totally amazing. We were all blown away. 🙂 🙂
Support came from Wire (Dot Dash 🙂 )
Reviews of the time were ecstatic. “The Tubes are a spectacle unlike any other. They present a relentless onslaught of humour, outrage, parody, idiocy, music and costume – a feast for the senses.” (Paul Rambali, NME)
“It’s nothing short of magnificent. The only words you can use are ones like sensory overkill. The act doesn’t leave you alone. One moment it’s the band in white intern coats playing straight techno-rock. Then it’s a dance troupe on the lam from Star Wars, and then there’s the punk pastiche. Except, pastiche or not, The Tubes can cut harder and deeper than 90%s of the new wave.” (Mick Farren, NME).
Set list (based on the live lp recorded during the 1977 London concert run at Hammersmith): Overture; Got Yourself a Deal; Show Me a Reason; What Do You Want from Life; God-Bird-Change; Special Ballet; Don’t Touch Me There; Mondo Bondage; Smoke (La vie en Fumér); Crime Medley (starting with a siren and including themes from Dragnet, Peter Gunn, Perry Mason & Untouchables); I Was a Punk Before You Were a Punk; I Saw Her Standing There; Boy Crazy; You’re No Fun; Stand Up and Shout; White Punks on Dope.
The Tubes were Fee Waybill (front man extraordinaire, crazy guy & vocals), Bill Spooner (guitar), Michael Cotten (synth), Mingo Lewis (percussion), Prairie Prince (massive drum riser and kit), Roger Steen (guitar), Vince Welnick (keyboards), Rick Anderson (bass) and Re Styles (vocals, dance and many unspeakable things with Fee).
I saw the Tubes again in 1978, at the Knebworth Festival sharing a bill with Frank Zappa and Peter Gabriel. I’ll save that one for when I come to write about Zappa. The Tubes were back at the City Hall again in 1979 for the ‘Remote Control’ tour, with support from Squeeze. I’ll write about that gig tomorrow.

Toyah Newcastle City Hall 1981 & 1982

Toyah Newcastle City Hall 1981 & 1982
toyahjune81So Toyah became a pop star. She had major chart success with a run of hit singles. First “It’s a Mystery” which was the stand out song on a hit EP. Toyah: “When I first heard ‘It’s a Mystery’ I thought it wasn’t for me….the end of…four brilliant years’ work as a credible rock artist… Because I’d worked from 1977 right up to 1980 and I had an army of followers and I just knew this song wasn’t for them”. This was followed by “I Want to Be Free”. Toyah again: “It resonated with how I felt about my school years.” “Thunder in the Mountains” followed: “I wanted to be Bodicea, set in the future, a woman breaking free… everything I did that year was on the concept of breaking free”.toyah82tix
I saw Toyah on the next couple of tours both of which called at Newcastle City Hall; the Anthem tour on 1st June 1981 and the Changeling tour on 12th July 1982. These were big shows with intricate stage sets, which gave Toyah a platform to run around, playing out her Bodicea fantasy, while she squealed, squawked and screamed her way through the set. Great fun.toyah progs

The concerts on 17 July and 18 July 1982 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon were recorded for the live double album Warrior Rock: Toyah On Tour.
Setlist from 1982 tour: Good Morning Universe, Warrior Rock, Danced, Jungles Of Jupiter, It’s A Mystery, Castaways, Angel & Me, Brave New World, The Packt, Thunder In The Mountains, We Are, I Want To Be Free, Dawn Chorus, War Boys, Ieya.