Jimmy Cliff Newcastle Riverside 6th August 2015
Seeing Jimmy Cliff has been on my bucket list for many years. Well last week I finally got to see him and The Man he didn’t let me down. The Riverside was ram packed with a lively mix of soul dudes, punks and roots rockets all ready to dance, sing and shout along with those great toons. The place was hot, Jimmy Cliff was on fire and the band were lively and loud. Great songs: “You Can Get It If You Really Want”,”Wild World”, “Vietnam”, “Many Rivers to Cross” sung with passion by Jimmy and by half the crowd too. But for me the toppest of top classic is and always will be, as The Man told us, the song which “I Man brought reggae to the world”: “The Harder They Come”. Takes me back to a day when reggae was fresh, new, exciting, raw, different. I’ve said it before and I will no doubt say it again, but the old guys are (at least to me) truly the best. Great to see a guy who lives up to his own legend. 100% class act. Respect.
Setlist (something like): Bongo Man / Rivers of Babylon; You Can Get It If You Really Want; Hard Road to Travel; Rebel Rebel; Wild World; This Is My Love Song; Under the Sun, Moon and Stars; I Can See Clearly Now; Reggae Night; Vietnam; The Harder They Come; Many Rivers to Cross; King of Kings; Miss Jamaica; Wonderful World, Beautiful People; Let Your Yeah Be Yeah; Treat the Youths Right; Rub-A-Dub Partner; Reggae Music
Encore: Special; Roots Woman
“So as sure as the sun will shine
I’m gonna get my share now of what’s mine
And then the harder they come
The harder they’ll fall, one and all” (Jimmy Cliff, 1972)
Posts Tagged ‘reggae’
Jimmy Cliff Newcastle Riverside 6th August 2015
UB40 live 1980 to 1982
UB40 emerged out of the renewed interest in reggae during the punk and new wave movement of the late 70s and early 80s. UB40 were formed by Robin Campbell, his younger brother Ali, Earl Falconer, Brian Travers, James Brown, and Norman Hassan, who were all friends in Birmingham. They recruited Michael Virtue and Astro and aligned themselves to left-wing political ideals, naming themselves after an unemployment benefit form. I first saw them live during the summer of 1980 around the time of their debut single “King / Food For Thought” which reached the UK Top 5. I saw UB40 twice in the same week at Sunderland Mayfair on 23rd July 1980, and then supporting the Police at Milton Keynes Bowl on 26th July 1980.
UB40’s music was very different to anything else at the time. Political lyrics, sung over reggae rhythms with some lengthy instrumental passages, with horn solos and some rap and scat singing. Visually they were also very different, with so many musicians on stage. I remember going to the Sunderland gig having only heard “Food for Thought” and being pleasantly surprised by their performance.
UB40’s first album “Signing Off” was released in September 1980. The album cover shows a yellow British UB40 unemployment benefit card from which the band took their name, stamped with the words SIGNING OFF, signally that the band were leaving the world of unemployment and had arrived on the music scene. “Signing Off” went to No. 2 in the UK and stayed on the album chart for 72 weeks. I saw UB40 twice more, at Newcastle City Hall on 9th June 1981 & 19th January 1982. Both of these were great, fun gigs.
UB40 setlist from 1980: Tyler; My Way of Thinking; Burden of Shame; Strange Fruit; Adella; One In Ten; I Think It’s Going to Rain Today; Summertime; King; 25%.
Encore: Food For Thought; Little by Little
“Ivory Madonna dying in the dust, Waiting for the manna coming from the west.
Barren is her bosom, empty as her eyes, Death a certain harvest scattered from the skies.” (Food for Thought, UB40, 1980)
The Slits, Don Cherry & Happy House, Prince Hammer & Creation Rebel: Simply Whats Happening; Newcastle City Hall 23rd September 1979
This was a very adventurous and quite ground breaking tour, which united female punk thrash icons The Slits with legendary innovative jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and Jamaican reggae masters Prince Hammer and Creation Rebel. An early example of punk acting as a platform for world music fusion, this collection of artists toured the major concert halls in the UK, calling at Newcastle City Hall. I’d seen the Slits perform twice before as support for the Clash, and also supporting the Buzzcocks. They had just released their first album “Cut”. Viv Albertine “We knew we were a first, which could be uncomfortable, and we were much more revolutionary than the Pistols and the Clash. They were rock bands, whereas we were using world music and reggae, filtered through our own musicality. We were like a female Spinal Tap, really: we argued, toured and wanted to make a classic album that never dated.” (Interview by Caroline Sullivan, The Guardian, Monday 24 June 2013)
The Slits line-up was the late Ari Up on vocals, guitarist Viv Albertine, Tessa Pollitt on bass and (soon to be Banshee) Budgie on drums. I think Neneh Cherry, Don’s daughter joined them for the tour. Ari Up was a crazy wild front lady, complete with dreads, outlandish outfits and nifty dancing.
From the programme: “This is simply what’s happening…..what’s happening here is real music played by people from three different cultures. Three different musics united by one expression – freedom.
Enjoy yourself, keep room in your head and heart for music from all different cultures and places – we all live under the same sun…” Disc O’Dell
Sadly, with no massive audience draw on the tour, attendance was not great. The Newcastle show was very poorly attended with only a couple of hundred people in a hall which holds 2,400. Pity, because this was an interesting evening with some different and challenging music. The programme (pictured here) is also very different and contains some scribbly doodling artwork and slogans, presumably drawn by one or more of the band.
Steel Pulse Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt 11th June 1978
Steel Pulse are a roots reggae band, from the Handsworth area of Birmingham. They formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School, composed of David Hinds (lead vocals, guitar), Basil Gabbidon (lead guitar, vocals), and Ronald McQueen (bass). They achieved considerable success in the late 70s as part of the interest in reggae alongside the growth of punk. This gig at Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt was around the time they released their first album “Handsworth Revolution”. The place was packed and this was a great concert. I recall that they played the single “Ku Klux Klan” which discussed the evils of racism, and during which they donned the Klan hoods, Heavy stuff.
Graham Parker and the Rumour Newcastle Academy 1st June 2014
A few weeks ago I was writing about my memories of seeing Graham Parker in the 70s. At the time I wrote” “there was no better band than Graham Parker and the Rumour in the late 70s. They exploded out of pub rock and were part of the scene, and sound, which influenced punk and new wave. Graham Parker was the coolest guy on the planet and rocked and sang white soul and R&B like no-one else (OK maybe that’s a little unfair on Van Morrisson who was clearly a strong influence on Graham). The Rumour came with all the right pub-rock credentials featuring the legnedary Brinsley Schwarz (lead guitar) and Bob Andrews (keyboards) (both ex Brinsley Schwarz), Martin Belmont (rhythm guitar, ex Ducks Deluxe) and Andrew Bodnar (bass) and Steve Goulding (drums).”
At the time I didn’t know that I would be seeing them again, for the first time in 30-odd years. In 2011, Parker called up his old Rumour band mates and asked them to work with him again; they produced a new album that was their first together in over 30 years, and went out to play some shows. Last night they made their way back to Newcastle. Graham Parker explained how, outside the venue, a guy caught him and showed him a ticket for their concert at the City Hall in 1979, which he had signed at the time. He asked Graham to sign it again; which he duly did. He recalled those nights at the City Hall and other venues (the Poly as I recall) to cheers from the crowd, most of whom were surely at those gigs themselves. Of the reunion Parker says: “This has not been about touring for touring’s sake, or about making money….but we felt we had to get out there for a short while at least and be a part of the “This Is 40″ entourage….and bash some instruments around for the heck of it.” The tour has been having rave reviews; for example: “There was no need for any concerns over the 35-year gap. GP and the Rumour resolutely remain one of rock’s great live acts and the intervening years have done nothing to diminish their enduring powers. ” (the Birmingham Mail)
Well he didn’t let us down. Parker is still the same cool, cocky, energetic guy that he always was. From the moment they opened with Fool’s Gold, you just knew it was going to be good. The Rumour are still the tightest, hottest, rock, soul and reggae band on the planet (skanky beats, as Parker called them) and Parker is as animated and soulful as ever. Great stuff.
The setlist was something like this; I may have missed some: Fool’s Gold; Hotel Chambermaid; Snake Oil Capital of the World; Coathangers; No Holding Back; Howlin’ Wind; New Song; Live in Shadows; Lady Doctor; Love Gets You Twisted; Stick to Me; Watch the Moon Come Down; Get Started, Start a Fire; Discovering Japan; Nobody Hurts You; Pourin” it all out; Local Girls. Encore: You Can’t Be Too Strong; Don’t Ask Me Questions. Encore 2: Soul Shoes
The Specials Newcastle Mayfair 9th November 1979 19th September 1980
In Autumn 1979 The Specials released their debut album, entitled simply ‘Specials’ and a 40 date ‘2 Tone Tour’ of the country began featuring The Specials, Madness and The Selecter. The tour ended at Newcastle Mayfair on 9th November 1979 and played to a packed house. The music was great, marred by some fighting in the crowd. From a review of the time: “Madness and The Selecter join The Specials for an all band finale of Skinhead Moonstomp which had become a tradition of the tour. A horde of fans invaded the stage and cause chaos. Which has by now become a tradition of the tour.” All three bands played excellent sets that night and bootleg recordings exist of the Specials and Madness from the concert.
Specials setlist: (Dawning of a) New Era; Do the Dog; It’s Up to You; Monkey Man; Rat Race; Blank Expression; Rude Boys Outa Jail; Concrete Jungle; Too Hot; Doesn’t Make It Alright; Stupid Marriage; Too Much Too Young; The Guns of Navarone; Little Bitch; A Message to You, Rudy; Nite Klub; Gangsters; Longshot Kick De Bucket; Skinhead Moonstomp; You’re Wondering Now
The Specials were back at the Mayfair for an equally crazy show in 1980. Support came from The Swinging Cats. Jerry Dammers talking about crowd stage invasions at the time: “At first it was a great laugh – we’re all in this together, there’s no stars here. Then people were getting on-stage two numbers into the set. It became tedious and dangerous, but you couldn’t stop it. One gig we told the audience it was too dangerous and they wouldn’t have it and it ended up in a massive ruck with the bouncers.”
The Police Gateshead Stadium 1982
Support Acts: U2, The Beat, Gang Of Four, Lords Of The New Church.
Sting: “Seven years ago I left this town and I said I would make it. It’s nice to come back and make you part of the success.”
Another one day event headlined by The Police. This one was local to me (no three hour drive home; great 🙂 ). The weather was ok, dull but no major rain problems. Attendance was estimated at around 12,000; well below the capacity, and there was lots of empty space in the stadium. The Police were good, but for me and most of he crowd, the revelation of the day was U2. I had seen U2 a few times before this gig, and thought they were good, but it was at this Gateshead gig that I realised just how powerful a U2 performance could be. Bono was simply sensational; his singing, passion, energy and performance were amazing. He climbed all over the lighting towers and had the entire crowd on his side by the end of their set. The Police found it hard to follow U2, and Sting wasn’t in a particularly good mood; but after a slow start, all those hits got the crowd singing along. The standard Police three piece line-up was augmented by a brass section for this show.
From reviews of the time:
“U2 took advantage of the day’s upswing to reinforce the numerous claims made on their behalf to be ‘the next big thing’. Currently cooped up in the country getting their third album together, they exploded with a barrage of pent-up energy that no amount of pastoral activity can fulfil. “(Sounds)
“The Police were totally predictable. Coming on over a tape to ecstatic applause from the half empty stadium, Sting yodelled and changed basses for every other song in sight …. I can’t say that they played badly – they’re much too professional and slick for that – but their many hits were trotted out with a lack of excitement which suggests that their days as a group may be numbered [interesting comment in hindsight]….The audience loved it – but then at £8.30 a time they could hardly afford not to could they? ” (Record Mirror)
U2 setlist: Gloria; I Threw A Brick; A Day Without Me; An Cat Dubh; Into The Heart; Rejoice; Electric Co; I Will Follow; Out Of Control. Encore(s): A Celebration; 11 O’Clock Tick Tock; The Ocean
The Police setlist: Message In A Bottle; Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic; Walking On The Moon; Spirits In The Material World; Hungry For You; When The World Is Running Down; The Bed’s Too Big Without You; De do do do, De da da da; Demolition Man; Shadows In The Rain; Driven To Tears; Bring On The Night; One World (Not Three); Invisible Sun (with Bono); Roxanne; Don’t Stand So Close To Me; Can’t Stand Losing You; Regatta de Blanc; Be My Girl; Can’t Stand Losing You; So Lonely