Gigs 1986 to 1988
Birmingham Poly. Supporting Blind Alliance. May 86. Our first gig. With Ralph Pukin' McGuckin on drums, no Ed on guitar (he joined a year later thankfully without hearing the tape of the gig) and Sean playing an acoustic with a horrible distorted sound. After 4 or 5 songs of bedroom quality it was time for Sean’s sensitive song. Cynics in the crowd and Eagles fans might have recognised the stolen chords from Hotel California. We didn’t recognise them though as we were too busy watching the snot globule that was forming under Sean's nose. Sean didn’t dare stop playing (members of the audience pleaded and would for years to come) and took to shaking his head, but was still unable to shake off the snotty stalectite. Finally with the speed and finesse of a guitar picking tree frog Sean’s tongue darted out to pluck that emerald.
Aston University. November 87. Barney and Ed's first gig. Extraordinarily bad
Birmingham Poly Supporting The Boaty Man
Birmingham Hummingbird. The venue held around 1500 and so of course was the perfect venue for a band whose average audience was around 40 on a good night, if our mates turned up and if our girlfriends were talking to us. They didn’t. They weren’t. We played on the main stage, with full light and sound, in front of 26 people supporting Surry Prog rockers Ring. They had the full Genesis meets Hawkwind circus performance art show with dancers, jugglers and fire eaters. Hey nonny noh. So our audience was basically Ring which meant that when they played they had an audience of 5. They were equally astonished by the ratio of venue to audience and generously split the door money with us. So that was a tenner then…and not even our worst paid gig.
Birmingham Cod Club Supporting Red Shoes
Birmingham Irish Centre with The Fantatics and The Boys. The Boys guitarist was Steve Cradock who later joined Damian and Simon from The Fanatics to form Ocean Colour Scene.
Birmingham Old Rep. An outdoor gig with the Fanatics and Monkey Messiah. As it was the 19th anniversary of Woodstock our set would celebrate the festival vibe. What actually happened was we took to the stage bare of foot and chest, and as the first chord rang out, the power failed. What an entrance. We stood around like Rock Gods of the Apocalypse clutching our guitars and nipples until eventually when the power returned we played to our biggest crowd so far. Some of whom were even to come back to other gigs. We tried our best to put them off though by playing Born to be wild….with drum solo.
Birmingham Hare and Hounds Supporting The Fanatics
Birmingham City Tavern. (Twice apparantly)
Birmingham (Possibly called The Kaleidoscope?) upstairs from Central TV Supporting The Fanatics
Birmingham Hare and Hounds Supported by The Cybernauts
Coventry General Woolfe
Coventry Alices Restaurant (Sir Colin Campbell). With The Fat Controllers
Birmingham Synatras Suporting The Raw Herbs
West Bromwich Coach and Horses. A pub in the middle of a housing estate, we played with the Cybernauts and got there on the bus. I can’t remember the Pub, the estate or the bus number. But remember kids…Rock ‘n’ roll…it’s not all sex with celebrities.
Birmingham Hummingbird with Monkey Messiah
Walsall Junction 10. Supporting The Sandkings
Dudley JB’s. Supporting Loves Young Nightmare
Coventry Alices Restaurant (Sir Colin Campbell)
Liverpool University supporting King Swamp Dave from Gang of Four played bass in this INXS type band signed to Virgin. I was genuinely chuffed to meet him and hoped that I could pick up some bass magic just by using his amp. We’d stopped at Nicks parents house in Maghull on the way up as although they were out they’d kindly left some food for us. It was a struggle but we were filled with the spirit of the Famous Five and between us we managed to eat everything including his parents tea. Does that count as Motley Cru style excess?
Birmingham Cod Club Supporting The Man From Delmonte
Stoke One to One Club. Stokes premier (and possibly only) gay club was the scene of one of our worst performances. It was organised by Dave Meyers from Box ‘Em Domies who had a keen ear for a cover (unlikely songs they covered included 101ers Keys to Your Heart and Cockney Reject’s Police Car) and some inspired song titles of their own. Eg Snorkel Jacket Racket, Geoff Hurst…Pah! and That Stafford’s On Acid. The latter explored the effects of psychedelics on bull terriers. It was Barneys birthday and he celebrated by getting bladdered. I had flu and celebrated with paracetemol and benylin. Occasionally Barney and I would play the same song; sadly it was never the same song as the rest of the band. We sat stunned in the van afterwards, eating chips while Barney giggled, oblivious to how bad we’d been. On an optimistic note maybe we didn’t drive the audience away, maybe they’d gone home for hot man love. On an even brighter note…the gig could have been the Potteries other top venue…The Roxy Roller Rink. Now that’s a venue that doesn’t usually crop up on Stadium tours.
Birmingham Old Vic. The Old Vic was behind The Alex Theatre in Birmingham and was gay and thespian in nature. We had white poppys on our guitars as a nod to peace politics and Remembrance Day.
The Sun And The Moon was Mark Burgess from The Chameleons new venture and
handily for us were managed by Rob Brown who I’d gone to school with.
Tuesday night at Burberries was the principal indie venue in Birmingham through the late 80’s. The band played on the dancefloor with a bar behind it. There were plenty of mirrors, glitterballs and fanzines and everyone in the audience was/had/would be in a band.
I had some sobriety problems at Sheffield and my pre gig aperitifs caused my bass strings to take on the dimensions of high voltage cables and the tonal quality of elastic bands. I also seemed to be wearing mittens while I playing.
Lampeter University. A legendary gig. After driving for hours through snow in a van with no heater, we got to a campus university literally in the middle of nowhere, to find nobody was expecting us. Faced with the choice of driving straight back we were overcome by a spirit of "lets do the show right here, Kids". And we did, in a hall that felt like the dance contest from Grease, with an audience who literally had nowhere else to go, assisted by a now thoroughly motivated Ents staff who suddenly conjured up food, beer and a trip to the herb garden. We repaid them with a pub crawl of a set, including an excruciating version of Driver 8 and then later I was able to provide further quality entertainment by sleeping in a toilet.
Birmingham Synatras Ed was a creature of regular habits, and he regularly disappeared to the toilet before going on stage. When he didn’t return a haphazard searchparty was sent out. Ed called out from a toilet cubicle that the lock was jammed. Daytime TV re runs of Starsky and Hutch meant there was a queue to kick the door down. The cubicle was tiny and Ed quite rightly feared injury. As the door come flying inwards we were all rewarded by the site of Ed crouching, feet on the toilet rim, clasping his knees as the door flew in inches from his head.
Birmingham Synatras. Supporting The Sandkings. At this point they were doing great covers of Dinosaur Jr’s Freak Scene and Gigantic by The Pixies. It wasn’t enough to make up for the shocking version of 8 Miles High that Jules and Ed were accomplices to in the encore.
Gigs 89 Gigs 90 Gigs 91
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