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Were you (honestly) there?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:29 am
by howard male
I started a gig preview for Metro of Mariza's concert tonight at the Barbican by mentioning the first time I saw her at CG's 30th anniversary bash in the Kashmir Klub three years ago. The idea being to make the point of how far she'd come, from playing to not much more than 100 people in a basement venue where she could almost have bumped her head on the ceiling, to venues such as Carnegie Hall Barbican.

I then had the fanciful thought that, in an ideal world, this first(?) UK appearance by Mariza would eventually take on the mythical status of something like the 1976 Sex Pistols at the Marquee gig, with thousands of world music freaks claiming they had been there. Marcia and I were only there because I'd been lucky enough to win a pair of tickets on the show, but I'll never forget Mariza's show-stopping performance.

So firstly I thought it would be interesting and amusing to ask who else was there that night, as I knew none of you at the time - did anyone else who is now a forum regular win tickets for example?

And secondly, what other concerts, apart from the Pistols, have acquired such legendary status that far more people than could possibly have been at them, claim to have been at them? And were you there?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:44 pm
by RobHall
I was at Charlie's 30th anniversary Howard, sharing a table with Norman. Going back a few years, I was also at Charlie's gathering at the bandstand on Clapham Common, when he had Dire Straits (?) and Rico providing the entertainment.

As for the Pistols, I had the misfortune to catch their 3rd ever gig. I thought that they were crap, and I was right. Much better was the (1977?) Rock Against Racism gig in Victoria Park, Hackney, which was (to my regret) the only time I ever caught the Clash live.


PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 3:31 pm
by Tom McPhillips
This dates me but...

I always like to say that I was at Cream's first and last concerts - but of course that no longer holds true.. as they've been brought back from the dead recently...

Actually I'm not even sure it was actually the first concert - it was a Sunday at the Saville.. I'm sure it'd be easy to find out from one of the the fanzites, but I'm feeling lazy today...


PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:26 am
by garth cartwright
i was at the Charlie party - as a guest of Charlie's. Such an honour! an even greater honour was when Charlie took me to the NFT's screening of The Man Who Invented Rock N Roll (Sam Phillips). I got talking to Knox Phillips at the aftershow and told him how much i loved his dad's work and he said 'do you wanna meet Sam?' and introduced me. I said "an honour to meet you, sir" and he said "an honour to meet you too, son." That's probably the highlight of my admittedly empty life. I'd seen Mariza a few times before Charlie's party - I can't remember where and when - Jon Lusk would know as he always takes notes at every gig. She was always great. I imagine she still is altho album no 3 is nothing to get excited about. As a teenager i saw one ofthe Birthday Party's last ever gigs - they split after touring New Zealand (inability to get heroin in Kiwi land helped their demise) and was so hugely impressed i ran out and bought both their albums only to resell them a week later. A couple of great trax but largely unlistenable. The Guardian twice sent me to review Nick Cave and the flame was definitely not rekindled. I was at the Taraf de Haidouks gig in Bucharest that became the Band Of Gypsies Cd but like so many live albums it is quite different to the gig. Bootsy Collins at the Barbican - best gig I've ever seen in London without a doubt. Bobby Bland-Irma Thomas-Earl King at the Astoria runs a close second. Lots of others and as I imagine this Howard entry will run and run i'll try and find some active braincells and recall a few more. Seeing one of Ibrahim Ferrer's final gigs in Montreux this summer - stunningly good!

I woz there

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:18 am
by Charlie
great idea for a topic

For about eighteen months, 1972-73, I co-managed Kilburn & the High Roads with my Oval Music partner Gordon, when we must have attended about thirty gigs by the motley crew led by Ian Dury.

Of all those so-called pub bands, the Kilburns drew some of the smallest crowds (compared to Dr Feelgood, for instance) and most of their gigs were sparsely attended, with often less than fifty people in the audience. So it was baffling when, after Ian went to number one with Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick five years later, we began to read interviews with so many people who swore they had seen the Kilburns back in those early days.

I've thought about starting the opposite topic: gigs I missed. Mine was Flip City in 1975. One of my Honky Tonk listeners was a regular phone volunteer called Ken Smith, who became manager of a band featuring a friend of his, D.P.Costello. Several times Ken invited me to see the band, and finally I set off for Putney where they were playing in a pub on the Lower Richmond Road.

But by the time I got there, I'd forgotten the name of the pub. I drove up and down, asking in all of them, and never did find the right one. A week later, the band broke up. Some months later still, a tape came through the post, recorded in his bedroom by D.P.Costello. It sounded so good, I was even more distressed to have missed that gig.

Were you (honestly) there?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 10:50 am
by Con Murphy
I’ve never been cutting edge enough to be somewhere that everybody later claimed to be. I did see Primal Scream in the basement of an Art College in Brighton when they were just Bobby’s little extra-JAMC hobby, but they were so godawful I’m more inclined to turn this theme on its head and pretend I wasn’t there.

I’m pleased to have seen The Pogues early on, but they were supporting Elvis Costello in a reasonably large venue, rather than 3 men and a dog in a pub in Kilburn which seemed to have become everybody else’s first experience of them shortly after they hit paydirt.

Out of that Time Out Greatest Gigs in London list that came out a few months back, the only one I’d been to was Run DMC and Beastie Boys at the Brixton Academy circa ‘87, but the hype around that and the size of the venue preclude any kudos being gained from having been there.

As far as “World Musicâ€

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 2:04 pm
by joel
I once shared the urinals at the Lyceum with Lemmy and Phil Taylor. It was a Girlschool gig if I remember correctly.

Joel / Tokyo

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 2:13 pm
by joel
I've thought about starting the opposite topic: gigs I missed.

One of my many was last year here in Tokyo when I contrived to miss a show by the amazing Cheikha Remitti. Charrag, gattaa...

Joel / Tokyo

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 4:41 pm
by NormanD
"Were You There When They Crucified Jesus?", as the old gospel song put it.

Quite amusing, this thread, especially as we've got on to urinal sharing, for which I'll confess to Knox Phillips and John Prine (same night as you Garth, though I didn't see you in the urinoir); Charlie Watts at the Albany Empire, Deptford; and Geoff Muldaur at The Barbican.

No, I am not a lurker or a ligger.

Rob has testified to my presence at the Mariza gig, and I'll add Paul McPherson and Ali Prince to that table near the front.

I saw Professor Longhair at what may have been his only UK appearance in March 1978 at the Drury Lane Theatre. His playing was rather limited by the stroke I believe he'd had, but he was still The Man, more real than any other religious prophet.

Another first was Ted Hawkins at The 100 Club in October 1986. There's a whole story that remains unspoken about this man. The music establishment dropped him more quickly than they had picked him up, especially as rumours flooded about the reasons for his US incarceration prior to his "discovery". He was later deported from the UK, and when was the last time you heard any of his music played anywhere? A great, memorable gig, by the way. He coulda been a contender.....

I can't claim any fame by association for the following though I'll add to the list my partner's LA cousin being served in a restaurant by Danny Elfman working as a singing waiter, and seeing Peter Case as a street singer.


PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:06 pm
by Tom McPhillips
I did the Nirvana Unplugged which is about as surreal and morbid an experience as I've ever encountered...

It started with "We want a huge red velvet curtain" and turned more and more bizarre as we came nearer to shoot time. First it was "stargazer lilies" - had to be specifically stargazers - no other variety of lily would suffice. I ordered lots of of the silk variety and augmented the few real ones we could get out of season for the places where there might be close ups.. Next it was flaming black candles, had to be black - with a live audience we had to have a fire marshall on hand and pour wet sand around the bases of the candle sticks to keep the set safe. I'd decided on painting the floor cloth a version of the album cover and mixing in large flower heads. I'd only glanced at he album, not really registering the image, and it was only as I was painting that I really understood that I was painting an embryo... so, candles, flowers, lilies and lots of heavily swagged red drapes...

It turned out to be the last concert before a few months later Kurt blew his head off.

It was only then that I realized I'd designed the funeral parlour...

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:27 am
by howard male
The only band I've ever known well on a personal level would have meant absolutely nothing to you all a couple of weeks ago. This week they might mean a little to one or two of you.

For it has just been revealed that two copies of the punk band the Users, 7 inch single 'Sick of You' were found in John Peel's special box of favourite singles. This was quickly revealed to be a mixed blessing as Sheena Easton and Bill Oddie records were also in there, but at least it meant lead singer Phil did his first ever brief interviews with a national newspaper or two, 30 years after his bid to be Cambridge's answer to Iggy Pop.

I'm sure no one will ever claim to have been at any of the Users gigs, who wasn't at them (some may even insist they weren't there when they were!) but the fact remains that for me it was a thrilling experience - squeezing past indifferent regulars at run-down pubs, lugging Marshal amps and chunks of drum kit, on and off makeshift stages.

At one of their gigs I attended at a Cambridge youth club they had the dubious honour of having a pseudo punk band called the Police support them. The headline that evening was meant to be Blondie and we were all being very un-punk-like it our excitement at the prospect of meeting the unfeasably beautiful Debbie Harry, but then Blondie got a little more famous and decided to cancel at the last minute, and we ended up with ex-Bowie groupie/publicist Cherry Vanilla instead. She was charming and friendly but hardly a substitute for the gorgeous Debbie either musically or physically. And as we all hung out with her for half the day and well into the night, we must all have been imagining a parallel universe were Debbie Harry was our best pal for a short time.

Whenever I think of the Users I think of their drummer Andrew Bor. That sir-name sounds like a perfect contrivance of the punk era, as does the sir-name of the guitarist Chris Free, but both were their own from birth.

Andrew's father Edward Bor played violin for Yehudi Menuhin and his mother Edith was also a professional viola player. So you can imagine their horror when Andrew suddenly gave up the piano to be a drummer in a punk rock band. And then a year later younger sister Rachel downed her cello and formed another John Peel favourite The Dolly Mixtures.

Rachel is now happily married to Captain Sensible of the Damned (a Bor married to a Sensible, you couldn't make this stuff up) and Andrew tunes pianos for a living, so everything kind of turned out all right in the end.

Peel's box of Oddieties (sic)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:52 am
by Con Murphy
What wonderful reminiscence, Howard.

Whenever I think of the Users I think of their drummer Andrew Bor. That sir-name sounds like a perfect contrivance of the punk era, as does the sir-name of the guitarist Chris Free, but both were their own from birth.

I do hope they reinvented themselves as Bor ‘n’ Free at some point.

As to that Peel box of singles and the presence of records by Easton and Oddie: my theory is that the box was not entirely a 'favourite singles' one (for a start, there's no Fall - they had their very own dedicated box, I believe), but as much so that he could reach for certain records with regularity for differing reasons.

I know that Sheena's 9 to 5 was a regular post-modern ironic favourite at Universities in the 80s when he DJed. It wouldn't surprise me if the Bill Oddie single was kept close to hand in order to embarrass the poor guy at regular intervals. Now someone will no doubt tell me that it's actually a good record.

I'm sure the Users are there purely on merit alone, though.

Re: Peel's box of Oddieties (sic)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 8:20 pm
by Jamie Renton
Con Murphy wrote: It wouldn't surprise me if the Bill Oddie single was kept close to hand in order to embarrass the poor guy at regular intervals.

You could well be right Con. Some years back I heard Peel read out a quote from Bill Oddie along the lines of

"I recently had the misfortune to hear John Peel. How such an obviously inteligent man can play such stupid music is beyond me."

Peel's response was to play the first 15 seconds of the Goodies Funky Gibbon ("We're the Goodies / Let's all do / The Funky Gibbon / ooo-ooo-ooo" or howeever it went), mutter "I think I see what you mean Bill" and move on to the next record.


PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:51 pm
by NormanD
I once spotted Bill Oddie at The Borderline; Amos Garrett was playing and Bill was bopping and twitching. There, I knew you'd all be interested.


PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:40 pm
by jayne
Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk."
Doug Larson

We were enjoying our stay at a surreal finca in the coffee growing region of Costa Rica.

During pre-prandials and supper I dispensed bonhomie with our co-diners, Simon and Dorothy. It wasn’t long before I gave chapter and verse about the state of the British music industry and its attendant dullards.

Barely breaking to catch my breath I asked Simon if he was “into musicâ€