Text Of Festival (2)

More memories from years of sonic attack.....

Gig no.2 - 22/01/76 - Genesis - De Montfort Hall, Leicester
The second gig I went to was to see Genesis at Leicester De Montfort Hall on the Trick Of The Tail tour, just before the album came out if memory serves. I can remember being gutted when Peter Gabriel left the band the previous year partly because I loved his wacky lyrics and the much needed showmanship he brought to the scholarly bunch that were most of the rest of the band. Steve Hackett used to SIT DOWN to play his guitar, the nerd! I missed Gabriel mostly because it meant I never got to see the "classic" line up of what was at the time probably my second fave band, after Led Zeppelin.

I need not have worried as Phil Collins although finding his feet as a frontman gave a great performance and the band played a lot from the Gabriel era including the magnificent but barking Supper's Ready, which worked even without PG's famous costume changes.

Trick Of The Tail soon became played to death in the sixth form common room, and I quickly grew tired of it, and never bought another Genesis record (new anyway) as they descended into pop mediocrity. Such a shame.
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Gig no.6 - 12/11/76 - Johnny Thunders' Heartbreakers - County Ground, Northampton
The guitarist from the permanently druggy New York Dolls formed an equally shambolic outfit of his own at the beginning of the UK punk explosion, and to that point they were the loudest band I had ever heard. Can't remember that much about it apart from the sheer volume, used to drown out their severe musical limitations I've no doubt.

The County Ground venue was a barn of a building that was normally used by Northants Cricket Club for indoor net practice, said nets were strung across the ceiling when not in use. The stage was at one end of the rectangular space, and 30 yards opposite was the bar. The sparse crowd to see Mr Thunders' combo were all pinned to said bar by the unrelenting racket coming form the other end of the hall. I think I vaguely recognised Chinese Rocks at some point, the rest was completely indecipherable!

I mention the nets being strung across the ceiling, because another memorable night at the venue was the visit of Generation X in 1978. Not for the music, but because Billy Idol climbed up the lighting rigging at the side of the stage and up into the netting during a song, and promptly got stuck. It took him about 10 minutes to extricate himself, while his band played gamely on.
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Gig no.14 - 24/06/78 - Genesis at Knebworth
By now I had gone off Genesis, but hey - it was a day out and there were gurls involved, and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were on the bill, and a weird band from Akron Ohio called Devo, whose Stiff singles were fascinating listening. Not for the vast majority of prog fans though unfortunately, who almost as soon as the band appeared started throwing anything they could lay their hands on at the mischievous Yanks. Attired in boiler suits with what from a distance looked like flowerpots on their heads, they all stopped playing mid-song, lined up on the stage, all bent over and as one, pointed to their heads. The fusillade of missiles was inevitable. Gig goers back then, particularly at festivals, were an intolerant bunch of narrow minded poltroons!
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Gig no.26 - 18/10/78 - Tom Robinson Band - Warwick University
Then at the height of his popularity, Tom could somehow get packed audiences of callow youth shouting along the words "Sing If You're Glad To Be Gay" to the song of the same name, me included. Odd. Odder still is that the outer-than-out Tom Robinson later got married - to a woman I hasten to add!
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Gig no. 35 - 9/12/78 - Ultravox! - County Ground, Northampton
This was the real John Foxx led band, not the tiresome Midge Ure pop version. Not that I knew it at the time, this lot were heavily influenced by Krautrock, Can & Neu! (the ! was their homage) in particular, and to my naive ears made a rather special noise. RockWrok! Mr Foxx autographed my ticket, which I promptly lost.
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Gig no.49 - 8/04/79 - Motorhead - De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Ahh, Motorhead - the main reason I'm as deaf as post. Loud as f**k, we saw them more than 10 times in the space of two years. "What? Eh? Half-past three."
An irresistible combination of biker metal & punk, featuring "Fast" Eddie Clark on howling geetar and biker threads, and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor on drums, so named because of his similarity in style to Animal from The Muppets, and of course ex-Hawkwind bass grinder and proto metal grunter Lemmy, this band made a holy racket that appealed to greasers and punks and everyone in between in equal measure. This gig was on the Bomber tour of 1979 and was a stone dead classic, including the steel framed bomber being hoisted aloft lights ablaze during the song of the same name. A Spinal Tap moment.
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Part 3 to follow............................

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