Tag Archives: new wave


A 2nd visit to Chesterfield this year to a new venue recently opened called The Avenue, previously a Rileys Snooker centre (so I was told). The first “proper ” concert i went to was The Tom Robinson Band back in 1978 they where supported by tonight’s band Stiff Little Fingers, billed as a 40th anniversary tour it was a first time ever in Chesterfield for the mighty SLF,the last time I saw them was maybe 5/6 years ago at the plug in Sheffield and overall I’ve seen them 6/7 times over the last 39 years (f**kin ell!) My first time at this venue and I was impressed, fairly wide stage so plenty of opportunities to stand near the front, a balcony looking down at the stage was quite crowded so you had options of which view you could have, huge downside was the bar, at least 10 deep with 4 people serving, 25 minutes before we got served so my mate and I got 2 pints each, maybe the fact that this was probably the first big band they had put on and never expected it to be this busy, so hopefully they get that sorted for this cracking venue.

Jake burns, Ali McMordie on bass, Ian McMallun on guitar and Steve Grantley on drums came bounding on stage and quickly straight into “breakout” minus his singing as it was so distorted “straw Dogs” followed and sound corrected and Mr burns could now be heard quite clearly, dressed in a polka dot shirt and looking rather portly I may add! “Fade away” followed and a quick breather as jake  introduced the next song “my dark places” what I like about jake burns is he always explains his songs, about the backgrounds to them and how he came to write them.

“Safe as houses” “nobody’s hero” “at the edge” followed next then a real oldie in “barbed wire love” and “roots ” then a newish (well this century ) “Strummerville” Jakes tribute to the legend Joe strummer, who was instrumental in the Fingers first footsteps on the punk scene.

The heat is turned up as early classics are played “wasted life” “tin soldiers” and the classic “suspect device ” one of my all time favourite punk records, play it at full blast and hear the anger in his voice, jake burns was well and  truly pissed off with his lot back in 1977, and that’s your lot! We missed the encores due to running for the last bus back to sheffield ( tight gits) but a cracking show none the less, this was no going through the motions, no nostalgia circuit performance, it still means a lot and the songs mean a hell of a lot to this band whether they are last century or this century the Fingers are still as important today as they were back in the days when they came full throttle at you courtesy of John Peel. 


Straw Dogs
Fade away
My dark places
Safe as houses
Nobody’s hero
At the edge
Barbed wire love
Guilty as sin
Roots, radical
We were young
Wasted life
Tin soldiers
Suspect Device
Johnny was
Gotta getaway
Alternative ulster 



My usual bandcamp band hunt brought me to searching tags with “old punk ” and ” Sheffield” and luckily for me these sheffield  scallywags popped up begging to be played and bought! Brought to the world by the “kids of the Lughole ” label, the Lughole being a small practice/small gig room next to one of the dodgist Ale houses in Sheffield on a back Street in the city centre, General Public EP is 4 slices of pure punk, straight out of 1977, extremely loud, catchy Riffs, a short sharp statement of no frills no nonsense 100% punk rock.

Less than 6 minutes long this ep released in may 2016 on limited edition vinyl features the following 4 tracks

1.. General Public 



4..Under Threat

I think this may be there 3rd release, maybe the 2nd vinyl issue, I strongly recommend  giving the “No Salvation” single a listen to if you can get the vinyl format, otherwise there’s a free download via there bandcamp page. Here’s a band I will be keeping a beady eye on in 2017 and hopefully get to see them live, if your penchant is for old style punk this is the band to watch! 




First gig I ever went to was The Push playing in the drama Hall at school . It was Organised By ex English teacher and the current school youth club leader and all round Top Bloke Howard Holmes, The Push, where a 5 piece new wave/punk band who where probably more Pub Rock then PUNK Rock with shades of Nick Lowe, Graham Parker and The 101ers Rather then Punk Rock premier league outfits like the Clash, Pistols and The Damned. My school at the time had a great drama Hall with rather a large stage and having hosted various plays and assembly’s was now playing hosts to snarling spitting punk rockers with the menacing threat of violence, chaos and destruction imminent.
Posters where put up around the school and my new punk buddies just couldn’t wait, it was to be our first gig ,we knew nothing about this band at all as our musical knowledge didn’t extend as yet to the local scene.
The night came and we paid our 50p entrance at the door and made our way in, there was a few older kids in from school and some 6th formers, plus a few older punks and various waifs and strays and some local lowedges teddy boys which we found rather strange! Now I’m not sure if there was a support band on, some say there was, some say there wasnt, but The Push bounced onstage and yes! I’m at the front having it in large portions, I’m bouncing around and giving it everything, then the music stopped, Ray Ashcroft the singer (the soon to be famous actor ) has stopped singing and has spotted the Teds in the audience and has launched into a rather heated exchange of words, “get these fuckers out” as he launched himself at them, the Teds had a go back and we where treated to handbags, threats of “see you outside” and opinions regarding each others musical tastes “your bands shite”and “fuck off elvis”
Order soon resumes and we are treated to soon to be “classics” such as  ‘Can’t Stop Maureen’ the obligatory attempt at reggae with ‘Front-Room Revolution’ ‘gloria’ which I think every band covered back then and finishing with the soon to be released single ‘Cambridge Stomp’ pop pickers and on to world domination, or not!
Off course this was 1978 and here we are 38 years later in 2016 and my copy of said single is worth £8 according to eBay or discogs, it’s the memory off my first gig that will stop with me as long as my memory holds out.

So what happened to The Push I hear you ask? Main man and leader Ray Ashcroft quit the band after a tour supporting XTC when he got to play the part of Ringo Starr in “The Birth of the Beatles” Film and he went on appear in The Bill, Emmerdale and Coronation Street, Rock and Rolls loss and TVs Gain!!!!




The first records I bought where in the spring and summer of 1977, David Bowie’s sound and vision single and Emerson Lake and Palmer’s Fanfare For The Common Man,  slowly I got hooked on the new punk sounds that where now appearing on our TVs,  Radio’s and the nations press,I started discovering radio and although it was limited as to what was being played I slowly became a follower of radio one’s Saturday rock show and later I discovered a life changing late night show and in glorious stereo,namely the John Peel Show,(more to follow)
The Saturday rock show was as its title suggests a rock show, however slowly but surely punk and new wave records slowly starting appearing, here I heard The Clash for the first time,with  White Riot in BBC session mode getting a serious playing, XTC and the stranglers also  seemed popular, A record that really stuck out for me that was played a lot was Dr Feelgoods Roxette, great big bass guitar, wilkos scratchy rhythm guitar riffs and blasting harmonica, this record had everything.
Over the coming months I bought singles and albums, dinner money saved all week and off to town on Saturday to buy records, up until this time I was all football, all my school mates where the same,anything else was not entertained, slowly I saw less and less of my mates as I spent more time listening to records and reading the music papers about all these great new bands and great music, at times I thought I was the only person in school who liked punk music, of course there was the  rockers with there denim jackets covered in led Zeppelin and status quo patches but not for me was any of that!


The First ever album I bought was  The Jam This Is The Modern World, Quickly followed by The Ramones Rocket to Russia, followed by  Ian Dury New Boots And Panties, then I got a bit Daring and went all pub
and bought Graham Parker And The Rumour Stick To Me, Various singles as well, The Jam The Modern World, The Stranglers Peaches, Sex Pistols, Pretty Vacant, I then back tracked and bought all the first punk singles such as the Damned New Rose, The Clash White Riot, Complete Control,Generation X My Generation, Grip by the stranglers, early  Elvis Costello singles such as Alison, Less then Zero and Watching the detectives, I discovered The Buzzcocks,  and The Saints purely by flicking through every single in the punk section in virgin records, there just seemed to be great records coming out every week, and as a 13 year I had limited money!  I was steadily building up a nice record collection and adding all the time to  it, somehow I discovered that Debenhams had a music section and would have boxes full of ex chart singles and  records that hadnt sold all at really low prices, over the next few months I regularly plundered this goldmine of vinyl with great success.
The life changing event from this period of my life happened as most things do, purely by accident, Christmas 1977 and I’m up late and as far as I can remember I was flicking through the channel’s on the music centre and I came upon The Lurkers Shadow, clear as a bell in glorious FM Stereo, wondering what it was I sat and listened until the record ended and the voice of the DJ appeared singing the praises of the record and then introducing another punk record in some kind of top 50 that I was certain had never appeared on Top Of The Pops! What I had found was the John Peel Show and his festive 50, I stuck a Tape in pressed record and for the next 10 years or so I was hooked, over the next 2/3 days I wished the fingers on the clock around to 10.o’clock and armed with cassette tapes I recorded just about every record peely played.
To Be Continued!!!!



The Stranglers annual visit to the 02, this time they are back and revisiting the classic Black and White album playing it  in its entirety,the Stranglers have been regular visitors to sheffield since 1977, probably playing this venue more then any other band over the last 40 years.


With the speakers and keyboards and drums all decked out in white the band bounced on and launched into “Tank” JJ  prowling the stage laughing and smiling, whilst baz stage left playing guitar like his life depended on and the ever reliable dave greenfield showing no signs of slowing down delivering  highly  addictive synthesiser beats and powerhouse drumming from new drummer jim macaulay keeping the beat moving along making the band a lot more tighter,clearly after all these years the two remaining original members are still clearly enjoying it.


Crystal clear tight and loud the band got it right treating old and hopefully new fans to a great performance of this classic  album, not much chat, but song after song, JJs  rumbling filthy bass always at the forefront, more favourites followed and for me the highlight being ” walk on by”  a song I think the Stranglers have really made there own, greenfields keyboards and JJs bass solos playing a huge part in this extended version, could be called  self indulgent but not these lads! We then had ” nuclear device” “grip” “always the sun” “London  lady ” we where even treated to ” I feel like a wog” from the No More Heroes  album, one criticism I have is a huge portion of the crowd switched  off when  Norfolk Coast was played, we also had “relentless” thrown in to the mix, obviously these people where only there for the old “Cornwell years” material, Norfolk Coast is a cracking record and is up there with the best.
Two hours of classics and an encore of “Go Buddy Go” after 40 years this song sounded as fresh as it did back then, from the opening “Boogie ” shout to the rock and roll organ riff, the scratchy rhythm guitar, drumming like an express train, A worthy finish with a song that is always far superior played live, a truly great night with a band that can still play like they mean it!!



Here’s one of my oldest badges,and one of my favourite pieces of punk memorabilia, back in 1978 I filled up on breakfast and stuffed my pockets with crisps and chocolate to keep me going thru the school day, carefully saving my dinner money until the weekend so i could venture into town to buy the latest singles and the odd album, one of these was All Mod Cons the break through album by The Jam.
I spent hours in my bedroom playing this record, flipping the record over constantly, on each play I had a new favourite song, I knew all the words, I would lay on my bed reading the lyrics and singing along to each and every song, the inside sleeve with its illustration of the scooter, the references to The Who, the Ska LP,the Union jack badges,coffee bars,Tamla Motown records,London,school crests,photos of the band live, it was a truly great collage, the lyrics over the top of the cut away illustrations of the Vespa GS Scooter, not that I knew at the time was the ultimate Mod Scooter.
All this a throwback to the mid sixties a time when I was just making my debut into the wide world, a culture of cool clothes,great music,great bands and just looking great and wanting something different from the norm! I was drawn to the Jam badges on the cover,and as a 14 year with an active mind and a thirst for music and everything to do with the jam I had to have one of these badges!!
So I wrote a letter to Paul Weller, 38 years ago,most of my life away,I put pen to paper, I presume I wrote to polydor records,” dear Paul, love the album,where can I get these badges? ” etc etc ” I’m not sure how long it was but one day I came home from school, “there’s a letter come for you” my mum said, looking at me totally amazed, I had forgotten all about writing to Weller by this time,the franking on the letter stated Polydor records W1 I was in it Like a shot!”dear Pete I have sent you 2 badges you asked about, however the David Watts badges where promotion badges only and have all gone hope these are OK” signed Paul Weller ! Those are the few words I can remember, and it was written on long forgotten hotel notepaper
Fucking hell! I sat and read the letter over and over again, just couldn’t  believe it, I rang my mates up and soon we where all gathered round in my bedroom passing the letter around,everyone wanting to be my new best mate, hoping I would give them the other badge! This little item started me on collecting everything to do with the jam, over the next 4 years I collected badges, every magazine and newspaper article,posters,photos, tee shirts, I made scrapbooks, I saved my gig tickets, anything and everything.

As for the 2nd badge? well we all have those moments when it was “a good idea at the time” I swapped it with my best mate for a ben Sherman shirt, I cant for the life think what colour or style it was now,but if he still has it then the value far outweighs the value of the shirt now! As for the letter? well no idea what happened to it, and my scrapbooks filled with cuttings etc, even now at 52 years old I know that as a teenager I would never have thrown them away, years ago my parents where adamant that they didn’t get rid, so maybe one day soon a search thru my parents loft may shed some light on them still existing!