Well hi.

For whatever reason, I've recently decided to upload scans of band gig posters from my early days in Sydney, when I used to regularly go out and see at least two or three bands a week. I'm talking 1979 - 1990 ish here. At that time, Sydney had a healthy, thriving pub band culture which f
ostered the careers of many of the top Aussie export bands of the last couple of decades. The Angels, The Radiators, Midnight Oil, INXS, (Le) Hoodoo Gurus, The Church, etc etc etc. Anyway, being a lifelong collector of strange and irrelevant things, I find myself with scraps of paper, flyers, set lists, coasters and more from many of the gigs I attended, so at least I have something to remember them by. Most of that era is a total blur in my memory, but I just know that I had a really good time, and my tinnitus and foggy brain was worth it all.

Now, I'm not claiming to be any kind of expert or authority on any of these bands, or the era in general, I'm just sharing what I remember, and a few bits and pieces that may bring back memories for some. Feel free to add your own recollections, tell me if I'm wrong, share stories of gigs you went to.

You can click on them and they get bigger.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hunters & Collectors

I always loved Hunter & Collectors gigs. Another unique style of music for the period. Primal, rhythmic, sweaty, dark. Swampy. Brassy. "Talking to a Stranger" was a brand new sound for Aussie pubs and their recordings captured the live feel well.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Laughing Clowns

Don't have much to say about the laughing Clowns except that they were a brilliant, experimental, emotional band , and I love them still. Ed Kuepper from the Saints branched out and did something completely different. Deep and moody, going against the hard pub rock grain of the time.

I saw the Stranded gig. Slightly ironic, given that "I'm Stranded" was the Saints first single and album. Ha! I just thought of that. Stranded was a clubby kind of place downstairs from the Strand Arcade in Pitt St. Like Unruly Children were very odd. Hitting saucepans with sticks and strange wailing vocals. Hard to take...

The Allniters

The Allniters. They're Allriters! A fun night out was to be had at any Allniters gig. We'd find our way to wherever they were playing, and somehow get home again in varying states of consciousness. I still don't know how we did it with pretty much no money and in the early days, no car. I guess things were cheaper and with a group of us we could pool our resources. The trouble with Allniters gigs often was that you'd end up with huge bruises on your shins the next morning, from dancing up the front with the skinheads in their bloody Doc Martins. Because of course, we had to be right at the front, centre of the stage. And so did they.

I think I can actually remember this one. The Manly Vale Hotel was a fantastic venue. A larger room with a higher stage than most pubs. It could put on overseas acts as well like UB40, Iggy Pop and others which will no doubt feature later. They pulled this great North Shore venue down at some point, probably because of noise complaints by neighbours - the usual excuse. I remember emerging from that place on countless occasions, drenched in sweat with a longneck of cider or something in my hand, watching the fights going on in the carpark from the top of the stairs - usually between the bouncers and some unlucky punter.

Sydney Trade Union Club

Here's a mixed bunch at the Trade Union Club. This must have been 1981 - 82. I must have been at at least one of these nights. Plenty of great live acts here.

I think I saw the Allniters 21 weeks in a row at one point. They were such fun, happy, upbeat gigs. We followed them all around Sydney. Often they got memberas of the crowd up on stage to dance around for the last couple of songs.

Flaming hands were another one we saw a lot. "Le" Hoodoo Gurus were still pretty alternative and unknown. I used to see them for free at the Southern Cross Hotel in Surry Hills. Now the Strawberry Hill. Their gigs in the coming years were some of the best live pub gigs I ever saw. Divinyls rocked as well. A great band, but you spent most of the time looking at Chrissy Amphlett's lips, and wondering if her ripped school dress was going to come completely off. Well, I did anyway.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Triffids at the San Miguel

The Triffids are another all time fave of mine. Ultra sensitive and lyrical, but with an edge that could explode aggressively at any moment. Great albums. I saw them in Perth, too, where they were from originally. David McComb passed away in 1999, no doubt leaving many beautiful songs unwritten.

The San Miguel in Cammeray was another North Shore venue to disappear. Closed down probably as property prices in the area rose, and the new residents didn't appreciate the riff raff associated with live bands. Other venues closed because they couldn't afford to comply with new fire exit regulations that came in at some point in the 80's. Now it's a hardware store. I saw many a good gig there. No, not at the hardware store...

Don't recall JFK and the Cuban Crisis... I know they played around a hell of a lot.

The Hotel Manly

The Hotel Manly was a local for me for years. They had bands on six days a week, and got all the big local names. Ugly, dingy place, but an integral part of the Sydney circuit. They pulled it down in 1989, and left a pile of rubble there for a couple of years. At one point the council decided to charge us to park on this vacant, depressing site. Now there's a really good wood fired pizza place there and a Moorish restaurant, among other things. RIP, the Hoey Moey.

Died Pretty are one of my all time favourite bands. I was at this gig, and most probably many of the others on these bills. Joe Camilleri is still around, my band supported the Black Sorrows in Perth in about 1992 I think. Chasin the Train were a great rhythm and blues band. I mean actual rhythm and blues. We used to watch them a lot at the Cat & Fiddle in Balmain, too. Jump Back Jack were a great funk band featuring Jackie Orszaczky on bass and vocals. (I bet that IS how you spell it). He's still about, too.

Vegimite Reggae were a Sunday arvo fixture at the Manly for a long time.

You can see the concept bands starting to creep in in a big way. Hey 19, Gold Zeppelin, Beatnix, Wild Heart, Blues Bros Revival...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bayview Tavern

The Bayview tavern at Gladesville was always a part of the Sydney band circuit. I played there myself once, years later than this poster.
Paul Kelly recorded live for 2JJ. Citizen Band seemed to be playing everywhere, all the time.

Governor's Pleasure

The Governor's Pleasure. A very regular haunt for us for some reason. I have thousands of bits of memories of that place. It was one of the very first venues I ever went to, while we were in high school. You had to sign a book at the front door, promising you were over 18, as there was pretty much no ID, especially with a photo on it. The place was a sweat house, a fire trap, a great place to see bands. Pancakes at the Rocks for dinner. Of course now it's a lingerie restaurant topless type of place for the discerning gentleman.

Spy vs Spy. Before they started with the whole Vspy Vspy thing which I never bought into. Fantastic three piece. I remember seeing them in the corner of a pub in North Sydney playing Stones covers before anyone had heard of them. Even then I knew they were good.

The Sets, I think were a Mod band. I had a few friends who were into the Mod scene. It seemed then you had to choose Mod/Punk/Rude Boy/Skinhead/Whatever. Don't really remember the Sets music, but used to frequent the Sussex Hotel a bit...

Dynamic Hepnotics put on a great show. Soul, funky jazzy stuff. Great fun. Good bands on this bill.

Metropole Gig Guide

Must confess I'm not familiar with this place.
I am, however familiar with The Laughing Clowns. I remain a fan of their music and the majority of the subsequent Ed Kuepper solo records. Laughing Clowns were very avant garde and different from most of what was going on in the early eighties. I think to a lot of people it sounded like dischordant, messy moaning. Me, I loved it. Still listen to them every now and then.

The Hitmen. I think they are largely responsible for the lingering ringing in my ears twenty five years later. Saw them heaps. Always at the front of the stage, or with our heads in the W bins to enhance the distorted buzzing effect. So stupid! Seemed fun at the time.

The Riptides had the best telegraph pole posters ever. We used to go out at night and untape them from the poles and stick them on the ceiling of our hang out room. Well, we were young. Give us a break,

Bondi Lifesaver Gig Guide, 1980

A Sydney legend and institution. At least for those who frequented this part of the world. I think every major Australian band of the era must have played there, and it was an industry type hang out through the seventies (before my time). It closed sometime in 1980, so these gigs must have been very near the end.

Kevin Borich! KB! The guy is still going strong. I saw him play a few months ago, and man, he can still blast out the heavy blues licks like he ever did. Greatest rock guitar face in Aussie history.

Rose Tattoo. Heavy shit. Believe it or not, I managed to fall asleep during a Tatts gig at Narara 1983. Right on the grass in front of the stage. Probably more accurately described as "passed out" perhaps. Narara. There's another story...

Icehouse are still Flowers. I guiss it is only 1980.

They still hadn't worked out how to write INXS.

Mi-Sex Tour Guide

Mi Sex. Got their name from an Ultravox song, and I always maintained they modelled themselves on John Foxx's original pre-Vienna Ultravox, at least to begin with. They were a bloody good band. Quite apart from the skintight leather pants, they had some great songs and put on a cool show. Computer Games was a huge revelation for me in the future of electronic pop. I remember it at my Year 12 dance at good ol' Killara High.
Singer Steve Gilpin died in 1992.

Brownies - Paddington Green

How about Brownies?

The venue at the Paddington Green has had a few different names over the years.
Here's another early INXS gig, and another incorrect writing of their name. They must have got a bit of that before everyone in the whole world knew how to write it. Tuesday nights at the Paddington Green. Pat Drummond got around Sydney a bit, too. I used to see him a lot at the Rest Hotel in Milson's Point. Now THAT was a tragedy when they pulled that joint down. Another piece of Sydney's soul discarded without so much as a "by your leave". Greedy bloody developers. Ruined our town. Blaaah! Well at least the Paddington Green is still there...

Chequers Gig Guide

Check out this one. I never even heard of this place, although that doesn't mean I wasn't there at some point. They obviously got some good acts in there. Early days for INXS and the Angels - "first city gig"! June 28th would have been a good night... Icehouse were still known as the Flowers, and the Numbers were being recorded live for Double Jay. I wonder if they recorded INXS while they were at it?

Anyone remember Chequers?

Manzill Room

Lets go! To the Manzill Room!
This wasn't really a venue I went to a lot - hardly ever actually. I wa
s a north shore boy, and at the time there were enough venues on the north side to keep us busy most of the time. That's not to say we didn't get over to town at all, but it was much easier to drive mum's car home with a belly full of beer from the Manly Vale or Mosman Hotel than the Cross. Still, there were nights at the Manzill for sure. Others will have much fonder memories of this place.
Some good bands on this bill: Matt Finish for one. Ayers Ro
ck were brilliant - free jazz/rock fusion jamming. "Big Red Rock" is the album.

Redgum / Sunnyboys

Ah Redgum. I still have many of their records. Of course the early stuff was the best. For a while they were really big with leftish semi-alternative folks. Their gigs were extremely humorous and entertaining, with lots of John Schumann's political anti-government raves and folky, country, fiddly, acousticky music. Good fun, often sitting on the floor, or great outdoor gigs for the thinkers rather than the dancers.

Sunnyboys! I just recently nicked a copy of their first (best) album of the 'net. Love those guys. Only saw them a few times back then, but remember huge energy, very loud and tight sets. Most of the songs sound the same, but uniquely Sunnyboys. Don't know where they disappeared to, but fond memories for me. I still have my original yellow cardboard "cigarette box" cassette of the Happy Man ep. See? I keep everything.

Midnight Oil

Oils. What can I say. Midnight Oil gigs are ones that I'll never forget. There will never be another band like them. Extraordinary live gigs. I don't remember how many times I saw them, but the energy and imagery from those nights is firmly hammered into the back of my brain. All great musos, amazing songs that everyone could connect to at the time, Garrett utterly rivetting to watch, adoring crowds of people who made the most of every opportunity to watch this unique and fairly rare spectacle. The place to see them was the Antler at Narrabeen. Have you seen that place recently? End of another era of Sydney live music. Tragic. Well that's progress on the Northern Beaches.
I saw Midnight Oil a couple of years ago on the Redneck Wonderland tour, but both they and I had become mu
ch older and the vibe wasn't really there for me...