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What Gig's Have You Been To?

Couldn't see a thread dedicated to live music.

I went to see The Specials last night at Rock City,Nottingham.  Good gig small venue (about 2500).  Decent atmosphere.  Was almost a very short concert with Mr Hall threatening to walk off after bottles were thrown.  It seems some people just can't help acting like idiots.  Some well dressed folks about too.  I'm always blown away when I see a women skinheads, a male skinhead so what?  But a woman skinhead that takes guts.

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    • Absolutely get what you’re saying here Ernie and would never try to argue that any self respecting Mod would have listened to Lonnie Donegan back in the day. That said, if you Google skiffle and the name of virtually any “Mod” musician of the period, Townshend, Clapton, Ray Davies, all acknowledge a debt to Lonnie and skiffle, even if it was just that it put the guitar front and centre on the stage. 

      The likes of skifflle’s Ken Colyer, Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies weren’t Mods by any stretch of the imagination but they were massively influential in facilitating the whole “blues boom” that led to the R&B scene the Mods embraced as their own. 

      I guess you could draw the same parallels with Gospel and Soul music, the latter would not exist without the former but Guy Stevens never played Mahelia Jackson’s Go Tell It on the Mountain down at The Scene. 

      For me, it’s the inherent dichotomy of Mod that makes it so interesting and enduring; the “gang of individuals”, all seeking the purist’s holy grail and finding it in so many different places. Maybe Mod is not the destination but the journey it takes you on.

    • I think that's conflating two different things - musicians and their influences, and mod culture. Very few mods were musicians. Some musicians followed mod styles; why wouldn't they ? That teenage demographic was their audience, and potentail income. No such thing as a mod musician, really, or mod music. There was music that mods preferred to listen to, and that was mostly American influenced - blues, r'n'b, jazz - British musicians gravitated towards that music because British music at that time was, well, you can name the names. So why soul and r'n'b - in a nutshell, it was adult music dealing with how life was. It wasn't the Beatles (I Wanna Hold You Hand), it wasn't the Stones, with their interrminable covers, It was Wison Pickett, Aretha, Otis - we can all list the names; and they were talking about different stuff, that didn't come from anywhere we could recognise but something we wanted to find out about. Somehow, Lonnie singing about picking  a bale of cotton didn't quite get there.Skiffle, if anything, was an attempt to modernise British folk music and give it a bit bite, down at the church youth club.

      As for The Scene, it was Davies' R'n'B club before O'Reilly (he always spelt it O'Rahilly to , he thought, give himself a bit of a cachet) got hold of it. .It's true that Stevens never played any Mahalia Jackson records, you'd have to go to the 100 Club for that, He did manage, though, to get himself a bit of a name; along with a couple of others, Dexter and so on, who created this ludicrous idea of 'faces' so that they could primp and preen a bit. They weren't wrong, it was good PR and took off in a big way, especially among those bands who were on their way, it gave them something else to use as a connection to their fan base. Most of the people I knew tried to keep ther faces out of the picture.

    • Keep the posts coming. I'm up for anything sixties, a great decade, don't care if its not what I think. My post here is just an observation.
      Interesting that you picked up on the faces from The Scene. I agree with you that these original Mods gravitated towards the club and saw it as mod central. Trouble is, the modern day Google, copy and paste internet researchers and the mainstream media, have equally struggled to define its meaning, to the extent that I wonder if I was there at all!
      After all said and done, Ernie was there, just as I was there. Pinning down its origins and authenticity is about interpretation. Its about experiences. Your memories may not always be mine, but between us, our story just stax up. When you are first there, there is no before, no guidelines.
      The definitive Mods by Richard Barnes was and remains a good guide. To some extent he jumps into the action and recalls it from a first person's eyes. Later attempts by academics, sociologists and social historians, will at the end of the day, have had to come back to us for the story. I suggest that they are the guilty party in some part , elevating deejays like Jeff Dexter into positions that they did not start from.
      What loosely draws Jeff, Guy Stevens, Mickey Modern, Tony Foley and myself (not to mention those in the first photo next the MG forum banner) is that we all lived a stones throw from each other. Growing up and frequenting the dancehalls, Lyceum, Orchid, Lacarno etc., gaves us a shared working class identity which naturally spilled over in our very early teens to the clubs and bars Upwest.
      Soho itself, was a short ride on the metro, if you weren't on your scooter. Many of us, were already working there when The Scene opened its doors. It wasn't the first, but its seedy by night cobbled approach through Ham Yard, walking past the Windmill strip club completely blocked up, to the unwelcoming anonymous doors, crashing down the narrow stairs, to be crammed onto the narrow stage, confronted face to face by Eric Burdon, certainly had its moments.
      But what academic can relive this for you? By day, the bustling courtyard was a through area for Berwick Street traders to park their barrows. A casual passer-by could never imagine those hidden away doors with the tiny sign, would become the stronghold for a movement that would span the world.
      Unlike the decade before, when my older sisters had experienced full employment, albeit dead end and more of the same, the very early sixties began to open up the first of the career type opportunities. I found that my week could take in The Scene, Flamingo, in my stride, together with as many substances that would help sustain this speedy schedule. Herein lies the essence. By day I could move among my working peers, wearing Tonik mohair suits and pass without much comment. The recognition that followed though(due in part to drugs busts and busy news reporters) was unwanted by the mods.
      In some respectsErnie is right here: "Most of the people I knew tried to keep ther faces out of the picture". At first it seemed harmless, when scouts would come down to The Scene and choose dancers for RSG, or The News Of The World produced endless 'scoops'. I suppose the outside world had caught up with us.The doors finally closed at The Scene, but JD, MM, GS and many others could see that beyond this apprenticeship, there was a job, a career to be had in the music biz, better than going back to the local biscuit or jam factory that beckoned.
      We all wanted to be primus inter pares, but I would have settled for being a ticket, if I could go round all over again. I would like to hear more from Ernie, just to reassure me that I didn't dream it all. Equally I tip my bluebeat pork pie hat (from Dunn's I think in 1962, how time flies), to the contributions from Kai(Never heard of any of the groups he comes up with, but ok, The Spitfires were good), Gary'D (More records than HMV?) ,Snow Runner,Mod Goddess,Dave Davies(Yes,you), Motown, Alan Saint,Chris Cameron and the rest of the gang.

    • Fine post Sohomod. I hope the recollections keep coming from both yourself and Ernie.

    • Thanks for sharing your memories - both Ernie and Sohomod - as it's always been the 1960s Originals that I draw my inspiration from. I don't try to reimagine or relive an era I wasn't born in, as that is stupid and futile. The Aussie 1960s Mods weren't parka wearing, scooter riding, Rocker bashing Mods, either.

      I always get asked about my clothes and if I wished I lived in the 1960s. As a woman, I often reply:  "For the music and clothing - yes. But as a woman, no..." The very idea a [Western] woman had to 'know her place' and had to be married before she open a bank account, let alone have access to the Pill back then, is just as demeaning and backwards as some modern [Eastern] women face other struggles in the 21st century.

      Yes, the Internet of my generation has done a lot of good things and bad things as far as the Mod scene goes. One of the few positives of it, is this Forum...

    • I suppose the thing is Ernie that it’s a very broad church and, to my mind, all the better for it. You mention the Stones and their interminable covers but Otis himself repaid the complement by taking Satisfaction to the next level.  

      There is no bottom or top to this, it’s just a great big snowball of Mod rolling down a hill, indiscriminately  picking up influences wherever it touches. Mercifully there are those like you Ernie, swept up early on the snowball’s journey, keeping the history alive. 

    • Thanks for filling in the gaps Ernie. 

    • There was a tour in 1962 or 1963, featuring Rosetta Tharpe, Gary Davis, Otis Spann and a number of other artists. It started in London and was billed as a Gospel Tour; I think it went North afterwards. They played solo sets, with pickup bands, and after the show some of them would go to the clubs for late sessions, mostly after hours when you could drink behind closed doors. The 100 was one of thsoe clubs, bit like the Florida was for jazz artists. Sometimes the Art Wood Group would play pickup for them, being more or less the houseband at the 100 for a while. They were OK, a bit clumsy, but better than most. I also remember seeing Sonny Boy Williamson (the version without teeth) around the same time, but he was an r'n'b player really. And Champion Jack Dupree, who was a tough piece of work. He eventually moved p North to live, having run out of people to con in London. These would usually be midweek nights and so the crowd would mostly be black polo necks, but the atmosphere was good. Plenty of records to listen to as well, although I wouldn't go so far as to say they had a DJ, however primitive they were in those days.

      My understanding was that th100 Club was originally a wartime jazz club, so always had an affinity with blues, soul and gospel music. It was sold on some time in the 50s or 60s to a Jeff something (not Kruger) and he kept it goinfg in that style, eventually providing the room for the new British groups that fitted that bill. It started to go broke in the 70s and I read that he then started to book punk bands and saved the place, later on Northern Soul nights. It was a good basement space, big with a astage you get close to. I also remember seeing Mae Mercer perform there; she was coming to the end of her career, but was truly powerful.

    • I could absolutely see that Steve. I think he maybe just felt a bit picked upon in the end. 

    • Great ,good for you enjoy 

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