Friday, 26 September 2008


Following on from my blog on The Marquee, I thought I'd do a short piece on the 10 best/most memorable gigs I attended there, in no particular order of merit.

Generation X. 20th July 1977.

As I mentioned previously, Gen X were never favourites of mine, but this was the first gig I took in at The Marquee and was therefore responsible for many future trips to this wonderful London venue.

The Lurkers. 7th November 1979.

It was so foggy when I left home early morning that you would have been hard pressed to hit a cow's arse with a banjo! Things were little better when I arrived at the club early evening after walking down Wardour Street, barely able to see more than one yard in front of me. Not exactly ideal conditions but the prospect of seeing The Lurkers had kept me going throughout the day. I'd seen Howard Wall's boys before, but this was the best gig I'd witnessed from them, with the crowd joining in on all their classic tunes including 2 renditions of 'New Guitar In Town'. For me, The Lurkers were on of the most underrated punk bands, along with The Adverts and ......

Chelsea. 17th October 1978.

My first encounter with Gene October's outfit. Some great tunes amongst their repertoire, and a real shame their light didn't burn a bit brighter in punkdom. If you wanted rabble-rousing songs with high octane energy, these were the boys to go and see.

The Skids. 1st November 1978.

Ah, this one was truly wonderful! I'd later check out The Skids in far bigger venues, but this Marquee gig remains my fondest memory of Richard Jobson's band. The club was packed to the gills and beyond, the atmosphere hot and sweaty as we sung-alonga-Skids, high on booze and the joys of real audience participation. Wish I could have caught them there again.

The Human League. 21st & 22nd July 1979.

The Human League! Back in the days before those two birds joined the band and when their slideshows provided a stimulating backdrop to the music. Those two nights were the most enjoyable I spent at The Marquee, and were made even better by support band Spizz Energi who played a blinder on both evenings. Classics such as 'Clocks Are Big, Machines Are Heavy', '6000 Crazy' and 'Where's Captain Kirk' were all present and correct, making these two gigs pure heaven. They were also the hottest conditions I can recall experiencing there, with the 'Soho Sauna' working overtime in the old weight loss department.

Penetration. 21st August 1978.

One of my favourite punk bands who gave us a scorching debut album, and boasted one of the finest female lead singers of the decade. Anyone who can cover Patti Smith's classic 'Free Money' and draw honourable comparisons with the original deserves our most earnest attention. That's what Pauline Murray drew from audiences,and I'm more than a little ashamed to declare this was the only time I saw them live. Another top-notch gig, with great versions of La Smith's song and their own classic 'Don't Dictate'.

UK Subs.

Unsure of the date for this gig as I caught Charlie Harper's United Kingdom Subversives on many occasions, at various venues country wide. I can recall the gig was in Winter, that the house lights were kept on for the entire evening and leaping onstage to grab Chaz's microphone and bellow out a few lines of one of the encores, which ended with punters jammed together on The Marquee stage. A very rough collection of punks on that particular evening but everyone entered the spirit of things and not a hint of any problems which is how things should be.

The Rezillos. 9th June 1978.

"Everybody's on Top Of The Pops" sang Fay Fife! The Rezillos certainly were and our screens were certainly livened up by their antics. 'Can't Stand The Rezillos' still stands up as a classic album, and their Marquee gig produced hyperactive versions of much-loved songs. A great night, spent exactly how a hot Summers evening should be.

John Cooper Clarke. 4th April 1979.

The punk rock poet with his wickedly humorous accounts of life in our dark satanic mills. Oh to see him do 'Evidently Chicken Town' and 'Beasley Street' again, while I quaff a pint of the Marquee's less-than salubrious beer.

Flesh For Lulu. 12th October 1987.

Not a particularly inspiring gig, but notable because it was the last time I set foot in The Marquee at its Wardour Street venue. All good things must come to an end. It was a real pleasure while it lasted!


  1. This was a cool post. I could really envision it all. I bet these were some great shows. I'll admit that the only band of these I've heard of is The Human League.

  2. Cheers, Keith. I used to love The Human League in the early days, but drifted away from them. Most of my choices were smaller bands but they certainly set the place on fire which was what punk was all about. I'll be blogging some more about 70s bands at a later date.

  3. I liked The Human League back in the 80's when you had them and a whole bunch of other Brit bands(Eurythmics, etc.) breaking big here in the USA.

  4. Yes, they had some chart success over here, Keith, but I much preferred their early days before the girls joined. They sold a lot of records with them in the lineup though.

  5. Pleasure to read about so many bands I have just heard bits and pieces of over the years...what wonderful memories.

  6. Thanks for your support and kind comments, Jeremy. They were great days (and nights). Often wish I could do it all over again and that's the major problem with good memories.

  7. Steve,

    As an American who has geeked out on British first and second wave punk bands via books like Savage's ENGLAND'S DREAMING and Reynolds' RIP IT UP AND START AGAIN, but was way too young to partake, it was a pleasure to read your first hand experiences.

    I'm also a fan of the early Human League and there is a good complilation called GOLDEN HOUR OF THE FUTURE covering the early days. What a document of early synth-wave...much more experimental than the later synthpop/New Romantic material of the 80s. Would have loved to see the others particularly the Rezillos, Chelsea, UK Subs, Penetration.

    Were you ever able to catch X-Ray Spex and/or the Adverts?

  8. Hey, Ned! yes, I saw Spex and The Adverts. The latter were one of my favourite bands and I rate their Crossing The Red Sea album as one of the unsung punk classics. I'll have to look out for that Human League comp album, as I'd love to hear their early stuff again. Thanks for your kind comments and for stopping by.