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FM to WEB: List of stand out gigs by Elizabeth S

To list my top gigs is both easy and impossible so I have listed the stand out gigs in my life.
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To list my top gigs is both easy and impossible so I have listed the stand out gigs in my life which for the most part covers a very narrow window.

I am not sure that the list will reflect some order of status, more likely to be representative of a feeling of a particular period of music history with a couple of exceptions.


1. The Pop Group . Elephant & Castle 1979

    Strangely enough the gig I remember as my number one can't be dated, perhaps someone may help. It was summer and the year was '79 I believe. The venue was Elephant and Castle London. Martyn and myself had been to the Isle of White staying in youth hostels and catching up with family. We had intended to see this gig on way back home, you never needed to get advance tickets as most of the bands we went to see rarely filled a venue. We got to the place early and joined a forming line at door, I always loved the atmosphere before a gig and you got to hear some great music before bands came on.
    By the time the band were on stage the venue was packed and being very short I was in no place to see anything, my intention was always to be at front no matter what but this time I didn't make it. In the corner of venue was a massive stacked up mountain of chairs and tables which at any moment could have crashed down, of course seeing this I proceeded to climb up the very dangerous pile along with a few other brave souls : it was worth it. The Pop Group always delivered and this was no exception. Gareth Sager filled the stage musically and visually,  everything felt like my mountain of chairs, all piled high, on edge, in the moment and not to be missed as it would all be over too soon. To recall specifics about this gig is difficult as the whole thing was like this massive wall of emotion which left me feeling like I had been jet washed off from all the crap I that i'd ever heard before ... more jet washing was needed.        

2.Throbbing Gristle . Ajanta Theater . Derby  ( 12 .04 .79 )

    On arriving at the venue we could soon see that it was a semi derelict cinema and it looked like it had not been used in 30yrs. For some reason we found ourselves being ushered to the upper balcony, passing through dusty old velvet drapes and swags fit for Edgar Alan Poe. The venue had been well chosen for this combo. I had seen them perform several times before but in more conventional settings ... the surroundings made for a memorable experience. TG are not to disappoint, as always a bit scary to my very young sensibilities but this was part of the deal for me. It was as if the venue had been waiting for all these years to be finally assaulted by the blast and droning rhythms filling this old space which up till now had most likely only shown old black and white silent movies . The Ajanta was demolished soon after.

    Throbbing Gristle .  Butlers Wharf ( 23. 11. 79 )

    Butlers Wharf was just about as special as it had a more intimate feeling and for the most part I was not so disturbed by the TG experience . well, not until the end of the gig where in my usual way I went to blag free stuff. I went up to Porridge and asked what was on offer, he gave me a single sweet touching my hand and and looking back at me with a rehearsed smile that you think would be useful for abduction . I pulled back but still held on to the sweet, thinking that I had got away with something but not sure what : I had my Porridge 'force field' on that night. I knew one thing, I would be back for more . but maybe not sweets.

3. Echo and The Bunnymen . JB's Dudley (14 .06 .80 )

    I went to see the Bunnymen band twice, and I believe this was the second gig and before their British chart success . one of the first gigs that they did after ditching their drum machine. JB's was a much visited venue by Martyn and myself, always good bands and not too far away . I remember the stage being very small looking more like a few stacked pallets in the corner of the room rather than a proper stage. as usual, I had fixed my front row position waiting for band to appear. I remember dancing with my eyes closed for most of the set, front row punters were so close that you were almost on stage with band . I stood right in front on Ian McCullough, with just enough room to move. At one particular moment I can recall him laughing at me ( in a nice way ) because I was dancing so much that I had managed to clear a space for myself . all was Pop for me that night .

4. This Heat. Coventry Lanch. ( 26. 08. 80 )

    This was a gig that Eyeless in Gaza had organised as a C N D benefit gig. Eyeless were also playing.

    Charlie Bullen was an old acquaintance of mine from my young years and I was so into This Heat, as were Martyn and Pete. I can remember us being very concerned that things were all ok for them and that sound was not going to be a problem. Sound-wise, it not a conventional set up for either band, sound engineers can't cope with anything outside the norm it seemed to me. Eyeless had opened for them, not the original plan but I reckon Martyn and Pete wanted to get their set out of the way so they could enjoy Charlie's band. I remember the bar staff being really pissed off with both bands during sound check, someone asked me if they were going to ''do any songs''???? During the gig staff turned off the electricity supply and threatened to walk out unless sound was turned down, I remember Charlie getting so mad and putting all his energy into playing, the tension was both energising and migraine inducing.

5. Joy Division . Malvern Winter Gardens ( 05. 04. 80 )

    I went to see Joy Division five times and I can't recall which of these five times this gig was . probably this was gig number five, as this was one of their last gigs. I had by now got used to the fact that you got 35 minutes, no more, no less and you never got an encore. The venue was very odd but a great place all the same. Their music for me was a real turning point. I had grown up listening to powerful stuff from my parents and brothers collection and 'bland' was not in my life : music had to say something. My early teen years left me feeling as if I had no place left to go and that NO voice out there represented me. Joy Division changed that.

    This gig of all the 5 stands out again, for the setting as much as the music because in all honesty all 5 gigs had a similar quality. I remember the room being filled with light and sparkle, and i thought to myself are they going to turn the lights down? When they came on stage it did not really matter . for the 35 minutes they performed I was traumatised, transfixed and transported. I have NEVER been a half way house participant at gigs, they either do it for me or they don't and after the allotted time I was always left feeling a mixture of complete elation, utterly robbed . with a distinct sense that  "this is mine, for me".

6. The Fall . JB's Dudley ( 01. 09. 79 )

    Ah The Fall, uneasy listening at it's best. I have had a relationship with this band for all it's existence, but hardly ever play their music, as for me, they are a live band.
    My biggest memory of this gig was going back stage to ask for a poster, still being given away at this point. Mark Smith greeted me warmly and handed me some free stuff.
    Martyn always laughed at my cheek, I looked so young, I was so young, I looked at least 5 years younger than I was ... I remember Mark talking to me so gently and told the other guys in band not to swear while I was in the room. What a lovely memory.

7. Mody Lemon. Princess Charlotte Leicester. ( 26. 05. 2002. )

    Just out for the night, and passing the venue : what a good choice to go in. A duo from the States making enough sound to fill an arena. This was one explosive event and one where I chose not to go to the front as the drummer had a habit of spitting on his kit  projecting his venom at least 3 lines deep. We could not believe the sound they made and to this day I still love to blast out the ep I purchased at gig "Predator".

8. every Eyeless In Gaza gig I have been to has filled my heart with joy but I do recall 4 moments of emotion that will stay with me for all my life .
    The last gig they did in '86 in Spain, it was as if they knew it might be the last for some time. Someone recorded it but we have never traced it . electrifying doesn't begin to describe it.
    Also, similarly . an early UK gig . don't remember when or where but Pete's girlfriend Mary was there and I just watched her for the whole gig, her enjoyment was a wonderful thing to see. She was a friend to us all and sadly sometime after her and Pete parted she died in a car accident . i hold this memory dear.
    The third moment was a shitty little workingman's club on the Isle Of White. Eyeless were to be reborn at this shit hole and for that, I place it high.
    The last but not least moment was the gig in St Catherines Church Brussels . I was on stage with Eyeless for most of the gig and being able to see the fans from the stage instead of being in the audience was truly magical . After the gig I remember someone saying that it was the most giving performance that had seen by any band. I like to think in my own way, that my joy as fan and performer connects me in a special way . when I am on stage I sometimes forget to play because I am still the fan I always was.


   ps : PIL should be here, so should X, so should Y, etc etc!

    ps2: just one more noteworthy eventful weekend. the 8th and 9th of sept 1979..... on the 8th we had tickets for the first Science Fiction Festival ..called Futurama, we did see PIL there , JR spent whole gig with his back to the audience not turning and facing us once, great event though. We drove back home and got 3 hours sleep before setting off for London as we had tickets for the Scala all night event, we did 2nd night. I sat next to Ian Curtis for most of the night, J D were not performing, like us they were interested to see other bands. He went to the bar for me a couple of times, we spoke about several things to do with the event and other stuff.... we were both really tired from all the gigs on at same time..Funny to think of it now , it was just a small moment in my past that I now realise was quite special..
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