The Early Years – West Country Gigs of Old (Part 1)

During the lockdown, I got back in touch with an old friend of mine Annalise. We both grew up in Plymouth and used to go to gigs together in the late 1980’s. I was most impressed when she produced a large selection of photographs that she had taken around that time and I’m now in the process of scanning them and thought I’d share them in this blog, with what limited memories that I have from three decades ago!

Cud at Salisbury Arts Centre 20/10/88.

So back in 1987/1988, thanks to John Peel, I discovered a Leeds band called Cud. I was a big fan of the Wedding Present at this time and Cud often supported the Wedding Present and their first single “Mind the Gap” was released on Reception Records, which was the Wedding Present’s record label. On hearing the first Peel session, I was hooked. The session which consisted of Mind the Gap, You’re the Boss, Don’t bank on it and a storming cover version of You Sexy Thing (by Errol Brown). I used to write letters to William Potter (their bassist) and he would reply with cartoons of the band members and drawings Carl’s shoes!

I was desperate to see them and meet William but there was no chance of them visiting Plymouth, so when they announced a mini tour to promote their new single “Under My Hat” and Salisbury Arts Centre was the nearest West Country gig, we decided to go along. I think it cost 3 quid for a ticket and the Razorcuts were the support band. They played a cracking set and finished off with “You Sexy Thing” after much heckling from us for them to play it. I had a good chat with William and back in those days we were really skint, so spent the night sleeping in the car before heading back the following day. Unfortunately the exhaust pipe fell off my Vauxhall Chevette on the way home! So it was a very loud journey along the A303 and an expense that I could really have done without!

World Domination Enterprises at Plymouth Studio 10/5/90

World Domination Enterprises were a great band, my mate Chris Sawle recomended them to me and I absolutely loved them. The debut LP “Let’s Play …” is a beast of a record. I travelled up to The Town and Country Club, London to see them in 1988 on my own, as I thought they’d never make it to Plymouth. However, I was wrong! Right at the very end of their career, with a new and very young Simon Doling on the drums, they played Plymouth Studio (a night club on Union Street) and I was lucky enough to see them. This was to be the last time, as two weeks later they’d called it a day. I was amazed that photos existed of this gig and in the second photo, I can be seen ‘dancing around my handbag’ wearing a Gaye Bykers on Acid T shirt. Happy Days!

Red Lorry Yellow Lorry at Boston Arms, Tufnell Park, London 12/5/88.

Gigs in Plymouth were few and far between, so venturing further afield was sometimes required. This was usually to Exeter Uni or St Austell, Cornwall Coliseum, however on rare occasions it would be the 450 mile round trip to that there London! Friday 12/5/88, was one of those London trips, 3 hours on the train to Paddington and a trip to The Chelsea Potter pub on Kings Road, which at that time had a brilliant juke box with loads of punk, post punk, goth and indie tunes on it. Plenty of interesting “alternative” clientele and a good atmosphere. Then a trip to Camden Market for second hand records and clothes etc, finishing off at the Boston Arms for a triple bill of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Christian Death and Jive Turkey. Jive Turkey hailed from Torrington, North Devon and sounded like a raw version of The Pixies in their heyday. They were were great and certainly warmed up the crowd. Christian Death next, certainly not my cup of tea! But very popular amongst the Goth crowd. The headliners and reason for the long journey was Red Lorry Yellow Lorry or The Lorries. They hailed from Leeds with Chris Reed as their front man and song writer. Their sound was very driven, with a pounding drum machine, throbbing bass line and very deep, dark vocals and droning guitar that “pummels it’s way into your consciousness”. They had a hardcore following of Goths and Punks and were certainly a force to be reckoned with. They would smash through the set, with little or no banter from Chris Reed … Chance, Monkey on Juice, Generation, Cut Down, Open up and many more great tracks. Fantastic stuff! After the gig, a quick dash on the tube to Paddington to make the overnight train back to Plymouth, arriving 06.00 the following morning.

That’s me sitting outside the Chelsea Potter on Kings Road. Photo by Annalise.

Just Hanging Around (in Plymouth …)

The Goths, Punks and Alternative crowd used to hang around outside Virgin Records back in the day. A typical Saturday would be spent trawling around secondhand record shops in the market, Rival Records and Virgin Record Shop. Lunchtime was often when drinking started at the Abbey, Kings Head or Minerva … then carried on into the night. Various Alternative night clubs such as Club Zoo (the Academy, Union Street), Studio and Connections. A very enjoyable period of my life … Plymouth was n’t the best City to grow up in but we certainly made the most of it!!

Published by wibblewhitebread

I am know as Wibble, I enjoy live music and I'm the vocalist in the Rugs.

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