When Bands had to play small venues. Bit of Local History

Saw the Kinks at the Winter Gardens Morecambe in mid 60s
They were so good.

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I saw the Photos in about 1980. (not with U2), at Leicester University. They were from my local area. They had a top 5 album which I believe was bought into the charts by the record company who obviously had faith in them. They morphed into the Photos by replacing the singer and were previously a punk band called the Satan’s Rats.

I had a couple of chats fairly recently with one of the members. I asked him if it was clear that U2 would be successful, he said " not really, but it was clear that they were doing their own thing". He was still slightly bitter that the week The Photos were due on TOTP, there was a BBC strike and it didn’t happen. He also had a regret that he never got to hear what the band sounded like live from the audiences perspective. I thought they sounded great, but they needed some better songs imho. His wife said that if they had been successful they would have never met.


Yes I bought their first album and the first so many thousand came with a bonus album called The Blackmail Tapes.
Presumably this aided the top 5 chart position.
They had some good songs but probably not enough. Good live though.

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The 70’s & 80’s were great times for interesting bands (quite a few from the list above) touring what was then a regular tour circuit which took in two of my local venues: Queensway Dunstable & Friars Aylesbury. The Queensway now is sadly an Asda but I do see that Friars is alive & kicking (I think) so all is not lost.

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13 on the list but never in Malvern and not in that time period.

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This brings back happy memories. I lived in Malvern through most of the seventies and went to the Winter Gardens a lot.

I remember the first concert being The Edgar Broughton Band on 18th September 1971 and I think the last time was Siouxsie and The Banshees plus The Cure on 22nd September 1979.

Particular stand outs for me were Hawkwind, The Groundhogs, The Stranglers and The Jack Bruce Band which had Graham Bond, Chris Spedding and John Marshall in the band, all for the bargain price of 75 pence!

There were always rumours that Led Zeppelin were going to come but of course they never did.

I found the dates, the fact The Cure supported Siouxsie and The Banshees and the ticket price for the Jack Bruce Band on this web site;



Blimey, I frequented most of those venues in the 70’s so was probably at a few of the same gigs… was defo at the the Who gig at Charlton, put on by Capitol radio if I remember.
Another haunt was Finsbury Park Rainbow… saw the mighty Quo there amongst others.


I only saw two concerts at the Rainbow, the first was Genesis at the Rainbow reopening, where we had front row seats, I dozed off, until I was rudely awakened by Steve Hacketts bottle neck thumping into me, and also The Human League where I managed to stay awake :sleeping: I think it was the 1976 Charlton that was sponsored by capital radio, I think the 1974 concert was the BBC and/or Radio London, I could be wrong though,

Fantastic memories, Malvern Winter Gardens was a great venue. Especially Hawkwind, I think in 1975, they still had Stacia! And The Specials who were supported by Selecter and Dexys Midnight Runners



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Dire Straits. Colchester Institute about 1978? In the Assembly Hall.
Just starting out. Must have attracted at least 25 customers.

Caravan @ Newbury, Lindisfarne @ Reading, Pink Floyd @ Earls Court, Yes @ Reading Festival , and Eric Clapton @ Wembley . So three of that list at much larger venues . (I think Ginger Baker was with Clapton when I saw him) _so I’m including Cream

I wish I had seen The Strawbs and Steeleye Span . Curved Air played Newbury recently

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I think that is stretching it a bit. Unless Jack Bruce came on as well. :sunglasses:

point taken

More skimmed milk than Cream

:roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes:


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I went to the Rainbow quite a few times in the 70s - hardly an intimate venue (3000 seats IIRC) but usually good sound and view. The most memorable performance was The Who on their Who’s Next tour also saw them do Quadraphenua there. Others memorable ones included Deep Purple, Van Der Graaf Generator (shortly after Hugh Banton had got himself some speakers with 30 inch drivers!), and (at least I think there) and Ten Years After with “The Broughtons” (Edgar Broughton band) supporting.


My brother and I went to see Prefab Sprout when they were touring with their first album, Swoon. The venue was The Buttery, a low-ceilinged basement cafeteria in Trinity College, Dublin, which can’t have held more than a couple of hundred people.

It was a lovely show, very intimate, but they were clearly winging it. At one point there was a pause while they made some adjustments to their equipment. Paddy standing there nervously, feeling like he has to fill the void.

“OK, we’re just getting our equipment sorted. Anybody have any question? Ask me anything!”

Brother: “who cuts your hair?” Me: “do you believe in fairies?”

I just did a quick search. The gig date was April 27, 1984:

One of the cuttings mentions Paddy “apologising for a delay” and “treating the audience to a steady stream of witticisms” (!)


Wow I see from the press cutting that the legendary Virginia Astley (part of THE Astley family) was on keyboards.

I never knew she was connected with the Sprouts. That is a great piece of information that I shall ponder on all day. In fact I am going to start the day off with this. Thank you.

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Rick’s wife?


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You’re very welcome! When Paddy introduced her he was clearly in awe, as if it was an honour for her to deign to share a stage with them.

I hadn’t heard of her at that point. I did see her perform a couple of years later, in London, but I don’t recall the venue.

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Bromley Court Hotel - The Bromel Club. Many big names played early gigs there, including The Who, the Floyd and Hendrix. A family member told me years ago that he arranged some shows there back in the 60’s but sadly he passed away years ago so I can’t get any more information.

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