Got into a chat about possibly the most famous gig ever to have taken place in Aberdare this week, so I thought I would use this as an excuse to blog about my memories of that infamous gig.
It was a benefit for the National Union of Mineworkers, who were at the time a few months into the soon to become historic year long strike against pit closures. The headline band was the legendary Crass.
It was to be a gig that would go down in punk folklore. Indeed it was a night I would never forget, but not for the reasons you might imagine.
So let’s go back to 11th July 1984
I went up with my mate Mike, who just happened to be a striking miner, all be it from a different valley, and his lady at the time, Sandra. Sandra drove.
We arrived nice and early because there were several bands on the bill we wanted to see – Flux of Pink Indians and Annie Anxiety. Tickets were a snip at two quid and the doors opened at 6pm.
We handed over our treasured tickets and looked around the Colosseum.
“Where’s the bar?” enquired Mike.
“There is no bar”, replied the NUM dude on the door doing his impression of a masonry toilet.
Mike and I exchanged glances, no words were needed. Pub. We wanted to see Annie Anxiety, but with a drink in our hands. So if that was not possible, a retreat to the nearest hostelry was in order.
A swift half pint soon turned into a swift half gallon. Ish.
We figured that Crass and the Flux would do the maximum of an hour set each, so calculating backwards from the time all civilised gigs end, 11pm, if we got back to the gig by 9pm we would catch the main event.
Of course this calculation was based on the fact that the hundreds of gigs we had previously been to were all in venues with a bar, and those days stop tap was 11pm – so 11pm was when the gig would finish.
But this venue did not have a bar. Our calculations for when the gig would finish were therefore based on a false assumption.
“What do you mean the gig is over?” Says a genuinely disbelieving Mike when we arrived at our pre-planned 9pm.
“I mean it’s fucking over, what did you think I meant?” asks the genuinely disbelieving brick shit house.
We then go through a conversation that started off with a demand that the band comes back on, quickly downgraded to a demand for money to be returned, then a bizarre debate about it being a gig for striking miners and Mike pointing out that he was a striking miner. I think he wanted more than just his two quid back.
It has to be said about Mike, he was not scared of anyone and more often than not, he did not need to be. There were occasions though when, actually, perhaps he should have been scared. This was one such occasion. He wasn’t though. Luckily for him I am a lover not a fighter and managed to calm the situation down and we headed back home, light of the two quid ticket money – this was 1984, you could get pissed on two quid back then. But unlike all the punks that had gone to the gig, we were lubricated. Compensation of sorts.
We returned to Blackwood the same united unit that had left a few short hours previously. Unlike Crass. They split up in the van in the way home. Karma is a bitch.
A few weeks later I spotted the aforementioned man mountain that had been on the door that night knocking out a police horse with one punch on a picket line. Mike was lucky to have a lover like me as a friend.
Blackwood’s most famous sons, the Manic Street Preachers return to the scene of their riotous gig in the Blackwood Little Theatre to film a video for their latest single, ‘Distant Colours’.
Whilst the band can sometimes appear to be a little aloof and media shy, it has to be said they have stayed close to their roots in the south wales valleys, often offering a helping hand behind the scenes with various artistic projects.
This can be demonstrated by this video which includes scenes shot in Mid Wales, the heads of the Valleys and in Blackwood itself.
It would be a little bit egotistical to review a gig we have promoted ourselves, so here is a blog post about the first Peppermint Iguana gig for fourteen years.
It started out as a simple enough idea, Peppermint Iguana were going to team up with the Green Gatherings Campaign Crew (well, Tom Fowler) to put on a show case of some of the artists than have been found performing on the ‘open mic’ that the Campaigns crew host at the annual green gathering in Chepstow.
We started off with booking the amazing Tarantism Folk Disco, who have blown minds at the last two Green Gatherings. Then we started talking to some of our other mates who had also played our stage. It was not long before we had a list of bands that, frankly, was quite ridiculous for one night. But hey, we aint nothing if not one big happy family and we could not chuck anyone off the list (we just had to stop Tom inviting anyone else when he was pissed).
To celebrate five years of ripping up stages all over the UK, Lacterilla teamed up with local promoters Pity My Brain to put on a party with a stellar line up in the legendary Clwb Ifor Bach.
When Wales play rugby at home, the streets of Cardiff can often resemble a scene out of a Zombie movie. And tonight was no exception. Navigating Westgate Street to get into the car park at the end of Womanby Street was a challenge to say the least. I pity the livers, never mind the brains of the numpties wandering around oblivious to traffic. I have seen cattle on Llantrisant Common with more road sense.
We eventually managed to get to Clwb just in time to catch Not Since The Accident say goodbye and thank you. We can’t comment on how good they were, but the already respectably sized crowd seemed to be happy with their shift.
The early kick off for the rugby meant that a good crowd had assembled by the time the first band came on and some of them were sufficently lubricated to be making plenty of noise.
These guys are big favourites of ours here at Iguana HQ. Whilst their sound is definitely rooted in classic seventies rock, they are named after a song by welsh legends Budgie after all, they put a modern twist on things. They are anything but a retro metal band. They groove and they grind and they rock. They shake their thang in a way that allows us to forgive them for having long hair.
Tonight they are on form, its pedal to the metal all the way, they leave nothing in the tank and leave us wondering how on earth any band could follow that.
After break to recover and get fresh air, Cybernetic Witch Cult are up. They are a plutonium rock band from the Gagrakacka Mind Zones – AKA Cornwall. They often step in when Disaster Area are unable to play the Restaurant at the end of the Universe.
Mixing tripped out psychedelic spaced rock with back projections of scenes from science fiction B-movies, they manage to take an art form that can all to often venture into embarrassing pomposity and keep it real and keep it fun.
They manage to pick up the baton passed to them by Milk and keep the gathered masses happy and keep the freak flag flying.
And then – the reason for the gathering – Lacertillia.
We have been catching these guys live since day one and it never fails to impress how they just keep improving every time we see them. The have drive, passion and energy. They are loud, they are in your face and relentless.
If the Cybernetic lads provide the soundtrack to the end of the universe, Lacertilla are the house band in a sleazy post-apocalyptic biker club. Not quite Mad Max, more Mad Taff.
Their usual intensity has everyone shaking. But then things take a turn towards the exotic when two scantily clad young ladies climb up on stage and shake their booties, sending some of the crowd crazy with lust.
The boy Fry does his usual trick of walking into the crowd to break down all the barriers between crowd and band, but on this occasion, pulls something out of the PA and we lose vocals. He climbs back on stage and the band Fire up the Engine of God, but without the usual vocals. At first it seems odd, but the lack of vocals just drive the boys on to give an added intensity to the number to make up for it.
For a finale we get the band one by one surfing their way out over the crowd as the party comes to an end, we wander out into zombie land, which suddenly looks quite sane.