Gigs 1989

Birmingham Poly

Hatfield Poly. Supporting The Fanatics

Aston University. Supporting a sub Sigue Sigue Sputnik type band on the main stage in front of something like 700 people. I have no idea why there were so many there. Equally surprised was Nick when they promoter popped his head round the dressing room door after the gig to ask if there was anything else we needed. "A bottle of Jack Daniels" suggested an optimistic Nick…. and one appeared. That never happened again.

Birmingham Cod Club. Supported by Honey Turtles

Coventry Poly. Organised by Stoke Musicians Collective

Dudley JB’s Robert Plant was in the audience and although he still looked every inch the grizzled rock god he was outdone by his mate who had a full beard, 3 piece suit and poncho. JB’s always felt like a proper rock venue…great sound, packed at weekends and a rider that started with bottles of Newcastle Brown and ended with crinkle cut chip butties.

Liverpool University. Supporting King Swamp Dave from Gang of Four played bass in this INXS type band signed to Virgin. I was genuinely chuffed to meet him and hoped that I could pick up some bass magic just by using his amp. We’d stopped at Nicks parents house in Maghull on the way up as although they were out they’d kindly left some food for us. It was a struggle but we were filled with the spirit of the Famous Five and between us we managed to eat everything including his parents tea. Does that count as Motley Cru style excess?

Birmingham Hare and Hounds. An anti apartheid benefit Supported by Panic Factory

Fulham Greyhound. We hadn’t been able to get any London gigs by this stage and so resorted to a pay to play night where we had to strong-arm friends to attend. There were 3 other bands on the bill also doing the same and still the attendance was low and each bands audience only stayed for their band. All in all the makings of a terrible night, compounded by getting a parking ticket. Bizarrely though Pete Meyers from CBS was in the audience and even though he introduced himself at the end of the night we did not think that it would lead anywhere.

Camden Falcon. We would play maybe 15 or so times at the Falcon over the next 2 years. It was a tiny airless backroom of a pub with a big PA, an enthusiastic promoter in Roger Cowell and a red hot booking policy. It was always tempting for the audience to nip back into the pubs main room to get fresh air. A fact that should have kept bands focused on being entertaining. All the best bands played there on their way up and gig goers would always be able to boast to their grandchildren who they’d seen there. Our first gig there led to Rodger recommending us to other promoters with decent booking policies which led to gigs at Hampstead White Horse, Jericho Tavern and Windsor Old Trout.

Hampstead White Horse (Sausage Machine)

Camden Falcon

Two consecutive London gigs and a travel nightmare. We travelled down in a Luton van, 3 in the front and the rest of us shivering in the back with the door slightly ajar to get that heady mixture of fresh air, exhaust fumes and motorway rumble. Fortunately the nightmare came to an end when we ran out of petrol. We then had the pleasure of sitting in a cold, stationary metal box until the AA came out.

Oxford Jericho Tavern. Supporting The Motorcycle Boy. Another travel nightmare. The tour bus for this one consisted of Nicks 1970’s Volvo and Barneys Mini. Actually that’s more of a convoy. And it’s only a convoy so long as both vehicles are moving. The Volvo made it home on a recovery truck.

Hampstead White Horse. Supporting The Prudes

Dudley JB's.  My only memory of this gig is Jules extreme discomfort, physically and sartorially.  We'd just come back from a band holiday in Cornwall and Jules had got badly sunburnt.  The first day on the beach he wore classic beach wear as modelled by surfers and sun worshippers all over the world... black jeans and Chelsea Boots.  So on the second day he risked exposing his legs.  The resulting burns swelled up into enormous fluid filled blisters and he spent the rest of the week indoors, his misery compounded by the fact that the house we were staying in was completely unfurnished, with no TV (Yes it was a holiday on the cheap, using an empty property that was about to be redeveloped).  At the gig Jules had to wear a shocking pair of grey baggy trousers to accomodate his blisters that were by now the size of hot water bottles.  I can't remember how we played but I do know he didn't move much.


Galaxie 500 tour


Edinburgh The Venue 07/12/89

Glasgow College of Art  08/12/89

University of Kent.

Bedford Winkles 12/12/89


These gigs were our first taste of a proper touring and established the low budget approach that we stuck to. Despite playing several hundred gigs up and down the country we always slept on friends floors or drove back. We never spent a single solitary night in hotel, B and B or a rock ‘n’ roll Valhalla with hot and cold running hand maidens. After the Brighton gig we drove 10 miles up the road (alright tore up the Highway to Hell) to Worthing and slept on the floor of my grandmother’s bungalow. The only rock n roll aspect of this was that she wasn’t in it…but we did leave a note for the neighbours. We slept on floors in Edinburgh and drove back from Glasgow after the gig. Simon found the sound of his own snoring a bit of a distraction whilst he was driving.

I can’t remember how well we played at Kent, however Simon remembers that Pete Meyers from CBS was at the gig and although he had seen us previously, it was that night that we got confirmation that the publishing deal was going ahead. So chances are it was a good one.

At the time of the gigs Galaxie 500 had really good reviews and by the following year would be recognised for their fragile unsettling, version of the Velvet Underground sound. There was a low turnout for the Scottish gigs but the Powerhaus and Bedford gigs were packed. We weren’t used to playing consecutive gigs and Jules voice was shot by the time we got to London. StraitJacket Fits from New Zealand were also on the bill and it felt like the audience also shared the same coloured passport as that band. Either way they weren’t very interested in us and we weren’t in a position to win them over with our performance.

Birmingham Burberries. Supporting Colour Blind James Experience


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