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Great Gig Memories – From Punks and Friends

January 13, 2021

Edited by Niall McGuirk and Michael Murphy 

Hope Publications 2020 

This thoroughly entertaining and worthwhile book is recommended on a number of levels. Firstly it is a great read, easy to dip into and select an appetising short review: kudos to the editors for keeping everything brief. Secondly it is in good cause with all proceeds going to NHS Charities Together. And thirdly in this gig-barren time it reminds us just what fun it is to go to a gig. Not to a socially-distanced, tested-on-the-door, everyone-in-a-bubble, sanitised-to-hell concert but an old-school sweaty, smelly, adrenalin-drenched gig. 

As the Hope Collective are based in Dublin there is a bias towards Irish bands and venues but the opinions expressed are universal. It’s the details I love – Martin Stephenson’s concern that a pint will fall off an amp during an Only Ones gig, John Perry’s description of Bert Jansch looking for a pick, Robert Smith’s extraordinary kindness to support band Zerra One, Tom Crossley confusing Stratford with Stafford.

Promoter Elvera Butler points out that a bad live performance can puncture your enthusiasm for an act whilst a good one can cement your relationship with them for all eternity.  Some people talk about gigs they attended, others talk about gigs they played, some do both.  A common theme running through the book is how you find your community, your tribe through live music: so true. Unsurprisingly the most frequently cited band here are The Ramones, clearly the patron saints of short, sharp musical statements.

Half the fun of reading a book like this is seeing whether you agree with the reviews of those gigs you attended and deciding what gig(s)  you would nominate  ( for me: Trash @ The Garage, Roxy Music @ Guildford Civic, Ron Wood + Mick Taylor @ Troubadour, Clash @ Music Machine, Replacements @ Roundhouse, Only Ones @ Portobello Green, Todd Rundgren @ Hammersmith and so many more…) A final word of praise for Russ Bestley’s cover design, paying homage to the classic mid-70s NME masthead. 

Well done Niall and Michael for spreading the joy of live music even when there is none to be found.


From → Media, Music

  1. Mike Baess permalink

    How’s your own lockdown tome coming along Simon?


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