On 2nd February 1989 the Gits in a rare headlining slot were joined for a benefit concert in aid of Greenpeace by The Perfect Shade and former Ever guitarist Pete Whittick who, if I remember correctly, counted himself in aloud on every number despite being solo.
As Ben put it in a preview article a couple of weeks before,
Seriously, if you are going to rape the environment, you are going to rape your children. I made that up myself
This was the first gig of Chris Morris’ short tenure with the band before I idiotically ousted him for not wanting us to play at a gig he’d organised. Though we hadn’t peaked yet that decision might well be seen as the beginning of the end for the band.
Playlist: The Gits (UK) Champagnes Horsham 1989
And what would be £500 today was raised.
We got the usual review,
If audience reaction alone is a good indicator of a band’s ability then the Git’s were excellent, for they had a large section of the audience boogying wildly. But it must be said The Gits did seem to know a lot of their audience personally.
So knowing quite a lot of the audience in your home town and actually deigning to interact with them rather than act as untouchable rock gods counted against us, as did people enjoying the gig. It’s lucky the same reviewer never had to suffer the Beatles at the Cavern. Strangely the same audience turning up to see the people they knew in other locals bands never warranted a mention.
In Local News…
Willie Austen will be appearing at the Limeburners on Wednesday 15th February 1989.
If you missed that one you will be pleased to know that as of August 2014 he still plays there regularly.
Having found out that the local music program had played us in recent weeks we made contact was made and we headed off to Brighton on a Sunday afternoon for the first of two interviews on the program at Marlborough Place.
The Gits (UK) – Radio Sussex Turn It Up Interview Part 1 (1989) [in BBQ]
The Gits (UK) – Radio Sussex Turn It Up Interview Part 2 (1989) [in BBQ]
A little about the interview, Turn It Up and Radio Sussex here.
We’ll have to thank Jimmy Young for the appearance as it was partly the out-take of him, amongst others, that were on the Chris Morris cassette that picked the interest of the shows presenters.
In a rare outing without a video camera in tow The Gits (UK) next supported The Man From Del Monte and The Grooveyard at The Escape Club on 28th March 1989.
I remember The Grooveyard when they played in Horsham but not from this gig. No doubt we were still recovering after giving our all for the minor placings.
Luckily a quick trip to Cloudberry Records explains amongst other things why I used to get them confused with Blow Up as some of the same people were in both. Here they are in the flesh a couple of years later:
THE GROOVEYARD 'I Shouldn't But I Do' 1991
I fair little better with the Man From Del Monte. I recall walking into The Escape Club as they sound checked, t’ singer Mike West sat on stage waiting for some technical difficulty to be sorted out, but that’s yer lot. To be fair I’ve nothing from the rest of the band either so you can sit back and consume a little music from the headliners without prejudice:
Man From Delmonte – My Love Is Like A Gift You Can't Return
Mike West still plies his trade from a base in New Orleans though there’s no mention of his past indiscretions with The Man From Del Monte on his website so I shall crib from LastFM…
The Man From Delmonte formed in Manchester, England, UK in 1986.
The band’s members were Australian Mike West (vocals and acoustic guitar), who used to be seen around Aflecks Palace with a little dog, Sheila Seal (bass), Martin Vincent (guitar), and Howard Goody (drums).
They released 3 singles on Ugly Man Records: Drive Drive Drive, Water in my Eyes and (Will nobody save) Louise. Water in my Eyes had the honour of being the cheapest video ever shown on ITV’s chart show at the time of Michael Jackson’s Video for his Thriller single that had cost a reputed 1million US Dollars.
The band formed part of the pre “Madchester” movement, enjoying much local success at gigs in the Manchester area although failed to go on from their local popularity to achieve the commercial success of contemporaries James.
The Man From Delmonte Live 1989
I’ve a suspicion it was after this gig we introduced the limit on pre-gig drinks for Ben the bass player; one pint of brown & bitter, the Gits tipple of choice. That we had put the effort into deciding on an ‘official’ drink but had no plan for success perhaps explains a lot.
These indie stalwarts from Bristol who transitioned to a dancier sound as the 80s drew to a close are well documented on their own website* and wikipedia. [* Or rather were as it seems to have gone].
There is a review of them at the Richmond on their site which may have been this gig but it’s written in the classic style of music journalism where the author is more concerned with a predetermined point they want to make than the events of the evening.. The County Times reviewer on the other hand had to get a lift home a couple of songs into the set so aren’t a lot of help either.
The Gits (UK) – Medley (Richmond Brighton 1990) [BBQ]
From a Gits perspective I remember that Matt had spent some time on a joke with the punch line ‘takes brilliant corners!’ but Jim gave it a miss and this was the first gig we played Mother Knows How of which we had high hopes but was met with resounding indifference. On the other hand Happily Mad which was horribly out of tune in places went down quite well. Nought as queer as folk.
Back to the County Times,
It seemed apparent by half way through that the band realised the audience were mostly extras from Dawn of the Dead and had decided they would just play for themselves
Which is wrong as although we may have generally been a shambles we always put in the effort to play for everyone, whether they wanted it or not. We did probably do too many new songs.
I would suggest looking at the video evidence but Chris who recorded it forgot to charge his batteries so was stuck at the side of the stage and didn’t think to pan round at any point to prove there was anyone else in the venue. There seems to be a certain amount of noise between songs though.
Also due to play that night were Basingstoke’s The Rain, later Clark Springs, but a car crash put paid to that.
According to Wikipedia The Melody Maker described their debut album of that year, The Citadal, as ‘glorious, honed to cut-glass perfection’ and comparisons were made to the Byrds and REM, but as for their live abilities I shall forever remain in the dark.
The Rain – First Of May
In Richmond News…
Forthcoming Events include: 20th June – McCarthy & Bobby Scarlet 25th June – Mega City 4 & Senseless Things
A small festival in Wisborough Green on the common next to the Bat & Ball pub headlined by China Crisis. We were on very early on which was probably not the best thing given the gig in Brighton the night before and reflected in the review.
…billed as Pure Pop For Pop People they certainly lived up to their reputation with a combination of bass, lead and drum machine providing a bubbling, sometimes joyous, backing to Jim Calderwood’s varied vocal talents (sometimes too varied – maybe a Friday night hangover?).
Ben’s bass amp packed up early on but the monitor engineer was remarkably on the ball and he whacked more through the monitors in no time so thank you unknown sound engineer and may your favourite crisps always be on special offer.
Note Eyes followed who I’m sure I know something about but it’s not coming to me.
Next on, The Loveless, continuing their new hard-line tactics with a set fit to blow away the senses. Haywire guitar breaks, booming bass lines, thumping drum beats and hard-hitting vocals made this a performance unworthy of their afternoon slot which at this stage of the day poorly attended – if you weren’t there hard luck!
Trying to find any information about or recordings by the band haven’t been helped by a popular Irish beat combo later using the name for an album.
…Bitter, James Harris, Perfect Shade, No Stiletto Shoes, ska stalwarts The Hot Knives, Star Rats, and finally China Crisis who,
…produced a polished and professional sound throughout their set backed up with very ‘nice’ sounding vocals, however this did not disguise the fact that it lacked substance and feeling.
I’m not in a position to comment as we cleared off for a pleasant pint at The Limeburners after the indie turns had done their bit.
A lean period for original music was already setting in by the time Champagnes nightclub was knocked down in July of 1989 but losing the town’s only decent music venue and one which attracted charting indie bands lost the focus for a revival and meant that later recoveries remained largely insular.
Brighton moving up through the divisions of the Country’s artistic centres also made it harder for bands from Horsham to play there and losing Turn It Up in the merger that created Southern Counties Radio meant the chances of building a following and catching the attention of promoters was considerably reduced. But for now we soldiered on.
Yours for £2.50: Midwich Cuckoos, Still Life, The Gits, Spiralhead and The Loveless. And a good turn out at The College Of Richard Collyer by all accounts. Well, the one available account.
I spy an extended metaphor.
Third band of the evening were The Gits, who upped the termperature with a blistering set that ducked and dived, jabbed and hooked. A knockout display of hard pop, The Gits went into the ring full of confidence and won in the first round. Know what I mean ‘Arry?
Next of the regulars.
Spiralhead, the Hawkwind of the eighties.
I think we’ll leave that there.
And last but not least.
From start to finish The Loveless were angry, entertaining and utterly professional. Vocalist Adrian De’ath put everything into the gig, the strength of his voice matched only by the strength of the songs.
All in all a great gig, but what of the future? Let’s hope a suitable venue can be found in the town for live music or all this could be a thing of the past which would be a great pity.
An enterprising chap we knew from gigs in Brighton decided to put on a concert with us and Crocodile Ride at a Leisure Centre in Seaford on the Sussex coast. This seemed a little optimistic, the more so when the other better known band dropped out, and the more more so when we turned up and saw the size of the place. But the final straw in the coffin was having it on Guy Fawkes Night in the heart of Bonfire Society country.
The few folks who turned up seemed to enjoy it and we even sold some singles, the money for which we gave to the organizer, Pop Kid, for it was he. Ben reminds me that we also paid him for the beer he’d laid on which only seems fair. It’s one gig that was neither recorded or videoed which is a shame as we played a lot of stuff that we usually didn’t have the time to do.
Listening to Turn It Up on 12th December 1989 is was something of a shock to find us joint third for the County.
Admittedly Sussex was not a hot bed of internationally successful recording artists, The Popguns and 14 Iced Bears were the bands ahead of us, but most of the other acts in the chart were what we’d consider ‘real’ bands as opposed us gentleman amateurs.
And given our incompetence at getting gigs I can only think it was the Radio appearances that did the trick where we were perhaps a little lighter in tone than some of the local groups.
It was also a rare placing for a Horsham band as usually Crawley represented the north of the County.
Interesting to note the dawn of The Levellers who were tenth in the Poll.