1980s Crawley Bands Or Singers
Acts based in Crawley or nearby during the 1980s, often of an indie persuasion.
A lean period for original music in Horsham 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.
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.
Last Day Of The Tour
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.
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.
This will play. You get a blank playlist thumbnail if you’re not connected to the YouTube API.
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.
With Jason heading to RADA and Matt to Oxford University (I forget which College) the “new streamlined “Thatcherite’ Gits” took to the stage of Champagnes night club in Horsham just before Christmas 1988 to support Crawley’s Bobby Scarlet who would later morph into Spitfire and achieve a modicum of success. Perhaps significantly they wore leather trousers.
Also on the bill were Groove City 5 about whom I remember nothing, which is still more than the Internet reveals.
In the West Sussex County Times the week before Ben put the readers minds at rest.
In the past, people have thought our songs were about James’ problems but they are observations of other people. He is not going to kill himself after the show.
Joining our heroes on bagpipes for a rendition of Bottle Of Delight was Alistair Adams of Test Department about which Ben remembers thus:
After the bagpipe gig, Al Adams said. “that was great, I’ve not played with a normal band before”. Only time I’ve heard us called that!
I did have a recording of this performance but unfortunately / thankfully it’s gone missing so here is an example of Test Department’s oeuvre.
And one featuring bagpipes.
This would have been Alistair Adams second performance in Horsham that year if Union issues hadn’t prevented him touring with a production of Macbeth that played at the local Arts Centre. I only have vague recollections of the gig but that piece of trivia I remember with clarity. It’s a funny thing memory.
With Spiralhead, Loveless, This Idiot Glitter & The Happy Potato Band
Horsham’s five top bands played at Collyer’s Sixth Form College on Tuesday in a music spectacular that attracted around 300 people.
West Sussex County Times
When Spiralhead hit the stage it was if another hurricane had hit Horsham.
Andy Szec adopted his usual position at the back, looked down at his bass guitar and that was the last we saw of him as his hair flopped over his face.
Third Band on This Idiot Glitter are lucky to be one of the few modern groups with a good drummer rather than a Japanese box of tricks
Which shows how little they knew as we actually had an American box of tricks!
We have video evidence of this event.
This will play. You get a blank playlist thumbnail if you’re not connected to the YouTube API
Turn Away omitted as we really screwed it up.
It would appear that this performance was during the bands ‘cool’ period. Unfortunately nobody told me.
In local news…
The Blue Aeroplanes play at Champagnes next Tuesday
Supporting Orange at Champagnes in Horsham on Tuesday 5th April 1988.
From a preview in the previous week’s County Times Soundwave column.
Formerly called The Underpants, Orange are Malcolm Docherty (one time Purple Person) and Nick Odle (ex-All The Daughters)…Certainly Orange are one of the best Crawley groups around at the moment, their warm melodies, strong tunes and glittering guitars making them the ideal dance badn. Polish and slick, it’s music without fuss. Go along.
[The Gits] motto is “Pure pop for pop people” and by and large they lived up to this when they made their début at the venue in February. Then they played a fistful of cracking songs, full of pace and character, the only detraction from an otherwise good performance being a lack of rehearsal. This has no doubt been rectified and audiences can now look forward to a sparkling show
In Local News…
The top selling singles in Horsham that week:
The Fatback Band – I Found Lovin’
Mel & Kim – Showing Out
Bros – Drop The Boy
Malcolm has kept up the good fight until this very day with such vehicle themed bands as Hillman Minx and La Honda.
Caught between pop and a hard place.
I want to get right back to nature and relax
A rum do
In latter years he has seen the light.
In a remarkably tenuous link Malcolm played Oberon in a Collyer’s College production of A Midsummers Night Dream that was performed on a Horsham Town Twinning trip to Lage in Germany where me & Ben of the Gits first got to know each other and why the band are listed as characters from that play on the Retrospeculative.
As per Saxelby’s Parched Derivative addendum to the revised 7th Edition of the Rules any correctly identified Noel Coward reference will count double except during the July of a Leap Year.