…when folks post photos of their guitar effects pedal boards so here’s mine for all but two gigs I’ve ever played.
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.
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.
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.
First Day Of The Tour
Back to The Richmond in Brighton in June of 1989.
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.
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. To be fair we did probably did 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.
In Richmond News…
Forthcoming Events include:
20th June – McCarthy & Bobby Scarlet
25th June – Mega City 4 & Senseless Things
In which we support a brace of Hollands, Christopher & Richard, at Champagnes nightclub in Horsham on 9th August.
The Squeeze sound crept into some of their songs but there was very little overlap with big brother’s music. It took a few songs to gain the approval of the Champagnes crowd who were reluctant to boogie at first.
Looking good on stage these days seems to mean outrageous clothes, hardly any clothes or sexually derived dancing, but The Gits took their inspiration from the classic black and white romance movies of the Forties when smoking was fashionable.
The following is a live recording of The Greatest Gift and Naff Song with Jason and Matt from that period, possibly even this gig. There is a certain amount of deviation from the author’s preferred text and I appear to have cut my solo out of the second number so I assume it was awful. It would have been captured on Chris’ Sony Professional Walkman portable cassette recorder.
I couldn’t find any of Twinset’s tunes but here’s most of the line up in a previous incarnation performing as B Sharp on early 80s kids TV. (With the all time great Whites Lemonade advert at 4.02).
Or at least until the video went missing off YouTube.
Our first trip to the seaside towards the end of May 1988 to support The Chesterfields and Ever at the Richmond in Brighton which later became the Pressure Point before being closed a few years ago.
A favourite of Uwe at Firestation Records who released The Gits Retrospeculative, The Chesterfields from Yeovil had a number of Top 20 Indie Chart hits from the mid to late 1980s. They were certainly better known than the scant amount of information about them online would suggest. Indeed as their biography on LastFM puts it:
For a while, the Chesterfields’ charming, jolly guitar pop, was very much in vogue.
Second on the bill that night were Ever from Crawley.
To my ears Ever had a sound and style that was their own and fantastic songs that would sit in the top 10 alongside The Psychedelic Furs and Echo & The Bunnymen – I was a fan basically – but sadly the A&R men weren’t really interested in those things.” Jonny Dee, Manager, in 2012.
And a from a review of the Gits:
With performances as energetic and professional as this, The Gits are fast becoming a much respected and popular local band.
A completely unbiased appraisal from a friend of the band who later wrote the sleeve notes of the CD compilation.
Ben E. Git on the proceedings:
All I recall about the Chesterfields gig is I slept through their set and being told they heard me snoring between numbers. Which is a shame as I rather liked them.
In Local News…
English Mature Cheddar Cheese £1.39. per lb
Fresh Pork Chops £1.09 per lb
Standard Frozen Turkey 52p per lb
Pampers Ultra Maxi Plus pack of 40 £6.99
Note for younger readers: Pounds or lb were an imperial unit of measurement used by cave men before the invention of the internet when dinosaurs roamed the suburbs.</p.
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 band. Polished 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.