For a select few Dubliner's, The 1977 Clash/Count Bishops concert at Trinity College Dublin changed everything. The music & energy they herd & felt that night connected with them and reflected their lives in a dark and dreary Dublin. Many teenagers could not see the bands they loved because of the licencing laws in Ireland, under 18's were not aloud into venues that sold alcohol. Also many of the venues would not host "Punk/New Wave" gigs, unlike the UK, even the Universities in Dublin banned "Punk" gigs.
This page will feature some gigs where the whole Punk ethos of do it yourself came to the fore and that were promoted and organised by either the fans or bands themselves (Radiators From Space @ Belfield) and (George Purdy @ St Anthony's Hall). The Radiators From Space gig @ the "Belfield" featured the first wave of Dublin bands under the Punk banner (Radiators, Revolver, The Vipers & Gamblers).
While the George Purdy, St Anthony's Hall, now legendary concert featured many of the second wave of bands, two of which George managed (Skank Mooks, The Citizens, Strange Movements, Virgin Prunes, Berlin & U2). This was a true "by the young for the young show", self funded, with no publicity in the local press & selling out all 600 tickets before the event.
"BELFIELD BURNIN" PUNK FESTIVAL
25/06/1977 Belfield Bar University College, Dublin
The Radiators From Space, The Undertones, Revolver, The Gamblers, The Vipers
At this concert Patrick Coultry (18) from Cabra, Dublin, was stabbed to death.
I didn’t go backstage but stood a few yards from the stage talking with the lady who’d come with me. A friend of Steve Rapid, she’d never seen The Radiators before. That, after all, was the point of our presence.
We were stuck in our own musical bubble. If you haven’t seen the stabbing or the ambulance come and leave, and have just arrived from a taxi dash across town, your antennae aren’t attuned for trouble. This may sound callous, but there’s a dimension’s difference between a scarring and a coffin. Murder is something you read about in the papers, not something that may have possibly occurred where one’s standing.
Then a scuffle broke out to my right. Three to one, kicking for the crotch. Dave Shepard, The Radiators lights man, moved in and the assailants fled, two of them, running arm in arm towards the stairs.
The Radiators came on stage and played a powerful set. It was edgy, you could see strain in their faces and in some of the fans but the hard core were pogoing and dancing. Further back there may have been apathy and darker thought, but up front, band and aficionados were fighting to exorcize demons.
They encored with “Blitzkrieg Bop” A fan got up on stage and pogoed. Any time else, a friendly gesture, but as at the earlier incident there was no security in evidence.
Afterwards, it sank in. The police were present in force – at least a dozen uniformed and other plain clothes guards. Still ignorantly insulated in my music bubble, still reacting with insensitive chic, my first stupid response was to figure the police had been reading the Sunday funnies and were competing in the punk witch and headline hunt.
By then the whispers back stage were blowing up a gale force of rumour. He, whoever he was – no one knew his name – had been savagely stabbed. He was on the critical list at St Vincent’s. Every band member and affiliate was to be questioned.
And as the police took statements from everyone who had been in the hall before they left, the news came through. The guy in the red jumper, whom nobody knew – was dead.
There was little real communication after that. Stunned and shocked, a few aimless remarks of irrelevant half bravado. The first punk death, ha ha. The irony of Ireland, top of the casualty charts. Huddled in the protective music biz bubble, don’t talk about what everybody deep down is really thinking. Out of rock teen dreams into real nightmares.
In the dressing room, silence. Two dozen punks around the lockers, waiting for their date with the law. There wasn’t much else to do but move on, make my statement and stumble on home. And think very, very, very hard. This much – death isn’t the subject for a one line smartass closer.
The real story as to what happened remains incomplete and confused. If it were otherwise the Gardai would probably have made an early arrest.
Dave Moloney (The Vipers) Just to clear a few things up. 1. Stiff Little Fingers did NOT play at the punk fest in UCD in the late 70s! 2.The Vipers were NOT causing trouble 'as usual' as it was our 1st gig! 3. The 1st song we played that night was Let Me Be Your Car. Which I thought was hilarious because it was a Rod Stewart/Elton John duet. The very people the 'punks' were giving out about. 4. The lad who lost his life (RIP) was stabbed during our 3rd song on the night which unfortunately was a cover of John Lee Hookers 'Too Young To Die!' 5.The Vipers were cleared of all charges even though every eye witness report said one of us jumped off stage! The person jumping off stage was Pete Holidai who then became chief suspect and all he was doing was trying to calm the crowd down! 'COOL IT!' 'COOL IT! I remember! 6.Any band members still at the gig were held in the toilets till 5 in the morning!!! The Undertones were completely segregated simply because they were from Northern Ireland! On a lighter note Steve Rapid/Avril gave me unofficial 'man of the match' award as best drummer on the night! TA
Kevin Helly (Revolver) "....... but two gigs stand out in my mind.
The first, for all the wrong reasons, was Belfield '77. A young man was stabbed and subsequently died. Pete Holidai, John Sullivan and I where instructed to attend the Donnybrook Garda Station the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for questioning. This despite the fact that they had their prime suspect the previous Sunday. It was scary".
Mark Megaray: “it was the first punk gig where all the new wave bands in Dublin had been assembled to play in one place. There was great hope for it but it just deteriorated because of a rowdy element just into causing trouble and not interested in music. The police said they found about 19 knives after the gig that had been discarded after the guy had been murdered”.
Phil Chevron “The Irish press were talking about incitement to violence, which was rubbish, because the stabbing happened about five minutes after the first band came on – which didn’t give them much time to do any inciting.
“We weren’t on stage till about two hours after the thing, so we were nothing to do with it – all the fury came on to us because we were the best known band, and organised the gig”.
“We went around in a daze telling people it was our last gig, but that was just reaction at the time – everybody was tired and emotional.”
“Everybody was under suspicion – they were sure one of the bands had done it”.
Mark “For the next six days we were at the police station every night till two in the morning, going over and over the same statements. It was ridiculous – the local police station became a kind of punk gallery. Every night there were about 30 people there – all the bands and fanzine writers. A bit like the Vortex.
Jude Carr I was wearing a t-shirt "the silver savage destroys the chains of evil" cops took it and returned it with a piece cut out. (Richard Hell vibe) I got up enough courage to ask lovely Iseult out as we sat in court awaiting witness time...every cloud..?
Matthew Nugent NME Eire’s first major punk festival ended tragically last Saturday night with the death of 19 year old Patrick Coultry.
About 400 teenagers had gathered at Dublin University’s Belfield campus to hear five new wave bands play.
Top of the bill were The Radiators From Space, supported by The Undertones, Revolver, The Gamblers and The Vipers, all of them local bands apart from The Undertones, who’d travelled down from Derry.
There had already been an ominous overture to the event when The Undertones had played a gig in Dublin the night before. Two of The Radiators got up to jam, whereupon Radiators guitarist Pete Holidai was dragged offstage and beaten up “by some rockers”.
I have spoken to Pete about this, he assures me this DID NOT happen, there was a minor skirmish in the crowd for a few seconds, but it did not involve Pete!
The fatal incident took place during the very first set, at about 11.00, while The Vipers were playing. Fighting broke out between two teenagers in the audience, and during the melee one of them , Patrick Coultry, was stabbed.
He was rushed to hospital, where he later died. (According to Irish press reports, it was only the second rock gig he ever attended).
However, at the time the fight was broken up the full extent of his injuries was not known, so the gig went on.
Pete Holidai of The Radiators, who, as Ireland’s only remotely well known punk group (and in lieu of visible action by the organisers) were assuming the role of festival leaders, took the stage and exhorted the crowd to “cool it”.
“Tonight we are making history” he told them.” It’s the first major new wave gig in Ireland; let’s not mess it up”.
His comments received the support of most of the audience, and the rest of the night passed without incident. However, it seems that but for the efforts of individual members of The Radiators, who do not have a manager and so were somewhat out of their depth, the gig would not have gone on at all.
Thus it was somewhat ironic that Holidai, who had been one of the first on the scene to break up the fight, found himself taken off for questioning by University security men. He was later released in time to play with The Radiators.
After the gig the bands hung around to hear the news from the hospital, and finally at about 6.00am they were told that Coultry had died of stab wounds. They were then all subjected to yet another round of “routine questioning”.
Although the killing must have been witnessed by many people, nobody had been arrested when NME went to press.
The Radiators From Space were so shaken by the incident that they immediately decided to disband. The following day, however, they met and agreed to carry on, but not to play any gigs in Eire in the immediate future.
Not surprisingly, the University has decided to ban all new wave music.
The Radiators From Space are already notorious in Ireland just for being punks.
St Anthony's Hall
Citizens, Skank Mooks, Strange Movements (did not play), Virgin Prunes, New Versions, Berlin, U2 (did not play)
It was produce and promoted by George Purdy, in true "PUNK" style. For many of those taking part that night it was their first gig, instrument were shared or borrowed, anything too make sure the concert went ahead (by the kids for the kids).
This was the first concert that under-aged fans could attended, as all the other venues were licensed and there was no entry for the under 18's. This concert was the fore runner to the legendary Dandelion Market concerts and the McGonalge's Saturday afternoon shows.
The concert it's self had everything, a line up change, U2 were kicked off the bill because they wanted the "headline" slot. A fire, the Virgin Prunes were throwing paper around while on stage, someone started a fire with this paper in the audience.
On the night the Strange Movements did not play after an argument about ticket sales. The Edge singing backing vocals with the Virgin Prunes & Bono sang vocal with The Citizen on a cover of "My Way" .
George Purdy concert promoter & manager of the Skank Mooks & The Citizens
The whole reason behind the gig was I saw Grafton St and the Dandelion market full of people every weekend complaining they couldn't get to see bands because all gigs were held in licensed premises. Most of the people who paid for the records, magazines and clothes were under age. After the St Anthony's gig you had the Dandelion Saturday afternoon and McGonagle's Saturday and Sunday afternoon gigs. The attendance At St Anthony's (600+) made it apparent there was a market not being catered for.
U2 were on the original bill but got involved in a dispute over who should "headline" or play last. As this was "not in the spirit" of the event I removed them. No hard feelings as I recall.
Although I do have a recollection of Adam Clayton returning from U2's first tour of large US arenas asking me if I 'was still promoting little gigs in little halls?"
The Movements didn't play, despite protestations from Turlough from the stage.
The Nooks played an anarchic version of "wild thing" where the thin line which devices performer and audience became very blurred or disappeared. The "official" mooks were Paul Woodful, Dick Purdy, Johnny Bonnie, Reb, Fred McLoughlin the rest just got on stage during the chaos. The line up was The Citizens, Skank Mooks, Strange Movements (thrown off after ticket dispute) Virgin Prunes (compete with Bono and Edge doing backing vocals. Bono injured his foot in the spokes of Guggie's Honda 50 on the way to the gig), New Versions and Berlin.
The hall cost the princely sum if 40 pounds to hire. The PA and lights 100. I was putting my future at risk here!
There was graffiti damage backstage, the fire only left ashes on the dance floor, it was only paper.
Line up; Emmett O'Reilly (Bass & Vocals), Denis Rusk (Guitar), Martin Greene (Guitar), Sean D'Angelo (Guitar), David Herlihy (Drums), Bono (Backing Vocals).
This was the first gig for The Citizens & the Skank Mooks. This was the only gig were Emmett played bass, after this gig he would do vocals with Sean moving from guitar to bass. Emmett damaged a nerve in his hand which affected his ability to play. Denis & Emmett are still working together today, their current project is a "Bowie" project.
Denis Rusk "I do have lucid and reliable memories. I doubt any photos exist, the citizens were short lived, but I can still remember every moment. the citizens were not important in rock and roll history save for the fact that in the Francis Xaviour hall we played at a punk festival. We were first on and a little known 17 year old short and slightly overweight kid known as 'fats' by his friends took the microphone that we were not using for backing vocals and sang from behind the blue curtain. Even then, 'Fats' who is now known worldwide as Bono had the grace to give Emmett credit for his own performance. Bono is, and always has been a good guy. More later"
Emmett O'Reilly "I can still remember The Citizens arriving at the gig with 2 guitarists and going on stage with 3, having enlisted a new member in the dressing room, cos we thought 2 guitars might not be enough. Bono sang on "My Way" from offstage and when, at the time, we read "stage presence shit" in the review we were chuffed".
Denis Rusk first organised Punk gig ever in Dublin if you could call what happened organised. great big Fucking row about the running order. A fire in the hall small fire. Gob everywhere. That gig is regarded here as historical and anyone who played are regarded with reverence as pioneers.
Dick Purdy Denis, not the type of 'pioneers' the Franciscan Order who ran the hall anticipated.
Line up; Paul Woodful (Vocals), Tom McCann (Vocals), Dick Purdy (bass), Johnny Bonnie (Drums), Fred McLoughlin (Guitar)R.I.P., Sarah Edwards (Backing Vocals), Marisa Kavanagh (Backing Vocals), Tommy McCann, Reb (possibly a member of the Kamikaze Kids).
Dick Purdy As Emmett was walking off the stage I borrowed his bass for our 'set'...I use the word set cautiously.
Tom McCann I sang live just once. The very first gig at St Anthony's Hall. I wasn't happy with the direction they were taking with Paul Woodful (more cartoony) - so I left. It seemed more important then than in retrospect :)))
JohnnyBonnie "The Skank Mooks had 4 members but 10 on stage, the venue was packed but there were more backstage than out front".
My first gig and first time to use a drumkit, thanks to Paul Bibby for that at St. Anthonys Hall, think we got the the name from the film Mean Streets. We went on to do another seven gigs".
Dick Purdy, George organised it. Yeah we all played. It was chaotic at times but a fantastic evening.
Johnny Bonnie, Dick Purdy did we go to McGons afterwards to see the Lurkers or was that another night.
Dick Purdy Went to McGonagle's ok. Not sure if the Lurkers were on that night. (The Lukers did play McGonagle's that night)
Johnny Bonnie St. Anthonys Hall ' 2 ' I remember George tried but they had questions....
Johnny Bonnie It was a great night,the Skank Mooks and my first gig,we went on to do seven more gigs. Next I joined the Blitz then the Noise Boys,The End,The Cathredral, Those Handsome Devils,The Baby Snakes, Max,The Gorehounds (when they wanted three drummers on stage,The Assembly,The Kid Sisters,The Edsel Boys,Memphis Manics,Mary Stokes Band,Scared Stiff, Oona And The Devils,Pinhead,Donna Dunne,The Radiators From Space,Trouble Pilgrims,have stood in for The Folsom Five,Aces Wild,Slick Hicks,Absolutely Yo, Boz Boorer, Spellbound,Search And Destroy. That's the first time I have put a list together,been asked a few times,I know I left someone out.
Dick Purdy In short after a career debut at St Anthony's Hall, Mr.Rock 'N' Roll, Johnny Bonnie played in every feckin' band in Dublin. He is indeed one of the best drummers Dublin has produced and I was lucky to be in the rhythm section which started it all. All these years later Johnny Bonnie is still playing and is one of the coolest dudes in Dublin and a bloody good guy to boot. The story and the legend continues. I am proud to have had him as a friend all these years. This gig has indeed, for whatever reason, gone down as a pivitol moment in the Dublin music scene.
Johnny Bonnie Thanks for that Dick,I remember us all sitting in Ireland's first MacDonald's Grafton St and picking what instruments each of us was gonna take up.
Dick Purdy Yeah I remember that. Seems like a dream rather than a memory, but...we were there.
Sarah Edwards I was amookette with Marisa Kavanagh, our trade mark was leopard skin, which we always wore on stage, I wore my fathers cricket trousers, on our debut at St Anthonys Hall, the Virgin Prunes set the place on fire, with computer paper, so U2, who were supporting us, never got on stage, years later when working in Cookes cafe, Bono and Paul McGuinness used to love to tell that story. Both Nigel Poff and John Cole were there that night, we opened with wild thing, that's about all I can remember! we also played McGonagle's, and I was stopped in Grafton st for my autograph, i edited the hot press letters page with Ann Siggins (Annie West), as a celeb presenter!
Line up; Fionan Hanvey (Gavin Friday) Vocals, Derek Rowen (Guggi) Vocals, David Watson (David Id) Vocals, Dik Evans Guitar, Trevor Rowen (Strongman) Bass, Anthony Murphy (Pod) Drums, Bono (Backing Vocals), The Edge (Backing Vocals).
Colm I remember that gig really well for many reasons. It seemed like the Skank Mooks had an army on stage; Berlin for their dreary we are going to London to make it big bluster which they repeated at every gig I saw them play and the Virgin Prunes who were weirdly entertaining – something that could never be said about their Lypton Village compatriots U2.
It was also a seminal moment for the emergence of the lumpen punks who went for all that London leather jacket, spitting, mohican bollocks. Up to then the Dublin punk scene focussed around the crowd that went to the Radiators in Morans and bought Heat fanzine. We considered ourselves above all that real punk sort of thing.
I remember your brother and chatting to him at the gig. I was with John, Martin and Duck and we had just formed a band called the Jags after being inspired by the Fabulous Fabrics and Heat Magazine. Played a couple of gigs in Rathmines and broke up. John Byrne eventually went on to form the Commotion and had a good little scene going around the Mood Club in Tommy Dunnes tavern, Temple Bar.
Emmett O'Reilly It was a pile of computer print-out paper, from Dublin Meat Packers (where myself and Gavin Friday worked) that was set alight. I loved that bit, anarchy and all that.
Shay Heally "Declan Hutchinson and my good self provided the security on the night, which seems to be a fact which has been written from history. The level of our expertise was shown in how we dealt with Anthony O'Reilly when he decided to burn the place down". We fucked off.
Dick Purdy I have vague but good memories of this evening.
George Purdy I have clear and expensive memories. I paid the bills!
Dick Purdy As far as I remember the biggest bill would have been in 'The Legal Eagle' across the river.
Johnny Bonnie That was Berlin they were the only ones drinking there
Dick Purdy There was quite a lot of alcohol consumed I recall.
Johnny Bonnie Berlin were worried about their slot saying things were getting "HOT" in the venue and they might not play.
Dick Purdy 'Hot' was appropriate considering the fire. Didn't seem to bother anyone else
Dick Purdy I don't remember fighting. It got a bit rough, but it was a punk gig and they tended to get a bit 'rowdy' .
16/17-02-1979 Project Arts Centre, Dublin
"Dark Space Festival"
Support, The Mekons, Rudi, Protex, The Outcasts, The Idiots, Berlin, DC Nien, The Atrix, The Virgin Prunes, U2, Phantom Orchestra, Rocky DeValera, The Boy Scoutz, The New Versions, Modern Heirs, Tearjerkers, Gillespie & Gibbs, Revolver, The Letters, Zebra, The Vultures.
The Project Arts Centre “Dark Space” festival brings together the biggest ever collection of Irish “New Wave” bands under one roof, from both the north & south. After Public Image pull out, the only non Irish band are The Mekons. Much like many modern festivals “Dark Space” had two stages, one in the main hall & one in a smaller hall. Many of the local Dublin bands play in the smaller hall including D.C. Nien, Zebra, Modern Heirs, The Letters, The Vultures. Revolver kicked off the 24 hour “Dark Space” festival at 11pm on the Friday night. They are the “old men” of the Dublin “New Wave” scene, they and The Vipers were at the first Project “New Wave” festival in 1977. U2 close the festival on the Saturday night. Their set is stopped mid way through due to late scheduling. There is also no time for a “Live Aid” style finale with all the bands on stage together. From reading reviews of this festival, I believe that Rocky DeValera & The Gravediggers & U2 played two sets.The price of admission was dropped from £6 to £4 after John Lydon's PIL dropped out.
A new band named U2 had appeared on Dublin's music scene. I first saw them at the Project Arts Centre during 1978. They stormed onto a very high stage - I seem to remember staring at the lead singer Paul Hewson's pointed cowboy boots - & delivered a frenetic & bewildering set.
They had something, though I wasn't quite sure what. The youthful lead singer with his ruddy cheeks, unfashionable medium length hair & tight trousers pranced around the stage yelling into the microphone. The vocals were haphazard - frequently out of tune & croaking in the upper registers. Each of the band members seemed to be pushing the pace of the music.
In fact, it was was a 26 hour event as the music continued until midnight last Saturday week. Aside from the more controversial aspects of the festival, such as the strip tease act, the music, played entirely by leading young Irish bands (with the exception of The Mekons from Britain), was of an unexpectedly high standard. maybe it was the appearance of Britain's leading rock DJ, John Peel, which prompted the energetic performances & it is reasonable to assume he was accordingly impressed.
Prior to the venture, many people feared the worst. The festival idea has strong hippy connotations & it was felt that possibly the New Wave fans & bands would find it all too boring. Allied to that the disappointment over the non appearance of Johnny Lydon & his PIL band & the confusion over whether some Irish bands would play added to the pessimistic view.
However, as events showed, it was probably better that Lydon did not appear as Public Image's star appeal might have detracted from the impact of the local bands. I caught The Atrix, The Mekons, The Virgin Prunes, U2 & many more. They were all enjoyable but I was particularly impressed by U2, who have made great progress in the last few months, & the very promising, The Atrix. The Virgin Prunes very theatrical act was highly entertaining, but the limitations of the music & playing are too severe.
The crowd, John Stephenson of the Project told me, totalled about 800 over the 26 hours, but at the reduced price of £4 a head (owing to the non appearance of John Lydon & Throbbing Gristle) he said that the festival would lose a lot of money. Invariably, there were many small problems, such as the sound not always being correct or the music drowning out the soundtracks of the films which were shown throughout the festival. But these minor cribs amount to little when compared to the peace, the good music & the general good atmosphere which permeated the East Essex Street building. Even the Project workers remained in good spirits at the snacks counter though they were there for 12 hour shifts.
Unfortunately, along with the many unusually dressed people there were (including one fan with a Mahican hair style) I noticed two people wearing Nazi insignia, a despicable trait that I thought the New Wave had dispensed with. They is nothing funny about fascism, as many people of different races & colours have found out, & are still finding out to day.
Incidentally, I tried to find out the meaning of the title, "Dark Space", but nobody seemed able solve the mystery. However at 7am on a Saturday morning "Dark Space", adequately summed up the state of my head, so maybe that's what the organisers meant.
From co-starring roles with The Vipers as the viable international contenders at the Project Punk Festival in 1977 to the unwilling role of Grand Old Men in the most comprehensive line up of local New Wave talent yet assembled under one roof – a convenient kind of historical perspective that, but one which to some extent clouds the band’s progression over the same period.
The current incarnation plays with considerably more assurance than of yore, the drafting in of guitarist Pat Hamilton and now excellent bass playing of Kevin Helly in particular contributing to their new found collective confidence. Yet Revolver were sometimes sluggish and not a little slipshod in places on the night.
On the other hand new songs as disparate as “National Hero”, “Stay Young, Stay Free” (nice ‘n’n sleazy and just begging for that sax embellishment on stage) the dervish locomotion of “Tell No Lie” and the glorious “One More Chance” illustrate where they can go. Liam Mackey Hot Press review
Protex & The Outcasts
Protex from Belfast are being touted as another major Northern talent and justifiably so, although it’d take more than a single hearing to properly evaluate their true potential.
Their set housed a plethora of memorable hooks hung on a framework of snappy, melodic chord sequences, which brought to mind the Ramones of say, “Don’t Come Close”. Exuberant and contagious in a quintessential “pop” fashion, they finished with an apposite, if endearingly chaotic “Teenager In Love”, with fellow Northern band The Outcasts and others aboard. Liam Mackey Hot Press review
The first of the rescheduled bands on Stage 2 was Protex, introduced by Good Vibrations mainman Terri Hooley. I can’t say I was overly impressed though “I Can’t Quit” and “Don’t Ring Me Up” came over well. They’ve got time on their side.
Back at Stage 1, Rocky DeValera had resumed his set of classic rock and R & B followed by Rudi (after allowing a P.A. cooling period). Whatever it was, the smaller room, the clearer the P.A. or what – Rudi were much more enjoyable than their contemporaries Protex, playing a neat line in ’78 post punk pop; a type of band sadly lacking (so far) down south of the border. Bill Graham Hot Press review
Friday evening on the smaller stage was a succession of surprises. If words are shorter than desired, it’s down to the impossibility of catching every instant. The Letters were a proficient synthesis of mainstream punk and R & B, accurate and adept but a more undistracting setting will have to wait for a band who appeared a capable addition to the scene. Bill Graham Hot Press review
The Boy Scoutz
To begin with the bouncers wouldn`t let me in . Oly after a load of Belfast Punks came over and argued with them did I gain access .It was rather an insult as I had donated my time in the relocation of the Project from St King St to East Essex St .Denis Rusk (Strougers & Citizens)
I was there with Emmett O' Reilly and Sean d'Angelo. The Boy Scoutz borrowed my guitar for their gig! I will jot down a few memories later. But I remember the stripper!!
First stripper any of us young hormone factories ever saw. . .
The Modern Heirs
yep - I think did that gig with The Modern Heirs..... bit of a blank tbh... I think we went on somewhere around 4am - and played to a lot of snoozing punks.... synths bands were a bit unusual in '79.The Modern Heirs include two H.P. contributions in Pete XIX and Stan Erraught so you’ll understand unbiased comment isn’t the easiest; Instrumental experiments, catalysed by Pete on a circuit of keyboards, a rhythm machine, and disturbing vocals, they played long past dawn. Bands like The Modern Heirs hardly get an opportunity to perform in Dublin let alone exist. Their presence was the most of “Dark Space’s” adventure. Bill Graham Hot Press review
Back on Stage 2, I must confess I regarded The Mekons with a rancorous glare. Later, second thoughts were that I’d been less than fair. Beginning as a pure D.I.Y. outfit, the band have been inflated by over generous praise way beyond their control and intentions; most saddening here were the sycophants who latched on to them just because they were English. The Mekons weren’t in a different grade from any of the home based bands. Dave Fanning
They smiled, they enjoyed themselves without pretence but the songs weren’t going anywhere special and the best that can be said is that the band invigoratingly entered into the spirit of the night. The art school band goes on forever, but so do the education grants. The Mekons beamed benevolence but they never looked as if they’ve had to fight or barter their good humour in more inhospitable settings. Bill Graham
Arriving before four to catch the tail end of the Mekons set, the atmosphere was relaxed, the temperature very warm and the movie was losing its battle against the projector, the wall and the disco.
The Virgin Prunes, with a neat line in choreographic poses proved a bizarre but fascinating choice for some early morning madness with Dik (guitar) and Warren (bass) providing a more accomplished version of the standing still than any Wyman or Entwistle.
Up front, lead vocalists Guggi and Gavin offered a convincing case for the band’s wholly unique projection. It’s not so much theatre and music as theatrics and drone rock and with so much room for obvious potential in the general concept, their “Big In ‘84” tag in not as silly as it sounds.
With a tight drum, guitar and bass backline both vocalists with some hard work and considerable elan (and a daffodil for Algernon) challenged the apathetic and especially with “Art Fuck” broke through the threatening air of sanguine goofiness. Just as the set has no extras. (“Thank you very much. The band don’t do encores,” squeaked Dave Id, the happy narrator), so we’ll just have to see them again. Have to, because they’re worth it. Dave Fanning
I’ve seen them close on six times and their early instrumental inadequacies have progressively been eradicated. I won’t advocate them further than to say they’re a damn important band who can’t remain a Dublin secret any longer. Prune power will soon be upon us. Bill Graham
The Phantom Orchestra weren’t exactly allotted the most prestigious slot of the 24 hours – at 11 o’clock on the Saturday morning most of the populace in the Project were just coming back to their senses after the various excesses of the previous night – but nevertheless they made the most of it and more.
As soon as they got up on the stage you could see the bemused looks flickering across the faces of the predominantly punk audience. Whispers of “shiiiittt, look at that – two violinists, two acoustic guitarists, a flautists (Ha Ha Ha) and a ................ Jaysus......a double bass”.
As soon as the first notes were struck and the punks realised that the boys weren’t playing purely for laughs there was more or less a mass exodus out to the disco – leaving behind the apparently senior members of the audience. But they began to trickle back into the theatre as the applause for the band got bigger and bigger.
Meantime The Phantom Orchestra turned on the heat with a mixture of excellent musicianship and warm humour. A version of “Reelin an’ A Rockin” like you’ve never heard; fabulous versions of “Fever”, played with just double bass and voice accompaniment; a couple of their own songs which encompassed some excellent solos from the violinists and the flautist (who also played a demon harp) and finally a couple of Dylan songs thrown in for good measure. The final high spot was the encore of “Johnny B. Goode” – I’ve never seen anything like it. Catch them if you can. Declan Colley
Image on the left supplied by Sean O'Neill
Rocky DeValera & The Gravediggers
Then the news that my main interest and review subjects Thorbbing Gristle weren’t going to make it due to adverse weather conditions in England. So what had we left? A quick reshuffling of many of the bands who played previously.
Rocky DeValera and his men were just finishing a curtailed set (due to an overheating P.A.) on Stage 1. They played again later.
The main interest – and audience – was in the bigger Stage 2 area, watching “Monty Python and the Holly Grail”, followed by “Roots, Rock, Reggae”. The films seem to have been well received through the whole event.
Meanwhile human interest was maintained by the Lee Tracy show, an adequate if unremarkable cabaret act on the smaller Stage 3, which featured an average impressionist Rod Hartley, a fire eater, a drag queen – Denis O’Dell who had a hard time and a rather repetitive line in insults – and finally a stripper who predictably received the biggest response from the predominantly male audience. Stranglers where are you?
The main whisper was “John Peel’s here” and he was. With the failure of Public Image to show Mr Peel was the undoubted guest celebrity and deservedly so, considering that for a long time he provided the only way many of us heard any interesting records through his show.
Back at Stage 1, Rocky DeValera had resumed his set of classic rock and R & B followed by Rudi (after allowing a P.A. cooling period). Whatever it was, the smaller room, the clearer the P.A. or what – Rudi were much more enjoyable than their contemporaries Protex, playing a neat line in ’78 post punk pop; a type of band sadly lacking (so far) down south of the border.
Lurching in from Rudi with their maliciously exuberant revision of “Yummy Yummy” – Northern bands have perfect taste when it comes to covers – and Good Vibes’ Terri Hooley 15 minutes of fame with “Laugh At Me” (glass eyeball askew and both Rudi and Protex forming his G.V. showband – the funniest moment of the whole show), it was clear The Virgin Prunes, then on Stage 2, had stiff competition in the outrage stakes. Bill Graham
But it was getting close to midnight and all but the stayers were departing for last buses and well deserved rest. A hardy few remained for U2 whose set bore the marks of rush and tiredness, capable but below the high level of the previous morning. The close was anti climatic, we didn’t get “Street Missions” as finale as a Project organizer stepped in to thank all who participated. A candle had been burnt at both ends, some had flagged by the wayside but for all the untidiness of the closing moments, the “Dark Space” was filled.
And will be again and again and.....................The melodies won’t be for the status quo. Bill Graham
05-06-07/08/1978 Phoenix Park, Dublin
Free Peace Festival
Support for Horslips, De Dannan, Clannad, The Bach St Kids, VHF, Biro's, Revolver, U2, Rocky De Valera & The Gravediggers, Brown Thomas
It can be seen as a disappointment for it was supposed to take place over a full weekend, feature over ninety acts over three stages and attract over 50,000 revellers, but in the end, the festival opened with only one stage, a handful of bands and only 3,000 or so fans.
The achievement lies that in the fact that a free festival took place in The Phoenix Park which attracted 3,000 people, three times more than the one the year before.Irish Press, Aug 08, 1978.
Bill ‘Ubi’ Dywer (1933 – 2001), the eccentric Irish-born self-described ‘non-violent anarchist’ and main organiser, made his name running the Windsor Free Festival in London from 1972 – 1974 which saw over 100,000 attend and was widely seen as being the forerunner for the Free Festival Movement and directly the Stonehenge Free Festival and the later Glastonbury Festival.
The 1978 festival in The Phoenix Park was supposed to feature over ninety acts including U2, De Dannan, Clannad, Horslips, Paul Brady, The Bach St Kids, VHF, Biro’s, Revolver, Rocky De Valera & The Gravediggers and Brown Thomas. I’m not sure which of those actually played in the end. As well as music, there was theatre, mime and an adventure playground for children.
Gareth Byrne remembers that day:
Saturday 5th August the first morning was bright when organisers began to arrive at The Hollow. The first band played to a trickle of spectators. By midday I spotted half a dozen individuals in wheel chairs at one corner, supervised helpfully by Fergus Rowan and a friend, who had arranged special transport. Gradually the attendance swelled to a few hundred individuals and parents with children. More bands arrived and got their gear ready. By lunchtime the sky had clouded over and there was a heavy downpour. Ubi donned a yellow showerproof cape and put a cheerful face on things by dancing and twirling to the music around the bandstand. I noticed a sharp row he had with members of one band who got nervous about the possibility of electric shock and wanted to switch off the AC/DC system. He effed and blinded loudly at them and insisted that the show go on. The shower died down, the sun reappeared, and Ubi disappeared. More people turned up to listen and the music went on smoothly until about 7 p.m.
Around 4 p.m. Ubi reappeared at the bandstand and looked the worse for drink. His reeking breath and raving demeanour suggested several double shots of Irish whiskey in addition to the customary pints of Guinness. A uniformed member of the Gardai (police) and a plainclothes detective tried to reason with him. He was escorted from The Hollow, somehow got to the ferry harbour at Dun Laoghaire and took the boat and overnight train to London. British newspapers reported a week later that Thames Valley police arrested him as he arrived at Windsor Park intending to launch a banned free music festival there. He was sentenced to jail and didn’t return to Dublin until the autumn of 1979.
In many ways, the Free Peace Festival was overshadowed by the first Carnsore Anti-Nuclear Rally which took place just two weeks after and attracted over 10,000 people.Take from "Come Here To Me"
Yes, the festival was “stewarded” by members of the Hells Angels MC Viking. In the montage, first pic, you can see Irelands first ever Hells Angel recruit, or “Prospect”. His name was Shane, from Trim, and was on the Late Late with his bike “Apache”, A Triumph 650. next to him is Mac, the President, next picture shows Mouse, the Treasurer. They lived in Clondalkin at the time.
I was 16, and was due to play with my 3 mates at the gig. A lot of effort went into it, much leafleting etc. A few name bands were due to play, and we were pretty excited about it all. The stage was supposed to be near the Obelisk, in expectation of a good crowd.
We made our way over in the morning, with minor floods along the way due to absolutely pissing rain. We were somewhat deflated when we found a few sheep at the Obelisk – even they looked pissed off with the rain. Then, we heard a few drum beats, and 1-2s in the distance. We found a few bands and some hardy souls at the bandstand in the hollow. It pissed stair-rods at times, and pretty much everyone sodded off home.
We returned later in the day, playing to fuck all people at about 7pm. I recall very numb lips from all the electric shocks from the microphones. It’s amazing what you’ll put up with for a bit of attention.
The PA hire company guys got a bit eager to get their gear out of the rainy atmosphere. Ubi wasn’t about to let that happen, and he started throwing shapes with an axe-handle. Cue Garda intervention, and Ubi being lifted by his elbows and carried to a squad car. Exit Ubi Dwyer from the ‘festival’.
The next day had better weather, a poxy borrowed PA, a decent crowd, and a few enthusiastic bands. We played at about 4pm, directly in advance of The Outcasts, who seemed a little bit like the real deal shapes-wise, compared to all the middle-class kids like us from Dublin. There was actually a decent crowd by that time, definitely a couple of thousand. The atmosphere was good, The Outcasts were drunk, basic, thuggish and pretty damn good too.
That was one weird weekend. I can’t imagine anything like it happening now.
Ubi was a decent fellow. He meant it all. RIP.
Rocky DeValera & The Gravediggers are; Rocky DeValera (vocal), Pierre Parnell (guitar), Jack Dublin (bass), Harpo (drums).
Rocky & the band on stage at Toners
Bach Street Kidz are; Left to right
Declan Morrison (Drums), Frank Issacson (Guitar), Tom Mathews (Vocals), Brian O'Grady (Bass), Justin McCarthy (Guitar) laying on the floor
Mike Moloney (sax) not in picture.
19/12/1978 McGonagles, Dublin
Main Act; Fit Kilkenny & The Remoulds
The Jam Session; Phil Lynott, Gary Moore, Steve Jones, Paul Cook, Larry Mullen, Brush Shiels, Dave Sweeney, Paul Boyle, Dave Id.
All pictures on this page are taken by Patrick Brocklebank
Fit Kilkenny & The Remoulds
The Jam Session
Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Dave Sweeney (The Vipers), Larry Mullen Jr (U2)
Brush Shiels (Skid Row) & Phil Lynott
Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Brush Shiels (Skid Row), Gary Moore (Thin Lizzy).
Phil Lynott & Brush Shiels (Skid Row)
Steve Jones & Paul Cook (Sex Pistols), Paul Boyle (The Vipers), David Id (Virgin Prunes).
Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Dave Sweeney (The Vipers), Paul Cook (Sex Pistols), David Id (Virgin Prunes).
Paul Boyle (The Vipers), Dave Sweeney (The Vipers), Steve Jones (Sex Pistols)
Dave Sweeney (The Vipers), Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy), Paul Boyle (The Vipers).
Phil Lynott in front of Terry O'Neil's "McGonagles Rocks" logo.
The late great Gary Moore upstairs at McGonagles..
Paul Cook & Scott Gorham
Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) & Paul Cook (Sex Pistols).
Johnny Fean (Horslips), Phil Lynott (ThinLizzy), Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Deirdre McMahon.
Your Help is needed!
If you can help with any information, demo tapes or memrobillia on this band please get in touch, using the above form.