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.
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..?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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"
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.
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