All photographs on this page reproduced with permission of Patrick Brocklebank.
Check out Patrick’s book of early U2 photographs “Where The Streets Have 2 Names”.Ticket supplied by Johnny Bonnie
22/11/1978 St Anthony’s Hall, DublinLine up;
Citizens, Skank Mooks, Strange Movements (did not play), Virgin Prunes, New Versions, Berlin, U2 (did not play).
The Changing face of music in Dublin
Irish teenagers were now taking up instruments and making their own sound, music they wanted too hear, not what the establishment wanted.
Although this concert may not be remembered outside the 600 people that attended that night, it played a major roll in the Dublin “Punk/New Wave” scene. It has now gained that mystical status of gigs were thousands of people now claim “I Was There”, much like the Clash’s first Dublin gigs or U2’s Dandelion Market gigs.
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” .
The Bands Involved
The CitizensSean, Denis, Emmett
Skank MooksJohnny Bonnies first band
Strange MovementsBackstage @ St Anthony’s
New VersionsNew Versions @ St Anthony’s
BerlinBerlin @ St Anthony’s Hal 1978
Virgin PrunesVirgin Prunes @ St Anthony’s Hall
George Purdy concert promoter & manager of the Skank Mooks & The CitizensGeorge Purdy
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.
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.
Emmett O’Reilly (The Citizens) Yeah, I’m afraid myself and Gavin Friday were responsible for the used computer printout paper that was set on fire. We liberated it from the office where we worked. The first bottle missed my face by a couple of inches. Strangely, I noticed it was a Smithwicks bottle as it flew by.
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 werenot 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. Paul Woodfall, Fred McLoughlin, Johnny Bonnie, Dick Purdy.
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.
Sarah Edwards I was a mookette 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 Anthony’s 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!VP’s @ St Anthony’s. Photo by Patrick Brocklebank.
Hot Press “Frontlines” By Liam Mackey. Our roving reporter at St. Anthony’s Hall last Thursday witnessed what he described as an “incendiary set” from the Virgin Prunes whose “Devo id stage antics divided and ruled the audience”. Berlin played a “solid set” he reports, although they were less than ecstatic about the organisational chaos which ensued…….. The reporter missed the New Versions, Skank Mooks and Strange Movements.Gavin, Guggi & Pod, photo by Patrick Brocklebank 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 :)))
Johnny Bonnie “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. Anthony’s Hall, think we got 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 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.
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 pivotal 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. 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.
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