My First Gig

Despite the advancing years, my memory remains excellently “fit-for-purpose”, as any number of public figures currently seem unable to avoid saying. The purpose being… to rewrite my past in a way which fits my current needs.

Prompted by Bruce Lawson’s Undertones post, I remembered my son asking me about the first gig I ever went to. I told him about Killing Joke. They were a product of the early eighties post-punk scene, and are widely cited as influences by better known bands such as Metallica, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, or more recently Korn. It was 1982 and I went with my mate Lofty. The venue was just down the road from the Birmingham Hippodrome. I was conmpletely out of my depth and only knew a couple of songs. I was soaked with sweat and my head throbbed all the way home, but I’d loved it.

It was a perfectly formed memory. It reminded me of the joys of innocence and experience, while boosting my musical credibility in front of my teenage son. There was only one problem. It was not my first gig.

That was the rather less streetcred enhancing Altered Images at the B’ham Odeon in 1981. Like a host of other teenage wanabee punks in the audience, I was there to get the best possible view up the ra-ra skirt of girl-next-door-sexy lead singer Claire Grogan, and brag to all my schoolmates about it the next day. I seem to remember that at the time they were considered vaguely cool because of the alleged Banshees connection. However, they were later known for their commercially successful but slightly embarrassing punk-pop fusion, the skinny cringe-inducing little girl singer, and the utterly uncool single “Happy Birthday”.

I am sure that when asked by my son, I had genuinely forgotten all about Altered Images. But now, in my quiet moments, I can admit I liked them better.

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