Catching Gaye Adverts Eye – October 27th 1979

the+advertsOn the 27th October 1979 I went to my first Punk gig. Punk had taken a while to radiate out to the suburbs, but as part of what would turn out to be their final tour, The Adverts came to Slough College. This was very big news and I’d already stumped up my ticket money at the local record shop to ensure I got in. The Adverts were a major Punk band, and I had just turned 15, this night was where all the reading of the live reviews combined with the songs I knew were going to come together.

This being my first gig, I didn’t yet know the ins and outs of what would later become a familiar routine; we’d had no pre-gig conversations about whether or not we should turn up to see the support band, or whether we should meet at the venue or in a nearby pub, we just looked at our tickets and turned up exactly when it said that the doors opened. We were there early, practically the first ones in, there were no bands on yet and so far it looked nothing like the packed houses I’d seen on “Rock Goes to College”.
So much still to learn, there was more to this going to a gig business than just seeing the bands; things that were never mentioned in any of the reviews, but things that were eventually to become familiar fixtures. A sound man, dressed in black, moving around the stage, doing something with the cables and leads, he wasn’t even a Punk sound man in his washed out old school rock band T-shirt. He shouted the word “chew” into the microphone more than a few times, then just “ch” until there was an audible squeal from the floor speakers on the stage, after which he went back to his lair at the side of the stage.

Not wanting to appear like the totally unseasoned gig goers we actually were, and despite turning up incredibly early, we did our best to look a bit bored and not too excited by the evening’s events – like it was something we did every night.

safety in numbersAfter an hour long wait the support band came on. There were two Slough bands who seemed to do most of the local supporting duties, Robert and the Remoulds, and Arrogant, but maybe it was a tour support, whoever it was – it was suddenly all so gloriously loud. Then after another arduous gap, where looking bored was becoming more natural, there was flurry of on-stage activity, someone brought on some guitars and there was some more “chew-ing” from the soundie. As the lights went up and then off again, and the music went down, on they trooped, The Adverts in all their scrappy glory.

GA onstageHearing the reality of a live show sound compared to the controlled sound of a record or BBC mixing desk was something else. The bass made your insides shake, the drum sound knocked you off your feet, everything was an in your face sonic blizzard. It was literally awesome, so loud, people jumping around knocking into you, spilling their beer, pushing and pogoing in front of the stage, the band and the crowd all so close, it was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. As I stood there trying to hold my ground, getting shoved and knocked from side to side, I was completely transfixed. Gaye Advert was a girl in a band, with her trademark coal miner eyes and no dance policy, she was the one behind those gut rumbling bass sounds that were now vibrating my intestines. How cool was that. TV Smith was racing around, spitting out lyrics like broken teeth, but it was Gaye who held our attention, and we pushed our way to the front hoping to catch her eye. C’mon Gaye look at us!!!

adverts closedownWhat we didn’t know that evening, was was that the band in front of us were still dealing with recent line-up changes, a just released but poorly received second album, and threats of lawsuits by former members Howard Pickup, and Rod Latter. The rest of the world it seemed were no longer as excited by The Adverts as we were, and after that night in Slough, they called it a day.

So, my first gig was The Adverts last, whether that automatically makes it more memorable or not I don’t know, but for me it’s one I’ll never forget.

5 thoughts on “Catching Gaye Adverts Eye – October 27th 1979

  1. terrific to read of your first gig experience seeing the wonderful Adverts. for what it’s worth – maybe not much – my first gig was also seeing this exceptional band – at the croydon Greyhound, south London in – I think – August 1977. Now at 62 i still find that era fascinating – i was always an avid reader of the then music press – thursday was a big day as they came out then – Sounds/NME and maybe the rather dull Melody Maker – reading from cover to cover and looking for gigs at 50p a throw – but money was ‘too tight to mention’. And I’m still reading about it all now – salutations to Jon Savage and Viv Albertine’s work! I still rate the Adverts – one of the few from that period which stand the test of time – and most of their debut LP still rocks. Not many bands from 77/78 still do it. I’ve read TV Smith put a lot of thought into his lyrics and they certainly have stood up well over time. As we all now realise Gaye wasn’t that great a bass player and probably stood stock still in order to keep her fingers on the right notes – her time keeping was pretty damn poor – but she was of her time – and graced many a bedroom wall including mine but the band will always have that special place in my heart, along side that safety pin (Mr Fitzgerald) being my debut into the wonderful dark sweaty world of punk rock. Its a way of life, an attitude, a way of being

  2. Wow! Your first gig at 15. Very different from my experience. If it took Punk forever to get to the suburbs of Slough, it took even New Wave six years to get to the land of The Mouse [Orlando, Florida] where I grew up. Punk never entered into it! My first concert was Joe Jackson when I was 19 [possibly 20] touring on his hit “Night + Day” jazzpop album. Most of my favorite bands had already split up before they could be big enough to cross the Atlantic, much less penetrate deep into the dullest parts of America by 1983. It was ’85-’86 [or 8-9 years after Punk] when I finally got to see some of my favorite New Wave acts, who were, by that time past their sell by date as they were desperate to “crack America.” Not to put too fine a point on it, I was definitely living in the wrong place for my musical tastes!

  3. Me and my teenage girl gang reckoned that Gaye Advert was our Brit Joan Jett. They could have been joined at the hip given their similar style.
    I went backstage to one of their gigs once and made a point of buying Gaye a double vodka orange but ignoring TV Smith because she was the star 🌟 in our eyes. It was fab seeing women onstage playing their own instruments. And a good female bassist is as rare as a female trumpeter or female drummer.
    Gary Gilmore’s Eyes is a classic of the genre.

    1. Thanks so much, we’re really enjoying your comments. Is there any way we could tempt you to do a guest blog post one day???

      1. Totally ace! Punkgirldiarist i would love to squeeze out a few gems, vignettes, tall tales and shaggy dog stories from the era…. they include escorting one Peter Sutcliff to a reggae night in Bradford and escaping from him on the moors above the northern city. The next day I was back at school warning my friends of a nutter doing the rounds. He was interested he said in becoming my manager…
        He is better known as The Yorkshire Ripper.
        He evaded capture for another 3 years, admitting to killing 13 women from the mid-70s to the early 80s in the north and northwest UK.
        Let me know your brief xx

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