Not so much one of Chris’s favourite gigs but a real snapshot of the time of confusion after punk when gigs started to get dangerous…


Chris : One of the key things with punk was that there was other bands like the Cortinas, remember their single, Defiant Pose? that was really good. I always liked those sorts of bands – like the Lurkers, and there was Chelsea, of course, but when I saw them it was always afterwards and those gigs were quite rough. I remember being at a Chelsea gig in London,  there were some nasty moments at those gigs before it went into the whole Oi thing with Blitz and the Cockney Rejects. Chelsea and Sham gigs were rough. Sham started off good but ran out of songs quick though. They had that big skinhead following. I saw them at Glasgow Barrowlands in one of the ballrooms. Oh god that was rough! I remember walking to the gig and it was freezing as it would be and there these skinheads standing at the bus stop and they had doc martens up to their knees and they nothing on top at all, just their braces and their sta press on and they look scary of course.

I would invariably go to these gigs on my own because other people just were not interested. There was a very small number of people I knew that were into it so I ended up going on my own, so it was always a bit intimidating. You would start seeing familiar faces at gigs everywhere. There was one girl I saw at gigs later on after punk that i saw at lots of gigs and I did speak to her in the end but she must have been at every Mary Chain gig I went to in the early days, you would start to recognize people at the gigs and sidle up and speak to them.

For number 6 in Chris Packham’s top 10 albums please go here

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Sham never played The Barrowland in the original punk years- it wasn’t a gig venue then- it would have probably have been The Apollo where they played a couple of times.


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