APRIL 1982 – The YMCA (now referred to as The Y) Chelmsford, Essex, England, Uk, Europe!
As I was walking home following another fruitless night of trying to find some “fun” in Chelmsford on a Monday night with my Droog Coops we chanced upon 3 skinheads who politely advised us if we wanted a good night out a band called The Adicts were coming to town on Friday. They were due to play at the YMCA they parted by advising us “Be there or be forever ignorant of what Punk is really about. “ strange coming from such characters.
We had nothing to do on the Friday so we ventured along. Coops, Jammy Durham, Scuzz, Mads and myself to see what this band were all about. We were kitted out in standard uniform at the time Bondage trousers, Motorbike jacket with your fave band of the moment inscribed on the back, ripped t-shirt and of course obligatory Doctor Martens and hair allegedly in a “spike” cut or crude Mohican.
We arrived paid our £1 at the door ordered our half a pint of shandy and chatted with sounds of X ray spex, Buzzcocks, Ramones and others providing a background noise. The support band went through their repertoire and very good they were ( Action Pact). They finished and about half hour later I managed to get to talk to Georgie Cheeks their attractive female singer however I managed only a brief conversation as the lights dimmed and from somewhere a fairground organ started up Georgie stood on a chair and whistled and whooped, the massed ranks of skins, punks, even rastas and weird looking types pressed forward to the edge of the tiny stage and………………….amidst a burst of sound and light 3 men in white and bowler hatted armed with a guitar a bass guitar and set of drums faced me and at their head a strange looking character also bowler hatted but with a keener dress sense burst into song; yes droogs I was hooked.
For the band were The Adicts, The song that came forth is still my favourite (possibly) “How Sad” Monkey fairly spitting the last line of the last verse “I don’t play the sympathetic part!”
What followed was a show that still ranks as the best I have seen (Yes I was at Wembley to see the Foo Fighters recently and it doesn’t compare!). One catchy little tune after another, clever lyrics and gluing it all together these 4 men or were they still boys back then in their quirky outfits performing with energy that I’d never come across before.
Monkey was here there everywhere on top of the Amps for “Hurt” in the audience for “Just like me” singing and bouncing around with the rest of us although for a brief moment the words did become “Oi! Where’s me bowler give us me bowler back oi ….OI!”
It was a hot sticky night in any case and there was something electric about the atmosphere that night. It was a night that I still wish had never ended.
The madness of the gig still sends shivers down my spine! Some of the songs are lost in the mists of time I am sure there were classics such as “Easy Way Out” for instance I don’t remember but “lullaby” was performed as an encore there were others “”Straitjacket” “England” “Tango” I have vague memories of but the song that most sticks out……Steamroller the chant to Kids Frenetic drum lasted a while I think at the end of the evening we agreed on us chanting “Steamroller” at least 15 times before the Adicts joined us in another 4 chants and the final flourish. That was just before an encore of 3 songs (Lullaby, Songs of Praise and of course Viva La Revolution I believe!)
As we trooped out I realised I had become one of The Adicted. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough cash on me to purchase The Songs of Praise albums being sold on our way out. (It was to be another 5 months before I obtained my album and it is sad to say far from “perfect” condition having been played to death!
Fond memories that I was hoping to resurrect on the 11th of September in Ipswich (home at last) but unfortunately it is the date of my Grans funeral and can’t make it!!!! Still can you dedicate a song to her boys on the night? Too Young would be bill as she was 99!