newcastle in the 1980s
The story of Newcastle's Alernative Scene in the 1980s is presented in categories: Locations, Clubs, People and Bands.
From nowhere it seemed, although probably following on from punk, an alternative club scene developed that didn't impose dress codes to send you scuttling home. Suddenly we had places where it felt good to dress up and meet people you liked the look of; enjoy the music that you already liked and discover more. These were exciting and liberating nights. To read about Mr Ms and A Packet of Cornflakes at Tiffanys, the various nights at Rockshots and a host of others. click here
Newcastle was a grim place in the 1980s. Unemployment was high. Culture was low. The town centre was deserted on weekday nights and if you did venture out, you had to watch yourself because the quiet streets made it more dangerous, particularly if you had a look that wasn't to everybody's taste… there will be always be knackers looking for a fight but conditions were more in their favour back then, allowing them to operate in anonymity.
There were areas of desolation around the town, which was obvious in the neglect of buildings at the edges of town. You can see examples in the Newcastle Locations section that include Manors Station and the Quayside. click here
I've created the Facebook group 'Newcastle's alternative scene in the 1980s' and loaded more than 80 photos I took of people who were around at the time. There are pictures from parties, various flats, a free gig on Eldon Green and a fashion show at Riverside. Facebook Page
Neon, from Durham, released two singles and played 300 gigs from 1977 to 1979. By all accounts they were a hugely energetic band and influenced other bands in the area with their riff based approach to songs. Read an in-depth interview with their singer, Tim Jones. click here
The Monoconics, from Sunderland, were active from 1979-80. They released one single, recorded a John Peel session and played a number of gigs including an appearance at the prestigious London ICA Rock Week in 1980. Read an interview with their singer, Denny Pooley. click here
Treatment Room, formed in the Newcastle area in 1979, gigged regularly in the area and released 'Shapes' c/w 'Awayday' on their own Plug label in 1981. Then suddenly split up! Chris Simpson was interviewed by ESN a few days after the split. click here
Penetration, from Ferryhill, were amongst the first salvo of groups associated with punk. Beginning in 1977, they released a handful of singles and two albums on Virgin Records. In 1979, while onstage at Newcastle City Hall, they announced their break-up. Interview with Pauline Murray & Robert Blamire. click here
Said Liquidator, from Newcastle, were active 1984-1992. There were many changes in the lineup and sound. In July 2011, their 'Anthology 1987-1991' was released on ESN Records. Listen to their music, watch videos, read about their 33 songs, 139 gigs, 19 members and their 44 rejection letters. The CD is available from this website. click here
Newcastle's dumdum SCORE, AKA ju-ju pell-mell, performed a handful of shows in the 1980s, but like no other! They stood in a structure made of fabric and steel and projected images onto themselves while they added live instruments and voice to sometimes thunderous backing tapes. In 1987 they released a stunning LP of layered sound. Then stopped. More than 30 years on they remain an online enigma. What was it all about? What will they do next? click here
Newcastle bands photographed in the 1980s on-stage, posing at the Civic Centre and boozing in the Cumberland Arms. Bands include Daintees, Laverne & Shirlie, God's Gift to Women, Red Performance, Hot Licks Cookies, Skiptracers & Movietone click here
The Soul Kitchen was the beginning of Newcastle's Kitchenware Records. In 1981, they began putting on then unknown Scottish Pop bands in the Casablanca Club and then some of their own bands in Tiffanys and Greys Club. This is a selection of flyers and posters from that period. click here
Noise Toys at Finnegan's Warehouse with touring post-punk bands, Treatment Room, Fashionable Impure and Milan Station at Spectro, Arthur 2 Stroke & The Chart Commandos at the Cooperage, PJ Selby's Confessions at the Cumberland Arms and Total Chaos at Gateshead Trinity. click here
The 'Said Liquidator Anthology 1987-1991' contains 33 of the band's recordings. The songs have all been mastered from the original sources, mainly studio master tapes, and for the first time makes available high quality format releases of some songs that were only released on cassette during the band's lifetime. click here to go to shop