A man who knows his onions, Lindsay Hutton started his seminal fanzine The Next Big Thing as a punk Xerox sheet in 1977. He went on to found the world’s first ever Cramps fan club The Legion of the Cramped along with a certain Stephen Patrick Morrissey…Lindsay keeps the garage flag flying at his splendid blog
He kindly agreed to pen something for us on his Glasgow gig memories…thanks Lindsay!
Photo by Ruth López-Diéguez
My first memory of visiting Glasgow was to attend “the shows” at the Kelvin Hall. The “shows” to anyone not from around these parts was a huge indoor funfair, 1963-ish when I was 5 going on 6. I remember traipsing up to and from Queen Street Station. Recall suggests that we were able to take a train directly from Grangemouth in them pre-Beeching cuts days what feels at this point, forever ago.
Orbit, the record store I worked in, ran buses to gigs because they acted like a ticket agency out in the boonies. I’ve always lived equi-distantly between Glasgow and Edinburgh, 26 miles from each. The fact that these places are just a smidge over 50 miles apart seems like a way bigger chasm.
The first show I ever attended in the great city was by Alice Cooper at Greens Playhouse on November 10th 1972. It was £1.20 admission. That was forever before the dreaded booking fee was devised. A month later, I saw Led Zeppelin at the same venue for the bargain price of £1.
Glasgow has always possessed a spirit that gives it an edge over almost anywhere else and it remains a vibrant, cultural hub. The place bubbles with an energy that has been cawed out of most major cities and one-time scenes. At this point, I’d say that it’s up there with Madrid and Berlin of places and there’s a somewhat unique non-cliqueiness about Glasgow.
I saw every act that I wanted to over the years and probably a few best forgotten. When Greens became the Apollo, this would usher in a special period that lasted all the way until the place closed. I was there once a week, sometimes three. Memories include nearly getting my heid kicked in by the notorious Apollo bouncers when I saw The Who. Jumping up and down on and breaking a seat when Thin Lizzy opened for Bachman Turner Overdrive, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first ever UK appearance in November 1974, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band Christmas shows (I had a piece of the polystyrene Vambo wall that Alex burst though for years) and however many Roxy Music residences.
One night in particular changed my direction altogether. The Cramps first show anywhere in Europe was at the Apollo on May 31st 1979 sandwiched between The Police and The Bobby Henry Band. I met Lux Interior and Poison Ivy on Union Street and from there ended up running their fan club (The Legion of the Cramped) between 1980 and 1983. A certain Stephen Patrick Morrissey was also involved at the beginning but then dropped out to take his own particular journey. My last contact with him was an invite to see his group play at Nite Moves on Sauchiehall Street. I declined because I didn’t rate his band’s debut single and never got another Christmas card.
Talking about Nite Moves, that’s where the Fleshtones played when they last visited this town in November 1983. They’re celebrating 40 years here in 2016 so I think that some aspect of that should involve a return bout. Plans are afoot for just such a wheeze.
Glasgow’s Grand Old Opry is my favourite venue in town but it’s severely underused, likely due to being located on the south side. The Dave Alvin and The Guilty Men (including the late, great Chris Gaffney) and Teenage Fanclub gigs there were something else. Laura Cantrell and Amy Allison played a blinder there too. The city has an ongoing, unfaltering buzz that is hard to beat. You can have a ball in Glasgow whatever your particular persuasion. The heart and soul of the place has always been founded on music. And please, don’t hold the fact that it’s often cited as the place a certain aberration from Manchester was discovered against it.