4 October 1978 – 999 – Town Hall

999 returned to High Wycombe on Wednesday 4th October 1978 to make their debut at the Town Hall.  The band had formed out of the London punk scene in late 1976 and had played an infamous gig at The Nag’s Head in September 1977 that was marred by violence and resulted in a ‘punk’ ban for the London Road venue.

A year later 999 were heading back to High Wycombe on the back of a well-publicised tour promoting their album ‘Separates’ album released on United Artists record label. Support at the Town Hall were Razar.

999 tour dates – September, October and November 1978.
Including High Wycombe Town Hall – 4th October 1978.
Cutting from New Musical Express

A preview and review of the gig appeared in the local High Wycombe papers. The review of the gig published in the Bucks Free Press Midweek said:

Great gig

New wave pop group 999 gave an exciting and energetic performance at the eighth date in a nation-wide tour at High Wycombe Town Hall on Wednesday night.

The group has just returned from a European tour with The Stranglers and at the moments its following is mainly limited to punk rockers.

The group hopes that this tour will launch it to greater things and if this gig is anything to go by, that should be a long way.

Numbers like ‘Nasty, Nasty’ got the audience up on the stage and all through the show, rockers dressed in anything from leopard skin body stockings to leather drain-pipe trousers, jumped up and down, incessantly, near the stage.

‘Feeling Alright With The Crew’, a single taken off 999’s new album ‘Separates’, sees singer Nick Cash’s voice, plus echo, used to great effect over hypnotic boogie backing. With ‘Subterfuge’ and ‘No Pity’, the group buried any attacks that it is nothing but a two-chord wonder.

There was no safety pins and no violence. 999 responded well and the audience lapped it up.

999 – review of gig at High Wycombe Town published in Bucks Free Press Midweek in October 1978

 

The success of the gig led to promoter Ron Watts bringing the band back to the Town Hall for another appearance in December 1978.

For your listening and viewing pleasure

 Feelin’ Alright With The Crew – 999 – audio

29 September 1978 – Motorhead – Town Hall

Heavy Metal legends in the making, Motorhead, turned up the decibels at High Wycombe Town Hall on Friday 29th September 1978.  The date was arranged to promote their new single ‘Louie Louie’, released as one-off for Bronze Records.  A John Peel session had also been recorded for BBC Radio 1 on 18th September 1978 and popularity for the band was very much on the rise at the time of their Town Hall appearance – much of this also credited to their cross-over with the punk scene.

Bucks Free Press advert for Motorhead and 999 gigs at High Wycombe Town Hall in September and October 1978

A quick look at their history reveals that lead singer and bassist Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister, had formed Motorhead in the summer of 1975 following his departure from Hawkwind.  The name of the group had been taken from the final song he had written with Hawkwind.  By the time of the Town Hall gig, the Motorhead line-up and settled to a three piece with 32 year old ‘Lemmy’ on bass, Phil Taylor (24) on drums and ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke (27) on guitar.

Going back to Lemmy’s time with Hawkwind, the group played High Wycombe Town Hall at least three times during the earlier 1970’s, however, their latter of these appearances, on 14 August 1971, is the only date that would coincide with Lemmy’s arrival in their line-up.  A few months later he took lead vocals on the Hawkwind classic ‘Silver Machine’.

Several Hawkwind covers appeared in the early Motorhead set-lists, including the inspiration for the name of the group, ‘Motorhead’.   At the time of publication of this article, there was no confirmation of the set-list at the Town Hall but a recording of the gig at Wolverhampton on 23rd September 1978 exists with the following tracks:

  1. Motorhead (Hawkwind cover)
  2. I’ll Be Your Sister
  3. Leaving Here (Edward Holland, Jr. cover)
  4. Lost Johnny (Hawkwind cover)
  5. The Watcher (Hawkwind cover)
  6. Keep Us on the Road
  7. Louie Louie (Richard Berry cover)
  8. Tear Ya Down
  9. Iron Horse/Born to Lose
  10. White Line Fever
  11. Instro

By the time this article was published to mark the 40th anniversary of Motorhead’s appearance in High Wycombe, all three of the original band members had passed away.

Philthy Animal’ Taylor passed away on 11th November 2015 (aged 61)

‘Lemmy’ passed away on 28th December 2015 (aged 70)

Fast’ Eddie Clarke passed away on 10th January 1978 (aged 67)

For your listening and viewing pleasure

Louie Louie – Motorhead – BBC Top of the Pops – October 1978

Motorhead – Motorhead – official audio – 1978

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mot%C3%B6rhead