First Gig, Best Gig, Last Gig And More. A Concert Music Memory Excursion.

These style things come out during lock-down. The hope that live events will return soon. As music is another strong passion that runs alongside film, I thought I’d play along and add it here for something different to my movie musings. Feel free to play along if you wish.

First Concert

  • Soul singer Alexander O’Neal came to my hometown of Poole in 1987 promoting his 2nd studio album Hearsay. At the Arts Centre now called The Lighthouse, I was 15 at the time. Radio DJ Robbie Vincent was playing tracks and Criticize and Fake were rocking the charts. I have still got the record in my collection. I wore a white shirt, chino’s and smart black shoes. This was his famous show where he would have a double bed on the stage and bring a lady up to serenade with a rose. Yeah it was cheesy but I loved the sweet soul. I stood at the back secretly hoping he would pick me! “Shit did I just type that out loud?“. Hehe nah I stood watching from the side lines. I spied three black girls, three sisters. I was too young and nervous to go over. Besides they looked too intimidating for this smooth soul loving white boy. Flash forward eight years and the youngest sister, Louise and I have been together for 25+ years.
No full moon today for the wolfman. I can’t be rampaging all the time!

Best Concert

  • It would have to be when the hip hop legend, rapper Schoolly D came to town! Yes he randomly played at The Academy in Boscombe, now renamed The 02 Bournemouth. I was obsessed with his first self-titled album. That record was filled with crazy fat ass beats and reverb, in a style I’d never heard before. Still to this day it sounds so unique and heavy. Somehow, still feels surreal, he turned up in Bournemouth circa 1987/1988. Every kid into hip hop on the south coast made their way to this mythical event. We managed to get stood right at the front of the stage. With the DJ booth right by us. The support was The Wize Men and each time they stomped around the stage it looked like a trampoline. It was so funny. Then there was the feisty female duo of The Cookie Crew who were great to see. Also warming everything up was the DJ crew called the Imperial Mixers which featured Cutmaster Swift and DJ Pogo. Then Schoolly D arrived. The place shook. I was in awe as his tunes blasted around the arena as he went through his first two albums. It was incredible. Every now and then I do a google search to see if anyone took photos, in some ways, just to clarify it actually happened! Still yet to find any but I’m always hoping.

Runners up for memory sake

  • Roy Ayers at The Worlds End pub in Camden London circa 1989/90. This was incredibly exciting. We were young and Roy Ayers had a magical aura to his name. Gilles Peterson was hosting the event. It started, bizarrely with a stand-up comedy competition. It was announced it was all being filmed for TV. When Roy Ayers and his band began I had this rush of feelings going through my body, it felt electric. Just seeing this jazz legend we always talked about singing and playing the vibraphone with his unique style was jaw dropping. He was so cool and we couldn’t believe we were there. Once in a while I look on Youtube with the hope of seeing some old footage. It probably doesn’t exist. The Ronnie Scott’s footage below is around the same time.
  • Herbie Hancock was another exciting excursion to the big smoke of London to see another jazz legend performing live. It was at The Grand in Clapham Common. A joint event put on by The Jazz Cafe and Kiss FM with Eddie Pillar called The Magic Bus Tour sometime in the early 90s. We were obsessed with all things Herbie Hancock and especially his Headhunters style fusion funk tunes. So we were ecstatic with the brilliant surprise of seeing Bennie Maupin on the stage. After the gig finished the dj’s played jazz funk classics as we danced away. Bennie Maupin wandered around the dancefloor and we whispered to each other and looked on in awe. A brilliant night.
  • Mad Professor Ft Aisha. I’m a huge fan of Neil Fraser aka Mad Professor and his Ariwa record label. Got so many of his records including most of his Dub Me Crazy series. So I was incredibly psyched to find out he was playing a little intimate venue of The Winchester in my hometown of Bournemouth in 2014. The bass reverberated across the bar as the Mad Professor tweaked and turned the dials on his master controller whilst his homemade light on his head made him look like an angler fish. Halfway through the set Aisha arrived, bringing her energy and beauty to the stage and had me filled with joy. Made even more incredible, was having then wandering around the small crowd and interacting with everyone. It was a perfect night and I was a happy man.

Last concert

  • In 2016 Lonnie Liston Smith came to the “big apple” of Bournemouth!! What a legend. He was playing at a small club called Canvas. It had always been a running joke, on a boring night during our youth, for us to say “pop into town and go see Lonnie play!” HAHA it only went and became true. I even got to shake his wonderful musical hands of his. The band were having fun too, really tight and the drummer was something else. We were right at the front with close friends and it was wonderful to be out with my lady, Louise. I’d seen Lonnie Listen Smith at The Jazz Cafe in London during the early 90s. If I’m totally honest we had got a bit wasted and whilst we had an amazing time, I can’t remember much. It still feels strange that Lonnie had come to Bmth. It had to be destiny with all those times we had joked he would. Like Field Of Dreams or was it Wayne’s World 2? Hehe I was one happy man/boy.

Walk out concert

  • Been lucky, I’ve never had to walk out of a concert due to frustration over a bad performance. However, I did have to walk out of one for other reasons! The Jazz Warriors had performed at an Arts Centre somewhere in King Cross, London circa 1989. Now hear me out! It had nothing to do with the talent and incredible music which was electrifying our youthful ears. The Jazz Warriors were a large ensemble of brilliant black musicians and featured a line up that including the likes of Courtney Pine, Steve Williamson, Cleveland Watkiss, Phillip Bent, Orphy Robinson and Gary Crosby to name just a few. We took our seats at the front of the concert hall. The band went straight off into full free form jazz mode. Busting out abstract and free flowing rhythms that blew your minds. Amazing and intense at exactly the same time. You became one with the jazz. The thing was, they just kept going. After about two hours we were getting anxious for our train journey home, back down south. Not wishing to leave and look bad we sat there. Right up to the last minute when we just had to go or be stuck in London for the night. Summoning the courage we get up to leave! To our shock the whole place was empty. Everyone had left. We dropped our heads and sheepishly made our move to the door. So cool to have seen this band jam. I wonder if they are still eternally playing there now?

Dream concert you never thought would happen?

  • The Brazilian jazz samba funk band Azymuth was another of those bands we would regularly joke about imagining they would come to our home town. Of course it would never happen? WTF! in 1997 they did!! However we messed a little with the music gods giving us our wish. We changed it up and decided to see them at the Concorde Club in Brighton. It felt right to see them somewhere cooler. Patrick Forge was Djing and he dropped a tune that had me doing what I hate doing, asking the dj what a tune is! It was ModajiStarburst Over Orion“. It was playing as we walked in and I had to buy it as soon as I got home. It still feels surreal thinking back and remembering standing right at the front, mesmerised in the presence, of Alex Malheiros, Ivan Conti and Jose Roberto Bertrami. To top it off my friend and I went down to the beach to see the ocean in the pitch dark. It be fun! Not realising the pebbled beach had created a slope with the waves crashed down. We both instantly were trapped as we tried to climb the forever falling stones to escape. Frantically filled with fear and laughing hysterically at the same time as the waves crashed over us. After our brush with death we stood soaked in a kebab shop before heading off to the skanky, heartburn hotel, we were staying in. Such a fun night. Never dreamt we would of seen them live. Thankful we didn’t die.

Most surprising concert

  • Ola Onabule was an artist I knew from one song called It’s Never Over that I had on a cassette I’d recorded from Bob Jones Kiss Fm radio show the Soul Surgery in 1997. A track I’d keep rewinding. A work friend randomly said he had a spare ticket to this soul artist he’d never heard of. I jumped at the chance when I saw who it was. Ola Onabule was playing a small but wonderful little live venue called Mr Kyps in Ashley Cross, Poole. It used to be my old primary school sports hall. At a guess I’d say it was 2006. Ola was so charismatic and funny. His friendly style at this intimate gig was one of the most welcoming and warming gigs I’ve ever been too. Ola was such a gentlemen. The band were superb and featured some sublime electric keyboard and great fun banter between the group. I always hoped to see him return. I’ve just seen his Youtube channel is filled with live lock down streams. Soul Town gives a tiny taste of the gig.

Future concert ?

Wish I could have seen?

  • Gonna be strict with myself here. Just one! Arrrgh not fair….. It’s gotta be Richie Havens. Now of course it should be Woodstock Festival in 1969 however, way too many hippies and too much mud. No, only joking, I’d love some of the free love stuff but I’d go for his 1971 concert in Montreux, Switzerland. I don’t think he sings it but at the end, at the encore, I’d shout out and hope he’ll play “What about me?”. That tune always sets my old tear ducts off. Deeply heartfelt, dark and powerful. Yet with the frantic pulsating rhythm it’s ultimately uplifting with such a strong message of change. Hits you right square in your beating heart.

As the set comes to an end with the crowd clapping as Richie takes a bow. This hairy creature in the audience lets out “Encore! Encore! One more please Richie. Do what What About Me?” Richie smiles and says “Of course Wolfman. Here you go. This ones for you.” The crowd goes wild.

There you go, an off shoot from the movies and a personal look into some of the musical adventures I had over the years. Feel free to add your own First, Best, Last etc concert if you wish, it would be cool to know.

The films are coming soon. A great B-movie will probably be next. Watch this space. Thank you.

Mikey Wolfman

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18 thoughts on “First Gig, Best Gig, Last Gig And More. A Concert Music Memory Excursion.

  1. Fantastic post! I love it! I know…maybe…5% of the artists (not a correct percentage, my math skills are atrocious) but I also know they’re all great. I trust your jazz and soul chops. Richie Havens I know. And Herbie Hancock, of course. Bennie Maupin too. Azymuth…I’ve heard of. I need to check them out. I’ve heard of Lonny Liston Smith too. Definitely will check him out.
    My first concert? Pat Benatar. Best concert? The Allman Brothers Band. Runner up? Joan Jett. Honorable Mention? (Lots, but if I had to say–Judas Priest) Last Concert? Steely Dan. Walk Out Concert? Never walked one.
    I envy your jazz knowledge, Mikey. I dabble in it, that’s all. I love Soul, R&B, Funk and 90s Hip Hop, but I’ve never been to a concert of those genres except Bill Withers (fantastic) and Hall & Oats (fantastic) and of course Steely Dan (awesome). I’ve seen lots of Blues musicians live–my husband and I have a passion for live Blues.
    Really enjoyed this one.
    Louise is lovely.
    –Pam

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sounds like more than 5% to me Pam.
      Loving reading you’ve seen so much live music.
      I’m watching an The Allman Brothers Band live performance from 1970 on YT as I type. They really going for it. Such cool guitar work.
      Joan Jett still looks pretty darn hot now. Same goes for Pat Benatar. I can imagine both those two rock chicks gigs must of had amazing energy going on.
      Good to hear you’ve never had to walk out of one. That would stuck, esp when you are so psyched to see a band you’d really admired.
      Would of loved to have seen Bill Withers. Also Hall and Oats and Steely Dan.

      What’s the saying, a jack of all trades but master of none. hehe I know a fair bit but not the really rare stuff. Or who played on that or what in 1975/76 etc… My friends and I got into buying music young and still to this day are sharing and finding new stuff. It’s been constant the urge to keep finding cool tracks and bands. Over 35 years of buying records and I’ve cross many genres though mostly in the black music umbrella.
      I’d love to sit and enjoy some live Blues. One genre I’m not very versed in at all but whenever I hear something I always like it.

      Thanks for the very kinds words Pam and the superb comment.
      Mikey

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This was a great read, Mikey. So many wonderful memories here. You and Louise are such a lovely couple. Hope you guys are well and keeping safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to pop and lock to Rocket! Well, tried to and looked rather silly at the time!
      Good to see you are keeping an eye on the environment Glen and the frivolous waste of said toothpaste. great point though, at least they squeezed from the bottom!
      Hey I haven’t seen that video since the 80s and wow did it bring back some memories. A really inventive video too. Fits in so well with that classic track.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Wolfie 🙂 I love all of these musicians that you mentioned and speaking of concerts, have you ever seen any concert films? The reason I ask is because one of the many great ones is Jonathan Demme’s 1984 concert film of a Talking Heads one entitled “Stop Making Sense”. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh gosh I’m sure I’ve seen a few but for some reason I can’t recall them at this time!
      There is one I do remember well that I’d recorded off the tv was The One Love Peace Concert at the National Stadium Kingston. The one famous for Bob Marley uniting the two political party members Michael Manley (PNP) and Edward Seaga (JLP) together on the stage. Was a very powerful moment.
      I haven’t seen the “Stop Making Sense” Talking Heads concert film. Hadn’t heard of it before if I’m being honest. I like Talking Heads. Sounds really great from the reviews too. I will be checking it one day soon. Thanks JC for the heads up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. SO out of the loop when it comes to music. I was so happy I at least recognized Herbie H. and remembered him well from way back when.
    But the only other thing I recognized was The World’s End Pub which I then connected with the movie by Edgar Wright. I didn’t know the title was based on a real pub! But of course it was!
    What a sweet love story concerning how you met your future wife. Awwww. Much better than the story of how me and my mister got together, lol.
    I can also relate to your desire to leave the one concert as it kept going on, nearing your transportation’s departure time: we were at a ball game at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and there was no way I was going to wait until the end so that we were all cramming down the streets, cramming down the stairs, waiting, all crammed together on the platform, then cramming ourselves into the subway train. So we left a little early and got out fast–no cramming involved! I think our team was losing anyway. We were terrible fans.
    Lastly, I can list the three “concerts” I’ve attended in my life, and you will not only cry (with bewilderment) but will probably vomit (in sadness).
    The World of Sid and Marty Croft at the Hollywood Bowl, 1973 (featuring Johnny Whitaker, of Family Affair fame, and The Brady Bunch!)
    The Monkees return tour at The Bowl, 1980s.
    Linda Rondstadt, Universal Studios 1982.
    I’m sorry. Feel free to pity me.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’d better throw my distant-memory concert-goings in as well for the sake of… well, posterity.

        David Bowie 1984
        Bob Dylan 1986
        Bryan Ferry 1988

        They were all big stadium concerts. Best live music performances I’ve ever had the privilege of attending however have all been been at much smaller venues.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Fantastic, right? Did you see the documentary about her? It was heart rending. Almost actually teared up. When singers lose their voices or artists lose their sight or musicians lose their hearing…. definitely gotta ask “what’s it all about?” to the cosmos at large….

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not the same pub as the Edgar Wright film but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear if it was inspiration for the name.
      It’s amazing to read on the wiki link that the first reference to a tavern in that spot was in 1690! wow! How much booze has been consumed in that place over the years!??!
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World%27s_End,_Camden

      Hehe thanks Stacey. Yeah there must of been some Alexander O’Neal magic still drifting around after all those years.
      LOL “We were terrible fans” hehe but I 100 percent agree on that strategy. I would do the same. The bundle at the end is so horrible. To think people do it every week. You don’t want to be hearing a massive roar from the stadium just as you get in the car park to learn that your side had an eleventh hour work of genius and turned things around. Pretending not to care as you pull supporter hat down over your face. hehe.

      “and you will not only cry (with bewilderment) but will probably vomit (in sadness).” LOL LOL Oh that did make laugh so much… Hehe

      Hey let’s see if we can get you some cool points from these three.

      Well I don’t know what to say on the Sid and Marty gig apart from you didn’t need to drop any acid. The technicolor trip was going on before your eyes! Just watched some on YT. The outfits. But cool kudos on the the venue, that is amazing. I’ve seen the Hollywood Bowl in a few things over the years but to be sat in there must of been truly incredible! Though you probably don’t remember after the acid trip of the eyes!
      The Monkees are excellent. I loved watching them growing up. Run DMC called their track Mary Mary. “Mary Mary why ya buggin?” and De La Soul used the drum beats from it. So big cool points there.
      Linda Rondstadt I don’t really know here music apart from a classic or two on the radio. But she always made me stop in my tracks as I was flicking through thousands of record stores. She was very beautiful.

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the coolness ratings, Mikey.
    I screwed up on the Monkees reunion, actually. It wasn’t at the Bowl. It was at the Greek Theater, and my boyfriend and I didn’t have tickets, so we snuck in through the back, which involved climbing up a small hill and then scaling a small fence. It’s open air like the Bowl. So we just stood there on top of the hill in the dark (there were a lot more people up there with us than I thought there’d be) listening…..
    And you are correct. Did NOT need acid for Sid & Marty. Natural acid atmosphere just flowing all around already. Be so sad to be colorblind during the ’70s !!!

    Liked by 2 people

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