Joy Division

6th June 1977: Guild Hall, Quayside, Newcastle

Supporting the Adverts, Penetration, Harry Hack and the Big G

Songs performed (confirmed so far):

Poster scan

Unfortunately no photos of Warsaw exist from this gig. However, Cindy Stern took this one of Penetration. About a week prior to this gig Penetration had shared a bill with Warsaw (their debut gig) and Buzzcocks at The Electric Circus in Manchester where Pauline and Gary of Penetration invited Warsaw to perform in Newcastle

(C) Cindy Stern and used here with permission

Peter from Harry Hack and The Big G tells us: "I think the bill was The Adverts, Penetration, The Big G and then a couple of other acts and finally at the bottom of the bill a band called Warsaw (not on the posters or tickets). They were there at the invite of Gary, Penetration's guitarist, if I remember right. Someone recently told me they turned up in a furniture removal van but I don't remember that. I seem to remember they were shite. I could well be mistaken though. There was rumour of a tape of the gig but it wouldn't have featured Warsaw I don't think

The gig was definitely at the Guildhall on Newcastle's Quayside. In those days we could only have punk gigs if we found unsuspecting venues. For a couple of years people used to hire the place and put gigs on".

Listen Ear Records, the promotor, was a small indie record shop in Ridley Place, Newcastle. They also sold tickets there for the Pistols secret gig in Middlesbourogh later that year.

Newcastle Guild Hall in 2001. Image supplied by
Photographer: Ian Britton.

Gary Chaplin from Penetration
tells us: Penetration had a loose friendship with the Adverts and Michael Dempsey (their manager). Pete Brent, our manager and local record store owner, promoted the Guildhall gig which was part of the Jubilee celebrations held in June 1977. The Adverts were booked to headline with Penetration supporting and Harry Hack opening. The plans for this gig were probably made some time in April 77.

Penetration were constantly looking for gigs at this time and as a consequence of our endeavors in this area we made contact with Richard Boon, manager of Buzzcocks and somehow blagged our way onto the bill at the Electric Circus Gig on 29th May 77. At this gig we witnessed Warsaw for the first time and were very impressed, so much so that we were moved to invite the band to join our gig the
following week at the Guildhall. They accepted and duly turned up and played a great set to my recollection. I can confirm that they turned up to the gig in a very large (articulated?) truck - I have no recollection of long hair but can distinctly remember their performance of Reaction.


Peter from Vintagerock's Weblog remembers the gig:

Image thanks to Vintagerock's Weblog

By 1977 I was seriously into punk and new wave, and the new bands were starting to play gigs up in the North East. I still liked classic rock bands, but was also excited by the urgency and immediacy of punk. This gig was held at Newcastle Guildhall, a venue on Newcastle Quayside, which no longer holds concerts and is now a Tourist Information office. Punk was still in its early days.

The Adverts had released One Chord Wonders as a single, but had yet to release Gary Gilmore’s Eyes. Penetration were starting to become known locally, but had yet to land a record deal. Penetration were quite a favourite of mine at the time. Marie and I saw them many times, and often ran into Pauline and the rest of the band at local punk gigs.

This gig was memorable for another reason however. The first band up was a new combo who had come from Manchester to play. They were called Warsaw and Pauline and Gary from Penetration told us that they had played with them in Manchester a few days before at The Electric Circus. They had been impressed by them and had invited them up to Newcastle to play the Guildhall.

Thus, as a late addition to the bill, there are not listed on the flyer. Marie and I arrived early primarily to make sure that we caught Penetration’s set, and as a result we were there for Warsaw. Warsaw were, of course, to become Joy Division some months later. I would love to be able to report that we experienced something momentous that evening. However, my recollections were of a band who were nervous, and obviously still learning to play.

I don’t recall Ian Curtis displaying any of the manic dancing way that would become his trademark. Rather, I remember a shy guy who appeared uncomfortable on stage. I saw Joy Division a year or so later supporting the Buzzcocks and Ian was incredible; however what we saw at the Guildhall was a new, young band playing pretty average garage punk songs. Reports of the time suggest that they will have played early songs: Reaction and Leaders of Men.

Next up was local band Harry Hack and the Big G; I recall one song about “Brown Dog” (Newcastle Brown Ale). Pentration were, as always, excellent; they had some great songs which I was starting to know, having seen them many times. The Adverts were also a good live act. TV Smith was a dynamic front man, and Gaye Advert stood quietly alongside him playing bass. Great memories. I note that the flyer states “all bands to be recorded”. I wonder if any recording exists. I would love to hear it.


Martin from North East Punk shares his memories:

I was very excited about this gig, not only because of who was on the bill but also because with four bands it was almost a Punk festival. I arrived early and was one of the first into the venue. My brother arrived soon after, he'd chopped-off his long hair that very afternoon and when I saw him I barely recognized him! There was a disco on playing a selection of Punk tracks. The ticket stated something like 'all bands to be recorded' (by the promoters Listen Ear) but, for some unknown reason(s), this didn't happen though a (very ropey) bootleg of The Adverts' set is available on CDR.

This gig is now 'legendary' in the North East for a number of reasons: It was on Jubilee Day '77 (advertised on posters, etc. as 'Stuff The Jubilee') and Pauline (Penetration) has said in interviews that it was the only gig in Newcastle when it felt like Punk was about to happen in a big way but, unfortunately, it didn't really come to anything. There was a 'scene' of sorts in the North East with literally hundreds of bands but most weren't aware of each other and the 'scene' (if there was one as such) was very disparate. Johny (who was the singer in one of the NE's first Punk bands Speed (formed in '76)) said in an interview that this gig was one of the best he ever attended (and he'd seen them all - the Pistols, The Clash, The Damned et al.) It is also particularly memorable as it was on his 16th. birthday.

I can't remember the order the bands appeared except that The Adverts were on last as they were the headliners. I had previously seen The Big G and Penetration as they were both local bands and played in the NE quite regularly. The Big G were like a Geordie Ramones (the singer was wearing one of their Texas Chainsaw Massacre T-shirts.) Their guitarist, Red Helmet(!), had his face painted silver and wore a binbag (as was de rigueur at the time!) Penetration finished their set with a great version of Patti Smith's Free Money which had some punks pogoing out of the venue and into the street outside!

As for Warsaw, they were complete unknowns to me and, I suspect, to the majority of the crowd. I remember Ian, who was wearing a mohair jumper and leather trousers, coming off the stage and into the audience during 'Reaction.' I remember thinking Peter Hook looked rather unusual for someone in a punk band - moustache and leather cap (very un-punk!) Warsaw came across as a pretty run-of-the-mill punk band but they definitely had something that a lot of bands didn't have, though it was difficult to put your finger on exactly what made them different. However, there was no indication that they would go on to become such a unique, influential and legendary band.

The Adverts were everything I'd hoped for and more and the audience (including some members of the other bands) was a frenzied-mass of pogoing with many (myself included) singing along to classics such as Bored Teenagers.

Peter Hook makes reference to the gig in his book Unknown Pleasures: 'We had been invited by Penetration to support them, The Adverts and Harry Hack & The Big G at Newcastle Town Hall. It was the first time we'd used borrowed equipment, meaning we had to walk on, plug in, and play, so we sounded dreadful, and I think also the first time we got paid. Twenty quid... I'd asked Danny McQueeney to drive us up there... Now, if you've never been in the back of a three-and-a-half-ton van all the way from Manchester to Newcastle, let me tell you, it's like being locked in a box. A freezing box... When the gig ended and Danny announced he was too pissed to drive back (and none of us was insured to drive), we weren't too fussed about postponing the hellish journey back and staying the night. Until it got cold, that is. Really. Fucking. Cold... We couldn't put the heater on. There was only enough fuel to get us back as it was...'

A feature on this gig will be included in Gob On The Tyne, a book we're currently compiling on the North East Punk / post-Punk scene 1976 - '80

Martin later saw Joy Division in Blackpool