The Clash Chancellor Hall Chelmsford 1977 White Riot Tour.
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Looking Back To The Day The Clash Came To Town On The White Riot Tour With Subway Sect, The Slits and The Prefects

We were just bored teenagers on that day

on the 29th of May

For this was going to be a very special day

1977 was the year

'I hope go to heaven' was in my ear!

CBS was the label on my turntable

Over and over it got played, just before this big day

it was almost worn out before they played.

Turn it down turn it down my parents did say

weeks before this most memorable day.

Then we got dressed in our best punk gear

Never thought I would wear that Baddow Comp Blazer again with fear

But all torn up it made me look good again.

Barry Magowan was my, now punk mate

Who called round with some spray paint

My mum got some gel and spiked up our hair

While Barry sprayed me all over without a care

Now I'm bald on top of my head, perhaps it was that paint that was on my brain that made me so insane.

So dressed up we did on this day, for it was the Clash that led us on our way

The Lion and Lamb was the place to meet.

before the big gig and have a treat

London punks with locals alike,

Chelmsford was now a sight,

No Teds or Skins could be seen,

punks in town all looking mean.

Subway Sect set the scene to start us of on this punky theme.

The Slits made a scream, these girls could make you cream, in your dreams

Prefects no longer part school, but they made a noise to made you feel cool.

But we were there on that night,

as Strummer led the Clash band out

pogo up, pogo down, as girls and boys jumped around

Hate and War and Jamie Jones said it all

'a white riot, a riot, I want a white riot, a riot l want

Garage band Garage Land'!

The Chancellor Hall said it all.....

are we bored with the USA,

yes we are, and still today

Gob in your mouth to spit it out

Remote Control led us about

Career opportunities, the ones that never knock

Every job they offer you is to keep you out the dock

London's burning with boredom now

London's burning dial 999999

Music will never be the same

on the day that punks came our way

a life changing concert it was for us all

never played my Zepp anymore.

 

Maurice Hyde 28th May 2107

 

Rare Ticket Chancellor Hall Chelmsford. Click On Image To Play "White Riot" Video From 1977
I don't have any nostalgic tales about the White Riot Tour coming to Chelmsford.  Don't get me wrong, I was there and it was a blast but my memory is of a collection of bands from all round the Country being very angry about matters that meant F all to me.  I remember The Prefects sang "Birmingham is a shithole" which I thought was funny but obvious - having now visited our town, the singer must have realised that anywhere north of Chelmsford would fall into that category (must be why they never recorded it!)?  I completely forgot about Subway Sect and haven't a clue about their songs - must have been at the bar for their set? The Slits were sluts because one of them touched Barry's arse on the way to the stage - spent their set laughing at that and not thinking much of them musically, good album cover though, inspiring stuff for an adolescent!  Loved The Clash - that backdrop is a brilliant representation of the time - but we didn't have riots like that in our Town so was a little difficult to sympathise but the songs, the anger were groundbreaking for us.  Shame the best punk band to come to town was the first, in hindsight all the bands that followed weren't quite so inspiring.
In recent times, I was one of the 50 or so that saw Carbon/Silicon at V a couple of years ago when everyone else was watching Muse - old Mick is still out there folks, sometime Gorilla(z), shame he only comes to town every 31 years. 

Ash  July 2010

Chelmsford Punks Martin Reid, Gary McDowell, Pete Frostick, Mick Bartlett. Sunday Times Magazine Sept 1977. Photo taken at Chancellor Hall Clash Gig, Click On Image To Play Video "1977"
I remember the build up to the evening, about how sleepy Chelmsford was going to be invaded by hordes of rabid Punk Rockers marauding our streets from London, how drugs and alcohol were going to ruin the adolescent youth for years to come. I was 18 at the time and thought it was great. I can remember the Lion and Lamb, AKA the Animals (this was the pub in front of Dukes) having a lot of the local thugery, waiting for the punks and I think we actually drank in there and the Fleece before the gig. I do recall getting dressed up in an old school blazer with a skinny black tie. The blazers were ripped and had safety pins festooned all over them. Also this was the time of the Queens Silver Jubilee, there were many little plastic Union Jack flags in abundance, a lot of these were saftey pinned to jackeetsand shirts.  We must have looked stupid but we thought we were cool.


Inside the hall it seemed ever so dark and sweaty, between the bands heavy Dub Reggae seemed to shake the venue to its core. I can’t remember a lot about the bands apart from that, I thought that the Slits were excellent, I think that this was my reggae upbringing. They played what I thought at the time the best song of the night, “New Town” When they sang this they rocked from foot to foot in unison. I know the Subway Sect also played and I think the Prefects, but this part of the night was a blur. The Clash were good and I remember “White Riot” blaring out and everyone going mental. They also did a version of Junior Murvins “Police and Thieves.” The strange thing at that time was that I couldn’t hear much difference between them and the Feelgoods. Fast exciting music.

I Took A Poster Like This From The Wall Downsatirs At The Chancellor After The Gig. Click On Image To Play Video "London's Burning"

The night seemed to go really quickly and I did realise at the time that I had been to something that had probably changed my life musically. If it wasn’t for that night, I would have never seen some of the great up and coming bands before they were famous. I wouldn’t have enjoyed a lot of the bands that I saw at the Chancellor and in a lesser degree the Rock Club. I would not have preferred my music to be rough and raw, rather than the practised polished rubbish that everyone else enjoys (excluding 70’s syrupy soul, because that is the best).


Summing up I think I was lucky to have been a teenager when I was, it was an exciting time to be young. There was an air of innocence about which made the punk scene, seem very dangerous. You could see bands cheap on a Sunday which were on Top of the Pops on a Thursday. The music felt as though it was breaking down barriers and not conforming to the norm. I suppose like the 60’s protested against something, as the only other time I saw the Clash was with Maurice at Vicky Park in Bow, supporting the Rock against Racism campaign. Most surprising of all though, was that the Clash would become Megastars and the Slits were not as good as I thought.

Duncan Egleton June 2010

Subway Sect Click On Image To Play "Why Don't You Shoot Me" Recorded Live On The White Riot tour 1977
I was so excited when the Clash came to town, I had just bought the first single “White Riot” b side “1977” I had played them over and over and Punk was all new to me. Such raw short and fast tracks that I just loved , Punk was well and truly here now. I lived in Great Baddow with my parents then a 17 year old bored teenager fascinated by the emerging new wave bands.

Having already seen pub rockers Dr Feelgood, I was now certainly ready for the White Riot Tour at the Chancellor Hall. I had read stories in the Media about rioting in other towns and the local paper reported that the council had restricted admittance numbers to 400 with a soft drinks bar only following these reports.

My self and Barry Magowan who lived a few doors away talked and planned how we would dress as Punks for the night. We had sprayed and spiked our hair and dressed best we could as Punks that Sunday evening. The walk into to town was memorable as the older generation look on in shock as here were some of those terrible Punks they had read about in the press.

Is all we had to watch out for were local Ted's who might want a Punch Up as there were still quite a few Teddy Boys in Chelmsford then but they never appeared. We started of at the “Lion And Lamb” locally known as “The Animals” now “Dukes”. As we arrived there were about 60 Punks outside some probably from the London area, we had a couple of drinks here. I must admitt I was a bit scared at the time as this was the first time I had mixed with such characters ,some of whom were frightening to look at.  Sounds crazy that I tried to dress to shock, but was instead terrified of other scary punks.
The Slits

Once inside the hall we made our way to the bar that was busy serving soft drinks, Barry had managed to talk to some punk girls who we did not know until they appeared on stage, they were the Slits. I don't remember a lot about the Prefects who I think were the first band on , other than that they were fucking terrible. When the Subway Sect came on rumours started in the crowd that Ted's had gathered outside the venue armed with iron bars, this sent the crown running over to the front windows to view, but I never saw any. Having said that, "where have all the Ted's gone in Chelmsford". I always remember seeing Ted's all the time round town but now there's none to be seen.

The Slits sounded bad as well as they could hardly play, just a screaming horrible noise, but I remember this song were they danced side to side like stiff dummy's it was called “New Town” one of there better efforts of the evening. Click on image to play the 1978 video of this song and you will see what I mean.

The Prefects

We had moved close to the front when the Clash came on and you soon new that here was a band of the future, they were just superb. The punks did pogo and dance to the sounds that came from the first Clash LP , London's Burning, Jamie Jones, Remote Control, Hate and War, What's My Name, Career Opportunity's, I'm So Bored With The USA, Cheat, 48 hours and Garageland that could have been played but defiantly 1977 and White Riot as I remember these. We had witnessed the turning point in music live, that changed us for ever more. All in all local history had been made when the Clash came to town.

Maurice Hyde


 

 

 

 

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