100 Club Punk Special
|100 Club Punk Special|
|Dates||20 and 21 September 1976|
|Location(s)||100 Club, Oxford Street, London|
The 100 Club Punk Special (sometimes referred to as the 100 Club Punk Festival) was a two-day event held at the 100 Club—a typically jazz-oriented venue in Oxford Street, London, England—on 20 and 21 September 1976. The gig showcased eight punk rock bands, most of which were unsigned. The bands in attendance were each associated with the evolving punk rock music scene and movement of the United Kingdom. The concert marked a watershed for the movement, as punk began to move from the underground and emerge into the mainstream music scene.
In early September 1976, concert promoter Ron Watts approached Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, the leaders of the new British punk rock scene, and proposed that they headline the event. After that, they presented the idea to The Damned and The Clash, both of which quickly agreed to participate. Siouxsie Sioux directly approached Watts and requested to join the line-up as well. McLaren then volunteered the Stinky Toys and a handful of other bands from Manchester.
Monday, 20 September
Tuesday, 21 September
The Vibrators were a new group that had only recently begun to write their own music and, at the encouragement of Ron Watts, they decided to back Chris Spedding for the show (who was booked to play the second night but didn't have a band behind him). Spedding taught The Vibrators a few songs in the dressing room immediately prior the actual show, leaving no real time for an actual rehearsal.
Siouxsie and the Banshees' set, however, was completely improvisational. They didn't know or play any songs, and their act had a very "performance art" quality. Siouxsie, for instance, recited The Lord's Prayer and similar memorised pieces of text.
None of the shows were rehearsed, says Ron Watts, "It was just people, getting up and trying to do something."
A great many people who were later to become involved in the punk scene claimed to have "been there" during the two-day festival, but this is an unlikely claim; the venue had a 600-person capacity. However, amongst the known attendees were: Shane MacGowan (later of The Nipple Erectors and The Pogues), Shanne Bradley (of The Nipple Erectors and The Men They Couldn't Hang), Viv Albertine of The Slits, Chrissie Hynde (later of The Pretenders), Vivienne Westwood (McLaren's then partner and co-manager of the Chelsea boutique Sex), Gaye Advert and T. V. Smith (later of The Adverts), as well as members of the Bromley Contingent, the punk fashion avant-garde, Andrew Czezowski (Ex manager of The Damned) and Susan Carrington who went on to start The Roxy with Barry Jones. Andrew and Susan also introduced Steve Strange and Rusty Egan to the Blitz which started the New Romantic Movement. Andrew and Susan then went even further and opened the iconic club of the eighties and nineties The Fridge in Brixton.
The event was unfortunately marred by violence when a glass, thrown by then Banshees drummer and later Sex Pistols bass player Sid Vicious, and witnessed by the artist John Keane, whose ear it nicked, shattered against a pillar during The Damned's set, blinding a young girl in one eye.
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