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 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 then evolving punk rock music scene of the United Kingdom. Historically, the event has become seen as marking a watershed moment for punk rock, as it 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 evening, 20 September 1976
Tuesday evening, 21 September 1976
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 act as backing band for established artist Chris Spedding for the show. Spedding, who had been booked to play the second night but didn't have a band behind him, taught The Vibrators a few songs in the dressing room immediately prior the actual show, leaving no 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 purely "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."
Attendance at the event later become a badge of honour for punk rock fans, but it is probable that a lot of claims were apocryphal. Indeed, 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 unlikely to be true since the venue had only a 600-person capacity. However, amongst the verified known attendees were: Paul Weller of The Jam / The Style Council, 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.
Incident with Sid Vicious
The event was unfortunately marred by violence when a beer 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, blinding a young girl in one eye.
- "History". the 100 Club. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
- "Ron Watts Interview Nov 2006". Punk 77. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
- "The 100 Club Punk Rock Festival". Rock's Backpages Library. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
- "Knoxie – The Vibrators Interview... 15.12.99". Punk 77. Retrieved 5 September 2007.