Monday, 25 August 2014

Memories of a thousand* gigs #28, #29 & #30

(* probably not actually that many, but who’s counting?)

Three very noisy gigs hosted by the Cavern in Exeter, possibly my favourite ever venue.

#28: Silverfish
The Cavern, Exeter - c. 1992 (cannot find a date for this anywhere! Any offers?)
Also present: Steve B

A year after they blew My Bloody Valentine into the middle of the following week, I saw Silverfish headline on their ‘Organ Fan’ tour. It was a sweaty and über-raucous affair, as you might expect; memorable in part because vocalist Leslie trod on my hand. The Cavern, being such a small and intimate venue, has no barrier between audience and stage. As usual I was at the front. There was a surge from behind me, I fell forward, and put my hand on the stage to break the fall. At that precise moment, and completely by accident, Lesley Rankine, in full flow, unwittingly stomped her Doc Martin down onto my fingers. Sweat, bruises and broken fingers – that’s rock ‘n’ roll!


#29: UK Subs
The Cavern, Exeter - 12th May 1995
Also present: Tim, Strimmer & Midget

Charlie Harper at the Cavern
pic by TheRobster
Pre-dating Tim's episode at the Bis gig by a year or so, here's another Tim story: He drank far too much and during the show was set upon by a young lady who he was repeatedly falling onto. This resulted in her inflicting a sizable scratch down his cheek that bled long into the night. How a girl of her diminutive stature managed to inflict such a wound on the six-foot plus frame of Tim is a mystery, but impressive nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Strimmer had a chat with his hero, Subs frontman Charlie Harper, which made him a very happy bloke. What a performer Harper was too. At 50+ years of age, he still had more energy, attitude and rock and roll grit than any of the numerous young pretenders half his age in so-called punk bands at the time.


#30: Blaggers ITA/Naked i
The Cavern, Exeter - 7th April 1995

Another great Naked i support slot, this was also one of their last gigs – they split a year or so later, but didn't get out too much after this show. A shame as they were on blinding form and showed off a clutch of new songs. They also released the Kite Flyer single around this time, so it's even more unfortunate they didn't make more of it. I think I may have done their lights for them at this show. 

The Blaggers set was mental. Rapper Christie hurled himself into the audience on a few occasions, while vocalist Matty was quite literally dragged into the crowd, mic still in hand, performance completely unaffected. It was the second time I'd seen Blaggers ITA and their popularity had exploded by now. You don't get gigs as raucous and energetic as this anymore; there are too many passive hipsters with silly hairstyles that might get a bit ruffled if anyone dared jump into them. But then, there aren't many bands like Naked i and Blaggers ITA around these days either, more's the pity.



  1. No 28 - a small price to pay for a great story!

  2. A bit of a long shot...but...did you ever see a band called American TV Cops at the Cavern? It would have been summer 95.

    1. 'fraid not, but the name rings a bell.

    2. That was my band. We released a few critically acclaimed singles and recorded a session for John Peel. Our gig at the Cavern was really enjoyable. Great venue and a great crowd.