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And then he walked along the edge of the Circle

This is the place where we will post your stories about the Green's Playhouse, The Glasgow Apollo and Satelitte City (The Wee Apollo). As it develops we will break the stories up into sections such as Myths, Gigs I missed, Meeting the Bands, Where are they now etc. No story too trivial and we will only edit out bad language!

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Comments on Suicide [reply]
Suicide supported The Clash in 1978. I was a devoted 18 year old Clash fan, but Suicide were the best band I ever saw live. I remember a very few other people were standing cheering, while everybody else booed them constantly.
It was the most intense and emotional musical experience I have ever had until I attended a performance of Beethoven's 9th last year. Thank you, Alan Vega & Martin Rev.
I was at that infamous event when Suicide supported The Clash, and i was one of the ones
hurling abuse, amongst other things, at this
electro horror-show...most young punks like myself (16yrs) wanted the blistering guitar-
punk of The Clash (and Richard Hell, who was
great)but we weren't expecting 2 posers with synths...i came to appreciate them years later
but at the time it was too much for our narrow view of what "punk" music was.
er..sorry, slight error in story above,
Richard Hell didn't play same night he played
at the previous Clash's all a bit fuzzy!
Here is my recollection of Suicide in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1978.  I had never heard of Suicide at that time. They were one of the support acts for The Clash, the other being “The Coventry Specials” later known as “The Specials”.

Just to set the scene, this was the height of the punk phenomenon which had a huge impact on British society. At the time the tabloid newspapers had articles about “punk rock” every other day. Everybody had heard of The Sex Pistols although few people had heard their music since they were banned from radio, television, and major record shops refused to sell their records. The Clash were the other big name in punk. So
I was there to see The Clash.

The streets leading to the Apollo theatre were lined with punks, and the general public seemed to creep away rather intimidated by our presence. So you see, this was an audience that were at the cutting edge of what was happening. Nothing was too revolutionary, or shocking for them…. One would assume.

Having been to pre punk gigs I was familiar with the routine, bouncers search you for tape recorders and potential weapons. I think they gave up at this gig. An endless stream of people with razor blades hanging from their ears and chains everywhere. The first group on was the Specials, who gained mild respect from the audience patiently waiting for The Clash.

Next Suicide. No introduction. A bare stage. (two piece synth bands did not exist at this time, guitars drums, that was it!) A man (Martin Rev) walks on and holds a note on the keyboard. The audience is still talking amongst themselves unaware that half the band is already on stage and the performance has started. The noise gets louder, a tape loop..repetitive electronic noise.. gets louder, the audience start to look at the stage.  Alan Vega walks on. He is wearing a glitter jacket, with one sleeve torn off.

Is this punk? He takes the microphone and screams… The noise echos round the theatre. He says something… just a distorted echo. I remember thinking.. “What the **** is this!!!” It was clear his accent was American, and he posed like the audience loved him. (at the time punk was a particularly British thing, The Clash had a song called “I’m so bored with the USA” ). So who was this American strutting around in a glitter jacket sounding like Elvis, and where the hell was that loud distorted pounding beat coming from!

The audience looked in bewilderment for a few minutes before deciding to start a slow handclap of disapproval. This is usually the sign for a support band to finish off before things get worse. But Suicide were only just on stage. Alan joined in with the handclap acting like the audience were clapping along to the music. This stopped the hand clapping but provoked the audience to shout abuse and hurl objects at the stage. I did not see an axe, but I can quite believe the reports that this happened would be true. I did see cans, bottles and even an attempt to through the first row of (formerly fixed) seating onto the stage.

The Apollo Theatre had a notoriously high stage of about 10 feet so this was not successful. I remember Allan poised on the edge of the stage on his knees supported by one hand, the microphone in the other, looking down at the audience like a hunting dog ready to attack. Alan picked up one of the cans thrown at him and pretended to drink from it, giving a wave of thanks to the person who sent it. I was completely confused. Punk was the most outrageous thing to have happened in my lifetime, so what was this? A loud industrial noise. Drum beats like disco music but psychotic. A singer who tolerates this abuse and performs with such confidence and seems to think he is star like Elvis. I was open minded about music. Even in those days I was listening to the avant garde, and had at least three Kraftwerk albums so was not unfamiliar with electronic music (although I am sure this would not be the case for most of the audience).

I couldn’t make out the words.. they just echoed round the theatre…. He seemed to be screaming and taunting the audience, but also speaking with affection and passion. A real emotional explosion. And that could be said about the audience as well I suppose.  How could it be possible to create such a violent reaction so quickly with just music. And then silence.

I thought I saw blood on his face. Whether it was the result of the missiles being thrown or self mutilation I don’t know. He seemed not to be bothered by it. He still acted like a showman.  The music stopped, he said something…I don’t know what, but then calmly and coolly he walked off. It seemed like the audience were suspended in silence as they suddenly came to terms with the state of madness they were in. In probably just 20 minutes they were taken from a state complacent acceptance of a another support act, to complete anger, then suddenly nothing.

As for me, I didn’t know if I hated the band or not. All I knew was that I had to buy a record to try and make some sort of sense out of what I had just witnessed. I bought the first and only Suicide album of the time, and here I am still listening to it, and every other Suicide, Vega, Rev album that followed to this day.
Thanks for Ian Tyson for the above review. [reply]
The blood on the side of his face came from him constantly hitting himself with the microphone. [reply]
You are spot on
The story about the axe is a myth

It was an incredible performance and at the time groundbreaking and original
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