“A hard working rock band on the road”

Source: Broadcast Barnsley (Credit John Cruse with kind permission, Jan 4, 2019)

Back to our chosen theme: as Melvin Bragg said in his preamble to the BBC’s ‘Second house’ film on the Kursaal Flyers, the life depicted is ‘seedy, gritty, tough and unattractive.’  Nevertheless, that has been the route by which many bands have risen to stardom.  It was certainly the case for Barnsley heroes Son of a Bitch/ Saxon, as described in an article in the Barnsley Chronicle in November 1977.

Reporter Stephen Thorpe went on tour with the band and described to local readers the hard grind of life on the road, a relentless and often unrewarding slog that tested all but the most committed.  Biff, the band’s vocalist, had the belief necessary to fight through.  He told the paper:

“We’re going to make it and make records; there are no two ways about that.  If we don’t believe in that, we might as well pack it in.”

He was proved to be perfectly right, but you had to have immense faith at the height of the punk movement to carry on playing out-moded heavy metal.

Conditions on the road were gruelling and sapping.  The band had problems with the power supply at several of the venues.  Cancelled gigs threatened their entire budget potentially: they might expect to make £50 in an evening (£340 today) but the profit was often less. The band relied on the money made at one gig to pay for petrol to get them to the next.  A lost date could have caused the entire tour schedule to collapse.

The group allowed themselves £1 a day  (about £7 currently) to cover their personal expenses- food, cigarettes etc.  Sometimes, though, there was no cash to buy a meal before a gig and the often went on stage making do with just a cup of tea.   During the interview the band praised their invaluable sixth member, the roadie John Batty.  His devotion was a key part of Son of a Bitch’s survival and success.

Source: Broadcast Barnsley, May 4, 2017

In January 1976 Metro Management advertised that “out of the ashes” of the previous bands had come a new Son of a Bitch, who were booked to play their first gig at a small civic venue, the Centenary Rooms, on February 6th 1976.  The choice of venue indicates that they were still unsure of their audience, but the band members all had solid live experience and they were confident enough to return within a month (with Fix as support), albeit for only 50p (now about £3.80) on the door. Aged 15, I first saw the band playing at one of these two gigs- I have forgotten which, but it was my first experience of live rock and I remember it as being packed with grown-ups and being smoky, beery and very loud!  It felt like my first taste of an exciting, adult world.

The band played their home town regularly after that, although they graduated to the main auditorium of the Civic Hall from June 1976, playing a gig that promised to “make your feet steam” for a mere 65p.

The band appeared in Barnsley nine times over the next thirty nine months.   This averages one appearance every three months or so, but in fact five of those gigs were during the first year.  It seems apparent that the strategy was to establish a core local audience and to hone the group’s live skills and set at minimal expense, before gambling time and resources on unknown audiences further afield.

Bitch were hungry for public exposure as well as live experience and accordingly they agreed some odd appearances and pairings.  Usually the band were supported by other local rock outfits- for example, in November 20 (1976) support was provided by Heaven’s Above from Cudworth and Weasel from Mexborough.  This was not always the case, however.  In July 1976 Bitch again played Barnsley’s Civic Hall, this time (bizarrely) as part of the borough’s ‘Youth Dance Week’.  Support surprisingly came from Manchester’s Afro-Caribbean soul band Masterpiece; on another occasion Bitch were supported by a white soul outfit, Kokomo, and at another gig films were shown instead of a live guest act, one being of a live performance by avant garde experimentalist Eno.

The local paper, the Barnsley Chronicle, announced that the July gig proved that “rock lives” (in the face of the birth of punk, presumably).  Bitch, “arguably Barnsley’s foremost rock band,” had played to an audience of 300 and had provoked “wild scenes, pandemonium, chaos and cheers.” The report listed the set- it included Freeway, Lift up your eyes, Easy, Taking in the dollar and longstanding favourite Bap shoo ap.  The favourite that night, though, was a ballad called Anne Marie.  I recall this song, even today.  It was a certainly a fave of me and my friends who were in attendance that evening and- at a push- I think I could still play the opening riff, even after four decades.

When the band returned again in November that year the paper declared them to be “possibly the town’s leading band at the moment” and “well on their way to ‘making it’” as they had just distributed demo tapes to record labels.  It was, however, to be another two years before Bitch finally found a recording contract.

You can trace the band’s steadily rising profile directly through the pages of the Chronicle.  SoB (as the reporters discretely liked to call them) were a local success story the paper was happy to feature, whilst the band plainly recognised the benefits of guaranteed press coverage.  Today, acts can promote themselves directly to fans through Facebook, Bandcamp and the like.  During the seventies you had to work harder for publicity, but the local paper was very willing to fill column inches with praise.

Another route to recognition, now as then, was through competitions.  In late September 1977 Bitch won a local ‘battle of the bands’ heat in Sheffield and were headed for the semi-finals of the US Sound Spectacular in Manchester in October.  Perhaps to capitalise on this success, another Barnsley gig was announced and the band set about recording further demo tapes.  Nonetheless, it must have been galling and dispiriting for them to see brand new punk outfits getting signed within months of forming whilst SoB– despite their considerable musical and live experience- were still gigging around the working men’s clubs and hunting for a deal.

The November 1977 booking was put in doubt by an event at the same venue in late October. Barnsley’s one and only punk gig ended in an alleged riot and a police raid. In response, a review of the council’s bookings policy was initiated and SoB were caught by this over-reaction.  As vocalist Pete Byford told the Chronicle, the “antics of the punk rockers” had threatened all live performances in the town and, before the concert could proceed, the band had been obliged to provide legal undertakings to pay compensation for any damage wrought by the audience.  As it was, the gig passed off peacefully, perhaps because the heavy metal fans restricted themselves to drinking Barnsley Bitter and head-banging rather than pogoing…

In mid-1978 the Chronicle announced that SoB had finally secured a recording contract.  They had been flown over to Paris to sign a five figure deal with Carrere Records and were to begin recording their first album in the near future.  Everything seemed promising: in mid-September the local paper reported that the album would be released by Christmas.  That said, it had no title, as yet, and there was also talk of the band changing its name too.

A triumphal return to Barnsley Civic Hall took place in December 1978.  This gig is memorable for two reasons: firstly, we learned that, like Tony Iommi, the lead guitarist had nearly severed the tip of his left index finger, imperilling his ability to play; thankfully he was still able to riff and solo as well as he had ever done.

Secondly, and most significantly, Biff, the vocalist, told us that the band had signed a record contract (roar of approval) BUT that the record company had insisted that they change their name (boos- but perhaps not altogether surprising in the circumstances).  From thenceforth they were to be known as Saxon, but (Biff assured us) to the loyal fans of Barnsley they would always be Son of a Bitch.  For many of us in the audience, there was a sense that this success was cursed.  It had been endangered by the guitarist’s injury whilst it had been bought (it seemed) at the price of their true identity.

In fact, (with shades of Spinal Tap) the appearance of the new album was further delayed- doubtless in part because of the name issue.  Recording took place at in Barnet, between January and March 1979, and the album ‘Saxon’ was eventually released on May 21st of that year.

Source: Peter Lindblad

SOAB – The early years

Dodging flying beer bottles and sidestepping brawling hooligans isn’t everybody’s idea of fun. Biff Byford and the boys of Son of a Bitch, precursors to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal legends Saxon, always found trouble in one particular live venue in the northeast of England – in the industrial town of Burnley – called the Bank Hall Miners Club, but that didn’t stop them from playing there as often as they could in the early days. As the lanky Saxon front man recalls, “The money was good.” And it had to be, because there was a real possibility that one or all of them could wind up in the hospital after the gig. “It was a club for miners, as the miners had their own club,” says Byford. “That was pretty hard actually. That was a pretty hard place. There used to be fights there every time we played – not because of the band, but because there were two gangs that used to stand across each side of the room looking at each other, and then at some point, they’d all charge at each other and that would be the end of the concert. So yeah, it was a bit rough. It was like ‘The Blues Brothers,’ where they’re throwing pots and bits of beer at the band and things.”

Even for young men craving rock ‘n’ roll excitement and even danger, the violence of the Bank Hall Miners Club in the late 1970s was a bit much for Byford and Son of a Bitch. They had to make a buck, though. And, regardless of the trials and tribulations of barnstorming England in a cramped van and performing at clubs and bars where many of the patrons might want to take a swing at them, it beat the hell out of working in the mines.

“When I was 17 or 18, I was working in the coal mines,” says Byford. “It was difficult. It was really hard work. When you’re that young, you’ve got mates in there, and I wasn’t in there for very long. It was a dangerous place. But, yeah, I know what it’s like to work hard for everything.”

Perhaps that’s why Son of a Bitch, and later Saxon, originally had such a large following in working-class communities in the north of England and in South Wales, landscapes once dominated by factories and “cut off from the south,” the more pastoral area of Britain, as Byford says.

“I suppose people just wanted to go out on a Friday or Saturday night and have a great time and just watch a great band,” says Byford. “All these little villages or towns had clubs or bars, and we used to play them. You could play one every night for a month. And that’s what we did.” Back in the 1970s, Byford only had to witness the tough lives of his fellow miners to give himself the push he needed to make it as a musician.

Late 1975, Byford, guitarists Quinn and Graham Oliver, bassist Steve “Dobby” Dawson and drummer John Walker – who would soon be replaced by Pete Gill – formed what would become Saxon in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, only they started out as Son of a Bitch. They toured England relentlessly, as is recounted in the 2012 Saxon documentary film “Heavy Metal Thunder.” The venues weren’t exactly posh settings.

“We played a lot of clubs and bars,” says Byford. “Yeah, we thought it was great fun, although they were very rough. There were a lot of fights and things.” Part of the excitement involved having copious amounts of sex with groupies in the band’s van – which also housed their gear – after a gig. Their one-night stands occasionally got them into hot water. “You had to have a good pair of running shoes to get out of the way,” jokes Byford. “There was always somebody’s girlfriend that liked one of the band members, and you had to get out pretty quickly.”

While the U.K. club circuit provided Saxon, who ditched the name Son of a Bitch fairly early on, all the thrills and excitement they could stand, they had bigger dreams. And they had no intention of being just a covers band, which only served to rile audiences. “In the early days, we used to do like three sets,” recalls Byford. “We used to stop and have a break and then start again. And usually by the end of the set, all of them were pretty rough actually. And we really didn’t do cover songs back then. So a lot of people used to ask for ‘Smoke on the Water’ and all (laughs). And we said, ‘We don’t play that.’ And then they’d usually riot, you know what I mean? After a while, people would come to see us because we were a good band then, so we actually got on a little bit easier as time went on.”

John Walker (first drummer SOAB, Nov 75 – Jan 77)

Source picture: Graham Oliver with kind permission

Early SOB recording with John Walker on drums

Formation of SOAB

End November 1975, some true historic event

Source picture: Graham Oliver with kind permission

Son Of A Bitch (Nov 75 – Jan 77):
Peter Byford (voc)
Paul Quinn (gtr)
Graham Oliver (gtr)
Steve Dawson (bass)
John Walker (drms)

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Source picture: Graham Oliver with kind permission

Son Of A Bitch (Jan 77 – Dec 78):
Peter Byford (voc)
Paul Quinn (gtr)
Graham Oliver (gtr)
Steve Dawson (bass)
Peter Gill (drms)

*** A: Concerts with exact dates and venues (1976 – 1978) ***

SOAB 1975, Dec: Dickens lnn, Rotherham. First session jammed around Christmas

Venue

The Millenium, Westgate : Known as “Station Hotel” (from 1838) “Dickens Inn” (1975). “Sports” (1981). “Westgate Hotel” (1988) “Jakes Bar” (1990) Earliest date 1840

SOAB 1976, February 6: Small Civic venue, the Centenary Rooms, Barnsley, England UK (first SOAB concert)

In January 1976 Metro Management advertised that “out of the ashes” of the previous bands had come a new Son of a Bitch, who were booked to play their first gig at a small civic venue, the Centenary Rooms, on February 6th 1976.  The choice of venue indicates that they were still unsure of their audience, but the band members all had solid live experience and they were confident enough to return within a month (with Fix as support), albeit for only 50p (now about £3.80) on the door. Source: Broadcast Barnsley, be Bop Deluxe, 4 May 2017

Venue

The Centenary Rooms were/ are a venue on the top floor of the Civic Hall. The Civic was a large auditorium with a balcony and capacity for 800; the Centenary Rooms (now called the Assembly Rooms) was, basically, a long low room with a separate bar/ lounge on one side. The Centenary Room stage was quite small and once you had a drum kit, amplifiers and PA set up, it was a tight squeeze. The Civic stage was vast; you felt lost on it.

SOAB 1976, March 5: Small civic venue, the Centenary Rooms, Barnsley, England UK

SOAB 1976, May 13: The Nashville Rooms, London, Kensington (With Cafe Society)

Venue

The Nashville was one of the multitude of venues available to Punk bands

SOAB 1976, May 23: Boat Club, Nottingham England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

Venue

SOAB 1976, July 11: Boat Club, Nottingham England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

Venue

Nottingham Boat Club and Nottingham Forest’s City Ground.

SOAB 1976, Jun 4: Civic Hall, Barnsley, England UK

Venue

SOAB: 1976, July 17: Barnsley Civic Hall, England UK

Venue

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SOAB 1976, September 3: George Hotel, Alfreton, Derbyshire

Venue

SOAB 1976, Nov 20: Barnsley Civic Hall, Barnsley England UK

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Venue

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SOAB 1976, Dec 1: Adam & Eve, Chesterfield (Probably last concert of John Walker with SOAB)

John Walker, onetime SOB And SOAB drummer, was from Chesterfield and lived just around the corner from the Adam & Eve (source Chris Drew).

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Venue

Venue is now a Thai restaurant. Source picture (2022) Christoper Holmes with kind permission

Opening of concert

They used to start with some Tangerine Dream’s ‘Phaedra’ over the PA and as a crescendo built they would start up. Great band, very exciting. Reminiscent of Free but it was a long time ago. Very unusual for them to be at the Adam and Eve club. Source information: Bob Lockett.

SOAB 1977, August 11: Princeville Club, Bradford

Venue

SOAB 1977, August 14: Fforde Grene Hotel, Leeds

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Source picture: Paul Quinn with kind permission

Venue

The Fforde Grene was a public house and music venue. It hosted many bands before they became famous.
The Continental Supermarket on the A58 Roundhay Road, was formerly the Fforde Grene.

SOAB, 1977, September 16: Top Rank Suite, Cardiff (supporting Heavy Metal Kids)

Set list

Unknown, set list wanted

Venue

SOAB 1977, September 17: Pawlett Manor Hotel, Bridgewater

Venue

The Pawlett Manor, also known as the Manor Freehouse, was a hotspot in Somerset for Drum N’ Bass, jungle, electro, dance music, with teenagers and young adults from across the South West flocking to the nightclub. A Sherman tank was proudly parked outside the venue with a World War Two search light shining across North Somerset, acting as a beacon for people to find the iconic Pawlett Manor.The venue shut down in 1998 after the owners were unable to pay for the Pawlett’s renovations and sold the property to developers. The iconic rave venue was knocked down for a housing development many years after.

SOAB 1977, September 11: Sheffield Top rank, England UK

Late september 1977, they were in the US talent competition won that heat and played a gig at Manchester with Ian Gillan but came second as a band called Marseilles win the final

SOAB at Sheffield
SOAB at Sheffield
Band “Teddybear”which became third. Source picture: Ricky Gee.
Teddybear: Ricky Gee, Al Steele, Martin Tomlinson and Kenny Crawley.

SOAB 1977, October 6: Granary, Bristol

Venue

First rock event on Monday 30th December 1968 to the last night on Saturday 27th August 1988

SOAB 1977, October 7: The Apollo, Manchester, England (Supporting Ian Gillan Band)

Venue

SOAB 1977, October 8: Arrail Street Club, Abertillery

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Source picture: Graham Oliver with kind permission

Venue

Not sure if the picture below is the Arrail Street Club

SOAB 1977, October 13: Dixieland Showbar, Southport

Venue

SOAB 1977, October 28: The Centenary Rooms, Barnsley, England UK

SOAB 1977, November 02: Bogart’s, Birmingham England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

Venue

SOAB 1977, Dec 9: Rock Garden – Newport Road, Middlesbrough, England UK

Set list

Unknown, set list wanted

SOAB, 1977, Dec 12: Chester, Quaintways, England

Venue

SOAB, 1977, Dec 15: Annabelle, Liverpool

Venue

Carlton Theatre, Tuebrook, Opened in 1932, Also Known as ABC Cinema / Tuebrook Bowling Centre / ANNABELLE’S / Coconut Grove / Venue / Lords / Painted Wagon Saloon / demolished 2017

SOB, 1978, Jan 8: Maxims, Barrow in Furness, England UK

Set list

Unknown, set list wanted

Venue

Maxims, previously known as The Public Hall. Also known as Rafters and Scorpio

SOAB, 1978, Januari 14: Fforde Green Hotel, Leeds

Venue

SOAB 1978, January 18: Yarborough Club, Doncaster

Venue

Picture wanted

SOAB 1978, January 19: Huntingdon, Stanley, England

Venue

Picture wanted

SOAB 1978, January 20: Boilermaker Social Club, Sunderland

Venue

Below pictures used to called the ‘Boilermakers Arms’ before changing it’s name to Old 29 many years ago.

Boilermakers arms became Old79, Now demolished

Set list (with kind permission of Brian Potts)

1st Set

– Stallions Of The Highway

– Judgement Day

– Frozen Rainbow

– Big Teaser

– Taking In The Dollar (Drum Solo)

– Anne Marie (SOB song)

– Freeway (SOB song)

2nd Set

– Lift Up Your Eyes (COAST song)

– Still Fit To Boogie

– Lazy Days (COAST song)

– Johnny B Goode

– Bop Shoo Wap

– Backs To The Wall

– Street Fighting Gang

– Easy (SOB song)

– Glad To Be Alive.

Encore

Frozen Rainbow ( This was a new song at the time )

Recordings (with kind permission of Brian Potts)

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SOAB 1978, Januari 22: Patons Beehive, Darlington England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

SOAB 1978, Januari 25: Bogart’s, Birmingham England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

SOAB 1978, January 26: Non Political Club, Treforest Wales (see SCAN)

It brought music to Treforest, greeted faces such as Stuart Cable, and united music lovers for years. Tom’s Bar on Wood Road in Treforest was a hub for music lovers in the early noughties. When it was taken over by Gareth and Sarah Long what was once your average Valleys bar was transformed into a sanctuary for music lovers across the Valleys. At first the couple managed the bar for Valley Taverns before taking it over themselves. During this time it was like any other bar – known for hosting the occasional party – but it came with a legendary story. The rumour has it back in the day a 17-year-old Tommy Woodward (more commonly known as Sir Tom Jones to us) made his professional debut on stage at the Treforest Non-Political Club in Wood Road, Treforest [source: Wales online].

SOAB 1978, January 27: Ex Serviceman’s Club, Bargoed (see SCAN!)

The remains of the burnt down club
Above we see the remains of the demolished club

SOAB 1978, January 28: Six Bells, Abertillery (see SCAN!)

SOAB 1978, Februari 04: Rock Garden, Middlesbrough England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

SOAB 1978, February 11: The Granary, Bristol

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SOAB 1978, February 12: Bank Hall Miners Club, Burnley

The history of coal mining in Burnley can be dated to the 12/13th century but it was not until the 19th century that it became industrialised. The first Bank Hall Pit shaft was sunk in 1865 on behalf of the Hargreaves family and when the pit opened in 1869 it was, and remained, Burnleys largest and deepest shaft. It survived until 1971.

Thanks to the Coal Industry Welfare Organisation, and the men of Bank Hall who subscribed weekly, the project for a club got off the ground in 1954, when a committee was set up. The sports ground opened in 1956 and the club in 1957. There was a main ballroom, rear clubroom, small bar lounge and spacious games room, including provision for darts and snooker, as well as the committee room and usual offices. In the second half of the 1960s a ladies powder room was added, a feature which became increasingly desirable as the emphasis grew towards a family entertainment centre. The committees aim was to keep membership around 1,000. In 1970 there were 800 miner members and 150 associated members. In addition to the usual club facilities, there was a cabaret night on Saturdays, Group sessions on Tuesdays and Sundays and 50-50 dance nights each Friday.

Thanks to the Coal Industry Welfare Organisation, and the men of Bank Hall who subscribed weekly, the project for a club got off the ground in 1954, when a committee was set up. The sports ground opened in 1956 and the club in 1957.
There was a main ballroom, rear clubroom, small bar lounge and spacious games room, including provision for darts and snooker, as well as the committee room and usual offices.
Tragedy struck Friday 2, July 1993. Fire gutted the club in the early hours causing so much damage that the building had to be demolished for safety reasons.

SOAB 1978, February 14: The Broadway, Morecambe

The Broadway, Morecombe (Now demolished with Flats Built on the site)

SOAB 1978, February 24: Mecca, Sunderland

Source picture: Davis Mawhinney with kind permission

SOAB 1978, March 12: Jenkinson’s Bar, Blackpool

SOAB 1978, March 16: Rovers Quoits Club, Hartlepool

The original Rovers Quoits Club, Hartlepool was demolished in 2007. Not able to find any photos (only of the new club)

SOAB 1978, March 17: Village Club, Easington

The Village club. They didn’t play at the Colliery club. I lived at Easington then, both clubs were my locals. I saw SOAB there many times (David Mawhinney). The village club would have been the Easington and District Working mens club (Kevin Mullender)
Source picture: David Mawhinney with kind permission (Sadly, now demolished)

SOAB 1978, March 19: Labour Club, Newcastle

Source picture: Graham Heslop with kind permission

Labour Club, Newcastle (They didn’t play this vernue, but at the picture above)

SOAB 1978, March 20: The Club, Thornley

Source picture: David Langlands and Alan Wilkinson with kind permission
The community centre opposite the club, no longer there. This was not the club, the left side was the welfare hall and the right side was a snooker hall with other available rooms. It’s not there now as it’s been demolished. The club is actually about one metre behind the photographer and is still there now (information provided by Gary Hoole and David Langlands)

SOAB 1978, March 27: , Rose Hayworth Club, Abertillery

Picture of the Venue wanted

On Saturday 27th October 1962, The Rose Heyworth Tenants Community Hall was official opened. In 2008, it was closed and was demolished a year later.

SOAB 1978, March 29: Bogarts, Birmingham

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SOAB 1978, April 26: Four Winds, Port Talbot

SOAB 1978, April 27: Non Political Club, Treforest

SOAB 1978, April 27: F Club (Roots), Leeds England ?? Double date

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

SOAB 1978, April 29: Royal Naval Club, Tonypandy

SOAB, 1978, Apr 30: Maxims, Barrow in Furness, England UK

Set list

Unknown, set list wanted

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SOAB 1978, May 1, New Talk of Yorkshire Club, Bradford

SOAB 1978, May 2: Guildford Hotel Leeds

SOAB 1978, May 6: Fforde Green Hotel, Leeds

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SOAB 1978, May 11: The Broadway, Morecambe

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SOAB 1978, May 12: Penny Farthing, Ulverston

SOAB 1978, May 13: Civic Hall, Barnsley, England UK

SOAB 1978, May 22: Thornley Club, Thornley

SOAB 1978, May 25: United Club, West Cornforth England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

SOAB 1978, May 26: Village Club, Easington England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

SOAB 1978, May 27: Rock Garden, Middlesborough

SOAB 1978, June 1: Princeville, Bradfort

SOAB 1978, June 2: Bankhall, Burnley

SOAB 1978, June 8: Dixieland Showbar, Colwyn Bay

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Concert review

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SOAB 1978, June 9: City Tavern, Chelmsford

SOAB 1978, June 15: Dixieland, Colwyn Bay England

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SOAB 1978, June 16: Village Club, Easington

SOAB 1978, June 21: Toppers, Norwich

SOAB 1978, June 23: Sheffield University England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

SOAB 1978, Jun 29: Troubador, Port Talbot, England

SOAB 1978, Jul 5: The Sportsman, Liverpool England

Set list

Unknown, set list wanted

SOAB, 1978 July 17: West Cornforth Club ( nicknamed Doggy Club)

They changed their name at a meeting with Fred Cannon at the Newcastle station hotel after they did a gig in a nearby club nickname ‘Doggy Club’, it was about 3 am at the hotel when it was decided Saxon.

I signed Saxon on July 17th 1978. I was so excited that Pete Hinton and Noel Kaye brought me both SAXON and Iron maiden. SAXON opposed me signing Iron Maiden, who months later went to EMI. We had the best SAXON albums at CARRERE, thanks to a great team lead by Pete Hinton (Source Fred Cannon).

News Article Mid 1978

SOAB 1978, July 27: Club, Thornley England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

SOAB, 1978, Aug 11: Mayfair Ballroom, Newcastle England UK

Mayfair, Newcastle. Closed and demolished in 1999

Set list

Unknown, set list wanted

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SOAB, 1978 Dec 11: The Civic Barnsley, England UK

Set list

Unknown, set list wanted

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SOAB 1978, December 17: Fforde Grene, Leeds England

Source: Punk Music Catalogue

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SOAB 1979, May 19: Special thank you concert for local fans at Civic Hall, Barnsley, England UK

*** B: Concerts without exact dates but with known venues (1976 – 1978) ***

Greyhound, Fulham, London, England

Alhambra Hotel, Sheffield Road, Barnsley

SOAB played a couple of times at this venue

Belle Vue, Manchester

Elizabethan Ballroom,Belle Vue

Could be May 8 1977, The Electric Circus, Manchester, ENG

Could be November 15, 1977 Belle Vue, Manchester, ENG (with The Clash, Siouxsie & The Banshees)

Phoenix, Manchester

1978, Jul 17: West Cornforth Club (nicknamed Doggy club)

They changed their name at a meeting with Fred Cannon at the Newcastle station hotel on July 17th 1978. They did a gig in a nearby club nickname ‘Doggy Club’, it was about 3 am at the hotel when it was decided Saxon

Ashington Cellar club

I’m sure the first time I saw them at Ashington cellar club they were a 3piece and the guitarist s@ng

Heaton Buffs

Check if this is a venue

Middlesbrough Town hall

Picture venue wanted

Thornaby Cons club

Used to watch them at Thornaby cons club . Thursday night was rock night

Spennymoor Working Mens Club

Picture venue wanted

Shildon Working Mens Club

Is this the same venue as the Shildon Civic Hall

Shildon Civic Hall

Back cover first album, picture was taken at the Shildon Civic Hall, probably picture from 1978
Picture of the venue taken in 2012, still looks the same as in 1978
Outside picture in 2021, the venue still exists

SOAB Demo’s

Early 1976 SOB Tapestry Sessions with Biff and Paul joined (After the name has changed from SOB to Son Of A Bitch)

Radio Luxemburg sessions in 1978

De bronafbeelding bekijken
Radio Luxembourg, Hereford street 38 , Mayfair, London

1. Big Teaser – 0:00; 2. Stallions Of The Highway – 3:49; 3. Back To The Wall – 6:53; 4. Rainbow Theme – 10:05; 5. Frozen Rainbow – 14:43.

Unclassified recordings like Frozen Rainbow with Rod Argent on Keyboard

To add

Overview SOAB concerts

DateVenueCity
22-11-1975COAST joined SOB
25-12-1975Dickens lnnRotherhamFirst session jammed around Christmas
6-2-1976Small Civic venueBarnsleyFirst SOAB concert
5-3-1976Small Civic venueBarnsley
13-5-1976The Nashville RoomsLondon
23-5-1976Boat ClubNottingham
4-6-1976Civic Hall Barnsley
11-7-1976Boat ClubNottingham
17-7-1976Civic Hall Barnsley
3-9-1976George HotelAlfreton
6-10-1976Early october, Graham accident
MelodymakerMid november, search for new drummer
20-11-1976Civic Hall Barnsley
1-12-1976Adam & EveChesterfieldProbably last concert of John Walker
Januari, start Pete Gill
11-8-1977Princeville ClubBradford
14-8-1977Fforde Grene HotelLeeds
11-9-1977Top rankSheffield
16-9-1977Top Rank SuiteCardiff 
17-9-1977Pawlett Manor HotelBridgewater
6-10-1977GranaryBristol
7-10-1977The ApolloManchesterSupporting Ian Gillan
8-10-1977Arrail Street ClubAbertilleryWales
13-10-1977Dixieland ShowbarSouthport
15-10-1977Belle Vue Manchesterwith The Clash
28-10-1977The Centenary RoomsBarnsley
2-11-1977Bogart’sBirmingham 
9-11-1977Rock GardenMiddlesbrough
12-12-1977QuaintwaysChester
15-12-1977AnnabelleLiverpool
8-1-1978MaximsBarrow in Furness
14-1-1978Fforde Grene HotelLeeds
18-1-1978Yarborough ClubDoncaster
19-1-1978StanleyHuntingdon
20-1-1978Boilermaker ClubSunderland
22-1-1978Patons BeehiveDarlington
25-1-1978Bogart’sBirmingham 
26-1-1978Non Political ClubTreforestWales
27-1-1978Ex Serviceman’s ClubBargoedWales
28-1-1978Six BellsAbertillery Wales
4-2-1978Rock GardenMiddlesbrough 
11-2-1978The GranaryBristol
12-2-1978Miners ClubBankhall
14-2-1978The BroadwayMorecambe
24-2-1978MeccaSunderland
12-3-1978Jenkinson’s BarBlackpool
16-3-1978Rovers Quoits ClubHartlepool
17-3-1978Village ClubEasington
19-3-1978Labour ClubNewcastle
20-3-1978The ClubThornley
27-3-1978Rose Hayworth ClubAbertilleryWales
29-3-1978Bogart’sBirmingham 
26-4-1978Four WindsPort Talbot
27-4-1978Non Political ClubTreforestWales
27-4-1978F Club (Roots)Leeds
29-4-1978Royal Naval ClubTonypandy
30-4-1978MaximsBarrow in Furness
1-5-1978New Talk of Yorkshire ClubBradford
2-5-1978Guildford HotelLeeds
6-5-1978Fforde Grene HotelLeeds
11-5-1978The BroadwayMorecambe
12-5-1978Penny FarthingUlverston
13-5-1978Civic HallBarnsley
22-5-1978Thornley ClubThornley
25-5-1978United ClubWest Cornforth
26-5-1978Village ClubEasington 
27-5-1978Rock GardenMiddlesborough
1-6-1978PrincevilleBradford
2-6-1978BankhallBurnley
8-6-1978Dixieland ShowbarColwyn Bay
9-6-1978City TavernChelmsford
15-6-1978DixielandColwyn Bay
16-6-1978Village ClubEasington
21-6-1978ToppersNorwich
23-6-1978UniversitySheffield
29-6-1978TroubadorPort Talbot
5-7-1978The SportsmanLiverpool
27-7-1978Thornley ClubThornley
11-8-1978Mayfair BallroomNewcastle
11-12-1978Civic HallBarnsley
17-12-1978Fforde Grene HotelLeeds
19-12-1978Civic HallBarnsley
GreyhoundFulhamUnknown date (1976)
Alhambra HotelBarnsleyUnknown date (1977)
Belle Vue ManchesterUnknown date (1977)
The Electric CircusManchesterUnknown date (1977)
PhoenixManchesterUnknown date (1977)
Doggy ClubNewcastleAt nearby Station hotel, name change Saxon

2 Replies to “SOAB: 1975 – 1978”

  1. West Cornforth is known locally as Doggy. The social club is kown as Doggy Club. I saw SOB at New Shildon wmc and Spennymoor wmc more than once. I am sure that there were 2 bass players at one time at Spennymoor club. The commitee kept asking the band to turn it down. A friend of mine Raymond Timmins was friendly with the band and was asked to go on a USA tour with them (Saxon) supporting Rush I believe but he didn’t want to pack his job in

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