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Riffs welcomes constant info on gigs, line-up changes and general band associated news.                     (Please note that the further down the page, the older the News)

There's only one thing worse than being talked about - and that's not being talked about
For evil to flourish it just takes good men to do nothing


A massive 'thank you' to all who organised and supported the Magnesia Bank's Ukraine appeal over the previous weekend - a total of £1671.82 was raised. A massive pat on the back for Malcolm for all his hard work.



Long time coming round but it's Beer Festival time again at Philadelphia Cricket Club in Houghton-le-Spring. It's over two days/nights and starts Friday 24th June with a Charity Punk Night in aid of Hillside Animal Sanctuary & Philadelphia Junior Academy. 6pm doors and features:  6.45 The Remains.   7.30 UK Dissent.   8.30 The Sadistic Slobs.   9.30 Slalom D.
£10 door.
Slalom D describe themselves (and I quote) "an incendiary mix of explosive guitars, juggernaut drums and politically-fuelled lyrics. A relentless onslaught of controlled chaos and sinew-stretching harmonies, Slalom D capture the essence of 77, chew it up and spit it out in the face of complacency, bigotry and intolerance." Well, that's the exact description of what I consider a good punk band should sound like, but hmmm. Well, video attached to the pic - make up your own mind.
BUT, we do have the
Sadistic Slobs showing the attitude and aggressiveness that Punk is all about. The previous band's description would be much more apt here, but The Sadistic Slobs' publicity is a little bit more laid back: "4 piece punk rock band from Tyne and Wear area, who formed in the early 80s, recently reformed in 2017 and are back doing their own style of punk rock, playing old and new self penned songs". Obviously letting the music do the talking. Riffs has checked 'em out on Youtube and that aggressive chainsaw style and freneticism of the lead guitar always works for me. Headliners better watch your back.
The following day
Saturday 25th June features:.   2.30 Jack  Bowater.    4.30 Diamond  Dogs.   6.30 Monkey  Punch.    8.30  We Are Champion.  Doors noon.  £10 tickets on sale at club.
Well at least with Queen tribute
We Are Champion you know exactly what you are going to get. Any Queen fan would be proud to be at this gig and kudos to band member Paul who still managed to give Riffs a quote while sunning himself in Crete: "We have been loving playing the festivals this year, audiences seem to be embracing being allowed to mix properly and let their hair down after the last couple of years!  So looking forward to continuing that trend at Philadelphia CC, we promise to Rock You / Blow Your Mind / provide A Kind Of Magic..."
And directly below them on the bill we have
Monkey Punch who, I must admit, might well have fitted into the previous night's mayhem. They seem to easily blur the lines between Mod, Ska, Punk - versatility is good.  I'm not personally into ska but on the odd occasion I've found myself at a ska gig (forcibly dragged there by Val) I've thoroughly enjoyed it! Their facebook blurb: "Monkey Punch offer outstanding entertainment value with a broad range of hits with a ska theme. Expect a bit of Northern Soul in there too! A fine selection of top hits from the best musicians on the circuit. Songs from The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners, The Jam, Toto, Amy Winehouse and many more."
And a big plus, they did go out of their way to give Riffs some info about themselves: "Monkey Punch had humble beginnings over 12 years ago as a mod band doing Weller and the Jam. Our previous vocalist joined us some 9 years ago and the set list was developed to incorporate ska. We then lost some band members but the current line up has our previous drummer, guitarist, a top keys player who recently moved up here from London, and now a female vocalist. She is at the top of her game and worked with top artistes such as Lorraine Crosby and Alannis Morrisette. The band continues with a ska theme with some Northern soul. However, there is even more variety in the set to cater for a wider audience. All of the material is upbeat and performed to a top level." Their facebook tribute to the NHS is much appreciated and gained them a far longer mensh here!  Plus, having a woman front'man' gives them that extra 'edge'. And especially one who moves well and is obviously enjoying herself. Personally I've always loved bands who have fun on stage - you can drop a guitar, get a frog in your throat - but if you're laughing at yourself and having a good time, you can bet your bottom dollar the audience is too!


I think Riffs has made it abundantly clear on the Listings page that suppliers of band's gigs should check that their gigs have been input correctly on the aforementioned page - but it is becoming increasingly obvious that many just do not check. If it's found that gigs are not being checked then there's no point in them being listed. 98% of people are supportive and appreciative - but as we all know, there is always that annoying minority that spoil it for others. If you are in that minority then you are part of the problem - and no one wants problems.


"Due to work and personal commitments, The Test Pilots will be taking a break for at least the next few months. This means we've taken the difficult decision to cancel all our gigs for the rest of 2022. All venues who've booked us will be contacted to confirm the cancellation of our gigs."


Okay, so it might have started out as "an intimate night in" for Mr Gorman at the Juke Shed on Saturday, but when you have a great audience, anything can happen . . .

[photo taken by Riffs at Newcastle Riverside 2016]
- Trillians Rock Bar, Newcastle, Sunday, October 2, 2022. Tickets £16.50


I've always tried to give a big shout out to any venue hosting live bands - admittedly Rock and Metal take precedence (and defo no Country and Western) - and an email which arrived at Riffs main computer (that's the eighth one up, on the right bank of three, just next to the JD machine [which reminds me I must get it fixed cos it's giving out triple shots - which does explain quite a lot]) piqued my interest.
I'm rather long in the tooth - so I don't get excited very much now. So it was rather an eye-opening email that I got from Snow Moon 'a new type of venue showcasing original talented artists from all genres of music' that listed some gigs for Riffs Listings page. The band names meant very little as I'm presuming they are all new. But a look at Snow Moon's Facebook page gives some great snippets of loads of acts and there is defo some great talent there. Don't get me wrong, covers bands are great, they come into their own when the original artists are well past their best, or are no longer with us, but isn't it great to see just what talent is bubbling under; real talent, as in the real world, not that churned out constructed garbage on our tv screens.
Not just that, but I think it's rather important that these new bands are shown that all their hard work and dedication is not going unnoticed. Tynemouth Social Club (see poster) £2 door for nearly always two bands - and now and then, three! It's every Friday night (I'm sure I typed in a gig for Saturday - that bloody JD machine again).

Have asked Snow Moon for some input for this blurb so if I get it I will add it............ And they did get back to me and so here it is: The North East is full of original artists with very few places to showcase their music. Snow Moon was set up to provide a great venue for these people to play. We’re located at Tynemouth Social Club in Front Street, Tynemouth using their excellent function room with its great sized stage and own bar. You can find out more about Snow Moon on our facebook page – if you’re an original artist looking for a great place to play get it touch.


Man Found Dead At Festival Celebrating
Legendary AC/DC Frontman BON SCOTT

A 53-year-old man was found dead at this year's Bonfest, the annual celebration of the life and music of AC/DC legend Bon Scott. The event takes place in the small Scottish town of Kirriemuir, Bon's original hometown.
The man's body was found on the second day of the 2022 Bonfest, which started on Friday April 29 and ran until Sunday May 1.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Around 1.10pm on Saturday, 30 April, officers attended a report of the death of a 53-year-old man at the Bonfest Festival Site near Kirriemuir.
"The death is not being treated as suspicious and, as with all sudden deaths, a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal."
The Bonfest organizers issued a separate statement saying they were "greatly saddened" by the tragedy.
"The Bonfest Committee is greatly saddened to announce that a man in his fifties, a UK resident, sadly died on Saturday 30 April while attending Bonfest," the statement read. "The next of kin have been informed and there are no suspicious circumstances. "Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this sad time."
Bonfest, which took a two-year hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic, sees AC/DC fans from around the world coming together for three days of the best in rock music, including the greatest AC/DC tribute bands from around the world and also some very special guests.
Kirriemuir was home to a young Ronald Bedford Scott until the age of six, when his family left Scotland for Fremantle, Western Australia.
Scott was invited to join the band by Glasgow-born brothers and founding members Malcolm and Angus Young in 1974, and achieved international stardom before his death at the age of 33 in 1980. The singer died from alcohol poisoning. He sang on AC/DC's first six studio albums, including "High Voltage", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", "Let There Be Rock" and "Highway To Hell".
AC/DC guitarist Angus Young told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that the band almost didn't get past Scott's death. "Bon was big… He was a full-on frontman, plus he had this great character, you know," he said. "I mean, he just lived that rock 'n' roll life. With Bon, what you saw was what you got, and, yeah, it was pretty, pretty tough."


Band - any genre considered (even duo or solo) - for The Bird Inn, High Hold,  Beamish   DH2 1Q   for  4pm TODAY 1st May .  07793007350                               NOT FILLED


The Customs House, South Shields - Saturday 25 June

 CLASSIC CLAPTON - the Eric Clapton Tribute Band featuring Mike Hall will be playing their second show in Tyne & Wear in June.
The band will be performing at the following venue:-
The Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields on Saturday 25 June at 7.30pm.  Tickets are available from the box office 0191 454 1234 and at     Ticket price £20.50 incl booking fee.     You are advised to book early!
They will perform all of EC's classic songs including Wonderful Tonight, Tears in Heaven, Crossroads, I Shot The Sheriff, Lay Down Sally, Cocaine and of course Layla!  There will even be an “UNPLUGGED” segment.
The band was formed in Newcastle in 1985 long before the term “tribute band” was invented and named themselves ''After Midnight'' after EC’s first solo hit.
In guitar/vocalist Mike Hall, the band possesses a front man who not only looks like Eric, he sings and plays guitar like him too!  Mike has met Slowhand twice, and received a message of encouragement from the guitar maestro (written on a Concorde menu).
In 2001 they embarked on their first extensive tour of UK Theatres.  They called the tribute show "CLASSIC CLAPTON".  Since then they have continued to perform throughout the UK & Ireland including concerts at The Royal Festival Hall, London and a triumphant appearance at Glastonbury Festival in 2002.  They have performed numerous concerts in Europe including Spain, Estonia, Holland and France.  In 2009 they appeared for the first time in Mumbai. They were invited back for 3 more concerts in India in 2016. This included performing in front of 3500 people in an open air arena in Mumbai. In 2017 they appeared in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
CLASSIC CLAPTON comprises 4 excellent musicians:-  Mike Hall (lead vocals/guitar), Danny Davison (drums) and Dave Robson (bass guitar /backing vocals).  Dave is a former member of chart band Geordie.  In fact he was with them at the time Brian Johnson left to join AC/DC.  Mike, Dave & Danny are all original members of CLASSIC CLAPTON. Steve Hutchinson who originally joined the band in 2003 provides keyboards & backing vocals. He was a member of Animals 2 for 6 years during the 1990s alongside original members Hilton Valentine & John Steel.
Classic Clapton have been booked to play in Co Kildare Ireland in September at a Castle which used to belong to Eric Clapton. It was his former home from 1979 - 1987 where his famous friends came to stay. The Castle is now privately owned & managed and has been carefully upgraded from a 10 bedroom property to a 55 Bedroom four star Hotel.
Clapton has been a major international star since the mid 1960s, when he revolutionised electric guitar playing, with his virtuoso performances in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.  He has won an incredible 19 Grammies and is the only triple inductee into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of The Yardbirds, Cream and as a solo artist).
Eric is now in his seventies.  His recent tours unfortunately have visited only a limited number of large UK arenas.  If fans want to hear all of his hits performed in more intimate surroundings, they really should attend a CLASSIC CLAPTON concert. The whole of Clapton's illustrious career will be covered including Cream, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos and the solo years.  
Please visit the website:-  (Customs House ticket link) (Customs House Facebook event)



Just received a handful of gigs from local musician Terry Gorman and was intrigued to see "An intimate evening in" along with said gigs. Now, that took my mind back to celebrated North-East lad Baz Warne (pre-Strangler days, but only just). His banter was nearly as big a pull as his guitar playing and each gig with Baz was so different from the last. So I wondered if Terry's gigs were in the same vein. I also ruminated over the fact that if you are in a band and something goes wrong, say a guitar string breaks or the singer forgets his words, you can wing it, you have other members to take the strain, you have support - but when you are on your own, well . . . you're on your own. So I put this very scenario to Terry in "an intimate" interview: "Never think about that Nige, I'm just so over the moon that live music is getting back to normal and that I can look the audience in the face." But I put it to Terry that being out there, all alone, must be a pressure? "Not at all. I'm just so grateful to be at venues, playing guitar, singing - and telling crap jokes 7 nights a week......and sometimes I even get paid for it!!"
So what about this "banter", is it scripted, do you have a list of things in your mind that you want to include? "You're having a laugh Nige, I just engage with the audience and talk about what I think will interest that particular crowd. People think themselves uninterestingly normal but you'd be surprised what they admit to and actually how fascinating they can be. I love every second talking with them. I remember one evening I mentioned when I played support to The Levellers a couple of times on the big stage in the barn at The Tan Hill Inn - I mean, when you get opportunities like that it feels really great and puts you on a high .... the next day I played in the bar and a little dog wandered up and urinated on my mike stand! That really brings a singer songwriter right back down to earth. Well, after I'd told that story, there were some people in that audience who'd actually been there!" Don't use up your anecdotes Terry, you'll have nothing left for the gigs. "Don't you worry Nige, I've lived a bit and most of what I know I have to keep to myself. There was this one time though, me and my mate Chris Gooch were doing a show with Hawkwind on BBC Radio Newcastle. Well, the guys from Hawkwind were smoking dope - but I got the blame and was blacklisted for quite a while after that."
You can catch Terry Gorman, quite intimately, at one of his upcoming gigs - mentioned above - and of course all of his gigs are on Riffs Gig Listings page.
"I think we are a very lucky bunch of people us music guys, long may it continue. I love every second!"


"We need to get more heavy metal to Ukraine"   Sky News journalist
I think we can all get behind that . . .


There's two big fundraisers coming up for The Schooner in Gateshead and Paul is still short of a few bands. The gigs are May 14 and May 21 (both Saturdays). Contact Paul on 07940715824. Mind you, Paul has omitted to let Riffs know what he is raising funds for - so maybe that's your first question. Oh, and you'll get a fee - so "how much" may be your second.


After two postponements due to the pandemic Crookfest 10th Anniversary finally goes ahead on bank holiday sunday May 1st. The one day music festival first started in 2011 with local bands playing inside Crook town's football club house known as The Hut, and also in a marquee on the pitch. In the beginning the fest was split into two days: Saturday Dance featuring mainly top DJs, and the Rock Jam Sunday with cover/tribute bands
However, after three years the local police decided Rock Music on a Sunday was fine but that DJ beat on a Saturday had to go due to the constant and extremely high number of noise complaints they were receiving, so Dance Saturday was no more.
However, Rock Jam - now known as Crookfest - grew, and is consistently a sell-out event with a loyal established following that descends annually on Crook Town May bank holiday Sunday. Starting the party in the town centre pubs and eateries with breakfast and a tipple before heading up the street to the festival ground which boasts three large marquees on the field each with its own stage and line-up consisting of UK touring tribute and local cover bands.
Headlining this year's festival are local lads We are Champion a tribute to Queen with support from Guns or Roses, The Kill, Kazabian, The Breakfast Club, Fossil and many more, plus must mention The Kieran Johnson Collective - a one-off one day only collection of Crook musicians you might recognize from other bands. Kieran himself being the only musician to have performed at EVERY Crookfest - he was but a young lad in his early teens way back in 2011. The Collective can be seen headlining the Bar Marquee.
For info about The Crookfest All-Dayer check out




As always, a big thanks to 'The Seaham Silverback' for this review. If he was too hungover to write a review, I reckon this one picture says it all . . .


ALL bands are donating their time FREE OF CHARGE.    Now, that's walking the walk.
Any band appearing on this three-dayer can have a boxed advert on Riffs gratis.
"Cor baby that's really free"



Banned And Censored Songs:
10 Tunes That Shocked The World

Were the censors right? These banned songs caused controversy at the time but they ultimately beat the authorities, earning their place in music history.
From perceived drug references to assaults on the authorities, sexually explicit content and product placement, the charts have often been a battleground between artists and censors. No shortage of musicians have found themselves with banned or controversial songs to their name, showing not just how far artists will go to in the battle over music censorship, but how far the censors will go to keep them quiet. But were the censors always right in their attacks on controversial records?

These ten banned songs have refused to be silenced.

Sex Pistols: God Save The Queen (1977)
While the passing of time does nothing to dull the impact of say, “Strange Fruit,” listening to Sex Pistols’ “God Save The Queen” today, it’s genuinely difficult to appreciate the furor it caused. The controversial song remains an utterly thrilling slice of rebellious rock’n’roll, but capable of causing the sort of unspeakable damage to British society that it was charged with at the time? Surely not.
Back in 1977, however, things were very different, and the band – singer John Lydon in particular – found themselves at the center of a moral panic. With the Queen of England’s Silver Jubilee on the horizon, the Pistols and their manager, Malcolm McLaren, sensed an opportunity to capitalize. On March 10, the group signed a new contract with A&M Records outside Buckingham Palace, and 25,000 copies of their anti-establishment tirade were pressed up. The celebrations, however, got out of hand – so much so that the label wiped its hands of the group just four days later and destroyed most of the singles.
Enter Richard Branson and Virgin Records, who signed the Pistols on May 18 and decided to rush-release the song to coincide with the Queen’s anniversary bash. Despite a ban from the BBC, the single flew off the shelves, selling 200,000 in its first week. Yet, somehow, it didn’t hit the No.1 spot. Sensing the industry had cheated them, McLaren and the Pistols organized another stunt: on June 7 they played a wild gig on a boat as it floated down the Thames River, past the Houses Of Parliament, sending the tabloids into meltdown and securing the Pistols’ notoriety.

NWA: F__k Tha Police (1988)
For young black men living in LA in the late 80s, police harassment was a fact of life. With the subtlety-named Operation Hammer, launched in 1987, the LAPD had declared war on gang violence and, by the following year, had arrested over 50,000 people. While most had no way of venting their frustrations (fewer than one percent of officers investigated over allegations of extreme force during the period were prosecuted), NWA had the power of music at their disposal. According to Ice Cube, “It was just too much to bear, to be under that kind of occupying force [the police], who was abusive. It’s just, enough is enough. Our music was our only weapon. Nonviolent protest.” NWA’s response? The uncompromising “F__k Tha Police,” a lyrical tour de force that boldly called the authorities out, with no scrimping on the insults.
The controversial song helped to cement NWA’s position as “The World’s Most Dangerous Group” and the record was banned from radio play, thus ramping up its notoriety. Infamously, copies of the lyric were faxed by police forces from city to city ahead of the band’s tour dates, increasing hostility and making it difficult for venues to find security.

The Kinks: Lola (1971)
Surprisingly, the reason that the BBC banned singer Ray Davies’ tale of ambiguous lust wasn’t the subject matter as such. Despite detailing a coming-of-age moment in which the narrator is shocked – then accepting of – the subject of his boozy affection’s gender, the song was pulled up because of this offending lyric: “Where they drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca-Cola,” which mentions a specific product.
The BBC’s strict product placement rules meant that “Lola” wasn’t played on the radio, hindering its chances of becoming a hit. It was decided that Davies would replace the name of the offending drink with the more generic “cherry cola.” Unfortunately, The Kinks were on tour in the States at the time and the master tapes were in the UK. Davies boarded a plane back to the UK after a gig in Minnesota, had a go at the overdub, didn’t quite manage it so flew back for a gig in Chicago… after which he returned to London where he finally nailed it. The controversial song ruled the airwaves, The Kinks had their biggest hit for years and, presumably, Ray put his feet up for a bit.

Neil Young: This Note’s For You (1988)
Never one to pander to industry expectations, Neil Young spent his 80s wrongfooting even those who expected a certain contrariness from the singer-songwriter, releasing a string of albums that confused fans and led to his label suing him for making unrepresentative records. It’s unsurprising, then, that he viewed the then-fledgling trend for musicians endorsing brands with some cynicism.
The title track of his 1988 album, This Note’s For You, offered no illusions as to how he felt about the growing corporate influence on music, with Young in a defiant mood: “Ain’t singing for Pepsi, ain’t singing for Coke/I don’t sing for nobody, makes me look like a joke.” To accompany the song’s single release, Young made a video that went further still – mocking advertising tropes (the smoky bar, stylized black-and-white perfume ads) and including Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston lookalikes, as a dig at some of the performers who’d taken the advertising dollar. The all-important MTV, however, was not amused, banning the video.
Young wrote a fantastically blunt open letter to the TV station, beginning, “MTV, you spineless twerps,” and ending with, “What does the ‘M’ in MTV stand for: music or money? Long live rock and roll.” Still, the controversial song became a hit, MTV eventually caved and, in 1989, “This Note’s For You” won their Video Of The Year award.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Relax (1983)
It’s amazing what a bit of good old-fashioned scandal can do for a controversial song. Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s debut single, “Relax,” had spent a couple of months ambling up the UK Top 100 singles chart, in seemingly no particular hurry until it hit the Top 40, earning itself a spin on DJ Mike Read’s BBC Radio 1 chart rundown. Though not on the BBC’s list of banned songs, midway through the track, Read cut the song short, having apparently just realized the Olympian level of innuendo at play. Frankie’s enterprising manager, Paul Marley, cannily recognized the value in making the establishment the enemy and spread the rumor that the DJ had banned the song from Radio 1.
Read has since insisted that it wasn’t in his power to do so, claiming that the only reason the track was cut was due to time constraints. But the “ban” worked wonders: “Relax” spent five weeks at No.1 in the UK before becoming a worldwide hit, launching Frankie Goes To Hollywood as a pop phenomenon - even though it later transpired that none of the band actually played on their records!

Ian Dury & The Blockheads: Spasticus Autisticus (1981)
Having contracted polio at the age of seven, leaving him crippled for life and suffering an adolescence at the hands of what passed for disabled schools in the 50s, Ian Dury knew the harsh realities of living with disabilities. When the UN declared that 1981 would be the International Year Of Disabled Persons, Dury felt patronized by the idea that a disparate group of people were the cause du jour and penned “Spasticus Autisticus” in response.
The controversial song’s in-your-face tone, its refusal to sugar-coat the disabled experience, and deftly-written remarks as to how truly altruistic charitable giving is (“So place your hard-earned peanuts in my tin, and thank the Creator you’re not in the state I’m in”) were enough for local radio stations and the BBC to deem the lyrics offensive and add “Spasticus Autisticus” to their list of banned songs. But the thing about art this unflinching is that it doesn’t tend to go away. Dury’s war-cry of a song might have somewhat stalled his career (amazingly, it was chosen as his first major-label single), but its power remains undiminished. Movingly, “Spasticus Autisticus” was performed at the opening ceremony for London’s Paralympic Games in 2012 by the Graeae Theatre Company, made up of disabled performers.

Loretta Lynn: The Pill (1975)
“I was the first one to write it like the women lived it,” Loretta Lynn once said of her straight-talking songs. They certainly won her a devoted following, as Lynn became one of the most successful country acts of all time. But conservative country radio stations routinely banned her controversial songs, including “Fist City,” “Rated X,” “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)” and her highest-placing single on the US chart to date, “The Pill.”
Though Lynn wrote and recorded “The Pill” in 1975, her record label, MCA, sat on the song for three years before releasing it, fully aware of the effect that a single seemingly advocating the use of oral contraceptives could have on the country music establishment. There had been plenty of country songs about abortion and birth control, but none in which the singer happily equates it with having more freedom of choice. The tone of Lynn’s performance could well have been the thing that upset the radio stations, and plenty of them banned the song. Even The New York Times took notice, reporting on its success with the headline “Unbuckling The Bible Belt”. The uproar only helped “The Pill” become yet another massive hit for Lynn.

Scott Walker: Jackie (1967)
BBC Radio 1 was launched in September 1967 as the Beeb’s response to the popularity of the edgy pirate radio stations that were catering to the hip’n’happening youth of the day. Still, despite their attempts to court the cool crowd, they were a long way from accepting some of the more risqué releases.
On hearing the lyrics to Scott Walker’s cover of Jacques Brel’s “La Chanson De Jacky” – which spoke of “authentic queers and phony virgins”, not to mention “boats of opium” – BBC bosses grew nervous enough to make it the first of what would become many banned songs the station refused to play. A terrific shame, as the airwaves were a duller prospect without it, in all of its galloping, foul-mouthed glory.

The Beatles: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds/A Day In The Life (1967)
By 1967, The Beatles were old hands when it came to controversy. After all, it goes with the territory when you’re constantly expanding the parameters of pop. They’d managed to offend the more fanatical elements of the US when John Lennon suggested the band might be more meaningful to young people than religion, and they’d put out an album with a cover that was deemed so controversial it had to be recalled (the “butcher sleeve” artwork for the US-only album Yesterday & Today).
But it wasn’t until the release of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that they found themselves on the BBC’s list of banned songs: “A Day In The Life” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” were both refused airplay thanks to what were perceived as hints of illicit drug use. Despite the group’s insistance over the years that the songs had nothing to do with mind-altering substances, they nevertheless became celebrated among the emerging counterculture.

Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg : Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus (1969)
In 1967, the French actress Brigette Bardot was a pin-up the world over and Serge Gainsbourg was one of many millions enraptured by her. The roguish composer’s infatuation was different, however, in that it resulted in him signing Bardot to his record label and, despite her being married, convincing her to go on a date with him. Exacerbated by booze, Gainsbourg’s nerves got the better of him and he blew it. Or so he thought. The next day, Bardot called, offering him a chance to redeem himself – he’d just have to write her “the most beautiful love song he could imagine”. He wrote two for good measure: “Bonnie & Clyde” and the altogether lustier “Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus.”
The pair became lovers and recorded a version of “Je T’aime…” that was steamy enough to cause a scandal in the French press, leading Bardot to plead with Gainsbourg to shelve it. But he knew the song was too good not to return to and, in 1969, he convinced his new girlfriend, the English actress Jane Birkin, to sing Bardot’s parts. The moans, groans, and heavy breathing caused a sensation, leading to a ban from the BBC and even a denouncement from the Vatican. That only added fuel to the fire. In the UK it became the first banned single (and first foreign-language single) to reach the top of the charts, despite its status as one of the most controversial banned songs of the 60s.

The Kingsmen – Louie, Louie
No one can ever seem to understand what the lyrics are actually about, which meant that the song was banned from radio in certain areas… and even led to an FBI investigation.

Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
The original title for this song was “Brown Skinned Girl,” detailing an interracial relationship. But while Van Morrison was happy to change the lyric to ensure radio play, others still took issue with the lyric “making love in the green grass.”

The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
Mick Jagger once complained that critics didn’t even understand the dirtiest line in this song, but it was controversial enough to create outcry at the time of its release.

Madonna – Dress You Up
Part of the infamous “Filthy Fifteen” that was drawn up by Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center, this controversial Madonna song is one of many risque tunes from the Queen of Pop. It led to Congressional hearings, in which Frank Zappa famously defended artistic expression.

Britney Spears – If U Seek Amy
Hear the chorus in a particular way, and you’re hearing Britney Spears spell out one of the seven words you’re never supposed to say on the US airwaves.

Body Count – Cop Killer
Ice-T’s metal project went in with this controversial song fantasizing about killing a cop. Needless to say, there was huge outrage about the lyrics, leading to the group taking it off their debut album.

The Everly Brothers – Wake Up Little Susie
The Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Boston asked that this song be banned from radio play in the late 1950s, claiming that it was far too ribald.

Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight
Clear Channel Communications banned this Phil Collins classic after the tragic events of 9/11, worried that any song related to air might remind listeners of the World Trade Center attacks. (It had been previously been banned by the BBC during the Persian Gulf War in the early 90s when tensions were high in the Middle East, for similar reasons.)

Beach Boys – God Only Knows
In the United States of the 1960s, invoking the name of God in a pop song was regarded as blasphemy, leading to some radio stations banning the Beach Boys classic.

2 Live Crew – Me So Horny
The sexual content of the songs from these rap pioneers led to a case that was eventually settled in the US Supreme Court.

Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit
Blocked from radio over the content of the lyrics, which recount the horrific lynching of two African-American men, Billie Holiday’s unsparing song is still remarkably powerful.


I really can't imagine many people in the North-East not knowing the name JON FOOTTIT - indeed, Riffs has crossed paths with Jon on several occasions (no doubt some lost in the hazy memory mist) but at least we remember him when Val and myself reviewed RIOT and more recently the brilliant but much-underated UFO tribute - OBSESSION. And probably he's snuck into other local bands too as Jon does not thrust himself on to anyone and, although a mighty axe-man on stage, offstage he's quiet and unassuming. Riffs has always rated Jon's playing immensely highly and not until now did we realise just how many great bands he has played in.
Brought up on Queen, Zeppelin, Lizzy and the likes, once he'd heard UFO with Michael Schenker he was hooked - he picked up the acoustic guitar his parents had gifted him when he was around 14 years old and practiced fervently.
One of his early successes was with Mai Rouge, but the band split after recording just one EP - 'Take It Or Leave It'. Joining Alan Clark, vocalist with Change of Heart, around 1999 he recorded two albums - 'Continuum' and 'Truth Or Dare' and played at the God's AOR Festival in Wigan two years in succession. After a relatively quiet period Jon resurfaced in several local bands including Discovery, Riot, The Rising and Jump The Gun.
In 2016 he joined NWOBHM band Chrome Molly and recorded the album 'HooDooVooDoo'. They toured with and supported Gun, Graham Bonnett, Dead Daisies, Dave Bickler (Survivor) and played at the first Stonedead festival in Newark and NWBHM festival in the O2 Sheffield to name just a few.
Nick Wastell the bass player from Chrome Molly was asked to join Wayward Sons with Toby Jepson and things went quiet on the Molly front. Jon then put together a UFO/Michael Schenker tribute band called Obsession, playing the music of one of his biggest heros. Jon told me that although Obsession went down very well there was just not enough interest in what was considered 'not a mainstream' band. Riffs review of Obsession is on our Archive pages and you will see we were more than just a little impressed. A thumbs up from Colin Smoult and drummer Geordie and is not to be sneezed at either!
"It made me realise how focused I can be"
So we come to present day and his cd -
EQUILIBRIUM. "I've had cassettes just brimming with ideas floating around for . . . must be well over 20 years, and it took lockdown to push me into writing a rock instrumental album" explained Jon. "I initially recorded the album on my home recording gear and was really pleased with the feedback I got". Jon continued. "So I went ahead and re-did it in a professional studio with a great engineer." [John Taylor and his studio “Mirage Studios”].
Jon told Riffs exclusively: "It made me realise how focused I can be and how once I started to create it became addictive and sometimes didn’t know when to stop."
"Here ya go, get a load of this from a Yorkshireman"
I asked Jon what he had learnt from playing support to big name acts: "When I have supported major bands I have gone on stage with the attitude of 'Here ya go, get a load of this from a Yorkshireman'."
"Doug Aldrich from The Dead daisies/Whitesnake, complimented me on my playing and shook my hand after a support slot at Leicester O2 academy. It made me realise that all the years of playing and endless hours practicing does pay off."
So Equilibrium was born, very much in the style of Schenker, Petrucci, Vai, Rhodes, Satriani but with a big dollop of himself in there. Jon was quite honest: "The album was all self-financed, so if anyone is interested please buy it locally. I get something like a millionth of a penny if downloaded!!" Although on the bright side Jon has been offered a distribution deal and has also had some good airplay on UK Rock radio stations.
"Enjoy it and see where it takes you"
So what advice would you give someone wanting to join or form a Rock band?
"Just enjoy it and see where it takes you. Keep grounded and take in as much as you can. You must enjoy practicing and learning and it’s a lifetime of dedication and hard work. Very frustrating at times. I have never reached the heights of stardom and not many do in the Rock music industry these days but my main objective was to be recognized as a good guitar player. I think I have achieved what I set out to do and with a bit better luck and right time and place I could have gone further."


Below are three examples that Riffs did for Tommy Steelies:
email        and we can do the same for YOU
[Just had an email from Graham asking if we can do a full A4 posta of his next three months gigs so he can print it off at home. Of course. A tenner. Job done!] And also from Tommy Steelies who has asked me to quote him: "
I’m highly delighted with the quality and especially the price"


Playhouse, Whitley Bay - Sunday 8 May
The Customs House, South Shields - Saturday 25 June

CLASSIC CLAPTON - the Eric Clapton Tribute Band featuring Mike Hall will be playing two shows in Tyne & Wear during May & June.
The band will be performing at the following venues:-
Playhouse Whitley Bay, Marine Avenue on Sunday 8 May at 7.30pm.  Tickets are £20 (+ booking fee) from the box office - 0844 248 1588, online at    
The Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields on Saturday 25 June at 7.30pm.  Tickets are available from the box office 0191 454 1234 and at     Ticket price £20.50 incl booking fee.
You are advised to book early!
They will perform all of EC's classic songs including Wonderful Tonight, Tears in Heaven, Crossroads, I Shot The Sheriff, Lay Down Sally, Cocaine and of course Layla!
There will even be an “UNPLUGGED” segment.

The band was formed in Newcastle in 1985 long before the term “tribute band” was invented and named themselves ''After Midnight'' after EC’s first solo hit.
In guitar/vocalist Mike Hall, the band possesses a front man who not only looks like Eric, he sings and plays guitar like him too!  Mike has met Slowhand twice, and received a message of encouragement from the guitar maestro (written on a Concorde menu).
In 2001 they embarked on their first extensive tour of UK Theatres.  They called the tribute show "CLASSIC CLAPTON".  Since then, they have continued to perform throughout the UK & Ireland including concerts at The Royal Festival Hall, London and a triumphant appearance at Glastonbury Festival in 2002.  They have performed numerous concerts in Europe including Spain, Estonia, Holland and France.  In 2009 they appeared for the first time in Mumbai. They were invited back for 3 more concerts in India in 2016. This included performing in front of 3500 people in an open air arena in Mumbai. In 2017 they appeared in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
CLASSIC CLAPTON comprises 4 excellent musicians:-  Mike Hall (lead vocals/guitar), Danny Davison (drums) and Dave Robson (bass guitar /backing vocals).  Dave is a former member of chart band Geordie.  In fact he was with them at the time Brian Johnson left to join AC/DC.  Mike, Dave & Danny are all original members of CLASSIC CLAPTON. Steve Hutchinson who originally joined the band in 2003 provides keyboards & backing vocals. He was a member of Animals 2 for 6 years during the 1990s alongside original members Hilton Valentine & John Steel.
Classic Clapton have been booked to play in Co Kildare Ireland in September at a Castle which used to belong to Eric Clapton. It was his former home from 1979 - 1987 where his famous friends came to stay. The Castle is now privately owned & managed and has been carefully upgraded from a 10 bedroom property to a 55 Bedroom four star Hotel.
Clapton has been a major international star since the mid 1960s, when he revolutionised electric guitar playing, with his virtuoso performances in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.  He has won an incredible 19 Grammies and is the only triple inductee into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of The Yardbirds, Cream and as a solo artist).
Eric is now in his seventies.  His recent tours unfortunately have visited only a limited number of large UK arenas.  If fans want to hear all of his hits performed in more intimate surroundings, they really should attend a CLASSIC CLAPTON concert. The whole of Clapton's illustrious career will be covered including Cream, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos and the solo years.  
Please visit the website:-  (Whitley Bay ticket link) (Whitley Bay Facebook event)  (Customs House ticket link) (Customs House Facebook event)


Never ceases to amaze me just how much time and trouble a group of men go to to please others. Now, hold on here, just let me explain...........I'm talking about musicians.
These guys have practiced their art on the instrument of their choice and are reasonably confident at what they do. They then get together with other like-minded musicians to form a band, sussing out appropriate equipment. Then arrange rehearsal sessions and hone their skills - sometimes frighteningly good. A gig is sorted and they all get their gear to the venue, set it all up, check the sound and then hopefully play to an enthusiastic audience.
What sometimes seems to be barely minutes later they have the unenviable task (sometimes late at night and after a few drams of the falling down water) of stripping down all that gear and transporting it back home again. "Where have you been all bloody night? Playing a gig? I should cocoa, you've been out with your hussy tart from round the corner again!"
Now, if you manage to come home with a few notes in your pocket that's surely some recompense for all your sweat and hard
work. Hope you're all still with me here cos I am getting to my point: What if you were to go through all this hassle and then GIVE AWAY any hard-earned that you achieved? Giving it to people who are more deserving than yourself [now hold on Nige. After all this I think we're bloody deserving ourselves don't you think?]. That is why Riffs will always, but always pull out all the stops to give a mensh to those who give to others - even when it's so tempting to shove that wad of cash in your pocket. So a big mega supa dupa shout to those Queen tribute lads........QWEEN UK
They played at the Mayfair Suite in Hartlepool the other night to a capacity crowd and gave a cheque for £630 to Hartlepool Hospice.
There will always be room on Riffs pages for bands who give selflessly of their time, energy and passion.


CROOKFEST 10th Anniversary
big tent:

Crook Football Ground DL15 9PW       
Noon to10.30pm​  Tickets £15/£20/£25​
all info ​​


"Probably one of the most entertaining nights in a long time"


No doubt there's quite a few people looking forward to Mother's day. Well, how about forgoing it this year and making a donation to support Ukraine? You'll feel so so so much better..........

'On what’s bound to be a crazy day, Fizzyfish are proud to be headlining a benefit gig for Ukraine in Hartlepool on Good Friday at
The Corporation Club, Whitby Street Hartlepool  Noon until 2am.
All proceeds being split between Oxfam and Unicef.
It’s one of many I am sure that are being planned and Colin Barber, the head of the small team that are trying to pull this together, has had to endure his fair share of negative comments. Yes we are aware of Yemen and Syria amongst many of the conflicts around the globe, but you have to act on what has people’s attention at the time.
Of the many bands and musicians that are lending their time and effort to this event, none are under any illusions about how small a ripple this will cause, we aren’t going to change the world but ignoring it certainly won’t, we are just putting extra hands on the tiller.
What’s on offer is a quality day of mainly original music from a Hartlepool centric roster including members of the much missed Jar Family.
Many genres being represented and topped off with a bunch of farts too old and weak to be on the front line singing other people's songs to a hopefully generous audience. If it raises enough money and awareness to help one person, then that has to be a start. The Sound for the day being provided by Soundwaves PA hire, everyone is pulling in the right direction on this.
The lineup and has already caught the imagination of the local area, we hope for a sell out with the whole day costing just £10 or half day for £6 available via'      Alan


Tommy Steelies asked Riffs to "knock up a couple of posters for me for my website" and, as Tommy is a regular advertiser with us, then I have no probs giving some deets in advance of a couple of crackin' gigs coming up later in the year. Just to clarify the ticket situation (cos even I got muddled here) Tickets are available from venue at the face price; available from www.ents24 with fees, and available on the door for price stated in advert.



A little taster for the NE Street Band gig in April..........


It's not often one gets a chance to see a crackin' Pink Floyd tribute in the North East, and even more so with this lurgy still hanging around - although I'm sure it has got the message that it's just not welcome around here. So you can imagine that Easington Colliery Club is rather over the moon to have snapped up a rare appearance by (what their own publicity describes as) 'Pink Floyd's #1 tribute' - SHINE ON. It's on April 29 and tickets are a very reasonable £10 in advance and £12 door.


News coming in of a Rock Tribute Festival for Saturday July 23 featuring (in no particular order) AC/DC/GB, 10cclo, Ultimate Bowie, A Foreigners Journey and Van Hailen. Early bird tickets are available although Riffs does not know the price yet. It's at the Rose Inn in Wallsend. All details can be had by phoning 07922 379475. As always, more info when we get it........ and we've just got some: A Foreigners Journey are headliners.


Hot on the heels of the new Rock Solid line-up changes, ex-Solids chanter CJ has teamed up with the band’s guitarist to form Sceptre, a softer classic Rock duet. Playing stuff from 70s & 80s such as Whitesnake, Tom Petty, Toto, Nazareth and Sweet this promises to be an act that could see the guys able to move into smaller venues that couldn’t have coped with a 5 piece band and all the associated gear. The band are taking bookings now, contact Paul on: 07855 961 526. Expect the same levels of virtuosity and professionalism we’ve come to expect from Paul and CJ over the past decades.


Hallelujah 2 update  South Durham Social - Hartlepool Steelies: November 11, 12 and 13:  17 bands and one solo artiste
Friday: Greg Brice solo - Ramblin Preachers - Bates Motel - Brave Rival - Redfish - Dom Martin Band
Sat: Jack J Hutchison - Cosmic Trip Advisors - Bad Day Blues - The Milk Men - Cinelli Bros - Chris Bevington Organisation
Sun: Jo Carly and Dry Skulls - James Oliver Band  - Rebecca Downes Band - The Achievers - Hiding Magpies - Howlin Ric and the Rocketeers
Starts at 1.30 and finishes at 11.30 each day......tkts are £100 for full weekend  07535 979658


Just now hearing about an upcoming Blues Festival entitled Hallelujah 2. South Durham Social - Hartlepool Steelies - had such a success with last year's event that Tommy is putting together another Blues extravaganza for this November. Very early days but these are the bands that he has arranged so far. We will post further details of times, prices etc when it's sorted:
Nov 11 12 and 13 this year, called Hallelujah 2, bands booked inc
Dom Martin Band - The Cinelli Brothers - Jo Carley and the Dry Skulls - Chris Bevington Organisation - Howlin Ric and the Rocketeers - The Ramblin Preachers - Redfish - The Bates Motel - Cosmic Trip Advisors - Brave Rival - James Oliver Band - Bad Day Blues Band - Rebecca Downes Band - The Achievers - The Milk Men - Jack J Hutchison Band - Greg Brice - The Hiding Magpies.





Limited tickets left.................



Band wanted, playing mainly Indie tunes, for 5th March in Hartlepool please ring 07535979658 if interested, thank you

A better reason for checking your gig listings are showing correctly I cannot think of than what happened on Riffs Tuesday recently. I got the list of gigs for vibrant rockers STARZ and duly added them to the Gig Listings page and informed guitarist Kenny they were all in. Seemed fine to me - but after a frantic email from Kenny, it was obvious that I had put all their March gigs in for February!
Had them down for Friday of this week - tonight - for The Penny Gill when in fact it is
MIDNITE BLUE who are on. All sorted now, but it just shows you how easy it is for mistakes to happen - so PLEASE always check your listings - there could be an idiot on the keyboard!................


I‘m sorry to have to report that Stan Morson died at 2.30 this morning (Monday 31) in St Benedict’s Hospice in Ryhope. Riffs met him a couple of times, the review Val and Nige did of the Alcatraz Houses band mentions him as the manager who made them both welcome and kept them watered during the night. Stan was known and respected by many bands and Rock fans across the North East and could probably be said to be responsible for the buoyant Rock scene we have in the Houghton-le-Spring area today.

He set up the Buffalos Rock Club in Houghton Buffs and went on to oversee its transfer to Houghton Comms when Wetherspoons bought the original Buffs club. Stan’s day job for many years was the manager of Houghton Kepier Hall and there he set up another well loved venue for live music before his retirement about 5 years ago.

Stan joined the army immediately after leaving school and rose to the rank of Major, by the time he retired he was well known and respected in Houghton where he grew up. He was an absolute, old fashioned gentleman whose word was his bond.

A more reliable and steadfast friend could not be found. Keep the Faith Stan, Keep the Faith.                The Seaham Silverback

[pic: Stan Morson on right, at one of the 'less than pc' parties]


The truth is out, the lies are old
But you don't want to know

So . . . Blakk Sabbath. The wife and I walked down to the Glendale on Friday 28th and got in about 7.30 and were surprised to see the place was already getting on for half full. The band’s gear was unloaded and set up, the backdrop in place and their lights etc hung up. The instrument level settings were a little painful at times, but mercifully short. However, when the levels were set the sound was excellent and remained so all evening. As the 9.00pm start time arrived there wasn’t a seat left - quite literally standing room only, and there were a significant number of faces I didn’t recognise, the band had obviously attracted a new intake of punters. The only photograph I took all night shows 3 members of the band who came on stage amid smoke, dressed in black. At this point I knew we were in for a performance, rather than just a gig. Then “Ozzy” appeared complete with wig, eye liner and white make-up. Yup, this looked the part.

Now I’m something of a heretic where Sabbath are concerned, I believe Tony Martin and Ronnie James Dio were far superior singers than the original Prince of Darkness. This is not to say though Ozzy hasn’t put out some stellar songs.

Now, as I said, the place was packed and doubtless the club will have been over the moon after some of the poor turn outs in the past few months and I’m genuinely pleased for them, they kept faith with putting on live Rock music even when it was costing them money. Two of the next 3 gigs involving The Force and Rock Solid should help reinforce that faith. But back to Friday night, there were loads of folk in the audience who were absolutely enraptured by the performance, singing along and playing their air guitars and drums so the gig was a total hit. The sound the band achieved was superb. It’s not often you single out the drummer as being something really special, but the guy on the skins played a blinder. The guitarist and bassist were on the money too and the whole show spoke of endless hours of practice together.

As the evening wore on Ozzy’s voice improved; the first 4 or 5 songs were pretty grim but the last 2 numbers in the first set, Snowblind and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, were nearer where they should have been. If you’re a Sabbath fan you’ll love them and if you run a venue there’s every chance they’ll fill the place.                                                 The Seaham Silverback


Haven't heard back from Paul Tuns regarding his venue (The Three Tuns, Gateshead) looking for a band for tonight (29) - so if you want that gig then text him on 07940715824. If, of course, you are already down for this gig then let Riffs know and we will add it to our Listings page..............


Legendary rocker Meat Loaf, best known for singing 'Bat Out of Hell' and 'I'd Do Anything For Love', has died aged 74.
The Grammy award winning singer, who sold 100 million albums worldwide and starred in over 65 movies, died on Thursday night.


Last Saturday (15th) a band travelled up from Leeds to play at a North-East club, upon entering the rear of the club a committee man took exception to the singer's wife and 16-year-old daughter accompanying them and words were had. The singer was reported to have said "we don't need your money" the band then got back in their van and returned to Leeds.
Of course Riffs has more details. What a sad state of affairs. If we were dealing with grown-ups this could all have been avoided.


Think that's everything to do with archives up and linked. It's taken a while and my brain is like porridge at the mo' so please please please if you notice a link or something that isn't right please email me and I will sort it.

Just put the finishing touches to the Archives section for Riffs old reviews - well, I think it's finished, who knows. I've just added a
Black Rose review at the Three Tuns that Val penned and that I had forgotten. Also her review of The Janitors that I have just added and also one of Whey Aye C/DC. And I think that's the lot, unless someone out there remembers a review that isn't appearing in the archives. Let me know and I'll do my best to find it. Oh, and I'm adding Miscellaneous reviews from Moo!pmsbull and a couple of others in the next few days.

Eye-catching doubler we've just become aware of (cheers Gary!) on at Trillians on the 13th featuring
COLLATERAL and REVIVAL BLACK. Apparently Gary's wife Angela asked Collateral personally to attend the gig and would be more than happy if loadsa punters would fill the place to please both bands - and no doubt Gary and Angela. Having had a quick peek on Youtube, Riffs is mightily impressed with both bands but rather taken with Revival Black who appear less over-produced and more gritty. A gig, we suspect, that may be very well worth attending..........
Tickets are £11 from Trillians website.


Some news now of a local band who have recruited a new singer:
ROCK SOLID have now secured the services of Mick Hanby, ex-Witchkraft and more recently Heartbreaker. CJ was a mainstay of the band for many, many years, so filling those shoes will be no mean feat but, according to a Riffs source: "Mick is an all-round good guy, and a canny chanter to boot". Riffs has always had a soft spot for Rock Solid who have always sang dependable no-compromising Rock classics, so we sincerely hope the band will continue in this vein for many years to come. And if the band wish to send in any pics of their new line up we will gladly post...........


Holy smoke and sweet desire

Really glad some news is coming in, not too keen on the same paragraph sitting at the top of the News page for so long - readers may think the site is not being updated and move on, so having something exciting to shout about is a pleasure indeed. And shouting about an AC/DC tribute is about as good as it gets: It's the terrific value for money rockers LIVE WIRE, supported by the rumbustious (look it up) STICKY FINGERS (rapidly getting the moniker of 'Blackhall's Adopted Sons' they are there that often!). The gig at Blackhall Community Centre is on Saturday March 12th and tickets are £16 from the Centre or £17.60 from As we don't have March listings up yet it may be prudent to get in quick and snaffle the odd ticket or two as we suspect, given the band's plethora of quality venues on their current tour featured on the ents24 website, the gig will be rather popular. One I noticed was their gig at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth; a superb, atmospheric venue where Val and myself had a terrific night with legendary UFO, plenty of JD and a matching steak meal. Quite a hike from the North-East but for a better night to remember you'd need to go some....
And it was ON THIS DAY (December 31) in 1973 that AC/DC had their very first gig - at Chequers Bar in Sydney.


Just had an email asking for Riffs opening hours over Christmas (I know, I know). Well, our London Knightsbridge offices will be open . . . . oh, you were serious? Well, for those who don't know - Most of Riffs Towers will be closed, well, the top three floors will be, the ground floor will still be open but with only a skeleton staff (and with the age of some of them you know why they're called that). Any late additions or amends will be catered for as all incoming emails will be bounced from the nearest geosychronous satellite to our bank of servers which if we're asleep automatically ignites a candle that will burn through a string allowing a heavy weight to . . . no, hold on, that was Wallace and Gromit. The upshot is - yeah, always open.




Just a quick a
pology to anyone who saw the Platinum gig in Riffs Listings and decided to go to Hetton Big Club last Friday (26th) and got stung by a £4 cover charge (it's Sat noon and I'm awaiting a review of the gig by the Seaham Silverback, let's just see if they were worth it). This charge was not mentioned on Riffs as we were never informed. We have a policy of "all gigs start around 9 and are free unless otherwise stated". The club has now been added to our Naughty List.
(You think we're joking?)


Received this email from VainGlorious and was, to say the least, mightily impressed. None more so because it also has a couple of very good tracks from our very own The Force. I recreate the email in its entirety for your delectation . . .
Look What They Dun to Me Song Man has made available a monster of a music compilation via its Spend One English Penny section. This means that anyone with a PayPal account can download the whole album of 37 bright shiny mp3s for 1p.
We have assembled, by way of arm twisting, bribery and inspirational jiggery-pokery, a rich musical tapestry of stupendous and/or eccentric cover versions – A Right Mucky Mixture!
Normally is concerned in seeking out to make available, interesting music associated with the North East which is of the original, self-written variety. We have of course always been aware that most musicians at some time are also inclined to interpret songs that they have a musical/spiritual/sexual affinity with.
So we are delighted to be able to present the following artists for your benefit (spot the established artist nestling among them):
Art Fixter, The Attention Seekers, Blue Bishops, Brass Alley, Crossroads, Cruise, Dave Ditchburn, Dean Crimdon Dimension, Deep Blues Sea, DisGuise, Flaming Mussolinis, Graeme Wheatley, The Force, Hawking Thompson and Whitaker, Jim Hornsby, Jimmy McKenna’s TVA Combo, Johnny Never is FKD, Holiday Patrons, The Skapones, The Loud Guitars, The MontGolfiers, Spring Usher, Strangers on a Stage, The Switch, Tom Robinson, Trevor Sewell, UnderGroove, Wagga Jawaka, Wendells Parlour, The White Negroes, The Wild Bunch (featuring Mick Whitaker and Phil Caffrey).
We nearly made this into volumes 1, 2 and 3 but then thought aah it’s nearly Christmas. Do select the link below to read all about the songs and artists and remember to scroll to the very end (it is an epic) to spend your penny.
Chas Groovy


If you wish to see The Boss's band in action you need to be quick as they have only three gigs left this year:
Dec 4th - The Peacock in Sunderland; Dec 11th - The Greenhouse in Tynemouth; Dec 30th - The Voyager in South Shields.

Ticket prices and start times vary, but all gigs have a support act.

Details, as always, on our Listings page.



This Friday (26th), afrter a short 20-year break, exclusively at The Buffs, Heaton.  First come, first served. 8pm. £3 door.
We have no other gigs listed for this band!


Now, don't click on the pic and try to book her - you're not on your 'special' site now, you are on Riffs. She really is a lead singer. And for all of you who think I'm biased towards Rock and Metal - well, okay, perhaps I am, but this little bit of tottie [er . . . Nige, I 'm not sure if you can say that]. Can't I? okay then, this 'gentleman' sings in a party band - yes a party band. They don't play any Motorhead, nor Purple, nor Priest - although CCR does get an outing [so why are you mentioning them on Riffs?]. Well, despite the fact that I know booker Don of old and has helped top up Riffs' coffers pot by partaking in some boxed ads, bands are struggling and there is a place for ALL types of music on the circuit. Not everyone wants their ears blasted with Ace of Spades or Strange Kind of Woman - heaven knows why though! I may not be a fan, I may not ever turn up at one of their gigs - but a little push now and then I am able to do. The band is SOPHISTICATE and, from what I can see on their Facebook page, they certainly get the crowd up and dancing. And with Christmas coming up, they may just be what your venue needs.............. an email to Don at   will bestow on you further details.... Until then, pull your eyes away from that gentleman's lips and instead feast them on Sophisticate wowing the punters here.
That's done, now need to redress the balance with some metal . . . think this should do the job - play frightening, unbelievably, ear-splittingly live - what's a bit of tinnitus anyway . . . 
My neighours love this so much they've actually smashed my windows so they can hear it better............


Never tire here at Riffs giving publicity to charity gigs. I'm well aware that some people yawn and think "oh, bloody charity again, sick of hearing about charity". Yeah, no doubt they're the ones that have a steady job, lovely friends and don't need to scrimp and save - or suffer from health or mental issues. All well and good for them.
But some souls put themselves out for those that need it. Get along to Angels Place in Sunderland last sat (20th) where you missed TOXIC playing Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Damned etc all in aid of Rock 2 Recovery for their PEAKY BLINDERS themed charity evening.
It's not cheap at £10 a ticket but every penny is going to help those less fortunate. If you're one of the thoughtless many that never put anything in the Aldi Food Bank collection basket then this is your chance to do something. 120 people have bought tickets already but 'Angels' needs filling. Venue opened at 7 and band on at 9 - so be sharp!


An email from Alan updating the details on our Venues page for his Grand Hotel in Bishop Auckland has prompted me to request the same from any and all venues. No point in having your details on that page if they are not up to date - and having correct details can help punters checking on gigs etc., so please have a look and let me know of any updates......


Looks like gigs at the Poachers Pocket in Dunston are off for the time being as they had an accident concerning fireworks and the venue is closed.
Thanks to
Barry Godzz for the info.


“The finest meshes of soulful Blues and melodic Pop you will hear this year” – The Blues Mag [on Eddy Smith]
No matter how meticulous your planning, no matter how much thought and effort you put into organising a long weekend of live music, it would be more surprising than not for something to change. And so it is with
Hallelujah, the mega Blues weekend coming up Nov 12, 13 and 14. OUT is Jupiter Blues and Robert J. Hunter, and IN is The Della Grants and Eddy Smith and the 507. I have updated the poster accordingly. It's looking like this could be a very historic weekend.



I must say, it does sometimes make me wonder why, when publicity is totally and completely free why bands don't use it more. I mean, if you have a bad gig then, fair dos, say nowt, but if you have a corker, then get someone to take some pics and tell Riffs about it. Unbiased of course; "we were absolutely fantastic and the best band the venue has ever had" is not going to find its way onto our pages.

But we do like to hear how things went, so it was great to hear from Michael from tight little outfit
FOUR LETTER WORD. Now, you may remember they got a Riffs mensh as they were playing at the Bay Horse in Bishop Auckland (October), which just happened to be where Riffs caught them and reviewed the band a couple of years earlier before that nasty plaguey thing took hold. And as I was rather struck by their "raw, cutting sound" and their impressive lead guitarist, I thought it only fair to let local peeps know.

Michael reported concerning their recent gig that "we had an absolute belter....extremely lively audience & great fun as always." That is music to my ears, so much better than "thanks for the plug Nige, but nobody turned up". They've also achieved some private bookings for December which they haven't mentioned. What did I say in my review Michael? "If you've got it, flaunt it".

Four Letter Word have been "exceptionally active" of late but are managing to have a couple of weeks to themselves just ahead of Christmas. Well deserved I would say.


Just found this little gem hidden in Riffs' archives, from 2010 I believe. It was when Paul Tuns wrote articles for Riffs on his pub and the trials and tribulations of booking, supporting and hosting bands.

Got quite a few of these mini writes ups all by Paul Tuns so, given time, I may put them all on one page and link them to the Archives page. At least that way it gives people something to read if all the world's radio and tv stations pack up, newspapers and magazines are not printed and all other websites eerily stop working...............


Okay, so nothing is happening, no news, no-one wants publicity........... not a problem: here's some pics from 2009 The Three Tuns' Battle of the Bands final:
From left: 27 Club; A Thousand Lies; Bone Idol. Bottom row: The Zoo; Beth Macari; Mojo Hand. (All pics taken by Nige Riffs)

Anything happening out there boys and ghouls? Surely there's some band or venue not in complete limbo....


Two steps forward and one step back.
Most venues are trying harder than a prostitute with two mattresses to get the North-East music scene back up and rocking. Any venue, I'm sure, would be cock-a-hoop to have a full house - especially in these difficult circumstances - but when they get one and then have it snatched away, how gawling would that be? Well, Tony from Newcastle's St Peter's Social Club can tell you in exquisitely painful  detail, as it was a full house for last Saturday (23rd) for St, Peter's Soul Night in Newcastle when those pesky parasites had band members in their sights and the word for the night was isolation. A meticulously planned evening by Tony for the venue to host
Soul Street and Mitch was all for nothing. Good news was that most punters got the message (it was highlighted as cancelled on our Gig Listings page) and stayed away, alas a few did not and turned up. However, Tony is not in the least disheartened "Like climbing a greasy pole with oily hands, but onward and upward." On a brighter note though, Tony continues: "I'm at this very moment arranging a Soul Night for December. Will let you know as soon as it's sorted." Is it amiss of me to point out the importance of always, but always, checking Riffs - even an hour before you set off? The minute we get informed, we mark the gig appropriately. And again, always make a quick call to the venue (Tony thoughtfully adds the venue's phone number to all his listings) just to double check. Can save you a world of hassle.



The last couple of years has been a strain on bands, venues and all things musical - I really don't think anyone remains untouched by this dreaded lurgy that has decimated lives and made everyday living fraught with problems. Many bands have bit the dust and a brief email from Barry Skeels tells the plight of just one -
Ghostband. Instead of paraphrasing (it looks good in print, but you can't beat hearing it from the man himself): "Long long time since I've been here. Lockdown took its toll, with lost work but mainly the demise of Ghostband. Because of ill health Brian Vasey has decided to wind the band up and we were deciding whether to continue, but concluded it was better to stop now rather than cancelling gigs. We were using deps for a while (Jim Clare & Fred Purvis on various dates) and to this end Chris, drums & myself have formed a permanent band with Jim, which we've called Godzz of Wor." Now, I'm gonna interrupt young Barry here because some of you may be thinking 'I've seen that name, but spelt many different ways' - well, every day's a schoolday here at Riffs, and how we've spelt it here is the correct way. You see, it's Godzz because . . . well, I'll let Barry explain: "We were going to be a pure ZZ Top tribute, but the feedback we got was that a lot of bars wanted a bit of a mixture, so for the most part we now play a scattering of other rock, rock/blues covers within the sets of ZZ Top songs but should the need arise we can go full ZZ." So there you go. All sorted - well, not quite. Barry, like so many of us, came face to face with the scourge of the world. "We really only got going in late April, but then had to take time out when we all got Covid, luckily none of us got it too bad, but it did put us back for a while and had to cancel serveral gigs but now we are rocking at full strength." And he wasn't joking, they have practically taken over the Listings page with so many gigs booked in. So if you like ZZ Top and Classic Rock (and I suspect you do) then you could do a lot worse than moseying along to one of their gigs.
[top left pic taken at Stanhope Weekend Music Festival, above right taken at Tan Hill last week - and Riffs never took either, but thanks to whoever did]


FM stormin' Stormin'....


The more astute amongst you (and I know we have very stute readers) will have noticed that our pages have had a bit of a facelift. Thought it was about time we upgraded to the 20th Century. No doubt there will be some links that have been missed so I am inviting any eagle-eyed peeps out there to let me know if they spot any. The Band page has had a clear out and I was shocked by the amount of links that bands had let slip and hadn't bothered to let Riffs know. Well over half have now gone the distance - again, if I've chucked any by mistake just email me your link and I will reinstate it. I'm gonna need some help with the 'Venue' page; if you know of a venue who should be on there let me know, alternatively, if I'm showing a venue who does not now host live music, get in touch. Ta muchly.


Update on the Grand in Bishop Auckland who have had to do the old switch-around due to that damn Covid stickin' its nose where it isn't wanted: This Friday should have been New Breed Revolution but they have been put back to November, and standing in for them this Friday is Planet Rock. And yes, the Gig Listing page has been updated to show the change.


Just had a lovely email from FM guitarist and Steve's good friend David Johnstone. One of the things he mentioned was Steve's love of Zeppelin (such brilliant taste) and especially 'Good Times, Bad Times'. We link this track for all the good times that Steve gave to others . . .

"In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man
And now I've reached that age, I've tried to do all those things the best I can."

What a come-down, one moment gee-ing up Riffs readers for a mega three-day Blues n Rock extravaganza, and now brought slap-bang down to earth with an email from Norm Force informing Riffs that
FM's sensational former frontman has passed away. Steve Ireland. Can't be many in the North-East who haven't seen or heard of this superb lead singer. Myself and Val have had the pleasure of attending an FM gig on numerous occasions where I have been able to get some great pics of the band in action. No airs or graces, no over-inflated ego, just a solid, friendly down-to-earth guy. Steve's son, Finlay Ireland, said some very fine words concerning his father and I hope he won't mind if I recreate just a snippet here: "He taught me the beauty of entertainment. The value in making people happy. The responsibility you have to take care of your fellow man."


Three d
ays of the finest Blues and Rock music
. . .
Friday headliners: Kyla Brox Band          Saturday: The Revolutionaires                    Sunday: The Lucky 13s


We give a shout out to
NEW BREED REVOLUTION. And I can quote our source as it doesn't give him away: "The guitarist, one Micky Crystal, whose career I’ve followed since he was in the Fishburn Mafia aged 17 years old, is an outstanding talent and who I last saw when he was playing in the Tygers of Pan Tang at the Cluny, some years ago. Their singer is ex Deep Purple in Rock chanter who has an amazing voice and the bassist is multi-talented too. A show not to be missed." According to their Facebook page they are made up of ex members of Blitzkrieg, Tygers of Pan Tang and Acid Reign and "play classic rock with authority and authenticity". They are playing next Friday at The Grand in Bishop Auckland. Let's see if they live up to the hype.........


(But it really doesn't matter at all)
Bit of bad news for
Balls of Steel fans (gotta be some) as next week's gig at The Rose Inn, Wallsend has had to be cancelled as there is some major disruption right outside the venue due to serious roadworks concerning gas pipes.

But, on the bright side, it gives Heavy Metal fans a whole fortnight to build up to Friday 29th which by all accounts should be a stunning gig by Sabbath tribute -

Any ch-ch-changes and we will let you know.............


In these uncertain times it's certainly heartening to hear of a venue opening its doors to live bands and so we must give a mensh to The Mill Inn, Houghton le Spring who are dipping their toes in the pool of live music. This is the Seaham Silverback's territory and he was not backward in forwarding Riffs some info on the Inn.
The Mill’s full address is: Durham Rd, Houghton le Spring, DH5 8NG phone 0191 584 3211. It’s less than 100 yards off the A690 and has plenty of free, off-road parking and there’s a bus every 10 minutes from Sunderland and Durham that stops right outside. Here's their upcoming gigs: 23rd Oct Black Cadillac, 20th Nov Small Wonder.


Bit of sad news just hit Riffs' news desk:
Tumblin' Dice are no more. Vocalist Mike thoughtfully contacted Riffs to let us know of the band's demise. They will be sorely missed by their fans and music lovers of the North-East. If any of the band members join or form another band then Riffs is always here for publicity.


Cos, like everyone else, Riffs has bills to pay (the ever-increasing webspace charge, the exorbitant domain name costs etc.) I have added a little sweetener to the already steal of a price for boxed adverts - not only just 15 smackers for a fully designed advert for one whole month on the Listings Page (only a tenner on the Home page!) NOW that price includes a highlighted gig listing so your gig stands out from the crowd. A better deal I don't think you could find.


A little birdy has just let on to Riffs that the Sunday lunches at the Rose Inn in Wallsend are to die for. I've also just learnt that the venue is a victim of its own success as they are working flat out to keep up with demand. Check 'em out on Trustpilot.


What a weekend Queen UK have had with two cracking sell out shows at the Mayfair suites recently.

If there's only one person who was wowed with one of those performances it was Little Max - Billy West's no.1 fan.

Billy told Riffs: "
A big thank you to all our loyal fans they really made our day(s)".

And if you were looking forward to their next gig - at Dougies Tavern in Hebburn - then I'm afraid if you don't hold a ticket then you're out of luck as it is old out.

They went down so well at the Mayfair Suites that they have been re-booked for next March.

Billy went on: "
The weekend gigs have really lifted the band - great to see packed houses really enjoying the Qween UK experience."


Just typed in the gig listing for the Bay Horse in Bishop Auckland, and noticed that FOUR LETTER WORD are back there on the 8th of this month. I remember reviewing the band there a few moons ago (before the plague hit) so I host it here once more for no less of a flagrant reason than to give the lads a boost to their upcoming gig and hopefully get a few more locals back into the habit of getting out to see some quality live bands.............






Just received a tasty little morsel from local futhamuckers
FM, captured during their recent gig at The Star Inn, Newcastle. To play this well with nuclear fallout bathing the stage is to be respected. Thankfully their equipment was not affected and they managed to please the punters with some stunning AC/DC. Band member Dave told Riffs "It's really great to be out gigging again." And we can also report that Tony Liddle has settled in "really well". Riffs is proud ('n' almost certainly loud) to host FM's rendition of HELL'S BELLS. (for those of you who have just landed from Mars (or wherever) you need to click the pic)



It's amazing how some people expect you to make something o
ut of nothing. I mean, I'm always here to plug a good band, but it would be nice to have something to work with. When you have nothing to say it really is difficult to make a news item. But I remember what good ol' Tommy Vance said many rockin' moons ago - "I just let the music do the talkin'". (I think Aerosmith had a similar idea). And no amount of chat is gonna make a bad band sound good. But if you have a good band booked, and punters are few on the ground, it does make good sense to at least shout about it. Then, if the punters don't turn up and it was a crackin' gig; you may be out of pocket but you can get a massive banner printed reading "TOLD YOU SO". [For fuck's sake, Nige, get to the bloody point]. Well it's at The Three Tuns in Gateshead - yes, that hot, sweaty but oh so atmospheric venue, hosting a brilliant RUSH Tribute -
RUSHED. Rushed had the honour of headling the Rush Eucon 2020 which took place over two days in October 2020 at Langtry’s – The Royal Hotel, Crewe. [So how much to get in then Nige?] I hear you all say (I've got really good ears). As if you don't know Paul Tuns by now - it's TOTALLY FREE. Let's make this a gig that Paul doesn't lose money on....... so get along and have a few drinks.
It's .... OVER
That okay for you Paul? Did me best mate, no pics, no blurb - just "give us a push for Rushed this Saturday". I mean, c'mon...


Just heard from Karen at The Magnesia Bank in North Shields. The Stevestock Sunday on September 12 managed to raise  over £1,000 for the McMillans Cancer charity. Loadsa pics on their Facebook page.


As only one (that's just one!) band has asked for their video to be added to our "LOCAL ROCK BAND VIDEOS" then I have the option of either leaving the UK/DC video filmed at Trillians linked for ever - or scrapping the idea completely and going back to various videos under the title "CELEBRATING ROCK AND METAL". er . . . wonder what I should do.
I'm quite happy to help bands who want to help themselves.....


Sunday morning shout goes out to 'Brummy' for pointing out that the ticket prices shown for Trillians ticketed gigs on our (normally trustworthy) Gig Listings page do not show the full price. So I have painstakingly checked every price and added the fees so what is shown is exactly what you pay. Cheers Brummy. A full 20/20 for you then.



I know it has been only a few days but I was beginning to think our local bands just didn't want any publicity. The new 'LOCAL ROCK BAND VIDEOS' link [over to the right] garnered absolutely no attention. I thought it would be a good place for local Rock bands to show off what they can do - and was just about to admit the idea was another turkey; then just last night (Wed) Bon from
UK/DC sent in a link to a live video taken at their recent Trillians gig. Also won't do any harm to build up some more interest for The Tynedale Beer Festival where they are headlining. So (and I'm sure Bon and the lads will be pleased to hear) it will stay there until some other bunch of publicity-seeking Rockers take the opportunity to showcase their wares. So c'mon guys, I'm trying me best to help out 'ere .............................


The Tynedale Beer Festival gig with headliners
UK/DC and hard on their heels Deep Purple In Rock doesn't look like there will be door entry. Tickets are still available - but only for the next 24 hours. And the time now . . . beep beep beep . . . is 12.33pm on Thursday 2nd. And if you're interested in watching the progress being made at the festival site then click here.


It's always sad when a quality local rockin' band decides to call it a day. Even more so when it seems there are not many (if any, dare we say?) bands able or willing to step into those aforementioned shoes.
But on a totally unrelated note: make the most of ROCK SOLID in the next few months..............


Pretty lucky up here in the North-East - the weather may not be the best but by Christ we have some great bands, not to mention the people who can put together the whole nine yards for us to enjoy. So Riffs is proud to shout about this Maiden UK and Sticky Fingers gig that comes in at just a tenner if you buy your tickets from the Community Centre, and £11 from www.ents24. All eyes may be upon Maiden UK to pull out all the stops but I'm sure many will agree that Sticky Fingers deserve to be in the spotlight for supplying the region with decades of Classic Rock.
The advert says it all but . . . well, you'd be surprised, so we repeat the deets here:
Blackhall Community Centre Hesleden Road TS27 4LG
Saturday 13th November 2021     Doors 6-45 curfew 11-30         Tickets £10 from Centre or  £11 online from Ents24
And please note that this is a ticketed event only - there will be NO walk ups for this gig.


Sunday Sep 5 - £14.45
1.45pm Blues Jam
3.15pm Ma Kelly's Boys
5.30pm Deep Purple in Rock
7.45pm UK/DC
Tynedale Beer Festival, Tynedale Park, Corbridge


UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: All positions now filled [8.58pm]

E: The Crook Hotel for Sunday has just been sorted. [5.40]

Didn't realise that all the North-East bands had all the bookings they need! There are three pubs that are still wanting bands for this weekend - one for tonight, one for tomorrow and one for Monday. Keep checking our Stop Press page for gigs.........


Life is just choc full of disappointment and I'm afraid we have more for people who hold tickets and are looking forward to the Mercury and May concert at Boldon on Friday September 3. This gig has been cancelled and rescheduled for January of next year. Riffs understands that full refunds will be given and the duo are most apologetic for any inconvenience the cancellation has caused. [pic is from a previous Boldon gig]


This year's event will see all three very fine bands covering FREE's material in depth. WALK IN MY SHADOW is dedicating their whole set to tracks from the 'Fire & water' and 'Highway' albums as a belated 50th Anniversary tribute. The night should make for a very fine fitting tribute to our favourite band:
This year the event is taking place at The Cullercoats Club; this is a smaller venue than both the Park Hotel and The Wallsend Memorial Hall, but it was decided to change venues this year to create a more intimate atmosphere with a great sound and a good view from all seats. The club has a limited capacity of 200 and there are just 76 tickets remaining to be sold, so early booking is advisable.
Tickets are £15 from club, £20 door, or £16.50 via the following link Ents24
There are a few tickets available from the club itself and anyone who can't pay by card or visit the club can contact Bill by telephone 07948017380 or 01282868352.
Door open 6.45 PM  all times are approximate
Excellent Band making their first Convention appearance performing rarer Free material from all the albums.
 8.15       Raffle collection during Film show.
WALK IN MY SHADOW  - Guitarist Dave Morris performed with Rabbit at the 1991 Free Convention. The band is excellent and will be performing tracks from the Fire & water, Highway and My Brother Jake sessions as a belated 50th Anniversary tribute.
 9,30        Charity raffle drawn and Auction with some prizes donated by Paul Rodgers.
ABSOLUTE FREE - Covering classic Free from all the albums (the band went down a storm in 2019) 
11.30       Finish.

LEGENDARY Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has passed away age 80, it was confirmed today.
Watts, who has been with the band since the early 1960s heyday, pulled out of their US tour just weeks ago following an unspecified medical procedure.
It was initially reported that he was taking time to recover with the band saying they hoped to reunite with him again soon.
However his publicist confirmed today that Charlie had passed away "peacefully" surrounded by his loved ones.



For any Bon Jovi fans out there (I'm saying nowt) if you want to see
Bon Jovi Forever in December in Middlesbrough it will cost you £11.75 for a ticket; if you were in a mind to travel to Shildon it would cost you £13.95 a ticket. But Paul Tuns has wangled for them to play tonight (Friday 20) and the entrance fee is . . . wait for it . . ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!.Just waltz straight in with a beaming smile that says "Wow, I've just saved a shitload of cash". But, as good a deal as this is, Paul has gone even one better, classic Rock afficianados The Kill is support band. So, both fans should set their sights on The Three Tuns, Sheriffs Hill, Gateshead and, well, as much as you can I suppose, enjoy the sounds of Bon Jovi.......
I, of course, will be enjoying myself much, much more as I will be banging myself on the head with a hammer, interspersed with bouts of watching some paint dry. OVER - YOU MISSED IT!!!


UPDATE: Final total for the Stan Morson charity night is a very respectable £3277.50  Wow, just WOW.

‘Morning Nige,
Last Friday night was
Stan Morson’s brain cancer charity gig with the Sneaky Blinders playing in Dubmire club. I’d hoped to be able to give you a total raised for the evening, but on Saturday the total hadn’t been finalised, it was standing at £2815.00 when I last heard and the organisers confidently expected it to be over 3 grand by the end. The band played their usual blinder, but the set was definitely geared more toward the less Rock inclined audience than us metalheads. The gig had been sold out for months and it did my heart good to see so many friends from gigs in both the old Buffs days and the Kepier hall. Stan was there, larger than life despite his illness, and loving being back in the heart of his community again.
Unless the asteroid of doom falls in the interim, I’ll be in the Glendale on Friday...


Don't think I need to state how annoyingly frustrating it is to see "Tickets £xx" and to think what a good value gig this is - only to log on to a ticket site to find that all sorts of 'fees' are added that brings the price way way higher. [Ah, no, well, you ordered on a weekday so that's an extra £1, and you ordered via a mobile phone, so that's another £1, and it's so expensive and time consuming for me to click this button to send out the ticket so . . . ] Now, Riffs can do sod all about the price - but we at least can be honest about it. I've done a bit of checking and (head bowed low) our Listings page (and indeed adverts below) are prime examples of this anomaly. So, from this second on, any gigs where tickets are available MUST show the FULL price for purchase. I will personally check and make sure that the price stated on our Listings page is the price you pay. Any readers spot a price I've missed then email me immediately on
And talking of honesty, heaven knows why this age-old joke sprung to mind:
"Hey, John, you'll never believe what happened to me last night. I was in the pub and got talking to this gorgeous girl with a stunning hourglass figure and after a few drinks we went back to my place. She couldn't wait to show me her stocking-clad body and lacy bra, it was then she let slip she was under age. After a few seconds of deliberation I told her to get dressed, called her a taxi and she left"
"That's some story, strange ending though."
"Why, what would you have done?"
"Exactly the same as you, except I wouldn't have lied about it"


As things have been very ballooney of late it may be worth a mensh that the August 28th gig at Shildon Civic Hall is not only going ahead but even though tickets are still available, you can pay on door for 15 smackers. Here is a reminder of what's on offer . . .
August Bank holiday weekend sees 3 of the best rock tribute bands in the country arrive at the Civic Hall in Shildon (Saturday 28th).
Kicking the night off in style is
MA KELLYS BOYS, tribute to the mighty Status Quo. These guys play the Quo boogie from the golden years of '70 to '76 when the band were true Rockers. including the classics Roll Over Lay Down, Down Down, Caroline, etc.
Next up it’s
I’M MAIDEN from Hull, tribute to the rock metal gods Iron Maiden. Playing tracks from the early days of Di’Anno right through to the present day this band have been electrifying audiences with their sound, energy and attention to detail in recreating the very essence of a true Maiden gig!
And bringing the night to its dramatic conclusion is
ACDC GB. Well established now on the tribute circuit these lads are back by popular demand at the Civic Hall. After their last sell out show here they once more take to the stage to deliver their breathtaking Brian Johnson era performance in tribute to the legendary Aussie rockers. Expect nothing less than a full on, hard hitting, non-stop Rock n Roll train on the Highway to Hell!
Get your tickets from (+ fees it's £14.50), or the venue box office 01388 772902.   £15 door.


‘Morning Nige,
I walked down to the Glendale last night (so good to be able to just nip round the corner to hear live music!) to see Witchkraft.  3 out of the 4 guys on the stage last night were deps as far as I could make out, the drummer & bassist are out of Sticky Fingers and the singer was out of the Codgers.
I’d reckon the place was about 75% full, guessing 70 – 80 punters; no masks, no social distancing or capacity limits. There was hand jell everywhere and standing at the bar was prohibited, although queuing to get served was okay. I’d hazard a guess that all the punters in there were of an age to be eligible for both jabs should they so desire and I didn’t feel vulnerable or uncomfortable at any time. I was especially pleased that the club got a good turnout. The Buffs and the Comms Rock nights in August was always a struggle to get bums on seats what with holidays and folk staying at home to have a few cans in the garden with a BBQ. The folk I spoke to last night were happy to be out listening to live Rock and it was good to meet up with friends you hadn’t seen for getting on for 18 months.
When the band started their sound check with Purple’s “Perfect Strangers” there seemed to be a collective intake of breath to drink in that which sustains so many of us. It was magnificent.'


Have had more than a handful of emails from punters referencing the 'Where Have All the People Gone?' And a few of these have lambasted me for not mentioning their views on this News page. So here we go: The bottom line is they do not intend to be at a gig where people who are fully or partially vaccinated rub shoulders with those who are not, and therefore could be harbouring the virus. Most of the email senders are in favour of a 'pass' or 'Covid certificate' to prove full virus protection. "If someone can guarantee me that everyone in the pub has had two injections, then I will attend a gig like a shot" said one. "Why should I go to my local pub if anyone there could have Covid?" said another.


Judging by the reply from Paul Smith from The Three Tuns and The Schooner in Gateshead, it's not just St Peter's Social Bar in Newcastle that suffers from poor attendances. Here's what Paul has to say: "I’m afraid it’s just what it is. We had the Bryan Adams Experience for £550 - we got 18 in; we had a 60s tribute from Glasgow paid £550 - got 9 in. People say they missed live music but they’ve not come back."  Worrying times indeed.



[l to r: Battleaxe, Troyen, Rhabstallion]
For those interested in the classic bands of NWOBHM (and I would wager the majority of you reading this) then circle this date in your calendar:
Saturday September 25 as no less than BATTLEAXE, TROYEN and RHABSTALLION are sharing the same stage for an evening of Classic Rock and Metal courtesy of Hartlepool Steelies.
In the early 1980s Sunderland band
Battleaxe toured with Saxon and also played with bands such as Twisted Sister, Anvil, Madam X, Girlschool and many more.
Troyen first graced the NWOBHM scene in 1981. Despite a promising arrival the band were sadly to part ways late on in 1982 due to financial issues and related rock and roll stuff, even though they had played approximately 130 gigs and supported Spider, Girlschool, Rhabstallion and Diamond Head amongst others. They re-formed in 2014 after 32 years apart.
Halifax based Rhabstallion shared the stage with bands such as Hanoi Rocks, Diamond Head, Stampede, Saxon and French band Trust. These guys dominated the scene by pumping out their rock  - honest, hard and fast...
If this night is a succes there could just be more in the pipeline.

7.30pm start    tickets are £8.80 on Ents24 or £10 door.


Just got an interesting email from Tony from St Peter's Social Bar in Newcastle. He's asking why, when he provides "top class bands - free, with cheap beer, yet we still have plenty available seating and space!". His venue has plenty of great bands and lots of seating with no chance of rubbing shoulders with strangers yet still people are wary. He continued: "Despite bands crying out for venues and seemingly punters wanting to go see/listen we are still not usually getting anticipated numbers."
He asks if other venues are in the same boat. Be interesting to hear of any other venues who are struggling . . .


A shout out to those who have been affected by the pandemic in such a way that their self-esteem has been shot, they suffer from anxiety, and find it difficult to socialise.


Well, if this poster hasn't got your Rock buds tingling then I don't know what will - this is a helluva line up. I took some pics of Ma Kelly's Boys when they appeared at the Crook Hotel before 'the bad times', and I was most impressed by their performance. No spring chickens and they played all the better for it. But after that dose of 3-bar Blues,
be knocked metaphorically unconscious by the timeless Deep Purple in Rock. Then hang on to your horned hats for a  tribute to the best era of AC/DC performed by UK/DC. But there's more ["surely not Nige" I hear you cry as one] as the whole kit and kaboodle (not exactly sure what a kaboodle is - must look that one up) is in support of local charities and community sport. Organiser Chris told Riffs: "Our Sunday special is themed NHS Day where we will be inviting over 500 NHS staff to be our guests." I'm not quite sure how it would be possible to make this day any better. Yes, I know what you're saying "only to have you there, Nige". I'm just so embarrassed by your kindness.

[Ma Kelly's Boys left, UK/DC right]
So get along - Sunday Sep 5 - £14.45
1.45pm Blues Jam
3.15pm Ma Kelly's Boys
5.30pm Deep Purple in Rock
7.45pm UK/DC
Tynedale Beer Festival, Tynedale Park, Corbridge


Thurs 22; Just heard via Lenny Tube that the Crook Hotel is shut due to staff having to isolate . . .


I'm sure I don't need to mention how volatile gigs are at the moment, so please check our Listings page right up until your hour of departure because . . . well, you just never know.............


Just been informed today - Friday 9.55am (25th) - that the Philadelphia Music and Beer Festival has been moved to September.


Not only did I not have any decent pics of the band who are due to play at Stan Morson's charity event on August 13, but they have apparently had a slight line-up change (correct me if I'm wrong here Neil). So I was unable to include any pics of those cheeky little Sneaky Blinders on the earlier article. But, as is always the case . . . y'know; feast, famine, buses, etc. thanks to Neil I now have a few to choose from. So here are just three. I'll admit, visually they may not set the pixels alight, but if they can get not one favourable review from the Seaham Silverback - but two, then that'll do for me. And may I remind you this is a charity event so no-one will be walking away with full pockets - it's all going to cancer charities. You don't even need to give generously on the night - just turn the fuck up! Which, incidentally, is what I have been known to shout at many rock gigs.


Well, it feels good (just like I knew it would) to have some News coming in - and even better as it's good news.
Hands up all those who would like a
Sabbath tribute? Wow - that's a lot of hands. Hands up who wants a North-East rock legend on lead guitar and vocals? Again, lotsa hands. But not just that, to join him we have another two of our very own highly talented and experience musicians. (Ffs Nige, just tell us who the fuck the band is) Okay, okay, it's Guitar/Vocs - Russ Tippins, Bass - Kev Laverty, Drums - Tom Atkinson, and together they are gigging as SAB3. They are all set to play the entire Master Of Reality (to celebrate the 50th anniversary), plus more classic Sabbath tracks. They have gigs in for July and, to save you the hassle and hard work of moving your cursor all the way up to 'gig listings' I'll add them here:.
Tyne Bank Brewery, Newcastle - Sunday 18th July - Tickets £10 from or the band's Facebook page
The Forum, Darlington - Wednesday 21st July - Tickets £10 from The Forum (01325 363135) or
Hartlepool Steelies (with Twister) - Saturday 24th July - Ticket details tba.
You can actually catch drummer Tom around the region doing his solo acoustic set - in fact he's on at The Schooner this Friday (25th).
Check for updates on their Facebook page:
I'm hoping the band will let Riffs know of any updates and I'll announce them here too. Hope they do better than Sneaky Blinders from whom I'm still awaiting a pic....(pics just in. Will get them added to this page later today).


Regular readers (hey, and I'm talking to both of you) will know that I have great admiration and respect for venues and bands who not only go out of their way, but also expend time, effort and expense on putting on a charity event. How many of us really can say that we have given what we can, with absolutely no expectation of gaining anything in return? So without further ado (yeah, c'mon Nige, get to the point) I mention Friday August 13 when the
Sneaky Blinders intend to belt out what they do best in honour of the founder and runner of Buffalos Rock Club - STAN MORSON. Earlier on this year he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and a lot of well-wishers from the music fraternity wanted to help but . . . well, I'll let Dave Fulton explain: "with the Covid restrictions it proved all but impossible to get a venue." He continued; "Local guys, The Sneaky Blinders, who've been reviewed a couple of times on Riffs, are putting on a gig 13th August with proceeds going to charities that have helped, and continue to help people with brain cancers."
Just to underline, here are details:

Dubmire Club, Wynyard St, Fence Houses, Houghton le Spring DH4 6LS.
Friday, 13th August, The Sneaky Blinders. Tickets £5.00

Nice pic of Sneaky Blinders on the way - hopefully!



Riffs is cock-a-hoop (well, with age creeping up it's more hoop than cock) to hear from Paul Tuns who, despite running one of the leading Rock venues in the region, Riffs has heard very little from recently. All venues have had their ups and down and The Three Tuns in Gateshead has been no exception. It was Alan from Fizzyfish who mentioned to me not so long back that the band had taken their wacky rockiness all over Teesside and the North-East but "d'y'know Nige, I'm not gonna rest till I've played The Tuns". I'm pleased to say they did and the band are all the better for it. But back to the Tuns, and last Saturday (19th) they had Punk Pop Disaster (no, I haven't either), so I popped on to Youtube where I found them playing at 2019s Christmas Rocks at the 02 in Newcastle...... but that's history now, but pop on to the Listings page and check out the Tuns for future gigs...........


A socially-distanced Qween member donates a "He Will Rock You" t-shirt to Hartlepool Hospice recently to mark the release of the afore-mentioned single penned by members Billy West and Rob Javan.

"It's the 30th anniversary of Freddie's passing this year, so we thought it fitting that 50% of all sales
money go to fundraising - in particular Alice House Hospice in Hartlepool" said Rob.

"Billy has been a professional entertainer and a Freddie Mercury tribute artist for over 30 years, and I think that speaks for itself. The feedback so far has been positive and we hop
e it's gonna be a big success. We have some major concerts coming up and look forward to people's reaction when we play it live."

The track is available on Spotify here.


MONDAY JUNE 14: The lifting of lockdown restrictions has officially been delayed for at least one month. Gigs are unaffected and, if you are sensible and adhere to precautions arranged by the venues, there will be nothing stopping you enjoying a great evening's entertainment.


are suing London-based insurance market Lloyd's of London for damages from their postponed 2020 tour dates. There were a handful of shows they had booked in South America that were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to NBC Los Angeles, Lloyd's of London has refused to compensate Metallica for the monetary losses they've endured as a result of having to postpone the tour.
The six-date run was set to take place in April of 2020 in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, and would have served as Metallica's first set of shows since James Hetfield's rehab stint in late 2019.
Greta Van Fleet were set to be the opening act.
Prior to the tour, Metallica purchased a "cancellation, abandonment and non-appearance insurance" policy in case of any potential postponement or cancelations. Due to the worldwide lockdowns, the tour was postponed.
However, Lloyd's of London cited the policy's communicable disease exclusion and refused to reimburse the band for their losses "based on an unreasonably restrictive interpretation of the policy," the suit reads.
The band filed the lawsuit Monday (June 7) at the Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that Lloyd's of London committed a breach of contract by denying them compensation, and they are seeking unspecified damages as a result.
Metallica have not yet announced the rescheduled dates for the South American tour. As of now, the only shows they have announced for 2021 are a few appearances at festivals in the fall.


Can't say it's much of a surprise (given the numpties not adhering to the simple rules) but it's now looking more than likely that restrictions will NOT be lifted this month. Gigs will be going ahead but Covid rules will apply. Just be sensible.


Sobering fact
: There has been more deaths due to Covid in the first five months of this year than in the whole of 2020.


I don't even need to mention what a difficult time this is, and I know I've bleated on about everyone doing their bit. Riffs has always had ultra-cheap advertising at just a tenner for a boxed advert on the Home page, and just £15 for the same on the Listings page - for one whole month; and this includes design. We have had this running for years. An absolute steal you must agree. Well, I can't play a musical instrument and would undoubtedly get stage fright anyway. Running a venue is way beyond my capabilities too (about now you'll be thinking "bit of a useless twat then really"). Ah, but, there is something I can do to help bands and venues, the price has just been lowered to just a tenner for one whole month on the Listings page (and yes, that includes design!) PLUS inclusion on the Home page AT NO EXTRA COST. Any cheaper and we'll be paying you!! So grab those ads now before they go back up to the dizzy heights of £15!!!  We're here to help. Oh, that's Asda isn't it. Well, every little helps . . . erm.... bugga.
And please don't think "I don't know how to go about it, it may be complicated." Well, it isn't. I'll make it as easy and painless as possible. Just email me and before you know it you'll be looking at a copy of your ad . . .



It's totally understandable why people are still wary about going to gigs. But the bands are up for it, the venues are bending over backwards to accommodate all the restrictions - but it's all for nought if the region's punters aren't piling through the doors. Newcastle is known to have some of the best support in the region so it did come as quite a surprise to hear from Robert from PTE Social Club to say that turnout to gigs is less than satisfactory. Forget that it's a club, he says, it's a pub atmosphere with a club advantage. "
We have a large concert room that holds 100 people under covid restrictions. The band play on a stage, so you get a good view no matter where you sit. We operate a table service and accept cash or card. We do charge £3 cover charge, but you can buy a pint from as little as £2.24." So you can see the venue is doing all it can. But that's not all, Robert continues: "You don't have to be a member and you don't have to sign in (except Track & Trace) we try and make things as "pub like" as possible." If you have four or more coming along you can reserve a table in advance, contact the club via Facebook. Coming up is Dog In A Box, The Beer Monkeys and The Force. I'll let Robert have the last say: "We really hope people will come and support live music and have a safe night and a great night."
PTE Social Club, Millers Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 2XP


1958 - Jerry Lee Lewis arrived at London's Heathrow Airport to begin his first British tour, along with his new bride, 14 year old third cousin, Myra. Although advised not to mention it, Lewis answered all questions about his private life. The public's shock over Lewis' marriage marks the start of a controversy leading to his British tour being cancelled after just 3 of the scheduled 37 performances.

1968 - Gary Puckett and the Union Gap were at No.1 on the singles chart with 'Young Girl.' The song which was about under-age love, was the band's only No.1.

1971 - The Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers started a four-week run at No.1 on the US charts, the group's second US No.1 album. The artwork for Sticky Fingers which on the original vinyl release featured a working zipper that opened to reveal cotton briefs was conceived by American pop artist Andy Warhol. The cover, a photo of Joe Dallesandro's crotch clad in tight blue jeans, was assumed by many fans to be an image of Mick Jagger. The album also features the first usage of the "Tongue and Lip Design" designed by John Pasche.

1991 - Wil Sinnott from The Shamen drowned while swimming off the coast of La Gomera when he was pulled under by strong currents. The Shamen were in Tenerife filming a video for their new single 'Move Any Mountain.'

2002 - Adam Ant appeared at The Old Bailey in London charged with possession of an imitation firearm. Ant (Stuart Goddard) had been arrested in January after an altercation at The Prince of Wales pub in London when a bouncer refused to let him in.

2011 - Four dead dogs in 'sealed containers' were found in the Tennessee home of former Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent during an investigation that led to his arrest on charges of assaulting his wife. Vincent, a member of Kiss from 1982 to 1984, was released after posting $10,000 bond after his arrest by the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department.

2014 - Fleetwood Mac's Christine McVie was honoured with a lifetime achievement at this year's Ivor Novello songwriting awards. McVie played with Fleetwood Mac for 28 years and wrote some of their most famous songs, including 'Don't Stop' and 'Little Lies'. Other winners at the ceremony in London included London Grammar, The Chemical Brothers and Nile Rodgers.

2016 - A guitar that Elvis Presley was given by his father sold for $334,000 (£230,000) at an auction in New York. It was thought that Vernon Presley changed the finish on the Gibson Dove to black after his son earned a black belt in karate. Presley later gave the guitar to a fan during a concert in North Carolina in 1975. Auctioneers Julien's also sold John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for The Beatles' 'Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite!' for $354,400 (£244,000).

1955 - Chuck Berry recorded 'Maybellene' at Universal Recording Studios, Chicago, Illinois. The song adapted in part from the Western swing fiddle tune 'Ida Red' is said to be one of the first rock and roll songs. The track became Berry's debut single release in July of this year where it peaked at No.5 on the US chart.

1966 - The Castiles (with Bruce Springsteen on vocals) appeared at Freehold Regional High School in New Jersey. They were performing at their own high school for the very first time. All five members of the band were Juniors at Freehold High School.

1968 - Rolling Stone Brian Jones appeared at Great Marlborough Street Magistrates court, London on a charge of possession of marijuana, Jones was released on £200 bail.

1970 - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released the protest single Ohio, written and composed by Neil Young in reaction to the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970, when unarmed college students were shot by the Ohio National Guard. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.

1971 - Marvin Gaye released his eleventh studio album What's Going On. The concept album consisting of nine songs tells the story from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran returning to the country he had been fighting for, and seeing only hatred, suffering and injustice. What's Going On is regarded as one of the landmark recordings in pop music history, and one of the greatest albums of the 20th century.

1972 - The Doors, Pink Floyd, the Faces, Family, Curved Air, Atomic Rooster, The Kinks, Rory Gallagher, Uriah Heep, Country Joe McDonald, Buddy Miles, Status Quo, Brinsley Schwarz, Spencer Davis, The Strawbs and Humble Pie all appeared at the 2nd British Rock Meeting, Insel Grun, Germersheim, West Germany. The festival was due to take place in Mannheim, West Germany, but after protests from the locals the concert actually took place in nearby Germersheim. [Y'know, if I invented a time machine - I wouldn't go back to Jesus on the cross, or the assassination of Kennedy, or even to see the dinosaurs - I'd go to this day in 1972]

1980 - A thief brook into Electric Lady Studios in New York City, the recording studio built by Jimi Hendrix and stole five Hendrix gold records for the albums ‘Are You Experienced’’, ‘Axis: Bold as Love’, ‘Cry of Love’, ‘Rainbow Bridge’ and Live at Monterey.

1980 - Joe Strummer of The Clash was arrested at a much-troubled gig in Hamburg, Germany, after smashing his guitar over the head of a member of the audience; he was released after an alcohol test proved negative.

1983 - David Bowie went to No.1 on the singles chart with 'Let's Dance', featuring blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was Bowie's first single to reach number one on both sides of the Atlantic. The music video was made by David Mallet on location in Australia including a bar in Carinda in New South Wales, featured Bowie playing with his band while impassively watching an Aboriginal couple’s struggles against metaphors of Western cultural imperialism.

2007 - Former singer with Creed, Scott Stapp was arrested at his Florida home and charged with assault. The 33-year-old was held without bail following the charges which related to a domestic assault.

2011 - Bob Dylan came out on top as both the most inspirational individual for poets and the dream collaborative partner, in a survey carried out by The Foyle Poetry Society. The extensive survey questioned poets asking which musician and which genre of music most inspired their writing. The young