The first time we did the gig, we turned up, set up and hung around to watch the local support band. The place was empty.
A huge town hall, huge stage and about 20 people. We were pretty disappointed as we thought it would be a lousy night. We went on to do the first of two 45 min spots to about 50 people.
The support band did another spot and we just hung around as a few more trooped in. Then we went backstage to change.
As the curtains opened for our second spot we were amazed to see a jam packed audience - the pubs had closed! God, it was rough - we had bouncers sat on the front of the stage, facing the crowd, looking for any aggro!
A bit of an eye opener - even for a Moss Side lad.
Phoenix City Smash on the steps of Barrow Public Hall - webmaster Paul on far right, looking cool
Another memory - Barrow was the first and last time I ever shook a tomato sauce bottle in a cafe without checking the top. I covered a guy on the next table with sauce - in his hair, all over his shirt and in his cup of tea.
Even the Who had the same problem in Barrow, Pete Townshend got involved in a fight when they played in 1965.
Barrow drinkers used to go out & walk around the town centre pubs, get full of Ale the end up at the Public Hall to see whatever band were playing & try to pull a bird.
The night club was exactly how you described it to be. The Who were pelted with 'pennies' from the pissed up lot turfed out of the pub across the road. The Who were not liked at all because of Daltreys foul mouth over the mic. Crazy to think this nowadays, but they had only just released their first single at the time and cockneys swearing was a show of aggression I suppose.
Above: The Who onstage at Barrow Public Hall - note the bouncer on stage.
I am writing the story of the Public Halls biggest rival in the town - this club was called The 99 Club and has an amazing history.
So during my searches of newspaper archive I have recorded the history of what is about 95 % of the total bands that ever played there from 1966 until its closure in the 1980's. The Public Hall did have its good days as you will see.
I have attached this list below as you may spot the name of bands you may remember from back in the day, there must be a few Manc bands listed. It would be quite easy for me to retrieve the concert listings that are documented, the papers round here never wrote any reviews of concerts which is a shame really. If there is any band listed that you would like me to find the newspaper advert for the gig, feel free to let me know and I will get a copy to post on the site.
I forgot to say earlier , my Uncle John was the lead singer in a couple of bands during the late 60's. His first band was called Chapter 5 who nearly made it, signed to CBS and sadly ripped off. They have become a legendary band in Northern Soul circles, they played a few gigs in Manc and many at the Nelson Imp. They were bloody good . Also he fronted John St John for a few years after that who were not as well known in the North West.
The Public Hall list is attached below. In later years the name of the club was changed to Maxims, Rafters, then finally Scorpio.
THE PUBLIC HALL
(LOCAL BANDS NOT INCLUDED IN THESE LISTINGS)
ABLE FLETCHER (2/1/71) (2)
LADY JANE +ROYALTEE (9/1/71) (2)
THE DELROY WILLIAMS SHOW (16/1/71)
ZOE (30/1/11) SUNSHINE (20/2/71) (3)
THE SWEET (28/2/71) (3) PEPPER TREE (6/3/71) (4)
JIMMY CRICKET (20/3/71)
FLYING MACHINE (FORMERLY PINKERTONS COLOURS) (27/3/71) PYAWAKET ( 10/4/71) PHOENIX CITY SMASH (17/4/71) (4)
THE MAGOOS (23/4/71) (2)
THE SPINNERS (11/5/71)
LADY JANE & HER ROYALTEE (15/5/71)
BAY CITY ROLLERS (30/5/71)
TECHNIQUE (5/6/71) (3)
KENNY BALL & HIS JAZZ MEN (8/6/71)
MISTY SOUL (7/8/71)
DELROY WILLIAMS SHOW ( 14/8/71) SUNSHINE ( 21/8/71)(3)
THE RADIO 1 SHOW (2 HR BROADCAST) (27/8/71)
BODICEA ( 28/8/71) (2)
BROTHER LOVES TRAVELLING ROADSHOW (4/9/71) (2)
FRIDAY WILD (11/9/71)
BARNABY RUDGE -(FORMERLY MIGHTY JO YOUNG) ( 2/10/71)
THE MAGOOS (16/10/71) (3)
FREE SPEECH (30/10/71)
IRON MAIDEN (13/11/72)(1971)
FULL MOON( 20/11/71)
BAY CITY ROLLERS (27/11/71)(2)
BROTHER LOVES TRAVELLING BAND (11/12/71) (3)
BYRDE AVENUE (18/12/71)
TECHNIQUE (23/12/71) (4)
FRIDAY WILD (15/1/72) (2)
FOREVER (22/1/72) (3)
THE SETTLERS (27/1/72)
THE MAGOOS(29/1/72) (4)
JOHNNY WAKELLIN & TRUE EXPRESSION (26/1/75)
THE DETROIT SOUL MACHINE ( 8/2/75)
JIMMY HELMES (21/2/75)
THE FOUNDATIONS (23/2/75)
THE SOUL SPINNERS (14/3/75)
JOHNNY WAKELLIN & THE KINSHASHA BAND (3/3/75)
NOSMO KING & THE JAVELLS (8/3/75)
CHICORY TIP (7/4/75)
JOHNNY WINDERS & THE CHICAGO HEATWAVE (21/3/75)
WIGAN OVATION (11/4/75)
THE NORTHERN SOUL ROADSHOW ‘ALL NIGHTER’ ( 18/4/75)
P J PROBY (19/4/75)
EDDISON LIGHTHOUSE (21/4/75)
RAINY DAY FOLLOWING (24/4/75)
THE DRIFTERS (25/4/75)
DESMOND DECCA & THE ACES (3/5/75)
APARTHEID DANCE (13/4/75)
MIKE DOUGLAS (18/5/75) Comedian
THE REAL THING (24/5/75)
WHACKERS (29/5/75) COMEDIANS
JILL EASTMAN (29/5/75)
MAJOR LANCE (30/5/75)
THE CARAVELLES (7/6/75)
FROM SPAIN -JAMIE + 2 GO GO GIRLS ( 12/6/75)
STOP PRESS (13/6/75)
THE EQUALS (13/6/75)
THE MADDISONS ( 15/6/75)
JIMMY KAYE ( 15/6/75) COMEDIAN
THE DISCOLETTES (19/6/75)
N.SOUL ROADSHOW (27/6/75) ALL N.
ALL NIGHTER (SOUL SPINNERS) (30/8/75)
CLEAN SLATE (8/9/75)
JOHN JAGGER BRASS BAND (12/9/75)
THE MERSEYBEATS (17/9/75)
BILLY BUTLER (12/10/75)
KID JENSEN (17/10/75)
THE SOUL SPINNERS ( 24/10/75)
THE TYMES (30/10/75)
THE FOUNDATIONS (15/11/75)
MAC & KATIE KISOON (27/11/75)
SMIFFY (26/12/75) COMEDIAN
LIMMIE & THE FAMILY COOKIN (14/12/75)
TRUE EXPRESSION (1/1/76)
THE DRUIDS (25/3/76)
ERIC FIELDS (01/4/76)
THE RIOT ROCKERS (13/4/76)
NORMAN SLATER (15/4/76)
EDDIE FLANNAGAN (21/4/76)
STEPHENSONS ROCKET (22/4/76)
DON REED (28/4/76)
MIKE COYNE (6/5/76)
SOUNDS OF SILENCE(6/5/76)
EDWIN STARR (10/5/76)
GEORGE WHATSISNAME (6/5/76)
GREENGAGE (11/5/76) (2)
THE RIOT ROCKERS(17/6/76) (2)
THE REAL THING (23/5/76)
THE T N T SHOW STOPPERS (15/6/76)
ABRAHAM ALI (30/7/76)
J A L N (25/9/76)
CUPIDS INSPIRATION (30/9/76)
BETHNALL GROUP (16/10/76)
LOVE AFFAIR (21/10/76)
BLACK EXPLOSION (22/10/76)
THE CASUALS (18/11/76)
PINKERTON COLORS (20/11/76)
CUPIDS INSPIRATION (15/12/76)
STEPHENSONS ROCKET (22/12/76)
THE EMERALD ORCHESTRA (26/12/76)
LIGHT FANTASTIC (4/1/77)
JENNY HANNS LION(13/1/77)
THE NASHVILLE TEENS (14/1/77)
STRICTLY FOR CASH (22/1/77)
JIMMY HELMS (12/2/77)
BRANDY (17/2/77) + (24/2/77)
THE MAJORS (19/3/77)
SMILING HARD (11/3/77)
FLICK OF THE WRIST(31/3/77)
LOVE POTION (2/4/77)
THE STRANGLERS (03/04/77)
JENNY HANNS LION (5/5/77)
DEAD END KIDS (4/5/77)
SISTER 8 (13/5/77)
AMAZORBLADES ( 19/5/77)
THE STRANGLERS (2) (15/5/77)
CHERRY VANILLA (22/5/77)
THE VIBRATORS (5/6/77)
THE DAMNED (12/6/77)
THE ADVERTS (12/6/77)
WAYNE COUNTY & THE ELECTRIC CHAIR (19/6/77)
SLAUGHTER & THE DOGS (26/6/77)
THE HEARTBREAKERS WITH JONHHY THUNDER(10/7/77)
SHABBY TIGER (14/7/77)
THE JAM (17/7/77)
CURIOSITY SHOP (23/7/77)
AMERICAN TRAIN (30/7/77)
THE BUZZCOCKS (14/8/77)
CHINA TRAIN (14/8/77)
MOTHER SUPERIOR (25/8/77)
GENERATION X (5/9/77)
THE EXCELERATORS (18/9/77)
THE SPITFIRE BOYS(18/9/77)
THE BUZZCOCKS (25/9/77)(2)
HARRY ROBERTS (11/10/77)
CAROL GRIMES AND SWEET F A (13/10/77)
THE SLUGGS (12/11/77)
PENETRATION (17/10/77) (2)
THE LURKERS (23/10/77)
JENNY DARREN (3/11/77)
THE SPURTS WITH JOHNNY VOMIT(18/12/77)
SON OF A BITCH (8/1/78)
JENNY DARREN (13/1/78)
SATANS RATS (13/1/78)
RADIO MERSEYSIDE (2/3/78)
STEVE JOLLYS PLEASURE ZONE (20/4/78)
DREAM WEAVER (27/4/78)
SON OF A BITCH (30/4/78)
GIRLS SCHOOL (11/5/78)
JIMMY JAMES AND THE VAGABONDS (19/5/78)
BOY BASTIN (7/6/78)
NATRUAL HIGH (13/7/78)
HEART FEEDER (16/7/78) STRICTLY FOR CASH (18/7/78)
TOMMY HART (18/8/78)
THE BULLETS (19/7/78)
THE CLEVELAND EXPRESS (24/8/79)
MARK HEIM (3/9/78)
LUNATIC FRINGE (10/9/78)
FOXY LADY (14/9/78)
MIDNIGHT HUSTLE (4/12/78)
SCORPIO 1 (1992)
EDWIN STARR (11/7/92)
5 Dec 1970
Nov 23, 1966
May 20. 1967
Jan 11, 1967
Dec 14, 1966
Dec 21, 1966
Dec 23, 1966
Dec 26, 1966
Jan 29, 1966
Nov 29, 1966
May 11, 1967
25 July 1966
20 Jan 1967
18 Oct 1968
Browsing again (thankyou!), I came across this; I don't really know whether it's the same place (but how many dance halls were there in Barrow???)
Our band (Ian Dean & The Brystals) played there sometime in the early sixties. It made quite an impression; on arrival, we were conducted to the dressing room by the caretaker, who had lit a nice coal fire for us . . . . .
The walls were covered with framed photos of other bands, but not what we expected - Ivy Benson featured strongly. Loads of signed stuff from the big band era - fascinating.
The place was fairly dillapidated, and had seen better days (lots of 'em!) and we were told that it had even been a roller skating rink at one time. We realised this was true when people started "bopping" (the two-footed stomp, usually in beetle crushers - told you it was a time warp) and after a few moments, we couldn't see their legs from the knees down, due to the "dry ice" effect. Except this was dust . . . . .
The sixties being what it was, apologies to Ivy, the hall, and the boppers if this was actually somewhere else . . . . .
Hi Weedsy, the venue you appeared at was most certainly 'The Palaise Ballroom' on The Strand, Barrow in Furness.
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Great to see the list of people who played at the Public Hall. I didn't realise we were up there with some of the future chart toppers like the Sweet. I played with Tangerine (see my memoirs on the Tangerine page) and Barnaby Rudge. One of my enduring memories was the banana warehouse behind the venue which had cartoon pictures of humanised bananas with arms and legs on its wall. I'd love to see a picture of it if anyone has one. Also remember the many bouncers all clad in maroon jackets. Great to watch all the action from the relatively safe haven of the stage.
Thank you very much Alan for compiling this list especially for Maxims Disco. I was very happy and surprised to know you could research all the bands booked during the time I was the owner some 40 years ago. From the Evening Mail I expect. I have to tell you one of the only bands I turned down was Elvis Costello (before he was a star) because I thought anyone copying the name of the KING couldn't be up to much! A big mistake which I regretted. I have fond memories of the good old days of disco, northern soul even in a smoked-filled, yet drug free Club. If any sees my former manager Colin Lavery or my former DJ Derek Forest or any of my bouncers, Alf, Tony, etc. please give them my best regards. Love to have a meet-up and chat sometime over a beer for old times sake. Peter K Miller, former owner of Maxims Discotheque, Barrow's first, now a 65 year old white-haired retiree. PS: I knew your Uncle John Ritson when I played the keyboard with 4th Coming and Octave Union back in the ... Read More
Thank you very much Alan for compiling this list especially for Maxims Disco. I was very happy and surprised to know you could research all the bands booked during the time I was the owner some 40 years ago. From the Evening Mail I expect. I have to tell you one of the only bands I turned down was Elvis Costello (before he was a star) because I thought anyone copying the name of the KING couldn't be up to much! A big mistake which I regretted. I have fond memories of the good old days of disco, northern soul even in a smoked-filled, yet drug free Club. If any sees my former manager Colin Lavery or my former DJ Derek Forest or any of my bouncers, Alf, Tony, etc. please give them my best regards. Love to have a meet-up and chat sometime over a beer for old times sake. Peter K Miller, former owner of Maxims Discotheque, Barrow's first, now a 65 year old white-haired retiree. PS: I knew your Uncle John Ritson when I played the keyboard with 4th Coming and Octave Union back in the early 70's. You mention Nelson Imperial Ballroom, we actually played there supporting Pink Floyd. The compare host said "if this band (meaning us) doesn't make it, nobody will". We didn't! Anyone know the whereabouts of our lead singer Tony Ashton?
HI Peter, I know Malcolm Hartley quite well former bassist with 4th Coming / Octave Union, so I will ask about Tony and let you know. The band are remembered in the book the Nelson Imp. I have quite a bit of info on Maxims Club and will send to Manchesterbeat. Hopefully the nice chaps in charge who will allow the post. Frankie & The Trendsetters are also featured on the site which is worth a read. I will let you know about Tony.
Hi Peter, Remember most of these bands from 1977,went every Sunday for Punk Nights & Thursdays for Rock Night.Great Times.Don't have any tickets or anything form then,Did we just pay on the Door?I see Colin Lavery's partner most weekends so will pass on your message. Many Thanks, John
Hi Peter Do you remember me. Great to read your message and I would love to know where you have been in all these years (My how they have gone) This web site has brought back a load of memories to a retired 73year old. I also haven't seen Tony Ashton (no relation) for a long time. I still remember travelling with you to one or two of your clubs. Kind regards Michael
Hello Peter, I wonder, are you the Peter K Miller who ran the Big Heart Nightclub in Nottingham in the late 70s? If so I just thought you might like to know that Rock City, who are now in the Talbot Street building, are celebrating their 35th anniversary on the 11th of December. I am looking into the buildings history and would be grateful for any inside information you can give me about your time there. Kind Regards Keith
alf sings in local working mens choir, also an active member of barrow rotary club. tony no chance lives in dalton.dereck runs the family electrical buisness.colin retired still knocking golf balls about. i worked a few nights for you on door then with colin when he took over...great memories
I worked as a bouncer at the public hall from 1969 till it closed..was an education! Very rough tough nights. saw some great bands there. worked at maxims,rafters then scorpio1. I'm still working the door at Manhattans at the grand age of 65. I love it.
We played Barrow Public Hall in June 1967 with the Night Train. Fresh back from Germany and with two girl dancer/backing singers. Beoore going on for the first set the bouncers "armed" us with broom staves and bin lids "to defend ourselves until the bouncers got to us" if it wasn't going well on stage. Curtains up and there were about 30 in the room and mainly girls. Gong on for the second set, we joked about the "weapons"11 and left them in the dressing room which was about 400 yards from the stage. Curtain up and the huge room was packed and the first 5 rows were all tattood, leather jacketed and tee shirted rockers.. Before the M.C.could introduce us the big guy in the middle shouted "you'd better be f*****g good. I guess we were as we safely went through the set and the encore.
Thanks for the comments Tony & Geoff. I'm going to get something in writing one day about the Building's history. There were very few gig reviews published back in the day, especially for beat/rock/pop bands. I had know idea when I started collecting the stuff about the venue / building was Barrow's original Town Hall. That was prior to 1888. The Public Hall was in existence as music/entertainment venue for 111 years.Many thanks for your comments .