West Runton Pavilion (WRP) had had little to do with punk since the visit of the Sex Pistols in August 1976. However, the venue began to dabble in the genre a bit more during 1977, the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
“New Rose” by the Damned, perhaps the first British punk single, had been released around the time of what is (Flo Said) alleged to be their first visit to WRP when they had been supporting the Flaming Groovies on 18th November 1976. Indeed, the flyer below supports that theory but through my drunken punken scholarly endeavours it was not so.....the Damned had dropped out of this tour and actually played the Lacy Lady on the 18th, a Soul club in Ilford where the promoter stopped the show after one song, paid the Damned and asked them to leave. The mug.
The Damned did, however, play at Keswick Hall, south of Norwich on the 13th of November 1976. Advertised as 'Keswick Hall students union... present at great risk an evil evening with The Damned in concert'. The advertising stated that the show would be supported by 'an enchanted KHSU disco', advised coming to the Great Common Room at 21:30, dressed in your evil costumes, and stated admission of 60p for students and 70p for others.
The next appearance of the Damned in Norfolk was at the UEA on the 25th February 1977 supported by Slaughter & the Dogs.
The power and energy of the new punk bands was often a surprise but punters were often disappointed at how short the sets were. "The Damned were only on stage for about 20 minutes, although to give them their credit, they exuded more energy in that time than most groups do in an hour". The local paper reported; "Vocalist Dave Vanian, with his short slicked-back black hair and black eye make-up, looked like a refugee from a horror movie as he dashed non-stop about the stage like someone demented.
Musically the group were very competent with all their material coming from their debut album “Damned Damned Damned”. The numbers are all flat-out high speed rockers from the pen of Brian James.
As the group went into “So Messed Up” Rat Scabies temporarily set fire to his drums and then it was all over bar the encore.
A seemingly bizarre billing on March 19th, 1977, saw
the Damned’s first appearance at WRP supporting Marc Bolan,
the glam pixie of love, on his Dandy in the Underworld tour with T Rex. This DANDYLINK might explain why it was a marriage made in heaven...
The Damned played a short, energetic set for about half an hour and dedicated their song “Stretcher Case” to Rod Stewart with one of them saying that they hoped he died. During the last number Rat Scabies, the drummer, set fire not only to his cymbals but also to his arm.
Bolan kicked off his set with Jeepster and then went straight into a couple of numbers from the new album “Dandy in the Underworld.”
Another oldie “Telegram Sam” was flashed in and half-way through the set the original bopping elf had the crowd going delirious as he delved back to ‘67 for “Deborah” leading straight into “I love to Boogie.” Bolan left the stage amid stamping and clapping and after drummer Tony Newman encouraged the crowd with a shout of “do you want some more?” Marc returned minus
jacket for an extended version of “Get it On.”
Slaughter & the Dogs were also entertaining though not in the same way as the Damned. They also suffered from equipment problems. The guitarist broke a string and while he was repairing it the drummer gave an impromptu solo on the drums and broke one.
Dave Guttridge remembers: "Having failed to see the Pistol's Anarchy show, I eagerly anticipated my first 'proper' Punk concert in the LCR. I wasn't disappointed. In its own way it was as theatrical as many Prog gigs, with great costumes (Slaughter & The Dogs singer came on in a raincoat covered in talcum powder which produced clouds of dust when he pogo'd) and low-budget pyrotechnics (Rat Scabies set fire to his cymbals with his usual scant regard for health and safety)".