Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Leicester Mercury: Michael Coates says City had Cream of rock gigs in 1960s


Unfortunately, many of my favourite rock stars are either no longer with us - Phil Lynott, Bon Scott, Randy Rhoads and Jimi Hendrix - or bands I wish I'd seen live - Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Sex Pistols - I missed due to my tardy date of birth. 

Indeed, I would love to have experienced the whole 1960s and 1970s music scene. 

Reader Michael Coates sounds like he certainly had a good time during this period in Leicester. 

"At the Il Rondo, in the 60s, were the Graham Bond Organisation, a bluesy jazzy group. Graham would play the organ with one hand and the harmonica or a saxophone with the other hand," recalls Mr Coates, of Whetstone. 

"The band had two members, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce - who went on to stardom with super-group, Cream. 

"I also saw cult group the Downliners Sect. 

"They made a few records and had a large following. As I watched them play, the guitarist gradually fell asleep as he played his guitar – he soon woke up when his mate nudged him, before he slipped off his chair! 

"But the best group I saw was Nero And The Gladiators – complete with togas and sandals! They were an instrumental group, who came on stage playing Entry Of The Gladiators. They made four great singles. 

"Another place to drink and dance was the Blue Moon pub, on Carlisle Street. 

"Also very popular was the Phantasia pub and disco at Quorn: the lighting above the dance floor was fluorescent ultraviolet lights, making a great atmosphere. The music was reggae and was very popular with mods and skinheads. 

"I also saw The Who at Leicester's Granby Halls. Pete Townshend said the acoustics were terrible, but they did a great show, with Pete smashing his guitar into his amp and Keith Moon kicking his drums over, then throwing his sticks to the audience – it was a smashing show. 

"I also saw the Rolling Stones at the Odeon: they were really good – but somehow, people don't believe they played at a cinema!"

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