Deborah Egan (vocals) / Mick Wilson (viola) / Virginia Duff (percussion and vocals) / Vicky Aspinall (violin) / Mary Jenner (violin). A post-punk band originally from Sheffield. The group were an electric string quartet fronted by a lead vocalist with an instrumental line-up which consisted of violin, viola, cello, and assorted percussion. The group was dominantly female and included some of the seminal female names of the late UK punk period. Jenner became a bassist for Leeds art house group The Mekons whilst Duff went on to become a television producer alongside columnist and partner Victor Lewis-Smith. Egan formed twelve piece The Mysterons and politically charged cabaret duo The Diplomats.
The name was taken from the name of a chapter in an Angela Carter novel. Acrobats of Desire were a mainstay of Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They recorded and broadcast for the BBC2 Late Show, STV and Tyne Tees Television. Their last performance was at Futurama 1981 supporting Siouxsie and the Banshees and Echo and the Bunnymen while in turn were supported by a band from Dublin called U2. Their EP, Parking Boys (Desire Records DES001) was recorded and produced by Camel’s Andy Latimer at Foel Studio in Wales. It entered the independent charts in the UK and Italy it was featured by John Peel on his show.
What a great piece of memorabilia; this is an advert singing the praises of Sheffield’s Esquire Club (now The Leadmill), printed in 1964 in a Manchester blues magazine of all places. The owners of the legendary Twisted Wheel Club there had a managerial tie in with The Esquire for a time, and figured enthusiasts might want to visit their rivals East of the Pennines. But the way the advert is written is just great, taking the rise out of itself and traditional clubs. At the time r’n’b was really big, and so was soul music, and The Leadmill catered for fans of both big time. The advert also mentions their resident bands, Vince Arnold & The Avengers, and The Scott William Combo. Vince Arnold was of course none other than Joe Cocker, and they had cut a live album at the Esquire just the year before (though it wasn’t issued for 30 years!). The Scott William Combo sadly we know nothing about, fill us in if you can.
Our thanks to Easy On The Eye Books for the advert anyway; they are preparing a book of rare 60s blues photos taken mostly in Manchester, and this was discovered while going through memorabilia supplied for the book. Simon R.
Thanks to Sharon Lee, we’ve now got 304 gigs from the George iV (aka Blitz) but more entries for any original music Sheffield gigs always wanted…
A nice blog entry with some bootleg audio here.
But not personally as this is a ticket from our archives, and I didn’t go to the show (I found it in a scrapbook I got hold of some years later). From 1981, 39 years ago tonight!
The Fall were supported by The Past Seven Days (them again) and Disease. Amazingly it was a free gig funded by South Yorkshire County Council. In those days the council tried to help by supporting low priced or free musics events in the city, at a time of serious unemployment. As you can see this was one of the free ones, I do not know how you got tickets! The show was held at the Polytechnics Union venue, the Phoenix Building, on Pond Street
If you can add anything about the show do get in touch. Simon R.
Although Viv Stanshall remains one of my favourite artists, this was the only time I got to see him on stage. The Bonzos had just finished touring before I got into going to concerts, and his career after that was erratic to say the least and he didn’t really tour that much. But in 1991 somehow he was able to get it together enough to embark on what I think was his last tour, which was a rambling collection of spoken word material and musical numbers billed as Rawlinson Dog Ends. Now I know why I have remained a huge fan, but it was quite a strange experience to see how the packed Leadmill crowd not only hung on Viv’s every word, but KNEW them all as well. Viv seemed taken aback by the response but coped fairly well, sat for most of the evening in an old leather armchair in the centre of the stage. He wasn’t particularly well by this time but that didn’t stop him putting in an excellent performance which was both funny and sad. The songs (he had a few musicians helping him out but I’m not sure who) mostly ended up as massive sing alongs and a brilliant time was had by everyone. He remains one of those real English eccentrics whose artistic efforts made the world a more enjoyable place.
What does surprise me is the computer ticket; I sort of have memories of The Leadmill as a rambling hippy venue held together by Council grants but clearly that had changed by this time. I certainly have seen some great shows here, and must dig out the poster for the first week of gigs put on when it reopened in the late 70s. Simon R.