Hanging bed sheet from South Shields bridge to promote gig

January Blue.
January Blue.

When South Shields rock band January Blue needed to sell out a local venue in 1992, they came up with some novel – and one rather frowned upon – means of advertising the gig.

Details of the group and the concert in question are told by drummer Iain Robertson in conversation with local film-maker and blogger Gary Wilkinson, who now shares the interview with Time Of Our Lives.

New Rising.

New Rising.

“This band had many incarnations,” reveals Iain, “and it all started with me and vocalist Woody who were mainstays throughout January Blue, and later New Rising.

“We first played a gig together in April, 1992 at Cleadon Village Hall, with another band called Agadoo Factory.

“This gig featured the first song Woody ever wrote called Die Forever.

“We wanted to keep the whole thing going, and little did we know that we’d still be playing together eight years later, frequently visiting London – having gained a record deal with London Records.”

Back home in Shields, the boys had their minds set on playing a particular lucrative gig in town, but they needed to fill the venue in order to get paid.

“We’d heard that Pete Edmonds, the manager of Porters Bar in South Shields, would pay £300 a gig if you managed to pack the place out,” Iain explains.

“So we hit every bin in King Street with a flyer and our piece de resistance was at 6.30am, hanging a bed sheet on both sides of Westoe Bridges to catch the rush-hour traffic coming in and going out of town.

“We got an ear full (and rightly so) for plastering one flyer on the backside of the war hero Kirkpatrick’s donkey statue in King Street, which in hindsight was disrespectful, but hell – we had a gig to promote.

“Needless to say, Porters was full, we got our £300 quid and Pete Edmonds was bouncing around, grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

“He booked us again and we were definitely in a good bargaining position for the next gig.”

You can read all of Gary’s blogs at https://garyalikivi.com/

What are your memories of January Blue and the music concerts staged at Porters Bar?

Over the years, South Tyneside has seen a great many bands and solo artists perform in pubs, clubs and outdoor venues, what are the most memorable gigs you went to?

Meanwhile, Dave Wray has been back in touch with a “potted history” of another South Shields group, KES.

He begins by listing the band members, who were: Dave Wray, vocals / guitar; Kev Townsend, lead guitar; Les West, bass and Dekka Scott, drums.

“We played most of the youth clubs round Shields,” reveals Dave, “then the clubs of the North East

“Our set was covers of Bowie, Status Quo, Free, The Animals, Average White Band and Bachman Turner Overdrive.

“We made an advert for Metro radio for a company called Deco 70 which was played on the radio, and it was great to hear our short song being played (Kev was the brains behind the song.)

“Later on the band moved on to become a group called Stardust, working for EMI Leisure and working as a resident night club band playing dance music.

“Kev moved on to play in a band touring Germany then returned to the circuit playing with his wife Lesley in a successful duo.

“Don’t know what Les is doing now, but Dekka has a successful building business.”

Dave makes mention of Status Quo.

Did you see them when they performed Status Quo played to a packed Temple Park Leisure Centre in 1993 as part of a UK tour?