Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall / MindHex Media
As the stars align and the worlds of punk, alternative, glam, new wave and garage rock all combine to come together for a night of raucous fun in London, owner and editor of Vive Le Rock magazine, Eugene Butcher once again manages to pull the biggest of names onto the stage with him and delivers a few true ‘rabbit from the hat’ moments for all to enjoy.
Packed into the O2 Academy in Islington, the venue doesn’t quite reflect the swanky surroundings one gets at the Brit Awards however it does reflect the grit, integrity and honest approach to music taken by Eugene and the artists performing. Heck, the last time these acts were seen at the Brit Awards was probably when Chumbawamba managed to dump a keg of water all over John Prescott. Job well done I say! Lead singer Dunstan Bruce was at the Vive Le Rock event and would be up later in the show to present an award
Opening the show early at 7:30pm you had a live performance from the Vive Le Rockers including a seriously on form Paul Ronney Angel from the Urban Voodoo Machine seamlessly holding things together as special guests came in and out throughout the night.
They opened with The Professionals’ Tom Spencer on stage playing Pipeline, Green Door and Know Your Product before bringing on former Sex Pistol and Rich Kid, Glen Matlock for a run through Sexy Beast, Keep On Pushing and an instant crowd winning rendition of Pretty Vacant.
At 8pm on the nose, Eugene wanders on stage looking every inch the classic rockin’ teddy boy to introduce The Rich Kids who had reunited for a one-off appearance at the awards at with Neal X of Sigue Sigue Sputnik standing in on lead guitar. For those in the know, this was nothing short of a miraculous moment in time. The band for those who are not well versed in UK punk-lore were a new wave band from London, founded in 1977 by Glen Matlock following his departure from Sex Pistols. The band also included future Ultravox members Midge Ure and Rusty Egan, who both later founded Visage together. They released one album and three singles during their existence, from March 1977 to December 1978.
If you want to know where the concept of the power pop style came from, blending influences from 1960s acts such as Small Faces and The Who with more recent punk rock sounds, then you should start here. Although only one single would make the Top 40 in the UK, The Rich Kids kick started a change in direction and the solitary album is a must have for fans.
Just two reunion shows \ sets have been performed since they split, one in January 2010 in aid of Steve New who subsequently died from cancer on 24 May that year.
With a second reunion, another one off, in June 2016, with Gary Kemp on lead guitar and James Hallawell on keyboard, this short set at the awards ceremony is one that will be remembered for .
15 minutes later, the chaos of the night commenced with Ed Tudor Pole acting as MC for the awards. Whilst it all went to time, the awards were all delivered when they should have been etc.. you never quite know with Ed what to expect and the glint in his eye suggested quips, comments and shenanigans a plenty and that he delivered in style. Dressed in something Adam Ant had once decided didn’t fit him anymore, his attire was less Prince Charming and possibly more Napoleon after he’d lost at the Battle of Waterloo but what was present throughout was his winning brand of British eccentricity and as MC, it was just perfect.
With the awards then commencing in full flow, we had
- PIONEER – Presented by: Rat Scabies and accepted by: Barrie Masters (Eddie & The Hot Rods)
- NEW BAND – Presented by: Glen Matlock and accepted by: The Blue Carpet Band
- ROOTS – SKA/ROCK ‘N’ ROLL/BLUES – Presented by: Neville Staple and awarded to Ranking Roger who has sadly passed only days earlier. In a truly emotional speech Neville paid tribute to Roger as one of the true pioneers in music.
The award was accepted by Pauline Black on behalf of The Beat
- REISSUE – Presented by: Animal accepted by: John “Eddie Vibrators” Edwards and Ian Carnochan “Knox” of The Vibrators.
- ROCK IN PEACE – Presented by Pauline Murray remembering the Buzzcocks Pete Shelley who sadly passed in December 2018.
The award was accepted by Buzzcocks guitarist and vocalist Steve Diggle.
A further live performance then got the audience going with both Pauline and Steve performing along with the house band to What Do I Get, Harmony In My Head and the classic Ever Fallen In Love with Steve giving it his all.
As the clock ticked by the awards then continued with:
- FILM – Presented by: Josh Whitehouse and accepted by: Lee Thompson: One Man’s Madness
Played off by DJ
- ALBUM – Presented by: The Professionals and accepted by: Danny Nedelko on behalf of Idles.
- LIVE BAND – Presented by: Jim Jones and accepted by: Steve Grantley of Stiff Little Fingers.
- ICON – Presented by: Girlschool – Jackie Chambers and accepted by a true music icon: Suzi Quatro
- MAVERICK: Presented by: Dunstan Bruce and accepted by Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke
Before the final, headlining, act of the night, we get a few more special moments, specifically getting to see Suzi [spelling out her name given recvent coverage in the UK press had clearly got it wrong!] , Eddie and the Hot Rods Barrie Masters and also that man Tudor-Pole playing out the song he’s best known for as well. All supported as ever by the
Suzi Quatro – Sweet Little Rock And Roller
Barrie Masters – Teenage Depression, Do Anything You Wanna Do, Get Out Of Denver
Ed Tudor-Pole – Who Killed Bambi & Swords Of A Thousand Men
With one more award to go,
- BAND OF THE YEAR was presented by: Segs & Ruffy from The Ruts accepted by: The Stranglers’ Jean-Jacques Burnel
The night finished with a superb performance from The Stranglers who did the sensible thing and played the hits. An excellent night and full credit due to Eugene, the man with more enthusiasm than should be humanly possible, to Dunc (Alastair Hercalees Duncan) for the amazing stage co-ordination – one only has to look above to appreciate the amount of instruments, guests and musicians on stage throughout the night.
Roll on next year and congratulations to all of the award winners. Special mention to Neville Staple for a truly memorable speech in memory of Ranking Roger.