Bands That Have Played Campus
This information was donated by the readers of the
local Usenet group york talk,
as well as a number of interested readers.
Some entries are expanded on separate pages.
There must be more bands that played University Ents though
and it'd be nice to know more about those bands on the list.
So please let us know if there are any missing from this list.
Bands That Were Here
Bands which have played campus, or University events (such as the Derwent
- Jimi Hendrix *
- Langwith, 1967.
- Sisters of Mercy
- Played their first gig in Alcuin: a charity benefit and they were
supporting the Thompson Twins. Guitarist Gary Marx had plugged his
guitar into a record player pre-amp which fed back uncontrollably
throughout the gig. Von Eldritch turned the delay echo up to max. The
set ended with a juggernaut howl which might have been ``Silver
Machine'' but was in fact ``Sister Ray''. The audience got the point.
The Sisters also played Vanby twice in 1982 and 83, and Derwent
on 7 Oct 1982.
- See also ``Almost Were''.
- Marianne Faithful *
- June Ball, 1965.
- The Family Cat
- Played Langwith, but none of the lighting crew turned up since no-one
had told them about it.
- Played Goodricke, and so few people turned up that Tony Palmer ended up
giving tickets away for free.
- Manic Street Preachers
- Played Alcuin JCR just before they had a front cover on NME.
- Carter USM
- Played Vanburgh Splash (or maybe just Vanburgh) when they were only little.
- The Primitives
- Was a bit of a classic gig; they played here in late '86 or early
'87 (Chris will remember), before they'd quite made it big. They
ended up accumulating a fairly good York following -- Blonde was
quite the thing then -- we were lucky enough to have caught them
- The Woodentops
- This was mostly notable for two things -- the amount of booze
consumed, and Jon Banks getting totally off his face and being abandoned by
a mutual acquaintance in Heworth, a couple of miles from his campus room.
He locked himself in the toilet for at least an hour and then lay on the
floor refusing to move. In the end it took two people to carry him back
- The Men They Couldn't Hang
- Pete Fenelon reports that ``Kingmaker I remember nothing of, beyond
knowing that I was there. They were described as the hardest working
band in Britain at the time and left absolutely no impression on my
- Played Goodricke in about 92.
- James Taylor Quartet
- JTQ were pretty good when they played Goodricke in about 96, but they were
more into smoother funk than insane Hammond-organ TV themes by
- Dr Phibes and the house of wax equations
- Played Vanburgh
- Pink Floyd
- Played Derwent Dining Room, supported by Love Sculpture (Rob Fletcher was there!).
- Muddy Waters
- In 1968.
- Emerson, Lake and Palmer
- ``including knives in the Hammond stuff''
- 1973 (maybe 72) in Central Hall. Same tour as the Genesis Live
album recording. This was the tour with the white sheets and the
black light. P. Gabriel would appear in various fluorescent
outfits with fluorescent makeup, the house lights would go
down and the black lights would come on, so all you could
see were the sheets and the fluorescence. Great stuff.
- Roxy Music
- Played Alcuin, 1973; reputedly the last gig with Brian Eno & Bryan Ferry.
Booked for £250 just before Virginia Plane hit the charts.
This was a double bill with Supertramp. £200 taken on the door; £350
damage bill for holes punched through the ceiling by lighting crew -
- Also in about 1987 (minus Bryan Ferry, no-one turned up, in
fact people came to Goodricke bar trying to sell tickets for 50p just
to get people to turn up). Think it was Derwent. They appeared under
a different name too, this perhaps being one of those `secret' gigs
that ends up being so secret it is empty.
- Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats.
- Central Hall in Feb 1985, but that's a long story *.
- Martin Stephenson
- Played in Alcuin (when he was popular), possibly as part of
- Desmond Dekker
- Played the Derwent BBQ, and Alcuin Freshers Bash 94/95
- Dire Straits
- Played Alcuin in 1978
- Kitchens of Distinction
- In Vanburgh, about 1991
- Bucks Fizz
- Missing one member played Goodricke Summer Ball 1992. Their
roadie-cum- backing-tape-play-button-presser reckoned ``They're
a complete bag of shite, total waste of time, I can't believe
people pay good money to see 'em.''
- Bad Manners
- Played Goodricke Summer Ball, 1991
- Dr and the Medics
- Played in York a few times, including Derwent BBQ, 1994.
- Paradise Steel Band
- Thin Lizzy
- Played on campus in the 70's
- Katrina and the Waves
- Played Derwent BBQ, 1993.
- Big J and the ``We're gonna play one more song, then you can walk on
as much fuckin sunshine as you want'' Piccolo Chickens
- Derwent BBQ, 1993
- Did short set in Wentworth and graffitied the dressing room.
- The Who
- Played Langwith at "Magic Bus" time and Central Hall at"Tommy" time
- Curved Air
- With Brian Eno - in central hall sometime between 1969-72.
Using the VCS3 and a STEREO PA!
Distraction provided by Sonia Kristina!
(Stewart Copeland's son was here as a student for a while)
- The Strawbs
- Played at least three times:
- 27 Apr 71 - the From the Witchwood Tour
- 16 Oct 74 - the Hero and Heroine tour
- 26 Feb 80 - very shortly before they split up when they would have been
playing Heartbreak Hill material
- Possibly also did a date in 1973 (Bursting at the Seams tour) as well.
(from Dick Greener, maintainer of the
Strawbs Official Website)
- Hatfield and the North
- Fairport Convention
- In 1970
- Elton John
- Played Kings Manor in 1970.
- Ronnie "plonk" Laine (ex Small Faces bassist)
- Moody Blues
- Played Central Hall in 1967
- Played Central Hall
- That band with the keyboard guy with the Hitler moustache
- Kilburn and the High Roads
- Al Stewart
- Soft Machine
- Did a Workshop in the Music Department One weekend for
local bands under the York Musicians COOP banner.
- The Abba cover band played Goodricke dining hall in
- Mike Fab-Gere
- Played Vanbrugh `No food or drink' Dining Room, during the autumn term 1993.
``I remember the gig well'' says Mike!
Check out Mike's web pages
- John Martyn
- Played Central Hall (several times) and Vanbrugh in the 70's.
His rig varied from the ``built on stage while you watch''
stuff he started with to a full PA with 6-foot
cubes housing speakers, horns etc. in 1978 or so.
- Reg Presley
- The Troggs fellow played Vanbrugh.
- Eire Apparent
- Played Alcuin
- John Mayell and his Blues Band
- New Fast Automatic Daffodils
- Played Alcuin in 1992.
- Were ``supposed to play'' in April or May 1966 - not sure if they
ever did or not.
- King Crimson
- Sometime in 1969-72, and/or 74-ish.
Central Hall, on the ``Larks Tongues in Aspic'' tour with
John Wetton, Darryl Way, Bill Bruford, and some wierd Scot
who bashed odd bits of metal on a rack and spat blood.
1974, I think. Crowd mostly quiet until they did ``Schizoid
Man'' for their encore.
- Cockney Rebel
- Heads, Hands and Feet
- Included Chas and Dave in pre-lovable cockney mode. Played
Vanbrugh on the same night as The Troggs
- Played a ``secret gig'' under the name ``Swift'',
in Goodricke Dining room.
- Jethro Tull
- Played Central Hall (8th March 1972) during the Thick As A Brick
Tour. Apparently during an intense instrumental bit a phone
rang on stage, the band stopped to let Ian Anderson answer it,
and he asked the owner of the horse parked in the foyer to move
it, as it was causing an obstruction. A `stooge' dressed in
jockey gear planted in the audience leapt up and ran to the
back of the hall, followed by spotlight!
- One of the most well-remembered of the student bands, their
play list included such songs as `I want to be a ducky'.
(I seem to recall the SU shop stocked an album of theirs.)
- The Incoherents
- Probably the other well-remembered student bands, were one of the
best things at the Woodstock concert in 1994. Only did covers, no
original songs, but could play a bit and sing too.
- Del Amitri
- Played Derwent Dining Hall in '92 (probably). Approximately
five people bought tickets, so SU Ents opened the doors to
anyone -- about 30 people watched in the end. Between songs,
Justin Currie (lead singer) said ``This is the first time we've
played a dining room.'' A few weeks later they made it into the
top 10 and appeared on Wogan - I'll bet it was the last time
they played a dining room.
- The House of Love
- Played Alcuin (also reported as Goodricke) in 1990. The timing
was excellent, for once: after the posters went up, ``Shine On'' made its way
into the charts and the tickets sold out. A bloody good gig that featured
the petes rowing over some `totty'.
- Chris Sampson added that
HOL were pretty much state of the art indie at the
time and as it was the first time a decent band had played York in years,
there was a full turn out from the wrecking crew and a healthy smattering of
non-students in the crowd, including the totty in question - part-Gothette,
part pre-Raphaelite goddess. As was de-rigueur behaviour for the time,
Fenelon was content to stare furtively over the top of his glasses at her
from a safe distance of twenty paces, and was - rightly, I might add - furious
when French had the temerity to walk up to her and start a conversation.
Fenelon went into a monster strop and walked out, missing the entire gig,
and leaving about a third of a pint of Sam Smith's OBB undrunk.
- The Shamen
- Played Derwent BBQ and/or Langwith with Psycho Surgeons on support.
- Played Goodricke in 89 or 90. So good that Pete Fenelon fell asleep.
- The Icicle Works
- Played Fresher's Ball in 86.
- Played Alcuin in the early 70's.
- Cloud Machine
- Rolf Harris
- Played the Barbican, but it was organised by the SU. (3 June 1994)
This was part of the Rock 'n' Rolf 94 tour, following his appearance
at Glastonbury (I think in '93).
- First (and best) support for Rolf.
- Second support for Rolf, my main memory of them is that they were too loud,
too crap and went on too long. Many people headed for the bar; Rolf
subsequently had to cut some stuff (it seemed) from his act to
finish on time.
- Paul McCartney
- Turned up one day (1969-72 period) and said (you'll have to imagine the accent):
- ``Can I play tonight - Linda's not been on stage before and I want to
give her a few concerts before going on tour.''
- SU bod:
- ``Yes Mr. McCartney of course you can.''
- Joburg Hawk
- An early racially mixed South African Band - played Alcuin
and were stunning (1969-72 ish).
- Fleetwood Mac
- Also played Central Hall about 1970ish, many walked out, those
who could - a real case of a band too stoned to play and an audience too
stoned to notice.
- The Bogus Brothers
- (Blues Brothers copyists) played Central Hall in Feb 1988. Also
headlined at Derwent BBQ the following year.
- The Flatmates
- Mention must also be made of proto-Blonde contenders The
Flatmates who played York about 5 times in between 87 and 89, in
the process becoming firm favourites on the Alcuin juke-box.
Their '88 gig at King's Manor went down in history when every
red-blooded male in Alcuin attempted unsuccessfully to cop off
with the then bass-player Sarah Fletcher.
- Thomas Lang
- Played in about '88-'89, was described by those who went as one
of the most boring gigs ever.
- The Parachute Men
- Alcuin, '89. Pete Fenelon only noticed them playing a Tom Waits
song as he walked back along University Road eating a Chinese Takeaway. One
of those three-bands-and-a-promo nights in Alcuin.
- U Slosh
- Played several times.
- The Slits
- All-girl punk band, played Central Hall in the late 1970's.
They reputedly had the plug pulled by the hall manager when they
suggested trashing the place.
- Chris Rea
- Played sometime about 1978, turnout so bad tickets were
given away! Early on the playlist was `Whatever happened to
- Stefan Grossman
- American folk guitarist, appeared in Central Hall in around
1991. He announced to the crowd that York should consider itself
lucky for having whom he considered to be the best acoustic
guitar builder in the world living within it's walls.
- Jools Holland (Jools Holland's Big Band)
- Played Derwent BBQ in 1989.
- The Blue Aeroplanes
- Played the Fresher's Ball in 1988 (Alcuin, Merrydown Promo)
- Diesel Park West
- Love and Money
- The Domino Principle
- Derwent BBQ, Summer 1989
- Electric Canned Fruit
- Played a lot during 1984-86,
including the Alcuin thing and Derwent BBQ. Who could forget those
psychedelic dayglo posters that were nicked within minutes of being put up.
- Psychedelic Furs
- Played Derwent, 7 Oct 1982 (supported by Sisters of Mercy).
- The March Violets
- A goth band who did the excellent ``Snake Dance'', Vanbrugh
Alternative Freshers Ball 15 Oct 1982.
- The Pink Leg Slax
- Another support at the Vanbrugh Alt. Ball.
- The Teardrop Explodes
- Played Central Hall on 12 October 1982 - this was one of their last
ever dates. Stephen Clarke tells us ``Julian Cope's book gives a wonderful description of
just how awful they were on this tour, and from my recollections
of the Central Hall gig, it is pretty accurate.''
- Prefab Sprout
- Played Alcuin on 28 January 1984, well before they were famous.
Possibly Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones)
was on drums as their regular drummer was ill.
Support was The Daintees
- The Explorers
- Seen at Alcuin on 21 May 1985. This band contained two members of
Roxy Music (Andy McKay and Phil Manzanera).
- Steeleye Span
- Played Central Hall, Summer 1975 - including a performance of All
Around my Hat- then the title track of their latest LP!
- The Incredible String Band
- Central Hall again, probably 1974.
- Brian Eno
- As well as various appearances with groups (mentioned above),
played RAG week in Nov 1975.
- Captain Beefheart
- The Kinks
- Did Central Hall in 1974, with an audience of 2,000. (Those were
the days...) Lead singer Ray Davies got completely trashed
on Newcastle Brown during the gig. They came and played again
once or twice, but weren't as good.
- Appeared in Central Hall 75 or 76. They were supported
by a strange band called Trax, consisting of 5 or 6 black guys
in glitter and platforms. All had bleached blonde hair, except
for the keyboard guy who was totally bald. And they were LOUD!
We all had to retreat downstairs.
- Philip Goodhand-Tait
- What can you say about him? Total
mediocrity, kept showing up to support one band or another.
When he got sick of boring us with the piano, he pulled out
his - harmonium!
- Stefan Grossman
- 1972 or 73 in Derwent with a guy called Dave
Evans in support. Dave gave a beautiful performance and
endeared himself to all. Stefan was slick and professional.
- Manfred Mann's Earth Band
- Played Goodricke DR on the ``Blinded
by the Light'' Tour. The support act was a local put-together
band called ``Great Free Teddy Bear Offer'' -
which looked good on the posters(!). They were actually pretty
good and got an encore.
- Wishbone Ash
- Central Hall circa 1972. Notable for (besides
the excellent music) two huge PA horns at the ends of the
stage. During the support act (name lost to history) they
were upended like two great flowers 8 feet high, 5 feet wide.
For the Ash set they were pointed forward. This was also one
of the first CH concerts where some of the local kids showed
up drinking from ink bottles. Dunno what the attraction was.
The porters had fits, of course, but then they always had fits
- Pete Atkin [Pete who?" Ed.]
- Performances in various DR's around the campus in the 70s (notably
Langwith and Wentworth) and appearing in CH with songwriting
partner Clive James (yes, that one) doing "Live Libel", their
set of musical tributes to "insufficiently neglected modern
artists" (e.g. Robert Zimmerman, T-Rex etc.)
Pete Atkin has a web page.
Bands That Were Almost Were
The bands that we nearly had here, and didn't come for some reason.
- Pink Floyd
- (Or at least two of them) offered to play Derwent barbie for free.
- Were turned down for Derwent barbecue, possibly by the SU.
- Utah Saints
- Were also turned down for DB (1993), but used to play Silks in town.
- Sisters of Mercy
- The Sisters wanted to play their 10th anniversary gig here but were told to
get lost by the SU in a stunning piece of shortsightedness.
- Inspiral Carpets
- Were advertised for the Alcuin Freshers' Gig, 1989.
- Julia Fordham
- Was booked to play Central Hall during her Autumn tour in
1989. The gig was cancelled, according to the woman herself (during a
later concert at the Barbican), because she
was going to the toilet on the touoru coach when the ironing board fell
down and knocked her out. She wasn't really up to doing the concert
- Advertised to appear at 1981 Vanbrugh freshers ball, as far as we
know they didn't.
- Public Enemy
- American Rap band - wanted to come during 1990, but were turned
down by the S.U. due to lack of a venue.
- Were supposed to be booked for Freshers Week in '71
but they bailed out and we got Coliseum instead.
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