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Saturday July 19th 1975

friars aylesbury phase two - borough assembly hall, market square, aylesbury

 

Be-Bop Deluxe
Sassafras
 
related friars history (click on date)
Bebop Deluxe Saturday 25th May 1974 Friars Dunstable Monday 20th June 1974

Sassafras Saturday December 23rd 1975 Saturday January 1st 1977

Upp (Andy Clarke) Saturday May 8th 1976

 
setlist
Likely to have included: Stage Whispers; Third Floor Heaven; Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape; Sister Seagull; Piece Of Mine; Maid In Heaven; Axe Victim
 
band line up
BeBop Deluxe
Bill Nelson Charlie Tumahai Simon Fox  Andy Clarke
Sassafras
Terry Bennett  Dai Shell  Ralph Evans Ricky John  Congo Jones 
 
gig poster and flyer (click to enlarge flyer)

 
 
ticket

 

memories
Chris Sharley, Sassafras:

I have fond memories of playing The Friars in 1974 & '75 with Welsh band Sassafras. one gig in particular stands out when we were on with Bebop Deluxe. What a great band they were? I found a poster on an old Friars site which was a nice bit of memorabilia for my scrap book. Thanks... The drummer from Bebop was originally from Hackensack, with Nicky Moore on vocals. Strangely enough I later became a great friend and did many gigs with Nicky in the 80's and fairly recently the 'Back For A Bit Tour'

Good luck with the 'New' Friars and I'll follow with interest.

Gary Leeson, Friars fan

"I thought I would share the first of many memories with you, the gig Be Bop Deluxe & Sassafras 19.7.75. Bebop were the first band to blow me away, they played rock blues and pop complete with great stage clothes and eye shadow !!

The band were on the way up when they played Friars with their second album Futurama being played on the Alan "Fluff" Freeman show on Saturday afternoons, essential listening to anybody who attended Friars on a regular basis.

The band came on stage in darkness to an intro tape of pulsating drone type noise with big white spotlights shining into the audience from either side of the stage. Then they were straight into the first number entitled Stage Whispers, I was hooked, I couldn't take my eyes off bass player Charlie Tumahi and Bill Nelson posing and throwing shapes while drummer Simon Fox flailed around his kit hammering out tricky rhythms' and beats. The set was mainly made up of tracks from the Axe Victim and Futurama albums.

The end of the show culminated in what I think was a piece of guitar music called Watch This Space and climaxed with a large confetti filled balloon bursting above the audiences head.

Wonderful music all presented with what was then considered a big production. The following week I went out and blew my weeks earnings from Tesco on Axe Victim and Futurama from Earth Records, and was a fan of Be bop Deluxe until they split in 1978." 

press cuttings

Charles Shaar Murray, NME, 9 August 1975

THE FIRST THING that hits you when you see Be-Bop Deluxe in their current incarnation (or, for that matter, listen to said incarnation's Futurama album on the highly deserving and impeccably integrity-loaded Harvest label) is that they're about 400% better than they used to be.

This is undoubtedly down to the fact that Bill Nelson (lead everything) is now working with musicians, who can keep up with him.

It was fairly apparent a year ago that, in the original Be-Bop line-up, Nelson was stuck in a classic syndrome semi-pro band makes good on the strength of the talent of one of their members but these days one-man bands don't make it.

Just how unequal to the task Nelson's former colleagues were only becomes fully dear when you see him working out with bassist Charlie Tumahai and drummer Simon Ffox (plus an excellent keyboard player called Andy Mumble).

I mean, they're good.

Hence, Nelson is now able to let fly infinitely more.

He provides by far the best guitar-show available in his present price-range, which is just as well since he writes songs of such an obstacle-course nature that they'd derail lesser mosicians in the first six bars.

The obstinately dejointed structure of Nelson's compositions, in fact, are liable to be the major (if the only) stumbling-block in the path of Be-Bop's upward course to fame, fortune, super-stardom and guitars which don't go out of tune whenever you bend a note, since he doesn't write anything even remotely catchy for the benefit of us poor bozos who're unable to retain any line longer than 16 bars.

The way round that little dilemma, however, is the frenetic energy with which Nelson et al approach the songs in performance, as per Aylesbury, one of the few remaining English rock halls where you can amble in and be confronted with a (glurrrrrrrp) light show and (choke) Country Joe and the Fish records over the P.A.

It's strange that a hall with such a totally ZigZag aura should've been the launching pad for such '70s-oriented acts as Mott, Bowie, C. Rebel and now Be-Bop Deluxe.

Instead of just standing there and letting Bill gangle his way through the show as the only remotely visual item, Tumahai vibes up the ensemble quite considerably with the intensity of his playing and back-up singing, and the awesome charisma and star quality emanating from his hat (don't ask silly questions. Go see and All Will Be Revealed).

Occasionally, Nelson seems a trifle out of his depth conceptually.

Dramatising a scene from Harlan Ellison's 'Repent, Harlequin!', Said The Tick-Tock Man on the back cover of Futurama was a nice idea (and proves Nelson to be the only rock star apart from David Bowie who's openly conversant with Mr. Ellison's work), but 'Swan Song', the album track which I am informed relates to the picture, doesn't seem to do anything of the sort. Plus his lyrics still come on like collegemag poetry of the more tangled variety.

Still and all, Be-Bop Deluxe are a good show (Good show, chaps). Nelson's fluid, deft, powerful and intelligent lead guitar (note to EMI: this phrase is eminently suited to quoting in advertisements) builds up a more than considerable head of steam on 'Maid In Heaven' and 'No Trains To Heaven', and he gets lyrical all over the place on 'Sister Seagull' and the afore mentioned 'Swan Song'. Very bird-oriented is our Bill.

Still think they're a little overheated in the singing and songwriting departments, but Be-Bop Deluxe are still of this season's most interesting and promising new groups.

Though they haven't yet developed the knack of transmitting the greater part of their energy and presence on record, they're hell on wheels in concert.

Two gold stars and a tick in the margin.

Charles Shaar Murray, 1975

what happened next
Bebop Deluxe ended in 1978 and Bill Nelson went on to forge a solo career that still goes strong today with a new album in 2015. Charlie Tumahai died in 1995. Andy Clarke is believed to be working for Peter Gabriel's Real World studios. Simon Fox's whereabouts aren't so clear

Sassafras went on to headline Friars twice and are still going strong as at 2012.

 
odds and trivia
Did you know that when the original Cockney Rebel imploded, the departing musicians from that band joined Bill Nelson in the second version of BeBop Deluxe? The reason that version didn't last is that the record company thought they were too much like Cockney Rebel.....
official web presence
Bill Nelson official site  Sassafras official site
 
sound and vision
 
BeBop Deluxe - Maid In Heaven 
 
 
Sassafras - Riding High
 
 

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