For me even today Rock City in Nottingham is still the best medium-sized venue I’ve been to. I first attended this venue back in 1980, the attraction was it was open until 2am. For those younger folks places often closed at closing time 11pm. After the gig we had Jonathan’s disco that usually consisted of Indie, Rock and later on Gothic. If there wasn’t a gig on a Friday or Saturday night you would usually have this popular disco all night. Later on Jonathan progressed to becoming the manager, where is he now? Does anyone know? He is one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
I’ve had some memorable experiences attending this venue initially going on Franny Lagan’s coach trips from Corby and then I organised my own one’s when I moved to Rugby. In fact anyone who knew me, knew they’d need to be on the coach by 2.20am else they’d be left there and often they were! One of Franny’s trips was to see Hazel O’Connor back in 1981. Mark and I went up to town, saw a coach outside Rafters, asked what was going on, ended up at the gig. What I had forgotten about was my Mum was away at the time and the boiler wasn’t working properly, you had to switch it off manually. I had forgotten to turn it off. When I got home in the early hours I found it had blown up as such. I paid for it to be completely repaired and my Mum was none the wiser for a good few decades.
Another experience was when my best friend Wayne Davis and I went to see 999 one Easter. We’d been in the city all day, spent most of our money (kept enough for beer and food), had a return coach ticket and dressed lightly. What happened next we didn’t predict. After being chased early in the day by some local yobs, we went into the venue around 8pm with the rain lightly coming down. When we left the venue after the disco we walked into a winter wonderland. It had snowed heavily and we were stuck. Having met some other friends from Corby, we tried to get arrested to keep warm, slept awhile under a porta-cabin at the train station and ended up in the ladies toilets at the Broad Marsh bus station, all night. We took it in turns switching on the hot hand dryers to keep us warm. By around 7am there was 20 gig revellers in the toilets chatting, when suddenly someone pulled the chain and walked out of the cubical. We finally got home by train the only way we could escape the area that evening. Oh and Wayne’s dad got stuck in a snow drift that morning trying to come rescue us too.
Another great night was seeing Guns’n’Roses play their first UK gig in 1987. Quite a lot of us who followed The Mission around had all met up and caused havoc in the mosh pit. I was unlucky enough when crowd surfing I fell into the bouncer pit. I was given a nice black eye from one of those lovely security guys. Then thrown out in my shorts and cut-up t-shirt into the driving rain. Luckily Jonathan saved me and let me back in through the front door and I managed to see the rest of the gig. Great days indeed. The one thing that’s the same in the venue is the sticky carpets, the alcohol content within must be lethal. Even today you can still go see some great shows there. If you haven’t been then you should and take a coat just in case!
Note: None of the music was taken from the venue – sadly!