A rare visit to Brighton from Chelsea
This was set to be a cracker! A night at The Prince Albert with a visit to Brighton from punk legends Chelsea. And it was my birthday so I was totally revved for this!
1919 were support on this Punker Bunker hosted event. This was the second time I had seen these guys and I enjoyed their lively set.
Chelsea – A (short) punk history lesson
It was in August 1976 that Gene October placed an advert in Melody Maker which led to replies from guitarist William Broad, bassist Tony James and drummer John Towe. On October 18th they made their live debut as Chelsea supporting Throbbing Gristle at London’s ICA. It was at this time that Gene convinced the manager of gay London nightclub in Covent Garden called Shageramas, to convert the club into London’s first live punk rock venue called The Roxy – a fact for which he is given little credit. The band split in November 1976 where Gene briefly recruited guitarist Marty Stacey & bassist Bob Jessie. The other three former members formed Generation X. When Gene was asked about his former band colleagues he said “Generation X? Oh yeah they used to be in Chelsea.”
In early 1977 Jessie and Stacey left and Gene put together a new line up consisting of guitarist James Stevenson, bassist Henry Daze and drummer Carey Fortune. This line up was slightly more permanent and soon the band’s first single, the punk classic Right To Work, was released. However, not long after the release of the second single High Rise Living, Chelsea played their “farewell” gig on October 6th 1977 at The Roxy. As we all know “farewell” gigs are not to be taken seriously…
2016 Chelsea tour the UK & Europe for the 40th anniversary of the band also releasing 3 definitive anthology CD box sets containing the complete works including the entire back catalogue, demos, lyrics etc. also re-release of all the albums on coloured vinyl. And April 2017 was the only visit to Brighton from Chelsea.
The Band and the Set
Ok, lets get to it…
Gene, always enigmatic and hypnotising to watch. He was on top form tonight as he stretched and pushed those vocal chords to the mass of people who had come to see these guys play. It was hotter than hell in there – pure steam heat generated by the band and the audience. Shirt sleeves rolled up Gene continued through the set. At one point he said “I need to get a beer” and left the stage, leaving the three members of Chelsea to power at us while he nipped off. Gene really delivered and some of the absolute highlights of his performance were “No Flowers” and the awesome classic “Right To Work”. Being a good frontman he got the crowd involved singing along, jumping around and fist pumping the air. “Did you like that one? – well you are gonna love the next one!”
Nic hit the stage and just blasted his SG at us – full tilt. I saw Nic with his other band Church Of Eon a short time ago and loved it, here he was a member of Chelsea. It made no difference. He worked the stage and is one of the most captivating guitarists you could ever see. He jumps, contorts, smiles and all the while hitting us with some serious stopping power from the frets of his guitar. He made that instrument howl and sing. Stunning. Opening songs included SAD and 12 Men. Short, fast songs that will have anyone bouncing off the walls. He was lookin’ sharp, as always, black shirt and red straps, his hair even sharper.
A top bass support from the brilliant Mat Sargent. He powered some great bass lines and the sound in the Albert was pretty hot – you could feel those bass lines being delivered and jostling your lower intestines as the sound hit you. Some really cool playing and serious bass power. Next songs in the set included “Come on”, “How do you know” and “I’m on Fire”. All great songs, all delivered with pure punk energy and power.
Ah yes the mighty Lee, the man at the back hitting the skins as if his life depended on it. I had seen Lee, again with Church Of Eon, no lit drum kit this time. He works hard giving that support and the thunder that powers the band through all of the songs played for us tonight. Other songs we were given included “Urban Kids”, “No Admission” and “Evacuate”.
Feel the energy and the heat as Chelsea power through their set. Three songs mixed into one clip. Advice: Turn it up!
Make no mistake, Chelsea rocked it. A class lesson on how to deliver your songs in your own way. A great night and would love to see them play again. They had a great merch desk – loads of T’s, CD’s and vinyl. Sadly I had left my cards at home otherwise I would of grabbed an album, next time!
This was a great night, thanks to Chelsea for letting me do some pics. Well done to Punker Bunker for sorting it all out, a top night guys. Also a good mix on the desks at The Albert.
Chelsea are on Facebook
Punker Bunker are on Facebook
Please note all images / video are copyright, please do not copy. If any of the featured artists/venues want copies of the images – or more if available – please get in touch.
All original pictures – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2017.