The Members – punk rock electric guitars in London!


The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members

The Members were the guests of The Rezillos at 229 The Venue on Saturday 22/02/2020.

The Members were formed by lyricist Nicky Tesco (Nick Lightowlers) in 1976, through an invited audition at a recording studio at Tooley Street, London. The original personnel, with Tesco (vocals), was Gary Baker (guitar), and Steve Morley (bass guitar), initially with Steve Maycock then Clive Parker (drums). Morley and Parker were later replaced by Chris Payne and Adrian Lillywhite.

In 1978/79 The Members continued to play the London pub and club circuit, became a feature in the music press and were championed by John Peel. They signed to Virgin Records in 1978, for which label they recorded “The Sound of the Suburbs”, again produced by Steve Lillywhite. This became The Members’ biggest chart success and their best-known song in the UK.

Lets meet The Members…

JC Carroll – Lead vocals,guitars

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

Chris Payne – Vocals, bass guitar

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

Nick Cash – Drums

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

Calle Engelmarc Lead Guitar, vocals
The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

Tonight was high up on the gig calendar. AGMP had put together two great bands on the one bill. Tonight we were lucky to see The Members as guests of The Rezillos at The 229 The Venue in London. The venue was pretty much near capacity as The Members took to the stage.

The Set:

Now as I understand The Members do not print off set lists so a huge thank you to Calle, I got most of the songs but missed a couple. JC and Chris took up their spots in the middle of the 229 stage area as Nick settled in at the back behind the kit, and Calle strapped on his Gibson. I had never seen the band live before. The closest I ever got, like many others, was Top Of The Pops back in the day.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

JC took us into the first song of the night Handling The Big Jets, from the album Ingrrland. The guitar riffs started up with a nice pick slide as Chris picked out the bass line with Nick powering from the back. An instrumental opener to the set. I am guessing many of the crowd new a few tunes from this outfit and watching the crowd dance along to this, this was obviously a popular opener. It gave each musician a chance to display exactly what they do and then come together at the heavier sections. Like The Skids or Big Country.  The Members have a distinct sound that is all theirs. It filled the venue magnificently.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

JC and Calle worked together to deliver the intro to SoHo A GoGo.  After the almost melodic start now we were cooking as Calle started moving around the stage, with jumps and stances. The bass and drums packing in the rhythm for this one. Short but oh so sweet. Then we had the sun drenched reggae/ska filled sound of Offshore banking business. I recall seeing that one on an episode of Top Of The Pops. A superb rendition for the crowd tonight who were dancing along and singing with this, and again superlative bass from Chris. Seeing it live has re-ignited a love for a song I had not heard in a long time. Thank you The Members!

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

Solitary Confinement? Not tonight!

JC shouted out the intro for this punk rocker tune as the guitars piled into Chelsea Nightclub. The start stop of this song had the crowd bumping along to this one. What was enjoyable were the anecdotes, memories and anecdotes that JC shared with us throughout the set. He shares some wonderful insights and memories. Safe to say the crowd listened to every word.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

Damn, those infectious guitars powered into Solitary Confinement  – a look at living in the city “living in a bedsit, travelling on a tube train” a pounding drum beat from Nick as the chant “On your own – by yourself” flows out.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members are still playing it hard, and they seemed to be having a blast, the performance was a joy to watch. They reach back into their early back catalogue. The band delivered song after song, both the older and newer tracks.  A song that had escaped me totally was the melting Muzac Machine a great rocker of a tune. This one fired up the crowd nicely for what was to come.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

I was at the back of the venue taking some distance shots and it started, The Members were doing a cover. The song was Kraftwerk – The Model. This had a huge impact. Everyone at the back stopped talking and turned. Those queuing up in the lengthy lines at the bar turned. It was one of those “I was there” moments. It was unexpected and brilliantly performed. Oh and lets not forget Working Girl! Again the softer side of The Members showing itself. A beautiful song with such a strong chorus and almost an early Police sound to it. I loved that one guys!

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

Annoying The Neighbours

JC hit the strings for the instantly recognisable Sound Of The Suburbs intro. Good lord! Someone must have jolted a few hundred volts of electricity through the crowd. It got real lively and noisy for the last song of the set. A tidal wave of people pushed their way forward. I had this on clear vinyl when it came out. How many kids were upstairs practising their punk rock electric guitar? Me for one! Driving my parents nuts – “turn it down” was a regular phrase in the household – I wasn’t very good. This song really captured the essence of youth back in the day, and as JC intimated it probably hasn’t changed much. Its still a valid slice of great songwriting today as it was back then, as many of the songs from these guys. As JC told us “How dreadful it was to be a teenager living at home”. “Let me hear you say yeah!! Are you ready to sing with us?” – oh yes, we were ready.

A Video:

Join in with Sound of The Suburbs!

And finally…

It kinda clicked during that last song that I had watched and been part of a terrific punk/ska/rock performance. Its tricky to pin a label on these guys. They are real good at what they do. The drums give the audience the thumps, the fills and patterns to please the ear and to go side by side with some real strong bass lines.  The fretwork from both guitars was quite superb.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

The Members: Photo by Ian Bourn for Scene Sussex.

They performed the set tight tonight at times sharp, fast and loud, we had softer moments and we then had it back loud. The amps turned to 11 for Sound Of The Suburbs! Well played The Members. They looked as if they had a blast up there. Chatting with JC after the gig he confirmed just that, and how much he enjoys a good flat out 45 minute slot. he said you leave the stage with the adrenaline still flowing and the crowd wanting more. I think the crowd would have loved a bit more!

Keep in touch with The Members on the WWW right here!

Promoter: Massive thanks to the fabulous outfit AGMP who put on this night – they are on the WWW here!

229 The Venue are here. A cracking venue with top staff looking after everyone – thanks guys x

 

 

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