Boully Punk Reunion, John Browns, Clydebank, Saturday 20 August, 2016

john browns

john browns

This year sees 40 years since the musical phenomenon known as Punk Rock appeared on the landscape and the impact of this both musically and culturally can be seen all over the civilised world in the present day and this year there is celebration and events galore taken place all over Britain and London especially but the impact of Punk Rock was felt all over and no more so than in the provincial towns of Britain and Clydebank was no exception to this, when it first appeared the excitement and go out and do it philosophy captured the imagination of many working class youth in the town and the whole punk rock ethos of do it yourself was taken on by many in Clydebank and almost immediately bands started to appear one of the first being Exit from Dalmuir who formed in the late 70’s.

The end of the 70’s saw the arrival of Margaret Thatcher and her looking after number one ethos and in turn the punk movement became a more politicised affair mirrored in the formation of bands in Clydebank with a strong leaning on political content, with the upsurge in movements like CND for example many bands aligning themselves to such causes playing at events held by organisations such a this. A strong diy ethos which was always one of punk rocks strong messages was taken on by the many bands in the town thus putting Clydebank on the map with concerts and events organised not in the usual venues but in places such as Dalmuir c.e centre, Faifley c.e centre, the hub on Kilbowie Road and others where bands came to play from all over Britain, these events were organised by local band State Of Decay but it was the shows held in Hardgate Halls which have become the most legendary having been written about in one of the many countless books written on the subject of punk rock a book called “The Day The Country Died” by Ian Glasper, the shows themselves where halted after only two due to incidents at them when the local council refused permission to hire the hall again because of this.

The most famous venue in Clydebank for concerts was the one and only Boulevard Hotel which held host to many bands from all over the U.K one of these being the legendary Uk Subs still going strong today with top 40 hits and numerous appearances on Top Of The Pops, their show at the” Boully” saw them arrive in the town the night before their show and led them to play an impromptu gig in Dalmuir pub Mackintoshes Bar much to the delight of the locals that night.
Without doubt the most successful band to come out of the Clydebank punk scene was Distorted Truth who were signed to London record label Link Records in the 90’s and released two albums and a single and toured all over Europe (their single which became as famous for its cover depiction of Oor Wullie and the record label name “Green Vomit Records” changes hands for well over the original asking price on many record collecting sites now). One of their more infamous shows in their hometown saw them playing off the back of a Tennents live truck in Dalmuir Park at an event to mark the 1990 year of culture celebrations at which they had the plug pulled on them at the instruction of an irate Lord Provost as the music and content was not to his liking!

A roll call of bands that formed in the wake of the punk rock explosion gives an example of its impact on the town names such as State Of Decay, Distorted Truth, Electric Dead, Conscience, Def Con 4, Requiem, Of One Skin, In Anger and others, fast forward to the present day and bands like The Red Eyes and Hateful are going strong releasing albums and touring all over Europe.

To mark this 40th anniversary a night is being held in John Browns in Chalmers St Clydebank to celebrate the impact punk rock has made in musical and cultural history, so get along to John Browns on Saturday 20th August to hear a fantastic live band play all the classics from the era and more to celebrate this musical phenomenon and its impact on Clydebank history…….


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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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