THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

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MULLY
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THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by MULLY »

THE HARP BAR REUNION - The Black Box 08.09.12

Where has the time gone? - it only seems like the other week, as a self-conscious 16 year-old punk I first plucked up the courage to enter the infamous Harp Bar, walking through the concrete filled bollards and steel mesh encased walk-through entrance into the Saturday afternoon Punk disco. The Harp Bar - a run down and (as legend has it) former IRA meeting place that had been bombed numerous times (hence the security outside) - was situated in Hill Street, hidden away off the beaten track and part off town I would not normally frequent. The bar was a real spit'n'sawdust type of boozer with old-school strippers plying their trade in the public bar as the upstairs room was taken over by The Punk Workshop - it really was the pits but it was Belfast's answer to The Roxy. I never became a member but attended a couple of the Saturday afternoon sessions and few of the gig nights - catching RUDI was always a highlight for me.

The idea for a reunion gig to celebrate and remember those heady days of youth was mooted a while back - it was always going to be in The Black Box, a relatively recent venue built as near as bedamned on the site of the old Harp Bar when the area was renovated by the Belfast City Council. As the time grew closer, the bill extended as long lost brothers and former band members decided to get together one more time and get back on the stage. And so, last night Hill Street was once again filled with the footfall of punk rockers reclaiming their past.

Shock Treatment 21 were fist on the bill, but I had only arrived to a pretty packed room just as they were leaving the stage. I was never a big Shock Treatment fan anyway - best known for their homage to the city's number one evening broadsheet 'Belfast Telegraph' - so I wasn't overly disappointed. As I made my way to the bar for some liquid refreshment old friends and familiar faces were scattered throughout the audience. A few handshakes and snatched hellos ensued before I struggled to the front off the queue. By the time I had my first of many pints that evening, I was accosted by Barry Young (former punk band member) informing me that there were three Idiots in the same room for the first time in eons. Personally I thought to myself there were more than three idiots in the room - but none of them were in his band of that name!! As we chatted The Androids took to the stage and kicking of with 'Lipstick Heroes' - a tribute to The New York Dolls which name-checks in the lyrics most off the Doll's song titles - a big fave back in the day and equally well received tonight. Reduced to a three-piece their set also included a cover of 'Sonic Reducer' an old Dead Boys song which was regularly on the turntable at the Harp.

As with most reunions, there were loads of people you hadn't seen in years and as I popped outside for a smoke, I was soon rapt in chat with friends old and new and by the time I re-entered Protex were already belting out their back catalogue. Luckily I was able to catch my favourite 'Strange Obsessions' however because to the number of bands due to play all the sets were short and after 'I Can't Cope' they made their exit. Next up was Henry Cluney - playing as a three-piece, the band belted out some old SLF toons but after the first couiple of numbers I found myself out on Hill Street again talking crap with the good, the bad and the ugly (or Liam, Joe and Dee to give them their proper names 8) ). I mssed most off The Outcasts set too - but having seen their last couple of 'warm-up' gigs, I wasn't overly concerned - although they had the best audience reaction so far. Stage B had reformed especially for this event and were billed as headliners. Des Potter on guitar bringing in his Stiltwalker keyboard player to replace Qwen (RIP) instead of a drummer. This in my opinion didn't work. The band were never my cup of tea even back in the day and tonight's performance did nothing to change my viewpoint - to be fair the band themselves were disappointed by their showing as well.

As a last minute sort off thing Brian Young (RUDI) was asked to get up and play us out with a couple of his old hits. 'I-Spy', 'Time To Be Proud' and 'Overcome By Fumes' followed by our own first punk record 'Big Time' as he was joined on stage by Joe from The Androids, Liam from The Sabrejets and Terri Hooley (to name but a few). So that was it - in retrospect I missed a load of the music, talked, drank and smoked too much - just like it was back in my youth.

Great night, great craic - but lets not make it an annual event as was the general topic of conversation.
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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by theraven1979 »

Excellent Mully - enjoyed reading that cheers.

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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by iain »

Good one.
Mully, do you remember the Anarchy Centre in Belfast?
I went to some all day punk thing when I was about 15....Crass, Annie Anxiety etc (I think).
Havent a clue where it was now, but I'd hazard a guess it was somewhere near St Anne's
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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by Stevie.T-'up north' »

Nice read Mulster!
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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by gjinblack »

I always enjoy Mully's stories of early punk Belfast.
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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by Freddie Laker »

Nice one Mully - a good read as always. 8)
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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by MULLY »

iain wrote:Good one.
Mully, do you remember the Anarchy Centre in Belfast?
I went to some all day punk thing when I was about 15....Crass, Annie Anxiety etc (I think).
Havent a clue where it was now, but I'd hazard a guess it was somewhere near St Anne's
By the time the A Centre was up and running I was away from Belfast at University and I never really got the UK82/Anarcho phase of Punk. If I remember my history, it was somewhere down off High Street (not a million miles from St Annes). There was also The Warzone - both set up and run by the Anarchy Collective - Long Lane or Little Victoria Street?? Never attended either.
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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by MULLY »

Some pics from the night....
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Joe (Android), Davy (Treatment) and Henry (SLF)
Joe (Android), Davy (Treatment) and Henry (SLF)
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Brian's solo spot - RUDI toons
Brian's solo spot - RUDI toons
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Stage B (spot the Stranglers tee stage-side!!)
Stage B (spot the Stranglers tee stage-side!!)
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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by MULLY »

Couple more...
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BIG TIME  - last song of the night with mini stage invasion
BIG TIME - last song of the night with mini stage invasion
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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by Alias »

Great read as usual, Mulster, nice one 8)
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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by theraven1979 »

Review Show reviewed the "Good Vibrations" film last night - looks good.

Jim
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It taught me how to laugh again"
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Re: THE HARP BAR REUNION GIG

Post by PaulinLondon »

MULLY wrote:[ So that was it - in retrospect I missed a load of the music, talked, drank and smoked too much - just like it was back in my youth.
On the '89 Car Tour, you were very moderated. Probably the best behaved.

Great read. 8)
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