Punk Front

Leeds had a large fascist presence, anti-fascists challenged them at football, on the streets and at gigs relentlessly. Fascists there put out a ‘Punk Front’ ‘zine that had the NF logo with a safety pin. Leeds was also home to anti-fascist bands such as the Gang Of Four and The Mekons.
The Dentists were one of the main Nazi punk bands and played at the first ‘Rock Against Communism’ gig at the Conway Hall in London along with The Ventz.

1FClub

A flyer that features National Front punk band The Ventz.

TemporaryHoarding8

From the Rock Against Racism ‘zine, Temporary Hoarding, No. 8, 1979

theDentistsRACconwayhall79

The Dentists, at the Rock Against Communism gig, Conway Hall, 1979

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5 thoughts on “Punk Front

  1. John Keenan

    That wasn’t my gig, not under the F Club banner. You mentioned the Bierkeller in the review, I didn’t promote anything there until the 80s. So, I assume the gig in question may have been at Brannigans (NOT the Bierkeller) on 21st December 1978. As it was my 30th birthday, I would have spent it with my family. Your review states that the event was flying under the RAR banner, so was most likely to have been booked and promoted by them. My flyers from that period mention an Xmas Party on that date, but not the bands. Also, by that time, I had changed the name of the club to The FAN Club at Brannigans.

    My new wave club was initially going to be called The F*** the Poly Club, because when the new students came back the Poly administration refused to let us continue with the gigs in their common room. I shortened the name to The F Club and moved on. All the gigs under the F Club title were promoted at The Ace of Clubs, a fading cabaret club on Woodhouse Street (September 1977 – December 1977) and at the West Indian club, Roots, on Francis Street in Chapeltown (February 1978 – September 1978). When I moved the club to Brannigans in Autumn 1978, I changed the name to The FAN Club . The reason was, because of all the stirring by militant left-wingers, implying that the ‘F’ stood for fascist, Totally ironic because I was promoting in a West Indian club, leased by a black friend of mine, Carl Young.

    The Dentists were young kids who couldn’t play very well. Nobody took them seriously. When I told them they couldn’t play again for me, the singer broke into tears. As for the poster, you will notice that I also put on reggae nights with bands like Matumbi and Black Slate. The band called The Front was an anti-fascist band from London, the vocalist was living with Marianne Faithful. From what I understand, one of The Ventz had NF affiliations, but I wasn’t aware at the time.

    The F Club was created for people to let their hair down and enjoy some alternative live music, there was no political agenda. If anything, many of our members were creative misfits with anarchistic tendencies. The bulk of my customers were bright youngsters who couldn’t give a toss about extreme politics. At the club I employed both black and white bouncers and didn’t allow any overt political propaganda at the gigs… although some bands managed to get away with a few dodgy songs, mainly because nobody could understand the lyrics. Many black bands played, including Steel Pulse, Pure Hell and Prince Far I. We were also at the forefront of the burgeoning 2 Tone Ska scene.

    The bouncer I normally employed at Brannigans was Eustace Richardson, a big black guy who would take great pleasure in frightening off the NF guys who leafleted in the precinct on a Saturday. Once he managed to rough up six of them by himself, so I don’t think he would have tolerated any prominent Nazis. Although, if they were behaving themselves, there was nothing much we could do. Most of my customers were still in their teens without fully formed opinions… more can be gained by talking to people than by turning them away.

    The F Club/Fan Club continued for 5 years and incidents within the club involving NF, BNP or SWP were minimal and non-violent. There was more conflict at the shows put on by the Poly and Leeds Uni. These events have been given far too much importance over the years by aspiring journalists on both sides. Instead of writing about the great gigs and the fantastic bands who played at the F Club: U2, The Police, The Slts, XTC, The B-52s, SUicide, Joy Division, Killing Joke, OMD, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Echo & The Bunnymen, Adam & The Ants, Toyah, The Specials, Madness, The Damned, etc., you choose to dig up and give prominence to a poorly attended gig featuring 5 local bands who never got anywhere. All a bit pathetic really.

    Reply
    1. teethingwells Post author

      Thanks for your comment. Yes most gigs, as elsewhere all over the country, were just fun gigs.
      The F Club clearly had loads of good bands on, although you mention U2!, and the flyer shows that to be the case too.
      All the material here is from the late 70s/early 80s and looking at the time historically.

      Reply
      1. balearic punk

        a great place ,i do not remember any nf idiots being in there,or any politics for that matter. i for one did not care for any politics and cared only for the bands,beer,and punkettes. a great,sadly not realy remembered as it should be. leeds rarely does. the f club had all the great punk bands on. made my youth great.

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