In 1976 the Sex Pistols played two infamous gigs at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester. What made them so historic was that the crowds included people who went on to form legendary Manchester bands such as Joy Division, The Smiths, The Fall and The Buzzcocks. Billy was there at the second one and this framed poster is a prized possession and it even includes his gig tickets.
“This was the event that changed my life. I went really to see the local band Slaughter and the Dogs but my curiosity had peaked by pictures of the Pistols in the music magazine 'Sounds' with Johnny Rotten putting chewing gum on the face of one of The Beatles in a record store window. So I was like “what is this new thing?” and I went along and they blew my mind!
I went with four other guys from my school including Rob Allman from my band at the time. Slaughter and the Dogs were actually the support band, and the Pistols were the headliners but the poster was produced by Slaughter and the Dogs manager and they put themselves at the top of the poster. The other support mentioned on the poster was actually The Buzzcocks playing their first ever gig. I saw them and went out and bought ‘Spiral Scratch’ afterwards as I thought they were great.
This was the second Manchester gig by the Pistols in a matter of a few weeks, the first only had about 40 people but this one had a couple of hundred. There were a lot of people at the gig that went onto become Manchseter music celebrities but I didn’t know any of them back then. I think there were loads more people at that second Pistols gig because Slaughter and the Dogs drew a lot of gangs from Wythenshawe.
Of my friends that I went with, a couple of them left before The Pistols came on ‘cos there was a massive fight with glass beer bottles flying around. It was pretty gnarly and there was at least one fight at every gig I went to back then. Punk gigs were very violent, even though no-one knew what punk was! The Pistols were amazing and I remember everything about the gig like it was yesterday; what they wore, the guitars, Steve Jones with a White Les Paul and Johnny Rotten with a mohair jumper stubbing a cigarette out on his forearm!”
Billy Duffy - January 2013
This is featured in
THE BILLY DUFFY COLLECTION
Auction on 25th October 2019