The Dixieland Showbar on Colwyn Bay Pier was a regular venue for ‘medium’ sized touring bands in the 70 and 80s.
I’m trying to compile a gig list and where possible, links to reviews and / or pics; but your help is needed.
Many thanks to Craig Davies for his help with this… and contributions from Dave Clarke.
And also to Martin Peel for the listings up to 1965, he says, ‘At this point my research ended. The majority of these gigs were promoted by Dennis Johnson from Rhyl: he also promoted shows at the Washington, Llandudno, Denbigh Town Hall and Ruthin Town Hall. Support acts were, in the main, local groups.’
For some stupid reason during my late teens I used to go to Scooter Rallies and All Nighters. Nothing wrong with that, but when you’re sporting a green mohican haircut & there’s 500 Mods / Soullboys sporting Harringtons and sta-press trousers in the building you can perhaps see why it was stupid. I didn’t get much hassle, I suppose my size kept them guessing. I was at one of these rallies with Spike (who had a pink mohican) & Tony (who was a 5’2″ black dude with a capital D). Me & Spike were getting the bad vibes from the Mods & Tony was getting nasty glances from a group of skinheads. Tony (once the star of Crimewatch) always wanted to get ‘NF’ tattooed on his tongue so he could pull it at people who gave him hassle because of his creed. It was only after hanging out with Tony that I became aware of how racist some people could be; the comments, the snide remarks, some even hissed at him in the street. On this night though, Tony not only had myself & Spike as allies, he had Desmond Dekker as well. We thought they were related as Desmond kept referring to Tony as ‘brother’, but Tony explained that this was the boys from the hood language. I did manage to wind the skins up by dancing in the middle of their circle like an ostrich to the peace loving sounds of Skrewdriver.
When I was 15, my step-brother (same age) Chris Vandal and myself travelled from Denbigh to Colwyn Bay Pier to see The Exploited. As we got to the venue the doormen told us that lead singer, Wattie had sprained his ankle playing in the snow and the band wouldn’t be doing the gig, but here’s a free poster to compensate. We were so pissed off.
It was two days off my 15th birthday. I had seen (and met) The Jam and The Clash (supported by Vapors, Jiving Daleks and Mikey Dread), but this was my first gig I went to without my Dad (he was/is a photographer and got press passes for most shows). (pic above courtesy of Neil John Trotter)
Ian Gomm of the band says, ‘I can remember it took ages to drive from our communal house in Beaconsfield just outside London to Colwyn Bay, it was a round trip of 460 miles and they hadn’t even built the M40 back then! My wife remembers me telling her when we got back of how you could see the sea through the planks in the floor and of how odd it felt to be playing above the sea at night. The year 1973 was also when Paul McCartney chose the Brinsley Schwarz group to be the support act for his Wings “Red Rose Speedway Tour” first two UK tours since The Beatles. We seemed to be playing nearly all of the time so please forgive me if I can’t remember any more.’
He continues, ‘My wife and I relocated to Mid Wales in 1975 where we have lived for the last 37 years. All of our four children learnt Welsh at school so perhaps that night at the Dixieland at Colwyn Bay Pier had more of an influence on my life than I knew at the time!’