Monday, 11 January 2016

From the Archives: Bowie in Portsmouth

In March 2013, David Bowie released 'The Next Day' to great acclaim. OP Dave Allen reviewed the album for Portsmouth Point, recalling how he first saw Bowie perform in Portsmouth fifty years earlier.

David Bowie, 1965
I was a teenager in 1960s Portsmouth. At the heart of the local Mod scene we had a wonderful little club called the Birdcage where we saw all the live acts that counted - the Who or the Small Faces, Little Richard or Wilson Pickett and, in the changes from 1966 onwards, Cream, Pink Floyd and the psychedelic pioneers.

Not all the acts were well known back then but some would become famous in later years. Marc Bolan came with John’s Children, Rod Stewart with Steam Packet and on Saturday 30 October 1965, we saw a cockney-sounding bloke called David Bowie and his band the Lower Third. They were a bit blues, a bit Who (second-class bands tended that way back then), and no one took much notice. But mid-60s Bowie was desperate to ‘make it’. He appeared on a briefly ‘cool’ TV Show, “A Whole Scene Going” to complain about the persecution of young men with long hair although nobody paid much attention to his music.
Bowie was nonetheless an opportunist. Post-war British kids, were fed an increasing diet of Dan Dare, Marvel Comic’s superheroes and on 60s TV, Dr Who and Star Trek. The Birdcage and the first-generation Mods had gone by 1968 when Kubrick released 2001 but while the Hippies ate flowers and kissed trees, Bowie’s moment came with the increasingly urban, technological utopian and dystopian visions of Sci Fi – visions to which he made a significant contribution.
Read the rest of Dave Allen's article here.

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