MIXTAPE: Dave Griffiths, Fast Forward Promotions | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Penetration’s Pauline Murray, image by Ian West

Words: Dave Griffiths, Fast Forward Promotions

I promote live music on Teesside as Fast Forward Promotions. Although I’ve been asked to write about some of my favourite music, in truth I could list 100 songs and not even scratch the surface of my favourites, so I thought I would limit my choices to artists I have been involved in with promoting.


Penetration – Beat Goes On
I never intended to be a promoter. My one aim was to promote a show on Teesside featuring my favourite band called Penetration, who were one of the shining lights of the 1977 punk explosion and had reformed in 2000. I co-promoted my first show in September 2010 and somehow I’m still going strong 10 years later. That Penetration gig eventually took place in 2012. If you ask anyone of my age with an interest in punk to name a song associated with Penetration they would probably say classic single Don’t Dictate, but in 2015 Penetration released a new album, Resolution, and to me it’s as good as anything they recorded first time around. I particularly like this track, Beat Goes On – to these ears it’s an absolute classic pop song. In fact, Penetration’s frontwoman Pauline Murray will be playing Stockton’s Georgian Theatre on Saturday 31st October – don’t miss it!

The Wolfmen – Jackie Says
In 2011 I became aware of a London band called The Wolfmen. They featured the legendary punk icon Marco Pirroni on guitar along with Adam Ant’s bass player Chris Constantinou, and were making some excellent music but not playing live. I badgered them constantly and persuaded them to trek North to play in Stockton. Sadly Marco didn’t come with them but they were still great and despite a poor turn out it was a thrill watching them.

New York Dolls – Jet Boy
OK, so I didn’t put a gig with New York Dolls on, but in 2013 I was offered a living legend: Sylvain Sylvain. The graveyard shift – a Wednesday night – and expensive, but no way we were turning this down! He was utterly fantastic, playing solo all those classic Dolls songs and regaling us with stories (some not to be repeated!). One of those ‘you had to be there’ nights. A few years earlier I had seen the New York Dolls at The Cluny and it was one of the best gigs I have ever been to. Oh to have seen them the first time around!

The Space Agency – The Devil’s Saddle
Another favourite of mine is a Brighton band called The Space Agency, although I have known guitarist Simon Jones for the best part of 40 years as he is originally a Teesside lad. The Space Agency are a three-piece who play instrumental music; all trebly guitars and twangy reverb played through ancient amps, a wonderful sound both on record and especially live.

The Fallen Leaves – Trouble
Around 2012 I discovered a fantastically beautiful noise while idly listening to the radio; I had to look on the show’s website and find the tracklist to find out who the band was. The Fallen Leaves? Never heard of them! But that song was great, so I investigated further. ‘Punk rock for gentlemen’ they described it as – I just knew it was brilliant and another band I had to have on. London again – more expense, but what the hell. They eventually played a gig for me supporting The Monochrome Set but they were the real stars that night and have now played 10 gigs for me over the years and are definitely ‘Big In Middlesbrough’.

Working Men’s Club – Teeth
I could post so many videos of bands I love and have been lucky enough to bring to the North East. I’m of an age where I’m mainly looking backwards, but this year I promoted a relatively new band who were getting lots of attention. I’d seen them live in Newcastle and was totally blown away. Working Men’s Club are just a young band, but are full of attitude, energy, and with great music to boot. I got them to play in Stockton just before lockdown and it was a fantastic night, they will be massive one day.


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