Supported by Subway Sect, Buzzcocks & The Slits

This was the first of 2 nights organised by the Clash who were to headline both nights, Friday & Saturday. Saturday's support was to be Generation X & The Slits. However Saturday's gig was cancelled and the Slits accepted a Friday night slot.

last updated 24 June 2006
Last updated 7 July 2008 - added NME review
updated 20 December 2014 - added poster

cdr - likely from video? - full gig - Sound 3 - tracks 14+ Time 43mins
(recording includes Subway Sect)

video - allegedly filmed by Julian Temple .

Don Letts' Punk Rock Movie is the only known footage to have been broadcast (White Riot).

Saturday the 11th was cancelled.

The Clash, Buzzcocks, Subway Sect, Slits: Coliseum, Harlesden, London

Caroline Coon, Melody Maker, 9 April 1977

THE GRANDLY-NAMED COLISEUM in Harlesden, London, turned out somewhat grander than most people expected. It's no fleapit, more a small local theatre — complete with balcony and rows of tatty red velour seats — which has seen better days. The place is falling apart, but it's alive. West Indians regularly pack it for showings of uncensored Kung Fu movies, and gaudy Indian film posters illustrate the foyer. It is the ideal venue for the Clash — their first gig in two months.

The Slits are on first, and Ari Up, the 15 year-old vocalist, who looks like the illicit offspring of an Alf Garnett/Katherine Hepburn one night stand, leads Kate (guitar), Tessa (bass), and Palmolive (drums), through their first-ever performance. Ari pulls off songs like 'Let's Do The Split', 'Social Servant', 'Drug Town', and 'Shoplifting' with striking confidence. Strings break and numbers dwindle rather than end, but no one expects perfection, and the Slits, confounding chauvinist scepticism, win on guts alone.

Next, Subway Sect — teenagers from Mortlake — the blankest of all the New Wave bands. Onstage Vic Goddard (vocals), Robert Miller (guitar), Paul Myers (bass)and Paul Smith (drums) pose in choreographed tableaux of studied seriousness. Deadpan and ice cold in black-and-white attire, they play what they themselves aptly describe as 'complete noise'. It's an acquired taste.

Their exit is suitably nihilistic. Vic flings himself off stage, landing flat on his face in the wings. The Buzzcocks move in over the top of him.

Their re-shuffled line-up — minus Howard Devoto and with a new bassist, Garth (who looks more like a butcher than a musician) — is an immense improvement. Devoto hated performing, and it showed. With Pete Shelly as the front man, the Buzzcocks, resplendent in hand-painted Mondrian shirts, have strong links with the audience. Hearing Shelly soar through 'Breakdown', 'Boredom', 'Time's Up' and 'Friends Of Mine' — titles from their EP, and some of the best songs yet written by a New Wave band — is exhilarating.

The Clash, after two false starts, settle into one of the best sets they've played to a London audience. The sound is fuggy, lyrics crackle, and for most of the time the band have no idea what the others are playing. But all attention is drawn to the band's assaulting visuals.

Since the Clash last played, their clothes have undergone a subtle metamorphosis. The lyrics of their songs are stencilled on to long strips of material, which is bound and looped across militaristic trousers and jackets. The Clash attack their songs, and 'London's Burning', '1977' (with Joe counting out the years until the ominous 1984), '48 Hours' (a song about week end thrills packed between the nine-to-five grind), and a new arrangement of 'Cheat' turn the audience into a frenzied heap.

'White Riot', 'Career Opportunities' and 'Back In The Garage' (a new number where Terry drums out an astonishing machine-gun riff) wind up the magnificent set. The band will be better after more gigs. Even so, there is little doubt about the audience's enthusiasm. The evening has been a landmark event, establishing the Clash one of the most dynamic bunches of rock maniacs to emerge in years.

© Caroline Coon, 1977

The Clash etc: Harlesden's Burning
Vivien Goldman, Sounds, 19 March 1977

The Clash/The Buzzcocks/The Subway Sect/The Slits: Harlesden Colosseum, London


Fans from hither and yon had been hot for the re-appearance of the Clash after two months of neo-Garbo seclusion.

I was hot to see the first appearance of the Slits, the band you read about first in the SOUNDS ROUND-UP OF WOMAN BANDS.

O.K. So here we all are at the Harlesden Colosseum, home of unexpurgated kung-fu movies (blood all over the floor, I meantasay) and I'm late for the Slits (a hard day at the office, darling) and even though I didn't catch most of it, they make my heart go brrr like a buzz-saw 'cos Arianna and Palmolive are so great.

Arianna sings lead in a black leather mini-skirt with de rigueur runs in her black fishnet tights. She's as winsome a brat onstage as she is offstage, stamping her foot and chiding us for bein' silly when we clap even though we don't understand the songs. She moves FREE in a way I haven't clocked since Patti Smith was in town, and it's exciting to watch. Palmolive drums fanatically (does that include like a fan?) For a first-ever gig, it was outstanding. See them AS SOON AS YOU CAN.

Then Subway Sect, co-managed by the Clash's Bernard, I'm informed, and they do their thang. Their thang is Can-type monotones – stylised anti-music, they're all dressed in stylised black and white and look effective, and though I can't say I enjoy 'em, I'm told it's music that grows on you (if it grew on me I'd cut if off...)

Now the Buzzcocks, I enjoy. Their lead person, Pete Shelley, has a memorable on-stage persona. The only camp punk-popster. They performed a fine Richman-esque 'Out Drivin'', and other authentically MEMORABLE tunes like 'Orgasm Addict'. They have to go far (so stay near).

And it's entertaining music which makes you think and makes you sink and made me make notes (no mean feat, that) all at the same time. Then the fans mill around, while Rough Trade's Geoff Travis plays roots reggae music, tensely getting in gear for THE CLASH.

And then THE CLASH shoot on – the three-man front line like an artillery invasion, Giovanni reckons Joe Strummer was actually frothing at the mouth...The Clash's visuals (couture be-zippered ensembles) are so hot that I can't make out which is a bigger plus, the music, the words, or the image (dare I say).

The three front personalities are outstanding – Paul Simenon on bass, his hair golden like a Greek god, handsome face screwed up in a soulful scream, head yanked back so you can see the veins pulse in his neck, Joe Strummer rodent-mean, spits out the lyrics like poison darts, and Mick Jones plays fluid guitar lines that scream and scream like the birds in The Birds (Hitchcock doin' it to ya in your earhole...) while his whole body writhes in rushes of raw nerve energy.

They played all their favourites, though the sound was so off-the-wall that you couldn't hear the words – a tragedy when their words are so penetrating – 'London's Burning', they started out with, then wham-bam into '1977' ("when the two sevens clash" like they sing in Joe Gibbs' studio, down Jamaica way,) 'Remote Control', 'Hate And War,' 'I'm So Bored With The U.S.A', 'Deny', '48 Hours', 'What's My Name', 'Protex Blues', (that's about prophylactics – look it up), 'White Riot', 'Janie Jones', 'Career Opportunities', 'Back In The Garage'. The titles tell the story.

Although Joe screamed when somebody pulled out the plugs (not a million miles away from the longhairs at the mixer who didn't seem to like shorthairs one little bit...) the energy roared like starved lions let loose at fat Christians – or like the Clash when they haven't played live since Jan 1 '77. And Terry Chimes on drums (rejoined for the gig) was brilliantly minimal.

The gig was full but not too full. Donovan Letts was there filming. Lots of people taped and took pictures. Everyone knew it was An Event. People didn't want to leave. It was thrilling.

© Vivien Goldman, 1977

The Clash/Buzzcocks/Subway Sect/The Slits:

Harlesden Colosseum, London
Nick Kent, NME, 19 March 1977

NICK KENT comes out of hiding to offer himself as a 'punk' sacrifice to the ritualistic 'beat' of THE CLASH, THE BUZZCOCKS, THE SUBWAY SECT and THE SLITS...and hangs around to join in the ceremony himself. Well, sort of...

LONDON THIS week has been witnessing dramatic new developments in the so-called 'punk' youth movement currently sweeping the country. From his secret headquarters, last thought to be a cupboard situated somewhere in the Clapham South area, Chairman Mal "The Mug" McContent wrought mighty changes in the system when, in a message to his party, he informed all concerned that from now on the 'punk' ethos could only be attained not, as previously was the law, by 'gobbing' on pedestrians anywhere within the Kings Road district, but by beating rock critics over the head with rusty bicycle chains and running away.

In a detailed manifesto, "The Mug" drew up the exacting rules by which all interested parties could achieve the ends of this "offensive". First he claimed 'punk' predators needed to search out these "scumbag jewboy hypocrites" (as the rock critic element was to be referred to thenceforth) in places like the Roxy, the Marquee and the Nashville.

They should then "irritate" their victims by means of quick kicks in the shin, "accidentally" pouring beer over them while passing by, etc, .and, eventually, when the victim is aggravated enough to retaliate, they should bring in a mate who will "pacify" the critic by brandishing a large knife approximately two inches from the latter's face, and start swinging the chain directly against the cranium of one's victim until stitches are thought to be necessary.

The predator should simply "run away".

The manifesto adds that, as a bonus, anyone causing "the critic" to "get what he deserved" could expect to join members Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious in a reconstructed Sex Pistols.

The first direct consequence of this latest dramatic occurrance, after a surprisingly lethargic immediate response to the call-to-arms, has been the counter-ploy announcement from one Nick "Judas" Kent (considered by Mal McContent's collective to be one of the most desirable craniums amongst the 'rock' critic' crowd to shatter) that he was willing to be the first official sacrifice to this 'new order'.

"Well, it's cheaper than a lobotomy, innit?" quipped the ageing 'hack' from his bomb shelter/bachelor pad below a massage parlour in Kilburn. "No, but've gotta dig it," he continued. "These kids are where it's at, you know. Heavy duty destruction, the breaking down of the old way. I mean, Johnny, Sid, those guys...they're so soulful, so honest.

"I'm truly touched they even mention my name at their press conferences these days. 'The biggest hypocrite walking the face of the earth' – that's pretty heavy, right – and I'm flattered, 'cos, dig, I'm hip to the trip. It's like the same as when me and Iggy Pop used to..."

KENT WAS later seen down at the Colosseum in Harlesden, a Pakistani cinema that has suddenly allowed the New Wave to 'do their thing' at the premises on a trial basis.

Friday night saw The Slits, Subway Sect, Buzzcocks and The Clash performing to a 50/50 crowd of fanatics and mongoloid impersonators whose usual habitat is the Roxy Club.

Kent had arrived early to check out the basic geography of the place and see where the best spot would be to have his 'lobotomy' executed. Despairing somewhat at the timid lack of 'activity', he'd disappeared to the pub, thus missing all-girl 'punk' band The Slits, who had been performing their sound check when he left.

Mildly fortified, Kent returned just in time to witness The Subway Sect. Ah, this is more like it, he thought, looking down at the bunch directly in front of the stage. There was this one guy, see, who looked, exquisitely like a vole sniffing glue, squirting globules of the stuff into the hair of his 'mates' when not falling around or pushing people over, or else getting his four or five cohorts to chant something along the line of "Boring old farts – sitting down" to all those comparatively disinterested souls behind them.

Monsieur Vole, Kent was duly informed, actually ran a New Wave fanzine. Heavy, he thought – and how suitable! He was quite ready to descend from the circle to let the ritual commence...until he noticed a disturbing lack of weaponry being openly brandished. What, no chains, no knives, no...steel combs, even!

His heart sank.

And the band would have been just right, too. They were absolutely godawful. Drawing together what shards of logic and perception he hadn't discarded specially for the occasion, Kent realised that unless one had a hernia or something equally debilitating, it would be quite impossible to dance to The Subway Sect's music.

Such planned obsolescence, so resolute a 'blankness' of attitude...such crappy instruments...and such a determined inability to finger even the most mundane chord shapes imaginable...

And then there were The Buzzcocks, who certain factions of the crowd knew beforehand, because they were shouting "Breakdown! Breakdown!" – which turned out to be the title of this band's only record so far. This duly was churned out as their first song and, sounding exactly like a cheap, sloppy Ramones workout, set the precedent for every other 'toon' to come.

Trouble was, though, this lot come from "up t'North, lahk", and t'singer looks and sounds unerringly like some punk Wee Georgie Wood who's just swapped his old ukelele for an electric guitar.

Also, excepting the singer's puckish frame all swathed in black; the other bully boys in the group all chose to wear these quite grotesque pop-art shirts which even The Who wouldn't have worn for publicity shots circa 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere'.

They looked and sounded dreadful, anyway, and Kent quite firmly had decided that their presence onstage to coincide with his 'scalp graft' was so simply not on. He laid low in the 'gods', waiting for The Clash to provide just the right moment.

THE CLASH eventually came on, to be faced with immediate equipment problems: "And it's all new stuff," moaned the guitar player aggressively, in his special bright red outfit resembling 'pop star' army fatigues.

He and the other two frontmen had obviously already seen a bit of 'geldt' from their reputed six-figure deal with CBS. The old paint-flecked jumble sale duds, for example, once so defiantly modelled so that the 'kids' could easily copy the band's style and attitude, had been dumped for custom made threads: extravagant space cadet uniforms – or at least that's what they most resembled – with big lapels and all manner of seamstress embellishment.

They looked like pop stars (albeit rather subversive ones), glamorous enough to be comfortably slotted into some suitably futuristic scaffolding on the Supersonic set. It made Kent remember the previous afternoon, when he'd heard 'White Riot', The Clash's single, at the NME office – and at first had been disappointed at its patent lack of 'menace' until he realised that the chorus had been made insidiously catchy enough to become a sort of football chant.

That it was commercial enough, in other words, to be truly subversive.

Anyway, sod the new clothes and new quipment! They looked and sounded good, and were probably eating regularly. Starvation, after all, doesn't always enhance commitment; it more often than not brings malnutrition and makes one listless and low-energy irritable.

When the band kicked into 'London's Burning', Kent also recalled the first (and only previous) time he'd seen The Clash – when they were battling hard against shoddy equipment, with out-of-tune guitars constantly threatening to destroy the intense energy level but never quite succeeding. There was a tension to their sound then which set them apart from all the other bands simply because it was really was tainted with all the desperate industrial rhythms of their native environment.

Nothing, mercifully, had been lost.

'London's Burning', as performed in Harlesden, stiff smouldered with equal quotients of rage and the sheer exhilarating rush of speeding down the Westway. Kent settled back to watch this band. He suddenly felt involved in this music.

Of course, the kids in the front were going apeshit now. Pushing each other over, tossing beer on zombie-time, as ever.

Suddenly Joe Strummer stopped between numbers, "Stop throwing beer at me! I don't like it," he stated in a decisively no-bullshit way. Kent dug that. After all, even Iggy hadn't told the arse-wipes at Aylesbury, involved in said activity, to "quit it".

A cool guy. this Strummer.

The three-pronged Clash visual was great too. Guitarist Mick Jones pushing himself physically to the limits, bassist Paul Simenon like something straight out of Muscle Beach Party, succeeding on bass exactly like the Richard Hell of Television days when Patti Smith wrote of the latter, "his bass playing is total trash but he has this way of approaching the instrument that is so physical it comes off sounding real sexy."

And Strummer dead centre, very, very authoritative. Strummer's stance sums up this band at its best, really: it's all to do with real 'punk' credentials – a Billy The Kid sense of tough tempered with an innate sense of humanity which involves possessing a sense of morality totally absent in the childish nihilism flaunted by Johnny Rotten and clownish co-conspirators.

That is what Eddie Cochran had, what Townshend had...not some half-baked feelings about anarchy or any of that other jive.

"To be outside the law you must be honest" isn't just some hip piece of rhetoric: it adds up perfectly and always will just as long as human beings need to take up a rebel stance.

The Clash's music is taking on other dimensions as the band moves on, too. It's no longer just a Ramones-ish adrenalin spitfire rush, there's a rock steady readjustment here and, like I said about the single, a sharp commercial bite to the numbers that, combined with the best new wave lyrics/sentiments currently in town courtesy of songs like 'Janie Jones', '1977', 'Protex Blue', 'I'm So Bored With The USA' (the only recent I'm-so-bored rock declaration Kent could even halfway stomach), and the new 'Garage Land', that makes for truly subversive rock.

As they left the stage, Kent thought The Clash took up exactly where Ian Hunter's Mott The Hoople left off, anyway – a perfect rock critic analysis, that.

He was just leaving the cinema, thoughts of self-sacrifice conspicuous by their absence, when he noticed some yob approaching. "I'm Bruce Lee's son – what are you going to do about it?" he muttered.

Nothing happened, of course. It took him at least a minute to remember he'd heard the line coming from Joe Strummer's lips only half an hour earlier.

© Nick Kent, 1977



Londons Burning
Remote Control
Remote Control take 2
Remote Control take 3
Hate and War
I’m so Bored with the USA
48 Hours
Whats My Name
Protex Blue
White Riot
Janie Jones
Career Opportunities

(another venue?)
Janie Jones
1-2 Got a Crush on You

VIDEO - White Riot?
Punk Rock Movie)

Punk Rock Movie
White Riot - Harlesdon/Mar 11
1977 - Rainbow/9 May
Garageland - WR Tour/??

Marcus Gray Last Gang in Town p289

Sniffin Glue

ZIGZAG April 1977Cover 1 2 3
Report and Interview by Kris Needs,
ZigZag, April 1977
AT THE MOMENT there isn't a group in the New Wave that comes within spitting distance of The Clash, live or on record. Within a year ...

Caroline Coon, Melody Maker,
9 April 1977 – original

Caroline Coon, Melody Maker,
9 April 1977 – text only
THE GRANDLY-NAMED COLISEUM in Harlesden, London, turned out somewhat grander than most people expected. It's no fleapit, more a small local theatre — complete with balcony ...

The Clash etc: Harlesden's Burning
Vivien Goldman,
Sounds, 19 March 1977
The Clash/The Buzzcocks/The Subway Sect/The Slits: Harlesden Colosseum, London ...

Harlesden Colosseum, London
Nick Kent, NME
19 March 1977 - text only
NICK KENT comes out of hiding to offer himself as a 'punk' sacrifice to the ritualistic 'beat' of THE CLASH, THE BUZZCOCKS, THE SUBWAY SECT and THE SLITS...and hangs around to join in the ceremony himself. Well, sort of...

Sounds 1 Jan 1977 front cover
The Clash: Band of the Year

Record Mirror 2 Feb 1977
White Riot next single

The New Wave Punk Rock Explosion', 1977
The Clash - Caroline Coon, '1988:
Joe Strummer Interview -
26th March 1977

The Clash: Konkrete Klockwork
Report and Interview by Kris Needs,
ZigZag, April 1977
AT THE MOMENT there isn't a group in the New Wave that comes within spitting distance of The Clash, live or on record. Within a year ...

The Clash: The Clash (CBS)*****
Review by Peter Silverton,
Sounds, April 1977
If You Don't Like The Clash, You Don't Like Rock 'N 'Roll ...

Moron Fanzine - April 1977
recording & roxy gig
Interview - photos

Melody Maker April 30
Topper Joins

Melody Maker front page (below)
23 April 1977
... front ... insides
'The Clash tilt for the Top'
(Very low res - don't have a copy)

Greatness from Garageland
Peter Silverton, Trouser Press, February 1978
UNANNOUNCED, TO SAY the least, a kid in boots, suspenders and short-cropped hair clambers through the photographers' pit and up onto the stage of London's Rainbow Theatre. Benignly ignored by band, stage crew and security alike...

Jan 1

Roxy Club, Covent Garden, London

21:30 with Rob Harper

Jan 1

Roxy Club, Covent Garden, London

00:30 with Rob Harper, second performance, re: Rob Harper in Last Gang in Town pg 261


Mickey Foote Demos

Mar 11

Colisseum, Harlesden, London

The Clash headline a 2 day event. Terry Chimes last gig (for now)

Mar 12

Colisseum, Harlesden, London cancelled

The Clash to headline a 2nd night, Generation X & The Slits to support.

Apr 2

White Riot single released / chart

Apr 9

Capital Radio EP released

Apr 10

The Roundhouse, Chalkfarm, London

Sunday and Monday night gig, supporting John Cale with the Subway Sect.

Apr 11

The Roundhouse, Chalkfarm, London

Neither The Clash nor The Subway Sect played either of these dates, although posters were printed and displayed advertising them. Both dates featured Generation X instead.


Beaconsfield Studios

Apr ??

Possible other French dates

Apr 24

Le Mans - Le Royal Cinema

April the 24th? This gig definatley took place though the date is a guess. It was filmed by students. A witness commented that "one of my friends (who was a bit drunk) danced strangely between the scene and the front row... The show (or part of it) was filmed since we saw it at a "punk special night" a few months later in the university..." "the movie... "punk special" at the University was also shown 3 or 4 years later as well"

Apr 25

Le Havre - April the 25th?

Apr 26

Le Chartreux Cinema, Rouen

Dominique Laboubée (Dogs guitarist) "The Clash, I saw the first French Clash concert in Rouen in 1977 and it was incredible" There were around 200 people in attendance. This date is definate. Denis.

Nos années punk book ...cover, ...clipping 1, ....clipping 2, ...clipping 3

Concert at ROUEN -about 200 people attended in an old cinema Ç Le Chartreux Č (now 1’Exo 7). Rouen and Le Havre gigs were organised by the record shop “Melodie Massacre” in Rouen and “Music Action” in Le Havre” which are are transit cities in France on the way to Paris.

the Clash bit only - for full interview see below

Mark - I’ll tell you about one of the best gigs I’ve seen. In 1977, the Clash did a 3 date excursion in France prior to the White Riot tour. On the way to the first date, our car got hit by a twat French farmer. The car spun in the air and we landed upside down. The car was a write-off but miraculously no-one was injured. We were on our way to Rouen... so naturally enough the mini tour was nicknamed “the road to Rouen”. At the venue, we were faced with a crowd of hairy-arsed Frenchmen just looking for trouble. The band when confronted with this potential explosion of violence, thought “fuck ‘em, we’ll show ‘em” and proceeded to knock out a gig of pure excellence. At the end, they had turned round the audience. From anger to love in an hour. Absolutely amazing.

Apr 27

“Nuites de Punk”, Palais De Glaces, Paris

Rob Symmons [Subway Sect] interviewed in 1999, who had this to say:

"The first phase was when we played the 100 Club, the Royal College of Art, the ICA and the Lacey Lady, all with the Clash and with no one there. That was with the Clash there, in London, and there was literally no one there. Then we stopped for a bit that winter, rehearsed loads, wrote loads of songs, did Harlesden, and then stripped it down more for the White Riot tour. Before the UK dates for that, we started off going over to France... There was supposed to be a lot but they all got cancelled. We did about three - there was Rouen and another place in the outskirts of France. We played this cinema in Paris, which was supposed to be this famous place where Johnny Halliday played, and the Rolling Stones in about 1963. It was all seated with lots of older people there, so that was quite strange."

Around 500 people there.

Apr 30

Rockin' Club, Forest National, Brussels

THE CLASH au Rockin' club F.N.

In May of 1977, The Damned and The Ramones played at the Janson Auditorium. The Sex Pistols had been scheduled for June 26th, but they never showed up. The Clash, who had been booked to play at the Rockiní Club, did not come, but instead delivered a raucous performance at the Bilzen Festival in August. A large part of the public and the security guards didnít understand why the punksósupported by Joe Strummerówanted to break down the metal gates that formed the press area at the foot of the stage, reserved for the photographers and journalists. Link