Rock Aganist Racism Carnival
with Tom Robinson Band, X-Ray-Spex,
Steel Pulse, Patrik Fitzgerald

updated 7 July 2008 - added mike morgans view
updated - added link to Lewisham NF riots and ANL Aug 1977

Sources

cdr - complete gig?? - Sound 1.5 - 42min
- low generation cdr - 12 tracks

From Here To Eternity - Sound 5 - 3min - 1 track
- supposedly overdubbed

Rude Boy Promo cassette
- Sound 5 - 6min - 1gen - 2 tracks
supposedly overdubbed more info

Rude Boy DVD - edited - Quality 5 - 6min - mast - 2 tracks
supposedly overdubbed

The RAR gig

The RAR gig proved a significant milestone in The Clash’s history: the first time in front of a huge audience; estimated at anywhere between 50 to 100,000. It attracted national media attention and had a direct association with organised left wing politics to which the Clash, Joe particularly, were sympathetic.

Much was made of Joe's Brigade Rosse shirt. Famoulsly interviewed after by Terry Lot for Record Mirror Joe had quite a bit to say. The full text from that interview is here.

The event is well documented, A Riot Of Our Own, Last Gang both have extensive chronologies, and also amongst the media at the time as well as the Rude Boy video and DVD footage. Both are identical and contain 2 songs as does the promo cassette from Atlantic Publishing (for further info on this cass. check George Gimarcs 'Post Punk Dairy' page 103). One track made it onto the official live release.

significant impact

RAR had a significant impact in raising the consciousness of young people against racism and the National Front. Playing at the rally was perfectly logical in view of the bands anti-racist stance since forming two year’s earlier. A platform for The Clash to present their stance, through songs such as English Civil War (debuted here), about the dangers of the far right.

The previous Aug 77 had seen riots in Lewisham with NF marchers confroneted by ANLanti-protestors. Link here.

The bands performance is a very well received, one of the highlights of Rude Boy is seeing tens of thousands of people pogoing to White Riot. Hazan and Mingay for the Rude Boy film recorded White Riot and London’s Burning.

audio and video and overdubs

Songs that can be found on the Rude Boy promo cassette (Rude Boy outtakes), whilst London’s Burning is on the official release, From Here To Eternity, all in excellent sound quality, though there was some subsequent remixes of studio dubs to enhance the quality. The films producers claim this to be minimal but other sources, such as Green suggest otherwise.

They also claimed film was in short supply so they tended to never record whole gigs, though more may exist somewhere as may further professional audio recordings from the gig and 1978 as a whole.


The only other recording in circulation is a fairly poor audience recording, not low generation but containing most (if not all) of the set.

The sound swirls and blurs constantly and suffers not surprisingly from distance. It conveys some of the atmosphere although chat from near the taper is detracting.

Drums and bass come over well but vocals and guitars are poor and the sound is very poor but listenable just.

Joe voices fears over crushing throughout and at one point asks “is anyone under your feet, go on have a look, someone tells me there’s some dead people. Let the medical supplies through”.

Tommy Gun has developed since Barbarella’s in January and is very similar to the Something Else TV programme version with Topper’s machine gun drum pattern ending now in place.

White Man has also developed with the recorded words all now in place; “turning rebellion into money” replacing the “millions of yen down Japan way”.

The rare Last Gang In Town is introduced by “everybody thinks their in it”.

Police & Thieves is edited mid point losing a small section but the debuts of English Civil War & Guns On The Roof are both unfortunately heavily edited with only the opening 50 seconds of the former surviving and the last 90 seconds of the latter.

Guns on the Roof seques into Capital Radio and the recording then ends with the well documented White Riot and Joe’s comment “if you wanna hear White Riot you’ve got to sing it yourself!”

It maybe that more songs were played than appear here (no Janie Jones for example).

1978? at a Rock Against Racism/Anti-Nazi festival in Victoria Park(?) I saw the Clash live for the first time. The sound was appalling and Mick Jones was wearing pink trousers. We were miles away from the stage but there was still something very wow about Strummer. So much anger. So much energy.

courtesy of mike morgan & www.smokebox.net

he call up: so long joe strummer

English Civil War

In the summer of 1978, I saw the Clash perform at a vast "Rock Against Racism" rally in Victoria Park, East London.

This was the outdoor concert footage that was used in the film Rude Boy. The march to the park was particularly memorable since it took the resistors through the streets of Hackney and the East End, a neighborhood notorious for British National Front fascist street activity, their favorite pastime being the clobbering of non-white immigrants, especially women.

As we wound our way through the community, the fascists, grossly outnumbered, glowered and leered at the protestors. One outstanding moment involved a spindly, pale, acned ubermensch wearing the colors of the BNF and a "Hitler Was Right" t-shirt.

It was too much for the rowdy demonstrators to pass up. Singling this poor bastard out, the crowd began to chant, "There's the master race, Beware!" The idiot racist turned crimson as tens of thousands of marchers loudly earmarked him as the symbol of all that was wrong. Mortified, he slunk home, probably to listen to his Stranglers record.

Later on at the concert, Joe Strummer hooped and hollered the lyrics to "Safe European Home" as the band twanged and bashed its way through that anthem.

As true today as it was back then, safety is only assured when we take matters into our own hands and don't allow those with bloodthirsty agendas to steer the ship. Joe knew it then, and he knew it up to the day of his untimely passing.

Perhaps the most telling scene in the film Rude Boy portrays Joe in a pub trying to explain to the confused lumpen roadie why the "get back to Russia" argument is fallacious. "The same fat cats drive the big cars there as the ones who do here," taught Joe.

Safe home, wherever you are Mr. Strummer...Stay Free!
-- mike morgan

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Complete Control
Londons Burning
Clash City Rockers
Tommy Gun
Jail Guitar Doors
White Man in Ham Palais
Last Gang in Town
Police and Thieves
English Civil War
Guns on the Roof
Capital Radio
White Riot

bold indicates on video

Rude Boy DVD
Londons Burning
White Riot

From Here To Eternity
Londons Burning

Rude Boy Promo cassette
Londons Burning
White Riot


Programme

Clash

Rock On!
Don't gob on Me - It Makes Him ill
Joe tells Rock On! how he caught hepatitus from gobbing

Joe on catching Hepatitus

NME Pre Gig Report

MM Gig Info / Mick Quote

Sounds gig review

Record Mirrors post gig interview

A Riot of Our Own
pg63 - no scan as yet

Best Magazine [French] No.122
...page1 ...page2 ...page3 ...page4 ...page5 ...page6

Les InRocks Magazine [French][2003]
Last Gang in Town
...page1 ...page2 ...page3 ...page4

Les InRocks Magazine [French][2003]
...page1 ...page2

Clash

Rock On!
Don't gob on Me - It Makes Him ill
Joe tells Rock On! how he caught hepatitus from gobbing

Joe on catching Hepatitus

Short Tour of the Midlands for Sandy Pearlman
during early 78 the Clash played several secret dates on a 'short midlands tour'. Sandy Pearlman, CBS's producer for the Rope album had come in from the States to check out the band and Johnney Green was asked to fix up some inpromptu gigs for Pearlmans benefit.

The dates are slightly questionable. Dunstable date seems correct and the Birmingham tape is labelled the 24th. The band definately played Dunstable the following night.

Following these dates, Joe and Mick went to Jamaica late February, just before Joe got Hepatitus mid Feb. The early recordings of the Rope album began at the Marquee Studios in March. Pearlman arrived back in the UK in April to carry on.

Jan 00?

BBC TV Something Else

The show put out by BBC2 in the UK had a DIY ethic, devised and presented by teenagers, it featured a mixture of of topics and music about current social events. The actual date was not as the boot LP lists 1981, but January 1978, the BBC TOTP2 A/V source from 2001 has more info.

Jan 24 Barbarellas, Birmingham
A quick secret tour arranged by Bernie (and poss. J Green). Dates confirmed from NME Jan 28 1978. A Riot of our own p58 mentions these dates extensively.
Jan 25 Queensway Hall, Dunstable, Luton
Definate date.
Jan 26 Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry
Where infamously Clash Roadie Robin Crocker walloped Sandy Pearlman.
Apr 30 Victoria Park, Hackney
...Rock Against Racism festival with the Tom Robinson Band, Pete Townsend, et al. Note the use of Pauls backdrop... Rumours persist that a/v footage was shot by the organisers for fund raising releases and that this still exists.
May 1 Birmingham Barbarellas
May 27 Paris Hippodrome - Marxist Festival
"The gig was the show piece of the last night of a festival celebrating the tenth anniversary of the French uprising in May 1968 . Organised by the largest French Trotskyist organisation, the Ligue Communiste Revolutionaire, it was held in the Hippodrome which is normally used as a circus." Johnny Green mentions this one off gig p46. Pete Silverton writes about the gig in a June interview with the band. Punter

According to Laurel Stan -Paris Maquis' website the correct date is 27/05/1978 not 20/05/1978.
"27 mai 78 - FÍte de Rouge... Bataille rangÈe entre le SO de la Ligue et les zautognÙmes. Un grand classique. Le soir mÍme, en reprÈsailles, le local des trotsks est attaquÈ par l'autonomie prolÈtarienne."

A french novellist is working on a book about this event and he is looking for testimonies, etc. According to a french musician that was at this show the band started with "London's Burning".

Regards, GÈant V <geant.vert.ink[a]gmail.com>