The Hippies Arrive

But what happened at the Birdcage?

On this very day, 50 years ago, all the adverts, lists and diaries suggest that the In Crowd played. They were one of the most regular Birdcage bands, playing soul and R&B and at various points including guitarist Steve Howe, singer Keith West and drummer ‘Twink’.

But in first few months of 1967 they transformed themselves into the band Tomorrow one of the earliest UK psychedelic bands, They were the first band to record a live session for John Peel’s Radio One show “Top Gear”.

The thing is that also on this night in 1967, Alexandra Palace held one of the first great UK Hippie events, the 14-Hour Technicolour Dream – a fund-raiser for International Times (IT). The Beatles turned up and might have seen, among others, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Alex Harvey Band, Crazy World of Arthur Brown, the Move, the Social Deviants, Denny Laine, the Purple Gang, Graham Bond and on-and-on – including Tomorrow.

So, did the In Crowd come to Eastney? And if they did, did they then change into hippy gear and drive up the A3 to appear later that night (morning?) under a different name at Ally Pally? Perhaps we have another mystery, like the Cream at Kimbells and Bo Diddley? The website Marmalade Skies suggests that night was the first gig that Family played at the Birdcage, although I suspect they did not come to Eastney until the days of the Brave New World.

Incidentally the Sunday Mirror described the Technicolour Dream as resembling “the last struggle of a doomed tribe trying to save itself from extinction”.


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Bank on this

Square Tower, Monday, All FREE


Exhibitors: Lois Burt, Nick Ingamells, Ruthy Martin, Melanie Brundrit, Kate Thelwell, John Pearson, Simon Whitcomb, Kendal James, Rick Haynes, Matt Wingett, Lyn Perkins, Steve Bumphrey, Jon Everitt, James Waterfield (aka Lawn of the Dead)


12.00 – 12.45 Walker Broad

1.35 – 2.20     The Wireless

2.30 – 3.15     Shep Woolley

4.05 – 4.50     Waif & Stray

5.00 – 5.45     The Polite Mechanicals

6.35 – 7.20     Scarlet Town

Poetry between the musical performances from: Gareth Toms, Syd Meats, Graham Brown, Sam Cox, Richard Williams, Denise Bennett, Richard Peirce, Will Sutton, Maggie Sawkins, Wordbass, John Pearson, Liz Neal, Sue Spiers, Helen Elliot


“Sweet as the punch”

Do you remember the Association? They were very popular among some Pompey bands, and fans in the late 1960s, with their sweet harmonies, and pretty tunes and they opened the famous Monterey Festival in June 1967

Mick Legg liked them. He’s just sent me this ‘interesting’ version of one of their best-known songs

PS I’m very sorry this didn’t work. I’ll try again

Maybe this?



Tell Laura

I can recall being at the Birdcage on the night Southern ITV turned up to film – and that the Alan Price Set played – but until I got Geoff’s diary I had completely forgotten that they came, for whatever bizarre reason, not to film a documentary about the club or the band but to do some kind of special about Ricky Valance. Here’s the entry (1966) – although for years I’ve tried to find it in their Archives, with no luck.

Geoff diary ITV.jpg

Incidentally the tick indicates that Geoff went – which makes this 1965 entry (again) most interesting:

Geoff diary Bo D?.jpg


Who was that man?

From Graham Laker to me:

“Now that your definitive list of Birdcage appearances is nearing completion (correct), I wonder if you can solve this for me: It was a Sunday afternoon show, ’65 or ’66, with a performance from a tall, black, soul guy, pompadour hairstyle, wearing a salmon pink suit.  He was brilliant (‘tho I can’t remember what songs he did). Part of his act was getting members of the audience to join him on stage and challenge them to sing as high as he could – I clearly remember John McInnes joining him and failing spectacularly (John sadly died in a diving accident not long after). I’ve always thought the performer was Arthur Alexander, or, if not, could it have been Wilson Pickett, Major Lance or someone else? – pretty sure he was American and a ‘big name’.”

I think I’ve solved it, as Arthur Alexander but pleased to hear from anyone else. My reply was as follows:

I’m pretty sure it’s Arthur Alexander although I wasn’t there. I know that Wilson Pickett and Major Lance both played on Tuesday evenings (I saw them both and don’t recall that participation bit).  Arthur played on Sunday 17 April 1966. I have no record of it being an afternoon, but I’ll check that out and see what I can find.

I wish I had seen Arthur Alexander who I reckon is one of the great under-rated black singers. His songs included “Shot of Rhythm & Blues” (Johnny Kidd), “Anna” (the Beatles), “You Better Move On” (Stones), “Go On Home Girl” (Ry Cooder) plus versions of “The Wanderer” and “A Hundred Pounds of Clay”. What a Cracker! Anybody fancy forming an AA Tribute band?


Barry Roberts (part 2)

MANY thanks to the Dynamic Dynamos’ Duo Marc and Alf, for sorting out that photo – to which I suddenly said “of course”, because we already have this photo of a version of Billy Storm and the Storm Riders, including Barry Roberts (guitar) in the centre and Billy (left) with Peter Hicks (right) sharing the vocals. I guess that’s Terry again on the right?

Bert P & Peter Hicks

Barry Roberts