I’ve been spending a lazy Saturday doing some work transferring the Prefab Sprout gigography from the old wiki to WordPress. The intention is to tidy everything up properly and add audio/video and when that’s done I’ll connect it up to the menus and mothball the old site. If you’re interested, you’ll find the work in progress here. It’s been a fun challenge finding pictures of the venues, and it contextualizes the early history very nicely. I love this formative period of the band: it’s the time when they were struggling and trying things out and occasionally being canned off stage.
Anyway, in doing that I did a bit of digging and date checking around the early gigs and found some research I’d done in the Durham University Student’s Union Newspaper, the Palatinate, a few years ago. The British Library holds a collection of these, probably untroubled from the day they were deposited to the day I called them up. As an aside, you can easily get lost in the details doing this, endless calls for action, boycotts, sit ins and transitory causes. For anyone who was a student in the 1980s it brings it all back with a headshake and facepalm.
7th Feb 1980 (Local Bands)
Prefab Sprout do not come from Brussels. They are a three piece band – drummer, bassist & guitar vocalist from Co. Durham. So far they have only been seen haunting the Brewers Arms on Claypath on occasional Wednesday evenings (you may have seen their posters). On such occasions they perform for two hours at a time a set of very diverse material. Their influences appear to range from Elvis C. to Steely Dan and include a good many styles of playing. Yet they could not be accused of ripping off anybody. Their style seems totally original and they are a band who, given the opportunity, could go far.
21st Feb 1980 (Local Band Night review)
Friday 15th February saw experimentation in Dumelm with a local band night intended to give up and coming bands the chance to play ‘The Big Venue’
The evening got off to a bad start when one of the bands “Prefab Sprout” pulled out at the last minute. Apparently they felt that the sound system would not do them any justice.
Consequently the show was delayed about half an hour and several people who were waiting in the bar upstairs drifted away.
(note that Prefab Sprout had supported the Revillos at Dunelm House a few nights prior to this, and were apparently booked to support the Members the following night, which may explain their reticence to play the showcase gig)
21st Feb 1980 (Review of Revillos Concert in Dunelm House 11th Feb)
Confusion over the contract meant that the main attraction failed to supply a support act. This however was remedied at short notice by enlisting the talents of local band “Prefab Sprout” only five hours before the gig. They received a mixed reaction, to put it mildly, with the one, or was it two, students in the audience tapping their feet to the bouncy rhythms, while a hardcore of punks at the front showed their appreciation in terms of saliva and mindless abuse.