Help brothers Nick and Simon Robinson to uncover Sheffield's rich music history

A Sheffield musician who has put up his collection of vintage gig memorabilia online is looking for music fans to add to his website.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 2:34 pm

Brothers Nick and Simon Robinson set up their Sheffield Music Archive website in order to share their amazing collection of 1970s and 80s tickets, posters and fanzines

They have had help from other people who contributed their own gig listings. That allows music fans to have a look at bands and venues and lists of live shows.

Now they are appealing for music fans who may be having a clear-out during lockdown or more time on their hands to contribute to the website.

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Guitarist Nick Robinson with his band, Dig Vis Drill

Nick said: “My brother and I started it up about five years ago. We’re both massive music fans and I’ve been in bands all my life.

“We’re both collectors and hoarders and we’ve kept all our programmes, tickets and backstage passes from the 1970s. We thought what’s the point of keeping it in boxes? Let’s get out and share it.”

The brothers had to learn about computer coding and how to put an online database together.

Nick said: “In the future we want people to be able to click on a date and it will show you a poster or ticket. We’ve got 6,500 gigs listed and local pages for venues.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd playing Sheffield City Hall on October 31, 1975, when Sutherland Brothers & Quiver were their support act

The website is already a trip down memory lane for fans, who can look at pages about much-missed Sheffield venues such as The Limit or the Black Swan (nicknamed the Mucky Duck), the Wapentake or King Mojo’s.

Eventually the website will be able to link information about bands and dates with images of relevant memorabilia, said Nick.

In future fans may also be able to leave comments on pages referring to gigs, Nick hopes. In that way it will become an invaluable source of local music history.

Nick and Simon are after information about past live dates, tickets, posters and flyers for any genre of music.

A ticket for rock band UFO at Sheffield City Hall in 1998

The brothers are building their relationship with Sheffield City Hall and hope to work more closely with the venue to tell its story and celebrate its importance to music fans. The website includes 1,400 listings for the City Hall.

Nick said: “I can’t explain the magic of walking into the City Hall for me. It still has that buzz. It needs support, I think it deserves it, and think the social history is worth exploring.”

His son, also Nick, runs the booking office at Sheffield Arena, so he’s been able to supply a comprehensive list for the venue to the website.

A flyer for a Stevie Wonder concert at Sheffield City Hall in 1971

Nick Jr is in a brilliantly-named covers band, Reyt Against’ Machine, inspired by Rage Against the Machine, whose logo is a fist brandishing a bottle of Hendo’s.

His guitarist dad is in Martin Archer’s experimental group Das Rad, Mithril, Red Zoo, String Theology, Lost Garden…

He tells a funny story about a near brush with fame with The Comsat Angels, who he joined when they were about to tour the US. He even got married in all the excitement.

The tour was dropped because the band “had no hit singles” that was that.

Nick wants fans of famed city bands such as Def Leppard or The Human Leagueto provide details of their more obscure, early shows.

He remembers seeing a very young Def Leppard on their first visit to The Broadfield in 1978, for example.

A 1979 Sheffield Polytechnic student union gig with Def Leppard

The website has an A to Z of music shops from Angell’s to S Wordsworth and one of Nick’s ideas is to create a shop where people could listen to music, buy reproduction old posters and swap their memories.

He said: “People have this information. It’s just buried away. We’re encouraging people to contribute. We want people to let us see tickets, loan them or give them to the archive.”

A flyer for Hawkwind in 1971
A Sheffield University student union gig in 1973