'The bass player fell off stage' - Sheffield's leading musicians remember their early days during Independent Venue Week

Some of Sheffield’s leading musicians, including Jarvis Cocker, have shared their early memories of making music in the city.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 6:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 7:30 pm

On Tuesday (28 January) BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq’s Homecoming Tour of the UK stopped off at the Leadmill as part of Independent Venue Week. The iconic venue is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year.

As part of the show, ‘Lammo’ spoke to some of city’s most well-known musicians about their musical experiences in the Steel City.

Recalling the early days of Pulp, the band’s former front man Jarvis Cocker said: “I think we played our very first concert in 1980, and that was at the Leadmill.

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A plaque outside the Leadmill commemorating Pulp's first ever show. Picture by Simon Hulme

“It was like a local bands festival on a Saturday and we were second from bottom of the bill. We played at about half past two in the afternoon. Because it was our first show we were pretty inept. The bass player fell off stage and quite a lot of things went wrong.”

The 56-year-old added: “People found us quite entertaining, so then we got invited to play other places. I think we got invited to play somewhere the very next night, which was upstairs at a pub called the Hallamshire Hotel. It’s still there in Sheffield and that was very exciting back in the 80s.”

Elsewhere, John McClure of Reverend & The Makers reminisced about days gone by at the now-closed Boardwalk venue, where the Arctic Monkeys were famously pictured in the mid-noughties.

“The Boardwalk, myself, Arctic Monkeys, Little Man Tate and Milburn we all worked there. We all were bar staff and worked on the door.

John McClure of Reverend & The Makers.

“Through working there we were able to see touring bands. I saw Arthur Lee play there, we had Johnny Clarke, The Fall.

“That was very much the physical centre of our little scene.”

The ardent Sheffield Wednesday fan also touched on the how the city’s football divide plays out in music circles.

“You find that a lot of the musicians tend to be Wednesdayites which I think tells its own story,” he joked.