While the Isle of Wight might be the famous musical isle, the Isle of Man has seen its fair share of bloody good gigs. Instead of a stadium, we’re lucky to have the VillaGaiety which has rooms that are big enough for a buzzing atmosphere, but small enough to really get up close and personal with the bands. We asked the (virtual) Gef office to share their favourite gig memories of the VG.
The so-called ‘Villa Nights’ (1999-2000)
In 1999, the island really did party like it was… 1999. Kim Berridge remembers wearing handkerchief tops (bras optional), fuzzy boots, and cyberdog clobber from Liverpool day trips The Villa was transformed into a club with smoke machines, lights, glow sticks and a queue around the block with people trying to buy tickets. People went all out in costumes for themed nights- “60s night” featured a LOT of Austin Powers-inspired garms. Tickets were an astonishing 15 quid (!)- something that feels expensive now, but was a fortune if you were earning 12 quid a week from pub shifts.
Frank Turner (2012)
In 2012, Chess Bradley was having a pretty rough time. Suffering badly with a long-term health condition, she was barely able to walk- or leave the house. She was delighted, then, when her favourite musician, Frank Turner, was returning to the island. Getting out was tough for Chess, but with the help of some painkillers and a walking stick, Chess was able to make it to the gig, Not only that, but she was able to see Frank during his soundcheck- a really special surprise organised by her Dad during a really hard time.
The Charlatans (2016)
In 2016, The Charlatans performed on-island, supported by Blossoms (who were just about to make it big). The 90s band did attract some throwback looks: there were fellas cutting about with adidas tracksuit tops, baggy jeans and bucket hats like it was 1994. Among the crowd was Amber Baker, who was 15 at the time. After enjoying the gig, she was persuaded by Blossoms to sneak into their after party at [redacted’], a former club that was hosting their afterparty. When the club clocked she was 15, she was promptly kicked out. On her way to the taxi, she bumped into Tim Burgess, the lead singer. He asked whether she was going to the afterparty, and, after learning she was too young to go, gave her a CD with the afterparty playlist burned on it.
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