THE DANDELION MARKET

by John Fisher



The gigs in the Dandelion Market have become the source of many a tall tale, unfounded rumour and urban legend. So this is my recollection of the venue and how it came to be.


In the summer of 1976, me (John Fisher) and Eoin O'Shea went to The Reading Festival and The Rolling Stones in Knebworth and saw the early days of the Punk explosion in London. We came back with our rucksacks full of badges and set up a stall in the market selling badges, T-Shirts, posters etc.  Up until then, the market had been a bit of a hippy haven - full of cheesecloth shirts, incense and Grandad shirts. So our stall, Sticky Fingers, was a bit out on a limb.


We decided that we needed more Punks, Mods and Rockers coming in so we decided to use the one vacant area in the market - an enclosed dark, dank shed that housed the power supply for the whole market. We cleaned it out, white-washed the walls and set-up a small stage built of leftover beer crates, breeze-blocks and a few sheets of chipboard that we bought. The venue was now ready - now we just needed some bands.


The Noise Boys were the first band to take to that rather shaky stage - I don't remember why exactly - maybe it was through my friendship with Tim McStay (Keyboards). I do remember the next band better - Ferdia McAnna and Dave Sweeney both worked for us selling badges at the stall and had decided to set up a band - Rocky DeValera & The Gravediggers. They played the next Saturday and from then on, we were rocking.


That Sunday, two guys approached me and introduced themselves as Larry and Dave from a band called U2. I had heard about them and knew that they were already a 'real' (i.e. gigging) band. They wanted to see the venue and asked if they could play there. We had already booked bands for the following weekend, so I told them that they could play the week after. The legendary gigs were about to begin.... For the record, U2 played in the Dandelion Market a total of eight times - not the four or six times that is the figure given on other sites and in other publications!


But I was also excited about the likes of The Blades, Berlin and The Atrix, all of whom I knew well. There were many memorable gigs there - for me the best of which were The Outcasts which often ended with bass player Getti leaving a pool of blood on the stage from attacking his instrument with such venom.


Over the coming weeks, the gigs went from strength to strength. We had a unique rule - we changed a flat entrance fee of 50p and the bands got all the takings - we only took a pound or two if we needed to buy new chipboard for the stage or a few light bulbs. The only other condition was that the bands who played had to come in early in order to re-build the stage which was inevitably smashed up by the local kids during the week when the market reverted to being a sprawling car park - and that included U2!


My other main memories of the gigs were that, especially in winter or if the band were using a few more lights than usual, the main fuse for the entire market would often blow. This often resulted in a complete blackout of the whole market - much to the annoyance of the other traders - especially the ones who were already angry with us for bringing in a rough and rowdy bunch of punks. Another stall-holder, Jack The Lad, was the designated electrician for the market and he would be summonsed to fix the fuse. Eventually though, to save time and hassle, he showed us how to do it and we would regularly be seen running into the corner where the fuse-board was housed to do the necessary repairs.


I remember one time that U2 were playing and their lighting person hadn't turned up. The term ‘lighting technician’ wasn't used then - it was only 3 spotlights on a bar on either side of the stage. I was asked to do the necessary and suddenly found myself doing the lights. I was doing OK until in one particular song, I somehow managed to turn all the lights out on one side of the stage plunging Adam into complete darkness while at the same time almost burning Edge's irises out with a full blast of light. Needless to say, I wasn't asked to do the lights on their last world tour!


Anyway, for what it's worth, here is the list. If you were there, enjoy the memories; if you weren't, this is what we did then, enjoy your time now .....!!


Feel free to contact me with your own stories of what I think of as a magical time when for a short time, we thought we could change the world (ha!).


John Fisher





FULL LIST OF BANDS WHO PLAYED IN THE DANDELION MARKET

(APRIL 1979 - MARCH 1980)



1979

APRIL

Sat  21    The Noise Boys

Sun 22   No Gig


Sat  28   Rocky DeValera & The Grave Diggers

Sun 29   Room Service


MAY

Sat  5   Berlin

Sun 6   Zebra


Sat  12    U2

Sun 13   Fit Kilkenny & The Remoulds


Sat  19   Highly Contagious / High 'n' Dry

Sun 20   The Letters / The Black Catholics


Sat  26   Roumantics / The Strougers

Sun 27   The Blades / Strange Movements


JUNE

Sat  02   Jaroc / Lydon Shunt

Sun 03   The Rage


Sat  09   A.P.B.

Sun 10   Free Booze / The Discords


Sat  16   The Blades / Revolver

Sun 17   D.C. Nien / The Modulators


Sat  23   Room Service / Blue Angel

Sun 24   Sidewinder / The Haze


Sat  30   The Boy Scoutz

JULY

Sun 01    Too Much Yin


Sat  07   ?(No details)

Sun 08   ?(No Details)


Sat  14   Blackout

Sun 15   Dreamdates (Boy Scoutz, The Sinners, Fabulous Fabrics)


Sat  21   Free Booze

Sun 22   Uncle Waldo / P45 / Crisis


Sat  28   U2 / The Strougers

Sun 29   New Versions / The Blitz


AUGUST

Sat  04   New Versions

Sun 05   The Atrix


Sat  11   U2

Sun 12   The Moondogs


Sat  18   The Tearjerkers

Sun 19   Emerald


Sat  25   Berlin

Sun 26   The Threat / Social Fools


SEPTEMBER

Sat  01   D.C. Nien

Sun 02   D.C. Nien / Human Error


Sat  08   Brown Thomas Band

Sun 09   U2


Sat  15   U2

Sun 16   The Blades


Sat  22   U2

Sun 23   Square Meal


Sat  29   No Gig*        * (The Pope playing in Phoenix park!)

Sun 30   The Scheme / Static Routines


OCTOBER

Sat  06   The Resistors

Sun 07   The Roach Band


Sat  13   The Atrix

Sun 14   The Atrix


Sat  20   The Resistors

Sun 21   The Epidemics


Sat  27   New Belson / Soul Survivors / The Vain

Sun 28   D.C. Nien


NOVEMBER

Sat  03   Population / The Strougers / The Regents

Sun 04   New Belson / The Scheme


Sat  10   The Cheaters

Sun 11   Neon Heart / The Alternatives


Sat  17   U2* / The Epidemics   *(U2 farewell gig when they went to London for the first time)

Sun 18   Sacre Bleu


Sat  24   D.C. Nien

Sun 25   D.C. Nien


DECEMBER

Sat   01   The Outcasts

Sun 02   The Outcasts


Sat  08   New Versions

Sun 09   The Threat


Sat  15   Shock Treatment / Lovers of Today

Sun 16   The Epidemix / The Bogey Boys


Sat  22   The Male Caucasians

Sun 23   U2* / The Threat    *(U2 just back from first trip to London)

Mon 24   Dino & The Dolphins


Sat  29   Low Profile

Sun 30   The Scheme



1980

JANUARY

Sat  05   The Epidemix

Sun 06   The Setz


Sat  12   The Epidemix

Sun 13   No Gig


Sat  19   No Gig*   *(I don't remember why there were no gigs - maybe a bus strike?)

Sun 20   No Gig


Sat  26   No Gig

Sun 27   Strike


FEBRUARY

Sat  02   Berlin

Sun 03   Da Dudes


Sat  09   The Parasites

Sun 10   ?   (No Details)


Sat  16   Shell Shock Rock* / Shock Treatment     *(John T. Davis film about The Outcasts)

Sun 17   Shell Shock Rock* / The Sect                  *(John T. Davis film about The Outcasts)


Sat  23   Nun Attax

Sun 24   Dynamo


MARCH

Sat  01   Rudi / The Outcasts / Big Self

Sun 02   ?   (No Details)


Sat  08   The Muff Divers

Sun 09   The Epidemix



Sat  15

Sun 16   Strike


Sat  22   Banditz

Sun




All these listings come from an almost contemporaneous list that I recently found that was written within a year of the last gig.

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