Culture

The great punk and new wave pics from Wales 1976-1984

22 Aug 2021 2 minutes Read

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David Owens

Dave Smitham, Martin Briggs and Martin McCabe all have something in common – they were on hand to document a musical uprising.

The three aspiring photographers were in the audience at some of the most influential and controversial shows in Wales at the time.

From The Sex Pistols infamous gig at Caerphilly’s  Castle Cinema in December 1976, to the early days of U2, Depeche Mode and Simple Minds at the Top Rank in Cardiff, their photographs tell a vivid story of a time of huge musical change.

It was a period when Wales, like the rest of the UK, was witnessing the rise of youthful tribes – punks and mods, new romantics and goths, psychobillies and rude boys.

Revolutionary

These tribes populated long lost, but much loved venues of yore like the Top Rank, Mel’s, Nero’s, New Ocean Club in Cardiff and Stowaways in Newport.

All these pictures tell a story – of how the period between 1976 – 1984 – was the most dynamic and revolutionary in the history of music.

The influence of the musicians in these pictures is still keenly felt to this day. Many who were in the audience at these gigs formed their own bands, many transformed the face of clubland, others pushed the boundaries of fashion, many others were key components of the creative arts.

Thanks to the efforts of keen snappers Smitham, Briggs and McCabe, we can revisit a time for action, a time for change, when the kids were alright and youth was on fire.

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arthur owen
1 month ago

Nothing to say,after my time.My first child was born in 1976.

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