Rave City 66: Groups On The Go Choose The Swingingest Scenes

And does it prove that what Manchester is today, London can be tomorrow?

THERE USED to be an old joke — much favoured by Ronnie Scott — which told of the competition where the first prize was a night in Manchester. The second prize was two nights in Manchester.

Mancunians hit back with the bit about what Manchester does today, London does tomorrow. Maybe they are right after all for Manchester is Rave City ’66 — according to 15 top touring groups polled by the MM to find Britain hippest audiences.

The groups were asked to name the five top towns as far as audience appreciation is concerned — awarding five stars for the best, four for the second, and so on.

They were also asked whether it was true that London audiences tend to be blasé and adopt a “We’ve seen it all before” attitude.

So now we can tell you that Britain’s five hippest cities are, in order: Manchester, London, Newcastle, Sheffield and Bristol.

Here is what the artists had to say:

 SPENCER DAVIS: Newcastle is one place where the kids show phenomenal appreciation. It’s great playing there and the audience is with you all the way. They don’t try to pull you off the stage, but they go really wild.

London? It depends on the clubs, but generally they are good. Because we are a northern group fan fervour in London isn’t as great as in Birmingham or Newcastle.

My top five towns — Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool and London.

• PETE TOWNSHEND (The Who): We don’t mind the London club scene and I don’t think we want any more fan fervour than there is.

Top five — Leicester, Brighton, Watford, Manchester and London.

• RAY DAVIES (The Kinks): The best reaction is mainly up north. But the south is very good these days as well — and that wasn’t so a year ago. London audiences are a bit more sophisticated and you don’t know what to expect from them.

Top five — Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, London and Wales.

• SCOTT WALKER (Walker Brothers): Manchester is outstanding, but it’s hard to tell with us. Things have been good everywhere. A few London audiences are a bit strange but they are always pretty enthusiastic. I suppose they don’t get as much in other areas.

Top five — Manchester, Blackpool, Carlisle, London and Dumfries.

• CHAS CHANDLER (Animals): London is the place for us. In London they listen to us more, which suits us. In places out of town you get the younger fans who go for all the raving scenes.

Top five  London, Bristol, Bath, Manchester and Newcastle.

• BOBBY ELLIOTT (Hollies): No one area is all that much better than any other these days, although most people think receptions are better in the north. Some London audiences are great, others have a couldn’t-care-less attitude. But they tend to listen more and appreciate what you are trying to do. They don’t go daft.

Top five — Nelson, Newcastle, Glasgow, London and Bristol.

• CHRIS FARLOWE: Norwich, Leeds and Newcastle are very good. London crowds are very good, but harder to please — the hardest in the country. Up north they can only go to a few clubs, but in London they see all the groups all the time.

Top five — London, Norwich, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Sheffield.

• ERIC STUART (Mindbenders): Manchester and the north generally are best. The audience are wilder but they are more appreciative and show it a lot more.

Top five — Manchester, South Wales, Doncaster, Sheffield and Liverpool.

• ZOOT MONEY: In London there is so much more coloured music being played on records in the clubs that people are becoming very much more critical. It was bound to happen and it’s a very good thing. Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham and Reading are great — but London is so far ahead.

Top five — London, Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham and Reading.

• RAY ENNIS (Swinging Blue Jeans): Audiences in Scotland, Glasgow particularly, seem perfect to us. They get going fairly easily. They are fanatical but fair. You play to London audiences and never know whether they are enjoying themselves or not.

Top five — Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Weston-Super-Mare.

• JON LORD (Art Woods): London audiences are a bit hard to please — they tend to stand in the club with a “Go on, entertain me” attitude. Up north they warm up quicker.

Top five — Derby, Nottingham, Newcastle, London and Leicester.

• ROD STEWART (Steam Packet): London club audiences take all bands for granted. They’ve had too much of a good thing.

Top five — Newcastle, Manchester, Bristol, Middlesborough and Exeter.

• MICK EVANS (the Action): London audiences are cool, but getting more appreciative.

Top five — Portsmouth, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool.

• TONY CRANE (Merseybeats): We don’t play London much — the audiences are very cold, no matter who is playing.

Top five — Edinburgh, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff and Liverpool.

• PETE McDANIELS (Birds): Idon’t think any reaction exists in London now — particularly in the West End.

Top five — Salisbury, Sheffield, Manchester, Bristol and Wembley.

FINALLY, FOR the benefit of our male readers, we asked for a bird rating — the towns with the most female attraction.

From those who agreed to take part we gather the best birds come from London, followed by Manchester, Sheffield, Derby and Newcastle.

So you know where to book your holidays lads!

© uncredited writerMelody Maker, 15 January 1966

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