the red penguin

Radiohead, Contempo – The Garage, Highbury

My first Radiohead headline show, having seen them support other bands three times last year. My first Garage gig too (it opened this very year).

As I lived in Billericay I was never going to see them in Glasgow, but still, shame I chose London and not Glasgow – Radiohead’s next gig, two days later at the Barrowlands, was a co-headlining show with Blur. On a scale of 10 to 10, how good was that gig, I wonder?

Radiohead were due to play Reading the previous week, but Thom Yorke went down with laryngitis and they cancelled. He struggled a bit of a few songs, but then I don’t listen to Radiohead because I think the singer is going to sound like Michael Buble.

Writing almost exactly 30 years to the day after the show, I’ve got three overriding memories of this gig. The first is that I turned up during the support band, and asked someone who it was – they told me it was Contempo. This wasn’t the same Contempo who later became Hard Fi; in fact I’ve never been able to find any record of them anywhere at all. They may not have been called Contempo at all. I did see a Radiohead gig listing once which mentioned a different band, but I can’t find that right now.

The second was that – well, it was a gig, and it was pretty hectic up the front because we were all young, weren’t we? I remember a girl complaining relentlessly to me and my friend. “Stop pushing! Stop pushing! Stop pushing!” Of course we weren’t pushing deliberately, we were just in a critical mass of bodies. But we got fed up and moved a few yards away from her. About 60 seconds later, we saw the guy who was standing next to us get sick all over her. I actually still feel bad for her.

And lastly – waiting for a train on the platform at Highbury and Islington, my friend let off perhaps the loudest fart anyone’s ever heard. It stopped a lot of conversation. And it was followed by a lot of laughter. This isn’t meant to be a “and the whole train applauded” anectode; it was just a fart. But it really did happen like this. I can’t go through that station without mentioning it to someone.

The show was great though! The setlist exists because there’s a bootleg recording of the show somewhere (I can’t find it, but I will one day).

A flyer for a fanzine I picked up at this gig


  • The Bends
  • Prove Yourself
  • You
  • Vegetable
  • Creep
  • Lurgee
  • Yes I Am
  • Banana Co.
  • Faithless the Wonder Boy
  • Ripcord
  • Anyone Can Play Guitar
  • Pop Is Dead
  • Stop Whispering
  • Blow Out

From the NME, 18 September 1993

Wednesday 1 September 1993, 231 views

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