Uncut’s 50 Best Gigs – Extra!

Today: Steve Diggle's memory of Sex Pistols@Lesser Free Trade Hall, 1976

Trending Now

In this month’s UNCUT, our writers, friends and favourite musicians reminisce about their favourite gigs.

The October issue, onsale now, features our best 50 – including Jimi, U2, The Band and Oasis – with rare photos from the shows too.

Now here’s some more – we’ll publish one everyday this month – including online exclusives on gigs by Manic Street Preachers,The Stone Roses, Pixies, Beach Boys, and Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones and Babyshambles’ Adam Ficek‘s favourite live memories too.

Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester, June 4, 1976

Steve Diggle, Buzzcocks:

The Pistols had played places like Chelsea Art College, but they hadn’t stepped into the provinces yet. In fact, it was us who put them on in Manchester. Howard [Devoto] was instrumental in that. He’d met them on a trip to London, where he’d seen them do a small gig. I recall standing outside beforehand talking to Malcolm McLaren, who was telling me the Pistols did songs like [The Who’s] “Substitute”. I thought, ‘That’ll do for me.’

They were like a cross between the more nihilistic, violent attitude of The Who with the flamboyance of The New York Dolls. I’d seen The Who before, but this was something new and frighteningly real. When they came out, time stood still. You suddenly had to rethink your whole life. It was like, “What have I been doing all this time?”

The set lasted about 20 minutes. Steve Jones’ guitar, which I think he’d stolen, was amazing. It wasn’t like blues guitar, it was raw and positively clumsy. The Pistols didn’t come across as being fully in charge of what they were doing onstage, but made up for it with that rawness. Pete Shelley was there. He was running up and down collecting tickets. Howard was working the lights. You could count about 15 to 30 people there. Morrissey was there, in a trenchcoat and NHS glasses, with long hair. But now everyone claims they were there, enough to fill Wembley Stadium!

That gig was like discovering somebody else you had something in common with. Finding the Pistols validated what Buzzcocks were doing – sticking two fingers up to everything that was going on. The gig crystallised the early formation of Buzzcocks. If it wasn’t for that gig, I don’t know what the hell I’d have done with myself.


Not even UNCUTs war-weary gig-hounds have been to every great show in history – but you lot probably have.

Email Allan_Jones@ipcmedia.com, or share your memories in the comments box below, of the ones we might have missed, and we’ll publish the best in a future issue!


Latest Issue