We remember our first concerts. What was yours?

Kenny here, this time to share some stories and pass out some goodies! Everyone remembers the first concert they ever went to. My Uncle Jerry dragged me to a Johnny Cash show when I was 11 and slipped me a few beers in the parking lot. But I’ll save that story for later. The Nickel Slots want to help one more fan make it to see them and a bunch of other great local bands at First Festival on June 18th. In this blog entry, the boys are telling their first concert stories. After you read those, tell ‘em about your own first experience going to a show. On Thursday June 9th, they’ll pick the story they like best and that fan will win a pair of tickets to First Festival!

To enter the contest, comment at the bottom of this page. Or use the hashtag #myfirstconcert to post to their Facebook page or tweet to @thenickelslots.

[update 6/10/2016] We have a winner! Nickel Slots fan Barbara Bludsworth wins tickets to First Fest with this story:

The first concert I remember going to was a concert called ‘snack Sunday’ March 23 1975 it was held at kezar stadium in SF…It was a benefit to save the Bay Area schools sports programs…10 Bay Area bands!! For $5…80 thousand people partied at that show, earth wind and fire, the Doobie Brothers, Jefferson starship, Joan Baez, greatfull dead,Marlon Brando and Willie Mays even made an appearance …..Neil young, the band, Santana…..I can’t remember the rest (it was the 70’s after all ) to top it off we got to spend the night with one of our friends friend who happened to have a 3 story apartment on the corner of Height and Ashberry…it was pretty…..ahhhh…memorable

Now here’s the band’s stories…


Concert photo of AC/DC from 1983My first concert was AC/DC. It was the fall of 1983, and I was 15 years old. Mom and Dad weren’t going to let me find my way from the outer burbs to San Francisco unsupervised (no driver’s license yet), so Dad took me and my friend Alex to the Cow Palace for the show. AC/DC had been my favorite band for a couple of years by that point—they were the band that woke me up to rock n’ roll after a childhood of my parents’ John Denver records and KFRC pop music—and I couldn’t wait to see Angus play all those guitar solos that I knew by heart. Fastway opened the show, and they were useless except for their one radio hit “Say What You Will,” which I liked playing along with on the Peavey bass guitar I’d had for about six months at that point. But thankfully their set was short, and soon after that Hell’s Bells rang out! The floor shook with people stomping their feet. AC/DC played, Angus did his Chuck Berry duck walk across the stage all night, it was the loudest thing I’d ever heard. And it was incredible. I wondered if they would have the cannons I’d heard on the album version of “For Those About to Rock…” And when the moment came, they didn’t disappoint. We got cannons from both sides of the stage with bright flashes that shot pure joy through my teenage body. I wore that “Flick of the Switch Tour” jersey to school just about every week that fall. And then Judas Priest came to town, and it was Alex’s dad’s turn to drive…

Steve and Chris

Billy Idol and Steve Stevens on stage in 1987(written by Steve) The first concert my brother Chris and I ever went to was Billy Idol at Cal Expo here in Sacramento. It was August 11, 1984, I was 15 and Chris was 12 and our dad took us. At the old Cal Expo amphitheater, there really wasn’t a bad seat. With our parents having a band, Chris and I grew up around live music, but this was different. This was someone from MTV, this was our first real concert. It was packed, it was loud, there were a ton of girls there, Eddie and the Tide opened the show and we didn’t care. We were there for Billy Idol and we wanted to hear “Rebel Yell” and “White Wedding”!

My brother and I already had started our first band, called Metal Riot. But once Billy Idol and Steve Stevens took the stage, it made me want to be in a band even more! Seeing that kind of crazy reaction from the audience was like nothing I had experienced before. When they played “Eyes without a Face” I became even more aware of Steve Stevens, at the time I thought his guitar solo on that song was so cool! For Chris and I it was pretty cool at our age to really see and experience a live concert at that level. After that show there wasn’t a rock concert in the Sacramento area that we missed.


Concert photo of the band X from 1981I went to my first concert on October 16, 1981. It was my junior year in high school up in Eureka, California. “Start Me Up” by the Stones was burning up the airwaves. My recent driver’s license was opening social and musical doors. Word spread around my small group of “punk outcasts” that a cool band from LA was going to be playing Mojos. Their name was X. Several of us crammed into the white truck during lunch and listened to a tape of the band. I was hooked immediately by the raw energy and passionate lyrics. Mojos was an old bowling alley converted into a club in downtown Arcata, several blocks from HSU. The band played two shows that night, an early show and a late show. Both shows cost $5…I went to both. The scene was a bunch of people being themselves…slamming, sweating, stage diving, helping keep others off the floor. I was instantly amazed by the acceptance and energy of the crowd and band. This was something very different than what I was used to walking the halls of EHS. I slammed my way up to the front and pinned myself between the stage and the moving crowd. Exene smiled and handed me her half full cup of warm beer. John Doe mesmerized me with his coolness. DJ Bonebreak appeared to be living up to his name by surgically thrashing his kit as focus and sweat flew in all directions. Ticket stub from Tony's X concertIn contrast, guitarist Billy Zoom stood rooted in one spot with his silver leather jacket and signature silver Gretsch guitar, and scanned the sea of bodies with the genuine smile of a happy grandpa watching his grandkids play. The music of X was brutal, beautiful, sweaty, and full of honesty and urgency. It spoke to my core. During the months that followed, Mojos would become the playground of my adolescence, where I would experience the likes of The Dead Kennedys, Rank and File, DOA, The Blasters, Black Flag, Los Lobos and others. I also saw local bands open the shows and thought to myself, “Hey, I’d like to do that!”

Here is a picture and the ticket stub from that first X show. Several years later I wrote a song about nights at Mojos. Check out “The Show” by The Brodys on iTunes.

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