An article written by Arthur Fullers from NME, October 27, 1979
Photo: Alain De La Mata
Police Jam With Pretenders
Fighting erupted at London's Nashville last Friday at the climax of The Angelic Upstarts tour, resulting in
15 people being charged with offenses ranging from being drunk and disorderly to threatening behavior.
The Upstarts hadn't even arrived when the brawling, which started over a game of pool, began. They arrived just
before they were due to go on stage and were surprised to find the place closed.
Three of the fifteen people arrested were still in the hospital on Monday, their conditions not said to be serious.
A policeman who was on the scene at the start of the trouble had a bottle pushed in his face, but the bottle didn't
The following night a Pretenders gig at the same venue was halted by a large number of police.
No reason can be ascertained for this turn-out but reports indicate it served to liven up the evening.
The Pretenders were playing a warm up gig under the name of Martin Chambers' Big Stick when they were stopped just
after 11 o'clock, despite the Nashville having a license extension till midnight at the weekends. People's afes
were checked and slips of paper were handed out that had to be signed and handed in on leaving. Pretenders' manager
Dave Hill was watching from the winds and wasn't given any reason for this action.
"I only hope they all paid to get in," he shrugged.
The management of the Nashville declined to comment about the reason for the police presence on Saturday, and were
also surprised that there should have been trouble on the Friday as the Upstarts pervious gigs had gone off peacably.
The Nashville management also declined to say whether this incident, which may well have promted the visit the
following night, might possibly jeopardize their mushc license.
When it was pointed out that the NME would be sympathetic to their case, they replied: "We need more that
As it seems they do, for magistrate Mr. Eric Crowther who on Saturday dealt with many people arrested the previous
day later called for an explanation from the Nashville management.
"This is intolerable," he said. "I am not happy with having a large pt of my list taken up with
the activities of one pub. I propose to make a report to the licensing justices recommending that the license be
withdrawn because of the great deal of underage drinking that goes on there."
Chief Ispector AJ Burns-Howell added that following the police visit on Saturday proceddings against the parent
company were also being considerr.
The future of what has long been one of London's premier small venues hangs uneasily in the balance.