Page last updated at 16:33 GMT, Saturday, 10 July 2010 17:33 UK
Newport tribute gig to TJ's owner John Sicolo
Bands perform in the centre of Newport in honour of TJ's owner John Sicolo
Bands perform in Newport in honour of TJ's owner John Sicolo

Goldie Lookin Chain and the Darling Buds were among the bands which took part in a tribute gig in Newport for music venue owner John Sicolo.

Music fans gathered in John Frost Square for Saturday's festival dedicated to the founder of TJ's, who died in March, aged 66.

Andy Barding, one of the organisers, said they were inundated by bands.

"Everyone wanted to play - the difficulty was choosing which bands would get a slot on stage," he said.

"With the overspill we've got some other gigs happening around the town the night after - a lot of the bands were just desperate to play in tribute to their old friend John."

The Darling Buds - a Newport band who enjoyed pop stardom in the late 1980s and early 1990s - reformed after 17 years for the event.

Other bands playing together for the first time in years included Novocaine, Doctor Bison, Flyscreen, Rollerco, Varispeed and Disco.

Mr Sicolo opened TJ's in 1971, and it developed a reputation as a place for up-and-coming bands to make a name for themselves after it was championed by BBC DJ John Peel.

Oasis, Green Day, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Manic Street Preachers and Primal Scream were among the bands who appeared at TJ's on their rise to stardom.

The late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain is also reputed to have proposed to fellow musician and future wife Courtney Love at the venue in 1991.

Andrea Lewis
Andrea Lewis appears with a reformed Darling Buds after 17 years apart

Mr Barding said the venue's reputation was largely down to Mr Sicolo himself.

"He was a very magnetic character and very well known across the world, especially in America and Canada, for his hospitality," he said.

"Every band that would come in on tour would get a nice meal home cooked by John and most times they'd be staying in his spare room.

"For many bands it would probably be the best meal they'd had in a couple of weeks and the best night's sleep."

The venue has now closed and the premises have been put up for sale.

An exhibition of photos from the venue and signed T-shirts was on display at the side of John Frost Square during the event.

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Archive: John Sicolo shows BBC Wales around Newport rock venue TJ's




SEE ALSO
Venue closes after owner's death
19 Apr 10 |  Music
Tributes to music venue founder
15 Mar 10 |  Wales
Plaque for Clash legend Strummer
22 Jul 05 |  Wales

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