The Boomtown Rats : Lookin' After No. 1
On June 16, 1977 Dublin rockers The Boomtown Rats opened for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for five dates on the U.S. band's first U.K. tour. While the Heartbreakers got the majority of press coverage, The Rats were the topic of a series of graffiti statements that insisted "Rats Eat Heartbreakers".
I wouldn't be surprised if Bob Geldorf himself spray painted the lines. His stage patter at the time consisted of Trump like boasts such as "We're gonna be SO big, you won't believe it" and "We're gonna have three number ones before we come back here". (They did hit UK #1 in 1979 with "I Don't Like Mondays").
NME's Chris Salewicz caughter the Rainbow Theater show on June 19.
Tom Petty now must know exactly how Nils Lofgren was feeling when the punk (sic) from the south supported (sic) from Washington all over Europe and the northerner had to pull out every Barnum and Bailey trick in the rock n roll showbiz book to hang on to his credibility.
For this little Tom Petty topping jaunt about the British Isles, you see, the boot has been - 'ow you say? - on ze other foot.
The Boomtown Rats are a Dublin band whose visual points up how almost the only thing that separates Northern soul and Southern Punk images is the width of the trousers, and they have, it is said, been giving Mr Petty certain cause for umbridge in their outing as support band. The stock headliner's prerogatives such as only utterly minimal time permitted for the support band's sound check, have been wielded. This is because, it appears. The Boomtown Rats are a very strong outfit indeed.
Basically, they play amphetamine hard rock with a lot of soul. In the tradition of provincial English bands with a penchant for the blues, they possess a keyboards player who sticks in great rolling Alan Price - in - the - days - of - the - Animals underlays to each number. They have a very light, black sounding rhythm section, plus twin guitarists who inject heavy metaldersity, though not volume, into the proceedings.
They also have a very powerful vocalist with an excellent line in Jaggeres que/Iggy onstage movements. Tom Petty's main problem is that he was/is being billed as a punk, at a time of shifting (or, in fact, already long shifted) definitions. But these days, anyway, not even sociologically backward Yanks can get away with selling themselves as that and try wearing a black velvet suit and a pink satin shirt onstage.