Midnight Circus

Midnight Circus
Became the Flys (See the Flys entry)
Neil O'Connor - Guitar, Vocal 
Dave Freeman - Guitar 
Joe Hughes - Bass 
Paul Angelopoulis - Drums replaced by 
Pete King - Drums
Played at the carnival in the memorial park in 1976 (see the photos). Neil O'Connor (brother of Hazel) was the lead singer. Their image was slightly hippy. The next year they played the memorial park again as the Flys. 

Early gigs were at the HOBO WORKSHOP - Holyhead Rd, Coventry in Monday July 22nd & 14th October 1974 - 

Memories from Neil O'Connor (Via Rex Brough)

"...Paul Angelopoulis was from Florida. With us he was a really great guy but unfortunately he could get a little too wild for some others. He had a bit of a drug problem, not that we were or still are angels in that respect, unfortunately for Paul it led to his untimely death at the age of 24 from a barbituate overdose. By the time of his death he had been out of the band for at least 6 months, we'd had to ask him to leave as he had started to become unreliable and less than concentrated in his playing though we remained friends, it was a very tragic conclusion to anybodys life."

"...there were a number of things that spurred us into changing and seeing The Clash playing in Birmingham was indeed one of these turning points. One of the other main reasons was a friendship that we developed with a young punk kid (at the time) called Adrian who just
         happened to hear us rehearsing in a pub back room and regularly sat in with us. He would bring some of his records and notably the first Damned album and the first Buzzcocks EP stand out in my mind as being influential in our change from "Midnight Circus" to "the Flys". Eventually Adrian introduced us to Pete Shelley (they were friends) from the Buzzcocks, we opened for them in Coventry and ended up opening on most of their Midlands shows. This was a big turning point for us as it cemented our deal with EMI which had been in negotiation for a couple of weeks. As soon as the record company saw us opening for one of the names (at that time) they put their offer to us on the table. Ah the myriad connections in life."
Memories from Trev Teasdel

The Hobo Workshop Band Schedule here shows a second gig for Midnight Circus on 14th October 1974. I was introduced to the band led by Neil O'Connor by Phil Knapper, a musician friend and older brother of Stu Knapper who later formed the punk band Riot Act. Phil and I were good friends and often played music together. Phil knew Neil O' Connor from the very early 70's when he went on a jaunt through Finland with Wandering John lead singer - John Gravenor, Alex Murphy (their roadie) and Neil.
Midnight Circus first played for the Hobo Workshop in July 1974 - shortly after it was set up by myself and the other co-editors of Hobo magazine, with support from Bob Rhodes of Coventry Voluntary Council Service Council. Downstairs in the cellar of the Holyhead Youth Centre, a then unknown Charley Anderson (later of the Selecter) was a youth leader and leading a great set of reggae musicians whom we tried to involve in the Hobo Workshop (upstairs in the Theatre). For the first session, I invited Neol Davies to organise a jam session, similar to the one he'd organised for the Coventry Arts Umbrella in 1970, for the Hobo Workshop. Charley said the musicians were a bit shy to get involved at that time so Neol Davies went down and jammed with them in the cellar. Although no one would know it at the time, some of the roots of what would become Two Tone were taking place at the Holyhead Youth Centre. A number of early bands emerged from those sessions with Charley and Neol - notably Chapter 5 and Hard Top 22 over the next four years and eventually, through various formations, led to the classic Two Tone line ups. Above in the Hobo Workshop, Jazz rock bands like Trigon and Analog would later merge, through a number of transitions, to another Two Tone band - The Reluctant Stereotypes and later King. A young Dave Pepper (later to form The X Certs,) had his first gig with the band Phoenix. Later, in early 1975, when the Hobo Workshop moved to upstairs at the Golden Cross - Horace Panter's Jazz funk band - which I knew as Rickie's Band - played for us - one of Horace's first gigs. (Horace on bass / Andy Cairns - Lead guitar / Rickie - acoustic and Vocals) - and that's just some of the story!

So Midnight Circus were clearly part of a new seed bed of young unknown musicians who were later to put the Coventry Music Scene on the map some 5 years down the road c 1979 / 80. It has to be remembered that c 1974 / 5 it was very hard for new bands and musicians to get started - the music scene had taken a dip and the Hobo Workshop was one of the few places to get started and so was quite important and rare at the time. After Punk the scene changed dramatically and new venues opened and new bands formed. Indeed, Phil Knapper and I next saw Neil O'Connor on a bus at Warwick University c 1979, after the Warwick University Rock Band Final which launched Stu Knapper's Riot Act. Neil had played with the Flys (as Midnight Circus were now called) and told us that they were to appear on Old Grey Whistle Test with a new single - Molotov Cocktail. More info on the Flys under that heading. The Flys success may have been short lived owing to various circumstances but Neil's Sister - Hazel O'Connor would be soon to make a break through with Breaking Glass and Neil would become part of her Megahype band. Neil O Connor is still making great music over in Canada with plenty of track on You Tube and My Space."


YouTube Video

And Neil and Hazel O'Connor's version of Molotov Cocktail

YouTube Video