They kept the flag flying for rock music in the late ‘70s and next month they return to one of their old stomping grounds.
The Penthouse Action Committee (PAC) was formed when the owners of the Penthouse nightclub – sited above Castle Market and first opened in 1969 - threatened to dispense with heavy metal nights.
Rock music was having a pretty tortuous existence in the latter half of the 1970s in Sheffield thanks to the rise of punk rock.
Arduous guitar solos, long hair and songs about wizards suddenly became as unfashionable as flared trousers.
Heavy rock had no choice but to go underground and it was down to a close-knit group to fight for its place in the upper echelons of Sheffield nightlife.
The battle was led by one Shirley Freeman. She was chairperson of the PAC scene they so loved.
Former Penthouse DJ and PAC member Larry Massey remembers: “For its time the Penthouse was the only dedicated rock nightclub in the country as far as I can recall having a good mention in the good nightclub guide of the UK. All others followed it. So I would say its legacy is to show that every city needed a rock venue and it showed the popularity of the scene by its very existence.”
But when soul nights started to carry more favour than rock nights the group of regulars decided – in true 1970s style – to make a stand.
Seven of them got together to form PAC to lobby the management. They were so successful they soon got their rock nights re-instated.
They went on to campaign for a better sound system and staged one of the earliest shows by Def Leppard together with other gigs by the likes of Rokka and Virginia Wolf.
PAC – consisting of Shirley Freeman, Mick Cassidy, Jenny Jones, Della Freeston, Jackie Ball, DJ Larry Massey and DJ Bob Maltby – also went on to raise money for charity and staged regular rock nights at Stars on Queens Road after the Penthouse changed direction and turned into Dollars speakeasy.
Their work helped prove the demand for a dedicated rock nightclub which eventually opened as Rebels in the former Penthouse.
By the late ‘80s heavy metal had exploded and the rock club became one of the busiest in the city.
- Now former Penthouse/Stars/Yorkshireman DJ Larry Massey has got together with rocking colleagues to stage ‘Rebels of the Penthouse’ which is promising to play the hardest rocking tunes of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
The event is set to be held at Stars on Queens Road on Saturday, February 26th from 11pm until 3am.
Tickets are £10 and available from https://www.ticketebo.co.uk/penthouse-action-committee/rebels-of-the-penthouse.html
All profits go to Bluebell Wood charity.
* You can read more about the story of PAC in the 'Dirty Stop Out's Guide to Sheffield - Rebels Edition':