Because we all have to start somehwere
Andrew Trendell

13:32 6th November 2014

6 November: On this day in 1975, The Sex Pistols played their first ever gig in a fairly humble setting. It was a small London club affair, little did they know of the seismic impact they would have - inspiring a generation of artists and changing the shape of music for decades to come. 

It just goes to show that the mightiest oak grows from the tiniest acorn. It's an incredible journey to behold, and they all have to start somewhere. That's why we've taken a look back to discover where some of the biggest bands of all time started out. 

Here are the first gigs of 15 of rock's biggest names, featuring Muse, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys and many more. 

  • Arctic Monkeys: The Grapes, Sheffield - 2003: On June 13, 2003, Arctic Monkeys played their first ever gig to a handful of onlookers at a local Sheffield pub. They earned just 27 quid between them. Frontman Alex Turner, who had previously been too shy to sing, rattled out tunes like 'Ravey Ravey Ravey Club' and 'Curtains Closed' and a White Stripes cover or two. What followed was a meteoric rise to stardom driven by hard-hitting, relatable lyrics, the fact that in Matt Helders the band had unearthed one of the greatest ever drummers, and of course, by Turner's decision to sing in his own Yorkshire brogue.

  • Muse: Broadmeadow Sports Centre, Teignmouth - 1994: In February 1994 Muse - then called Rocket Baby Dolls took to the stage for the first time to compete in a battle of the bands competition. Taking part without much hope of winning, frontman Matt Bellamy himself claimed that at the time the band couldn't play music properly and that they weren't taking it seriously. The band, of course, took home the crown. Playing a rendition of Nirvana's 'Tourette', among other songs in their set, the band were energetic and confident, with Bellamy even being pulled off stage plastered in make-up at one point for smashing some equipment.

  • Queens of the Stone Age: O.K. Hotel, Seattle - 1997: In the US state of Washington, in 1997, a little known band called Queens of the Stone Age took to the stage. Playing 7 songs, the set list consisted of the first and only performance of Wellwater Conspiracy's 'Teen Lambchop' and the first performances of 'These Aren't the Droids You're Looking For', 'The Bronze', 'How to Handle a Rope', 'Walkin on the Sidewalks', 'Avon' and 'Mexicola' - just imagine how good that must have been. Their next big gig is headlining Reading and Leeds festival.

  • Oasis: Boardwalk Club, Manchester - 1991: Interestingly, Oasis formed from the ashes of a band called, The Rain - a band that amazingly featured neither Gallagher brother. Comprised of Paul McGuigan, Warren Mackenzie, Paul Arthurs and Tony McCarroll and Chris Hutton, the band changed its name after singer Hutton was thrown out in place of Liam Gallagher. Playing the first gig without Noel Gallagher, the band would later recruit the poet then dressed in the clothing of an Inspiral Carpets roadie, to join the band and, well, help it become one of the biggest to ever come out of England.

  • The Strokes: Spiral Lounge, New York - 1999: After handing out a few flyers, The Strokes took to the stage in New York's Spiral Lounge to play for a small group of people - predominately family and friends. At the time Julian Casablancas. the man who would become one of the most iconic frontmen in music, worked as a barman, and Albert Hammond Jr, one of the greatest Strat players since Hendrix, worked in a record shop. As expected, success came quickly, and it wasn't long before the band had a regular spot at Mercury Lounge.

  • Blur: East Anglican Railway Museum, Essex - 1989: Once upon a time in 1989 in a sleepy part of Essex, an unknown band took to the stage at one of the strangest venues imaginable - a railway museum. That band was of course Blur, who would become one of Brit Pop%u2019s biggest acts of all time. Not much is known about the original gig, but in 2009 the band paid homage to their humble begins by playing a 20 year anniversary show at the venue, inviting along the fans that were present first time round.

  • The Stone Roses: Moonlight Club, London - 1984: On October 23, 1984 The Stone Roses took to the stage for the very first time as a support act for Who legend, Pete Townshend at an anti-heroin concert. Townshend, who gave the band the nod after receiving a demo and cheeky accompanying letter from King Monkey himself, helped unearth a band that would become, undoubtedly, one of Britain%u2019s greatest.

  • The Libertines: The Delaney Mansions, London - 1997: Pioneers of the 'guerilla gig', The Libertines staged their first live performance in the tiny flat Pete Doherty and Carl Barat rented together on Camden Road. Playing to friends, and let's face it, probably to anyone who stumbled in from off the street, The Libertines went from one cheeky fresh-faced youngster who famously claimed to, "subscribe to the Umberto Eco view" and his very cool friend, to one of the biggest cult bands in English history.

  • The Black Keys: Beachland Tavern, Cleveland - 2002: Playing in front of a massive 8 people, The Black Keys kicked off their musical careers in Cleveland, USA. Drawing influences from, among others, Junior Kimbrough, Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson the two-piece went from strength to strength with relatively little media exposure.

  • Foals: Madame JoJo's, London - 2005: An amalgamation of many different bands juggling university life at the time, Jack Bevan, Lina Simon and Yannick Philippakis were in a group called The Edmund Fitzgerald, Jimmy Smith and Walter Gervers were in a band called Face Meets Grill and past member Andrew Mears was the frontman of a group called Youngmovies. Coming together as Foals, the band's first gig was supporting Leicester's Tired Ire. After that, as they say, the rest is history.

  • The White Stripes: Gold Dollar, Detroit - 1997: On August 14, 1997, The White Stripes opened for Rocket 455 and '68 Comeback and were deemed by all in attendance as an immediate success. Their sound was described as being extremely developed and their general performance and demeanour, remarkably professional. Covering 'TV Eye' by The Stooges, the band also performed 'Screwdriver' and 'Lafayette Blues' for the very first time.

  • Nirvana: 17 Nussbaum Road, Washington - 1987: One of the biggest and most important bands to ever grace the planet, Nirvana played their first live show at a house party - talk about humble beginnings. Jamming along to Led Zeppelin songs 'Heartbreaker' and 'How Many More Times'. Aaron Burckhard featured on the drums and Tony Pukkula, whose house they were in, played guitar.

  • Depeche Mode: James Hornsby School, Basildon - 1980: Depeche Mode played their first gig at the school attended by Andy Fletcher and Martin Gore - today commemorated with a plaque. A collection of talented individuals who had previously tried their hands with different bands, it wasn't long after the group's first performance that they found commercial success.

  • The Killers: Cafe Espresso Roma, Las Vegas - 2002: Kicking off their musical careers in none other than Las Vegas, Brandon Flowers and Dave Keuning played in The Killers' first live performance at an open mic night. Gigging with past members Dell Neal and Matt Norcross after breaking the ice, the band, who continually handed out flyers, rose to fame to become the huge success they are today.

  • Sex Pistols: St Martin's School Of Art, London - 1975: Johnny Rotten and co opened for Bazooka Joe at St. Martin's School of Art on 6 November, 1975. Bazooka Joe's lead singer is Stuart Goddard, who is so inspired by the set that he drops out of art school and takes the name Adam Ant.

  • Guns N' Roses: The Troubador, Los Angeles - 1985: Guns N' Roses' first ever show together unfortunately became a pretty bad omen, the band immediately heading out on a west coast tour that became doomed. After their car broke down, they hitchhiked for 40 hours, only to discover they were getting payed a fifth of what they were expecting for a show. The rest of the tour was cancelled and nobody ever heard from them again...cough

  • The Doors: Hughes Aircraft, Los Angeles: Robby Krieger spoke excitedly about how the band managed to make it through their first ever live performance. “The first gig we ever played was at Hughes Aircraft where Ray’s mom worked…a Christmas party or something. We had to play Jazz standards and stuff like that..Jim had..we had never done a gig before and somehow we got through the gig. It was fun!”

  • Motley Crue: The Starwood, West Hollywood, 24 April 1981 - it was the crowd that create the band's demise that night. Vince Neil remembered the gig in the band's notorious autobiography, 'The Dirt.' "People were yelling 'f--- you!' and flipping us the bird. Then one meathead, in a black AC/DC shirt, hocked a loogey that landed on my white leather pants. Without even thinking, I leapt off the stage mid-phrase, put him in a headlock and started pummeling him. I looked back, and Nikki [Sixx] had his [bass] over his head ... and cracked it over some guy's shoulder blade. If there was a bell on the guy's head, it would have gone through the roof."

  • Def Leppard: Battle of The Bands, Sheffield, 8 July, 1978 - The late Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark learned a crucial lesson about the importance of a proper soundcheck that night. After forgetting to take his amp off standby, Clark accidentally began musical proceedings with a riff of absolutely nothing. Joe Elliot recalled, "He did his windmill arm motion, just like Pete Townshend, for the big opening chord and nothing happened. No power. Everybody in the audience was laughing."

  • The Velvet Underground: Summit, New Jersey, 11 December 1965 - It was at their local high school in suburban New Jersey that Lou Reed and co debuted their experimental, very out there concoction of rock n' roll. A mini-documentary from the AV Club explains how the band managed to drive away about half of the crowd with a set that only lasted three songs. Impressive work, guys.

  • Biffy Clyro: Key Youth Centre, East Kilbride, 31 january 1995 - Playing under the name Skrewfish after joining forces in Kilmarnock at school, the scottish rockers sealed their first gig supporting a band called Pink Kross. I wonder what the ol' Pink Krossers are up to these days...

  • The Smiths: Hacienda, Manchester, 4 February 1983 - This night marked the band's first show with a full line=up. Mike Joyce told The Guardian about the historic night back: "Morrissey had started yodelling by then, and he'd get down on his shoulders and put his legs straight into the air... None of this was rehearsed. I remember watching the faces of the people at the front. It was just shock."

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Photo: WENN/Splash/Press