There were summer music events in tents in Scotland the 1960s but promoters were weary of health issues because of the lack of cleaning facilities. Alternatively, promoter Albert Bonici rented large halls for popular venues from the Highlands to Aberdeenshire though many talented folk continued to play in the Two Red Shoes, the small ballroom in Elgin which could squeeze in 500 hundred dancers before stricter safety regulations lowered capacity in public venues. In 1970, Bonici purchased The Ballerina Ballroom in Nairn which held 1,200 people which provided a larger venue to host popular bands whilst he continued to sponsor dance events at the Two Red Shoes.
In 1964, as “beat” music was still catching on, several of the “Mersey Beat” and other newly formed Brittish groups were making their way to Scotland after Epstein and Bonici played their part in the finacial success of the Beatles. Brian Epstein’s “golden boy” Tommy Quickly and the Remo Four” didn’t manage to make a major splash like the “fab four” but many careers were being established in Great Britain as they went on to international fame.
That year The Hollies played Elgin Town Hall [July 9] and The Kinks and The Copy Cats who played Town Hall [Oct 20] were a hit with the Scots. 1964 was a great time for music around Moray with local bands, Mersey Side bands, and popular musicians coming up from London. Towards the end of the year,Lulu and The Luvers, The Jacobeats, Leapards, and Brian Epstein’s The Rustics and the The Deacons all appeared at the Two Red Shoes. Meanwhile, Bonici booked the Kinks, The Hollies, Mary Anne Faithful together besides another “pop package” that featured Freddy and The Dreamers, and THE Herman’s Hermits, along with The Rolling Stones on June 17th.
1965 was also a great year for music at the Two Red shoes, with bands including The Moody Blues [Feb 11], Jimmy Nicol [who drummed for the Beatles], The Who, The What, Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames, Brian Poole and The Tremeloes; Swinging Blue Jeans, Julie Grant; The Shades; Jacobites; Vic Roys; The Mighty Avengers; The Searchers [Elgin Town Hall]; Mike Cadillac and the Playboys: Johnny Anger and The Wild Ones; Lulu and The Luvvers [who played Two Red Shoes a few times]: The Puppets; The Animals; and The Silhouttes; The Cresters; The Blue Flames; and Gerry and The Pacemakers [Elgin Town Hall].
Promoter Albert Bonici, who brought much of the beat music to Scotland through the ’60s besides swing jazz, was more than a successful entrepreneur who wasn’t afraid to push boundries. Those who knew him have told me how he listened to and cared about the youth. He loved his work and was not motivated by greed. Here’s early gigs with The Who and The Kinksp>
|6 May 1965||Elgin||Two Red Shoes Ballroom|
|7 THE WHO tour in NE Scotland: May 1965||Kirkcaldy||Raith Ballroom|
|8 May 1965||Strathclyde|