Spandex, Synths & Stadium Rock – Exhibition – Brentford

June 3rd – August 28th – The Musical Museum, Brentford.

Keith Richards @ Wembley Stadium 25th June 1982 – Tattoo You tour of The Rolling Stones. (Digital Artwork by Stella/Photography Sol)

The 60’s and 70’s cemented London’s international contribution to Rock & Pop thanks to the success of the Beatles, The Stones and many more groups who were reaching out to millions worldwide. This led to the development of a flourishing UK music industry hub in Central & West London, powered by companies such as EMI, BBC Radio & TV together with large numbers of theatres and venues where bands could perform and be seen.  

London was home to a cluster of record company headquarters, recording studios, advertising agencies and fostered iconic Independent labels such as Island Records, Stiff Records, Virgin & Beggars Banquet (many with firm roots in West London)

A pool of musicians and technicians were established & primed to embrace The Blues, soul, blue-beat, reggae and pushed forward genres such as blues-rock, pop, ska & punk.

By the end of the 70’s the city’s musical ecosystem was able to identify, nurture and promote new artists thanks to the trailblazing bands that had changed the music industry.  

Just as the synthesiser became the cornerstone of most 80’s bands, audiences were adopting widespread technological developments such as the Walkman, VHS, MTV and the Compact Disc. This digital trend was accelerated thanks to synth based, landmark recordings, namely ‘Tubular Bells’- Mike Oldfield and ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ – Gary Numan.

The exhibition ‘SPANDEX, SYNTHS & STADIUM ROCK’ compiled by Sol & Stella at the Musical Museum, Brentford brings together many artists and scenes, captured by Sol at large London venues, and reinterpreted in digital painting. This includes, the legendary Live Aid gig at Wembley on the 12th July 1985 often seen as a key moment in Rock ‘n’ Roll and 20th century culture, with many UK musicians on stage in either London or Philadelphia as millions around the world watched via live TV.

Meanwhile, back in Brentford, the King of Skiffle, Lonnie Donegan may have been sitting watching from afar in his home, knowing that most of the British guitarists participating would credit him and his ‘trad jazz’ contemporaries for getting them started on guitar.

So, Brentford, West London is an ideal location to head for this unique set of 80’s images, hosted in a facility, that should be on any synthesiser fan’s itinerary of London.