Wheels come off at the roller disco

ROCK outfit 'Albania' were at Flixs Roller Disco - but only 50 people turned up to see the show in July 1981.

The concert, complete with a giant light display, should have been a sell-out but the youngsters, who labelled Lurgan a social wilderness, stayed away in their droves.

The night was a total disappointment for all - apart from the teenagers who did bother to look in and even they were reluctant to dance to Albania's unique sound.

A band like Albania should have pulled in more but the tragedy of it all was that the stay-aways missed a new music experience.

One member of the crowd who was there said: "I enjoyed every minute of it - so too did the meagre crowd - who found it a fresh exhilarating sound."

Lurgan was a social wilderness until Flixs arrived and the introduction of 'Rock Nights' actually signalled the return of live entertainment to the town.

Flixs' resident DJ, Bob Lea, endeavoured to summon up enthusiasm among the town's youngsters and the Albania debacle amounted to a snub.

He said: "I suppose this is Lurgan. It's a strange town, I could have had the Rolling Stones signed up and people would stay away. They would probably say Mick Jagger probably wouldn't turn up."

Flixs was well decorated with paintings of famous rock musicians, had friendly staff and the music and fun flowed easily.

No one knew why the kids were staying away - least of all Bob: "It's not as if our prices are excessive. Most places in England charge 2 admission, we only charge 1.

"Through the week we only charge 50p for afternoon skating sessions, though at weekends we have to make it 1. Spectators never pay more than 50p."

Before Flixs came to Lurgan, the teenagers were complaining of nothing to do. When it came they heralded it as just what they needed. But now despite a series of high-profile bands appearing on the 'Rock Nights' they were discontented again.

When the band arrived in Lurgan they reckoned they were in for a tremendous gig - the scenery impressed and so too did the layout.

Manager Ross Graham said: "The band is called Albania, because that country is a mystery.

"We have a reputation as something of a mystery outfit - particularly in London where we appear - do a few gigs and then disappear for a few months."

The concert could hardly have made Albania a household name, but the band could have expected a better turn-out.

Lead singer, Kenny 'KY' McKay reluctantly admitted that he too was disappointed : "We have been a bit disappointed. We have come up against apathy, although Downtown has been giving us a lot of air-time."

Their record was good and, on the strength of it, Albania were set for big things - whether or not the kids of Lurgan agreed.