There are many things I love about running the Songs of Praise nights at The Victoria and high on that list is the networking that takes place. Before you cry in horror that the word “networking” is the thin end of the wedge of managerial gobbledigook and on short step away from one on one interfacing and running things up the flag pole to see which way they fly, I assure you that we won’t be heading off into the language of middle management morons.
Amongst the people who regularly attend our shows are sound engineers who are musicians, musicians who are promoters, promoters who are music writers, music writers who are band managers plus studio types, journos and every conceivable combination in between. As we have a tendancy to have at least one out of town band on each bill this leads to a nice little networking system. Most shows we are throwing together local and non-local bands, often filming, interviewing, photographing and reviewing them and sticking them all in a room where they are surrounded by a great collection of musical human resourses (sorry, more management speak!)
A few gentle nudges and introductions have led to bands who have played our nights getting gigs in places such as the famous Hobbit in Southampton, The Swan in Wantage, The Frog and Fiddle in Cheltenham, The Railway in Winchester and a host of great regional venues. And this situation is a two way street and has enabled us to bring in bands from all over the country, we even have a band from Newcastle coming down shortly and a guitarist from Berlin. (no, not Millin!)
Isn’t this what gigs should be about, not just great shows for the punters but a hotbed of contacts and connections that help further a bands cause. The correct answer is – yes. Not only the correct answer but the very essence of what Songs of Praise is all about.