I came so close to using this piece of writing as my Adver article this week but then thought that moaning on such a public platform wasn’t the best course of action and so decided to place it here. It is just some thoughts conjured by the recent turn outs at gigs that I have been involved with, it is nothing you haven’t heard from me before so feel free to switch off at this point. If you are still with me at the end of the article hopefully it will stimulate some sort of debate.
It’s tough trying to get people to turn out for original music these days, money is tight, gigs are often on week days, there is a lot of competition from cover bands and tributes, nostalgia seems to be big business these days, the amount of coverage on TV, free streams and downloads and I even think that live performance isn’t as important to a lot of emerging artists as they can find an internet audience without the effort of lugging gear around and trying to get venue bookings. I certainly don’t think that live music is as important to the younger audience who seem more preoccupied with taking “selfies” just to prove how cool they are with the band in question being a secondary factor.
The times they are a changing, to quote the mighty Zim! Anyone working in and around original music has to be forward looking and so moving with the times is to be expected. The clever ones will catch the wave and become part of the next trend, those slower off the mark will move into other areas. I’m aware that times change and so they should.
This rant is more aimed at those who constantly profess to be supporters of live music but who do nothing to support it. The ones who actually turn out to gigs know who they are and they have my thanks, often personally given at the bar of said gig but my thinking is that if those who profess to support live music and particularly the original music scene (and lets face it without the original scene what are those cover bands going to be playing in twenty years time) actually went to a gig as often as they moaned about the death of live music, then I wouldn’t feel the need to write this.
So this is aimed at all those people who:
Post banners about how Simon Cowell is killing live music but still watch his shows.
Tell me that music isn’t as good as it was back in their day.
Play in bands but don’t go to watch other bands.
Go to gigs to watch their friends in the support act and then don’t stick around for the out of town main act.
Only go to one venue because it is what they have always done.
Don’t buy the CD at the gig because it is £3 and that is almost a pint (or at least the same amount of premium German lager you have spilt on your shoes tonight)
Will “catch them next time” – there may not be a next time as the band have split up due to constantly being broke or at the very least are now churning out Kings of Leon covers for cash.
Say it’s too expensive to watch a band when the gig is free and within walking distance (I mean how drunk do you need to get on a Thursday night?)
In short all those people who will bemoan the loss of live original music but never did anything to support it. It the last year we have lost The 12 Bar, The Furnace and The Running Horse Acoustic Sessions, more and more pubs are opting for food over music, The MECA never really got it’s act together, The Bowl is very hit and miss in it’s bookings, The Big Arts Day was cancelled…and I’m sure there is more to come. For my own part, Green Man Music will promoting only half as many gigs next year as it did this year and even the future of those is not on the most solid ground.
So what do you want to do about it?