I often find myself in conversations with fellow promoters and venues about how to get more people to come to watch live music. It’s the heart of the whole matter really and the answer is an elusive Holy Grail, the alchemical quest for turning lead into stone. I mean, if I knew that I would be a very rich man. But whilst we all search around for that missing ingredient that makes our gigs more successful, I’ve noticed that many venues don’t even bother with the most basic of promotion. It’s quite simple really. Tell people about your gig. How hard is that?
After a morning of trawling through websites, gig lists and band profiles, I have come across about as many “bands TBC” listings as I have any real information. Would you throw a birthday party and just hope that people find out about it, or would you send invites, post notifications on social media and tell your friends. If you have trusted your PR to Music for Telepaths or Stab in The Dark Promotions then maybe you need to get a bit more proactive. After all, if I can’t find out what’s going on, and I write a column dedicated to such things, how can you expect the man in the street to find your gig.
Of the ones I did manage to track down Thursday delivers some real corkers. The Beehive has its monthly Acoustic Buzz show, Tim Manning’s wonderful showcase of music from the more rootsy side of the road, headed up by the bucolic country and back-woods sound of Mulholland then D. R. Roberts more driven mix of Americana meets classic British song writing and an opening set from the your host under his nome de plume Blind River Scare.
With Songs of Praise recently stripping back to fewer shows but more dedicated to what has always lain at their heart, they have been offering some wonderfully intimate, chilled shows at Baila Coffee and Vinyl. The first of two shows this weekend juggles with some wonderfully ethereal acts. Both Dreuw and Luke De-Sciscio deal with chilled atmospheres and dreamscape vocals, whilst opening trio TriAmi expertly blend hushed folktronica with lush and textured harmonies.
Friday sees one of The Victoria’s regular bookings return to the venue. Everyone loves a bit of old school rock, right? Well, Stop Stop (pictured) just oozes rock and roll. Having wandered the world delivering righteous glam rock and blistering hair metal to the masses, they now bring all that glitz and glamour you thought had been destroyed by grunge and Britpop to town. Think Hanoi Rocks, think L.A Guns, think Bang Tango (remember them?) Actually think what you like…they probably don’t care.
And talking of things retro, if you want to be taken back even further, Rockabilly Rumble at The Rolleston (hmm, nice alliteration) will provide a sound track to get you jumping, jiving, bopping and boogieing playing all the classics from the genre in their own inimitable style.
The golden age of punk and new wave is celebrated on Saturday. Firstly you can catch Absolute Blondie represent the New York new wave scene with a show at Level 3 that is as much about catching the authenticity of the sound of the band as it is about Debbie Harry’s iconic look. At The Locomotive, One Chord Wonders pretty much cover everything else. Punk from both sides of the Atlantic played with an intensity and passion that you rarely find.
More R’n’B driven but no less raucous is Hamsters From Hell who will be bringing their chaos and cursing to The Rolleston.
The second show of the weekend at Baila Coffee and Vinyl can be found on Sunday afternoon and features the upbeat sound of Lewis Clark and his brilliant folk, blues and gypsy jazz vibes. Also on the bill is the perky, pixie pop-folk of Tamsin Quin.
At The Castle you can catch Son of David, the brilliantly dexterous acoustica and fantastically blended harmonies of the Hawkins brothers who musically put most cover duo’s to shame.
And finally you can catch one half of that duo playing at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday supporting Adam Scott Glasspool. Those who caught Adam last time around will be aware of his beguiling sound and wonderful soundscapes which run between the delicate and the devastating via an acoustic guitar and some clever looping technology.