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Friday, 3 May 2013

The live music conundrum

Things have been going very well on the promotion front for a while now.
There has been five shows in a row that sold out and I am very proud of that.
Currently higher profile bands are frequently getting in touch about future shows instead of me chasing them up, interesting opportunities are being offered on a daily basis from a few venues and others, and probably best of all has been the word of mouth praise that has been showered on me.
The appreciation of my efforts from all the acts who have played, those who have attended, and those who I would describe as ethical individuals who are the oil that keeps the music machine running smoothly has been reluctantly welcomed on my part.
Reluctantly because I just feel that while I am playing a role in bringing the music to people I am still but one link in a chain made up of many.
After all it is the bands/artists who really do all the work on the night.
And on the flip side welcomed as it's from my peers.

Anyway, I guess I just want to say thank you to everyone, but I also want to touch on The Strawberry Blondes show that took place a few nights ago.

This was the first in a while that didn't sell out.
I'm a realistic sort and fully expected that a show was looming that wouldn't, and I was/am completely one hundred percent fine with it.
I was wanting to look at why that was though.

To get it out of the way I should stress that a lower than expected turn out had nothing to do with any of the acts who played.
Without exception I would recommend them all.
Not just for being very good at what they do, but because of their professional attitudes towards playing.
Each of them could have business cards printed that say 'We are shit hot, and we don't do hassle'.
In fact I would comfortably go as far as to say that The Brothel Corpse Trio, The Media Whores, The Red Eyes and Billy Liar are all acts that could very easily headline a show on their own merits.
While the Strawberry Blondes credentials as a vibrant live act can easily be backed up just by highlighting that they have been invited to join the Vans Warped tour of the US.
No small potatoes for a punk rock act from deepest darkest Wales.

So here's some obvious reasons as to why the gig wasn't as successful as it should have been..

One is that the gig was on a Wednesday night.

It's not anywhere close to being ideal when you are looking to get people to come out and sample live music.
Plenty of us all have responsibilities during the week that need to be considered.
There's work in the morning, getting kids to school, covering the night for childcare if required, and that just three things for the older music fan to think about.
I guess what I am saying is that I appreciate that it isn't easy.
Still, there is a part of me that thinks I wonder how many people were watching the television and hadn't bothered because..........well they couldn't be bothered.
These people are fully entitled to do that and I'm certainly not having a solid dig at them.
Freedom of choice to do whatever you please is something I actively advocate, but I was talking to Mickie Stabbs of the Strawberry Blondes about the amount of venues on the gig circuit that are closing, and really the only thing that can be said is that if you don't use them then you lose them.
So next time a band is playing that you fancy maybe some, and obviously not all, should think about reasons why they should go and not why they shouldn't.
It's just a tiny shift in perception, but it could make a huge difference.

Another things is cash, the filthy lucre.

There's not a lot of it going about.
I get that.
I really do.
I don't have financial backers or a trust fund to dip into.
No one is bank rolling the gigs I put on and money is tight.
Then again there is that shift in perception again.
I have literally had people at the door of a gig asking what the £5 entry fee is for.
Once you tell them it's to cover paying the acts and venue hire etc they roll their eyes and look at each other as they telepathically agree with each other that they are getting ripped off.
Even though they aren't.
These are the same people who wont question the costs of a continental beer in a city bar.
It's as if there's a logic fail going on and they can't pair the cost with putting a show on with how much it is worth paying to be entertained.
£4.50 for a pint that can be sunk in 20 minutes of sipping on it.
No bother.
£5.00 for four bands entertaining you for a three hours or more.
Not so sure about that eh?
They are happy to pay for any service or goods that is going, but can't wrap their heads around why they should be pay to be entertained by a live band on a club level.
That needs to be addressed and I'm certainly not the first to mention it and I doubt I'll be the last.

Then there's how some view live entertainment.

Quite literally, and more than once, people have said to me 'I only go and see famous people'.
It's a breathtakingly absurd assertion.
Unless people invest their time in going to see bands then they limit the opportunity for them to break through.
The x-factor, and talent shows that peddle the same thing, have skewered peoples views on how to become more successful in the field of entertainment.
Very few people just appear over night and then a week plater play a stadium.
In the main it is a hard slog of club after club, and very often rejection after rejection, as they chip away at the apathy until they finally hit a tipping point and recognition for their artistic worth becomes forthcoming.
This is the norm.
The reality for the vast majority of musicians.
It actually boggles my mind why there is a solid grouping of our society who are happy to wait to see what is being offered.
It's akin to going to a restaurant and asking the waiter to decide for you what you should eat.
So if you do like music, and I assume that as you are reading this that you do, then on an evening when you are at a loose end have a look at what is on out there.
Once something catches your eye have a listen to the band as there's genuinely plenty of options to do so from links on facebook to youtube footage and once you are comfortable with a band you have heard then take the plunge.
This is where I could put up one of those memes from facebook, but I'll resist.

I am saying none of this for people to be swayed towards the shows that I put on, but shows in general.
Get out there and enjoy them.
They are about the cheapest form of entertainment going, and for every act that doesn't impress I bet you will see one that does.

To press the point that I know people can't go to everything, I'll unhappily admit that I missed a gig last night, and it will probably be the same tonight
The fantastic Primevals are playing for just £6 in the 13th Note with a support bill to kill for and right at this very second I am already regretting that I wont see The Creeping Ivies.

Anyway, we can't go to everything, but maybe sometimes we can make a little more effort.

There's some poster art over their on the right for some gigs I'm putting on.
Have a listen and come along, and as mentioned if none of those pique your interest then keep looking and go and see someone.
There's amazing acts playing every single night.
I sincerely have no doubt of that.
Go on and enjoy them.   

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