Local Live Music
Is Local Music Dying or Being Killed Off?
Let me explain my thinking. I feel that local live music is in a bad state, and that it's being killed off. Why not dying? Because if local music was dying, that would mean it wasn't being supported by local venues and being given a platform to showcase talent. This is not the case.
What I am saying is that local music is being killed off by far too many really awful "bands" and "musicians" playing rubbish "gigs". This has resulted in apathy towards attending gigs, because people expect the quality of performance to be poor. I have become one of these people, and I have missed a good night out listening to a quality band playing live.
Nothing beats the vibe and energy of seeing a group of musicians at the top of their game delivering a high class performance. It's exciting knowing that you are part of something special, that's happening there and now, and is a unique moment that you will remember for a long time to come. Where have these days gone?
The biggest threat facing local music scenes is that there are very few bands that are any good at all. It amazes me how many absolutely rubbish bands actually get up and perform when they know that they are no good. It seems any idiot with a guitar is now classed as a "musician" when they are actually just someone who can "play a guitar". Ordinary "musicians" with bad singers means a low quality performance, and this is contributing to driving audiences away as people look to spend their money on better entertainment.
Too many bands I have seen in the past few years are playing to satisfy their own egos and in the hope of being seen as "cool". These bands don't work hard at their craft, and don't consider their audiences. They surround themselves with friends and family who keep telling them how brilliant they are when they are trash. They never improve, and continue to pound out boring, badly executed sets that make you want to chuck a cup of salt in your beer so that you can vomit all over them.
Only a handful of bands that I've seen in the past few years actually looked as if they knew what they were doing. Accomplished musicians with great singers who were tuned into their audiences. Great sets delivered with passion and energy, played with real love for what they were doing. Where has this quality of performance disappeared to? Why are there so few good bands out there?
Venues are to blame as far as I'm concerned. They book any rubbish to fill their live music slots with little regard for the quality they are booking. How on earth can they justify paying these rubbish acts? I asked a pub landlord how he went about finding bands to play at his establishment, and he said he simply searched an artist listing website and then picked from there. To try and be safe, he would look at mainly booking tribute acts because at least they would play songs as advertised, even if they played badly. Go figure!
The landlord also never actually auditioned a band before booking them, so any new act would be coming along blind in the hope that they "would be okay". If they were really bad, then they simply wouldn't be booked again, so at least he would be able to figure out a steady list of "okay" bands to book. When asked about his expectations, he said he didn't set the bar high because if he did there would be very few bands available to book. This meant he was willing to put up with a majority of ordinary bands in the hope that he got two or three really top notch gigs on his calendar every year. Unbelievable.
So what is killing local music? You guessed it - MEDIOCRITY! It seems that we are creating a culture of acceptance of mediocrity, especially in music. Awful "shows" like X-factor doesn't help, and people who should never be allowed anywhere near a sound stage seem to think they are rock gods. I simply can't believe how people applaud bad performances when they should be booing the perpetrators off the stage.
Audiences need to demand more from musicians who think they are good enough to perform, and let them know if their performances have been rubbish. We have a right to expect more, and we should not have to endure bands that make our ears bleed and force us to choke on our beer. Bands need to take a hard look at themselves, and honestly assess if they are prepared enough to play live. They need to work harder on their craft, and they need to be doing it because they actually love it, not because they want to be cool.
Time To Go And See A Gig
I was out with some friends last night, and we got into a pretty hectic discussion about local live music. I've already made my point on this issue in a previous post, and I still believe that there are very few good bands around, and those that are will probably only be found in the big cities.
Whilst we were debating away, we were approached by a bloke who said he was very interested in what he heard from our table, and he had a contribution to make. He told us about this "exceptional" band from the Aylesbury area (not too far away from us), and said that we needed to go and hear them play this Saturday at a venue called Shoot Pool, the hottest music place in Aylesbury and probably Buckinghamshire. The band? The Callow Saints I believe, interesting name.
Tonight my other half and I will be heading off to Aylesbury to go and see this band play, and if the recommendation is anything to go by, they sound fantastic. Here's hoping they are just that, because I desperately need a live music fix and to get my belief back in local music. I really need to stop being so cynical!!
This from The Callow Saints web site:
Callow Saints is an exciting 4-piece indie/rock originals band, comprising of catchy lyrics, beautifully powerful female vocals, thrilling guitar, pumping basslines and a drummer. You’re guaranteed to leave with their songs stuck in your head for days.
Along with their own music, Callow Saints are also capable of delivering professional, high quality covers gigs, with a wide range of music from the 50's up to modern day hits, with their own brilliant takes on some underplayed songs.
Bizarre But Beautiful
We are out in Aylesbury on a Saturday night, headed to see a band that had been recommended to us. As we walk across the town square we are stopped in our tracks by some of the sweetest sounds we've heard in a long time. We peer into the doorway of The Green Man, and inside the doorway we see two blokes playing guitar, and it sounds incredibly beautiful. We decide to pop in for a few minutes and a quick listen, drawn in by this sweet music.
Read the full review here:
Gig Review - Muso
PS. We did pop around the corner briefly to see the band we had originally intended to see, but ten minutes was enough to convince us that it would be a waste of time, so we headed back to the warmth of Muso and just got lost in the music.