The State Of Live Music In The UK

By Andy

Is there a vibrant music scene in the UK today? Yes definitely in certain parts of the country, but a barren wasteland in others.

Great places for live music include York and Southampton with multiple large, medium and small venues with something on most nights of the week. There are some fantastic venues like the Robin 2 in Bilston run by enthusiastic owners putting on a mix of tribute bands and original artists in the heart of the West Midlands. Standing a few rows back at an outdoor festival and all you can see in front is row upon row of iPads and iPhones above people's heads recording the concert for posterity - don't - just don't, watch the concert live not on some tiny screen. I'm just waiting for the day when I see someonbe with a Mac Mini with a web cam.

People going to see bands to say they've been to see them. Bands like the Foo Fighters or Muse suffer from punters going to see them because it's a cool thing to do rather than any love for the music - taking selfies and streaming Monkey Wrench so their mates can how great they are...

People refusing to go and see a band they've never heard of or asking the band to play something they know "Oh I'm not paying a tenner to go and see a band I've not heard of, but I'm happy to pay £100 plus to see a dot on a screen in the far distance. And I don't want to hear you're original tunes, I'd much rather listen to an out of tune murdering of "Wonder Wall" or even worse "Comfortably Numb"

People unwilling to travel to see bands not in their local town. An often heard complaint when tour schedules are released is why aren't you coming to . Now I sappreciate not everyone has a limitless budget to travel all across the country but when a venue is within 50 miles of where you live surely that's got to be worth the effort hasn't it? Smaller bands often ask for recommendations of venues to play or create a poll to see who'd go to a gig in Smallsville. Then based on this intelligence they spend their hard earned petrol money only to find an audience of 10 people they know by name and not a single local at all.

Obviously I'm not your typical gig goer having travelled across Europe, Canada, the USA and Mexico to see bands, but a few miles down the road must be within the scope of any music lover mustn't it?

Tribute bands - keeping venues open but bigger crowds than "real" artists. Lots of musicians find that they have to play in tribute bands to earn a crust so they can afford to produce their own music.

Example gig listing from Southampton's The Brook - 1 original artist and 6 tribute acts

  • MAMMA MIA! - SING-A-LONG & SHUSH SILENT DISCO
  • THE DOORS ALIVE
  • BOG ROLLING STONES
  • MONEY FOR NOTHING
  • JOSH SMITH - BURN TO GROW TOUR
  • GREEN HAZE + ONE EIGHTY TWO
  • MUSED

Kudos for keeping the venues open for the original artists but unfortunately the punters will flood in to see the tributes but turn their noses up at the original act they've not heard of. If you don't patronise the smaller venues that are still open more and more will close and you'll end up having to travel further and further to see bands.

Going to concerts outside your comfort zone

Go on - take the risk and go and see an artist you've never heard of for the same price as a takeaway rather than taking out a extra mortgage to see a tiny dot on a screen in the far distance that is apparently a multi-millionaire 70 plus Rolling Stone. You might just see something great and meet some like minded people. If you're really lucky you might see some Celtic infused Steam Punk music with added sword dancing.

Appearences can be deceiving. Take that risk - go and see that Ukrainian rock band to see what they've got to offer

Keep Music Live.

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