An explanation… (or How not to be Shit)

Posted: 16/06/2012 in Local Music
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Of late, this blog has been conspicuous by its inactivity. The reasons behind this, although manifold, amount to a severe dearth of inspiration.

Countless trips to countless gigs started off with the eager distribution of promotional cards, the considered selection of a position yielding the perfect combination of strong vantage point and feeling of inclusion within the crowd and the casual imbibement of the token solitary pre-review pint, followed by the impatient and restless doodling of phalluses and small houses in the margins of countless dog-eared notebooks.

Prepared and ready, the sight of the targetted artists taking the stage crossing field of vision, preliminary scribbles would allow for the commitment of early ideas to paper and nurture the steady evolution of a feeling of brewing excitement.

And then…

Nothing.

The act would fail to inspire, neither impressing nor drastically under-performing to an extent worthy of extended comment, and the evening would be narrowly rescued by some brief socialising, a quick scran and a drive home to disappointedly deposit wasted paper in recycling receptacle.

I sincerely hope that the recent run of middling bands I’ve had the misfortune of witnessing commit any future releases to eco friendly packaging, in order to make up for the amount of trees destroyed – in vain – as a result of their decidedly shitey live output!

Thankfully, enduring faith in music and an unextinguishable passion for local efforts provided the assurance that inspiration would return and that it was just a matter of tapping into the right niche once more.

Being that recent mysterious communication appears to have beckoned directly towards that niche, pulling flowery phrases forth once more, it seems appropriate to utilise the experiences of Sixteen Sixteen Six’s ‘wasted months’ in a way that may just save other aspiring performers from dipping into the same pool of mediocrity as those responsible.

Three things that serve as an outright insult to your prospective fans

1) Making no effort to entertain

Yes, certain more established and mainstream acts are deserving of respect for their no-nonsense, frill-free approach to performing and that’s all well and good because either:

i) their music, in a live context, stands alone as being worthy of the entrance fee

or

ii) they are simply too old for theatrics and tearing about the stage like maniacs, but have provided their fanbase with enough of these sorts of shenanigans in the past to garner a loyalty and respect that has left said fans content with just their mere presence as an accompaniment to the tunes.

You, on the other hand, apparently hold aspirations of success – on whatever scale – within the performance industry and should therefore be overflowing with youthful vitality and momentum. There is no conceivable scenario in which it is okay for you to take the stage and then stand stock-still for thirty minutes, bashing out number after number without a word in between. It is difficult to pinpoint just how ridiculous it is to put yourself in front of an audience and then make it apparent to everyone present that you seemingly have no desire to be there. How dare you monopolise the leisure time of the people who have come out to see you, without giving them a decent show in return!?

2) Sets full of cover songs

A well-chosen cover song, performed as part of a strong set of a band’s own material, can go down an absolute storm. If your audience are impressed with the first four fifths of your five-song set, belting out an enthusiastic version of Go With the Flow is certain to leave them reeling.

On the other hand, pissing out five half-arsed renditons of generic rock/metal anthems is essentially the equivalent of making people listen to a poor-quality jukebox selection and charging them four times the price for the privilege.

If you don’t have your own material and you aren’t a dedicated tribute act, you have no place on a stage.

3) Not looking out for your following

There is a venue in Glasgow with a handmade sign on the door that forbids the distribution of flyers for other events, during its gigs. This is surely the single most disheartening and uncooperative notice ever to have been displayed, in a live music context. It is absolutely diabolical to charge people – who, themselves, are most likely active members of the local music scene in some way or another – an entry fee and then not allow them to promote their own efforts and events or find out about the endeavours of others. It’s not as if patrons are going to up sticks and leave there and then; Obviously, anything being flyered is going to take place at a later date.

What fault is this of the performers though?

Quite simply, they just shouldn’t be playing that venue!

Unsigned music is about networking and mutual respect and, as Louie of Hector Bizerk astutely observed in the June issue of The Skinny, the Glasgow scene is currently such that, more often than not, you are playing to fellow musicians. If you’re going to accept a gig and allow the venue to charge your fans entry, it’s your responsbility to reward their loyalty by ensuring they’re looked after.

With chests now clear and in interests of ascending towards a more positive note for the ending…

It should be noted that two bands whose gigs are never missed and who never fail to impress are Sigma Logic and Rubber. Given existing relationships with band personnel, and in the interests of journalistic integrity, full reviews on them are unlikely to appear on these pages. Nonetheless, both are definitely worth checking out!

—–

Next week’s feature will be on Crusades, recent signings to Glasgow’s indie Overlook Records label, who – according to their Facebook page – by September 10th, will have played 35 gigs in 6 months. It would be reasonable to anticipate a lengthy appraisal of their dedication and pro-active stance.

Until then…

Crusades on Facebook

Listen to Crusades

Sigma Logic on Facebook

Rubber on Facebook

Comments
  1. Mamma Sita says:

    There are far too many boring as fuck performers who have absolutely no chat at all. Entertainment, the key word being entertain.

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