Wednesday, August 01, 2018

A hot July in London

So the numbers for a month that included England failing to exit the World Cup at their earliest opportunity and weather not seen since 1976 are in. It was musically dominated for me, by my now annual, 11 days allowing the curators of the Summer Series Gigs at Somerset House to introduced me to new acts I've not seen previously - with the exception of Ezra Collective, The month also included my 100th gig at Somerset House.

And so to the numbers:

32 gigs, one on each of the 31 days of the month plus a bonus gig on the last Saturday of the month at Canary Wharf.

90 different artists performing 96 sets in 18 different venues.

The month was topped and tailed by Yur Mum performing at The Unicorn Camden Live. I also had the privilege to see some of my regular favourites including (in X factor order - so not in any particular order):

Fetherstone, Daisy Chute, Cerian, LUCIA and The Adelaides

I also had a chance to enjoy performances from some old favourites I'd not seen in a while:

Tusks and Saint Clair

The best discovery of the month, by a clear measure, was HAWXX - hard to believe it was only their second gig together - a slick performance with great energy and stage presence. Definitely one to watch, with a great future ahead of them - I expect to see them performing at venues as big as Somerset House this time next year!

Two other notable new acts for me - KOLARS and Smoke Season - the KOLARS first entertained me supporting LP at Somerset House, then Smoke Season supported KOLARS at their own headline gig a week later at The Islington 1 Tolpuddle Street - they had their own headline show Miranda at Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, closing the month, supported by Martha Hill Music

All in all another great musical month - and despite many days of outdoor music I only got mildly damp on two occasions! Not a typical British summer.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Half Year Report

So the year has reached it's mid point and the numbers for my year so far of live music are:

626 Unique artists playing 755 sets at 76 different venues in 2 cities at a total of 191 different gigs on 174 of the 180 days in the first 6 months of 2018.

My most seen artists are:

Yur Mum (9), Natalie Shay (6), Daisy Chute (5) Liv Austen (5), Anteros (4), Caswell (4), DIDI (4), Fetherstone (4) and Tilda Allie (4)

with 84 acts seen more than once.

The first half of the year has allowed me to enjoy some great live music - I'm looking forward to what the rest of the year brings - the first 2 weeks of July are mainly curated by those picking the performers for this years #SummerSeries at Somerset House - which this year included my 100th gig at that great outdoor venue - I really hope this good weather continues - and there aren't any thunderous downpours!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

June’s numbers and highlights

The World Cup hasn't slowed my enjoyment of live music in the world's capital of live music, and despite 4 nights out of the city, I'm keeping up my average of more than 1 gig per night on average this year: June's numbers are:

114 unique artists performing 119 sets at 27 different venues on 26 nights/days of June's 30. With 30 gigs in total.

The venue's new to me this month included The Groucho Club and The Ned London - two private members clubs, one with a long history, the other very new, but both doing their bit to support live music.

Most unique gig of the month goes to Rookes at Poplar Union for a workshop on the technique of looping. Demystifying, to some extent, some of the foot tapping on pedals I see going on in front of me at many gigs. Next on my list is learning more about what all those small boxes in front of many guitarist actually do!

My finds of the month - who I'll be seeking out to see/hear perform again, in X factor tradition, in no particular order:

Birdeatsbaby, HAIZ, Jerry Williams, Wax Chattels, Dutch Mustard, Deep Deep Water, Catgod, The Orchid Hunters

A few favourites I'd not managed to see previously this year, included at few big acts and some smaller ones:

Pumarosa, Anna Calvi, Lily Allen, Crewdson with new collaborator Cevanne, Skinny Girl Diet

Thanks also to the many bands, too numerous to name individually that I've seen regularly this year that keep me and my cameras busy of an evening.

Monday, June 11, 2018

My month of May–filled with Live Music

Just finished updating my spreadsheet of gigs I've been to in May - I need one to keep track of all the great music I get to listen to live - and the numbers are in for May 2018:

130 Unique Artists, playing 136 sets at 25 different venues on 30 of the 31 days in May.

My finds for the month of May (in no particular order - to quote X Factor), who's music I'll be seeking out in future are:

Daisy Chute, Cerian, Little Water, Rookes, Diane Birch, Amaya Laucirica, London Contemporary Voices, Bugeye

and there are my favourites who I was lucky enough to hear live again:

Yur Mum, DIDI, Autumnmusic Caswell, Emma Ballantine, Fetherstone, Zkeletonz, KOATES, Tilda Allie, Natalie Shay, NOVA TWINS, Anteros

And a couple I've not seen live for a while making great returns:

Du Blonde and Grace Savage

I've probably miss some - there is so much to choose from.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Audience contracts with the Musicians performing

I attend a lot of live music in small venues – I’m lucky to be in the best city in the world for live music in small venues – you can find something to meet the most people’s taste, most night of the week, somewhere in London – and much of it is free – in the smaller venues it is rarely more than £10.

What never fails to amaze me is the lack of respect some audience members pay to the performers and those around them trying to immerse themselves in the live music – the music may not be to their taste – but others are there to enjoy the music – not raised voices trying converse above the inconvenience of the live music.

There are a number of implied contracts between the audience and the musicians performing:

Contract for Free Events

If you are attending a free event – respect the fact that those performing are unlikely to be being paid to perform – or if they are it will be minimal. Your only payment is your attention to the performance, and keeping quiet to allow everyone to enjoy the live music. All the sets might not be to your tastes – but others wish to enjoy them – and they all deserve respect. If possible take you socializing away from the live music.

The worst I’ve see are musician that have performed or who are yet to perform not respecting their fellow performers. Just think how you enjoy being able to play to an attentive audience, and treat your fellow musicians as you’d like to be treated.

It would be great if those putting people on guest lists could include the the below in the message to their guest gifting them the chance to attend live music:

Contract for Guest List attendees

You’ve been granted free access to the evening by a member of the band, promoter or someone else – please appreciate that while you have not paid to be there – at least some of those around you have. They have paid to support and listen to live music, which they want to enjoy without over hearing the voice you’ve had to raise to make yourself heard above the live music. If you’ve come to socialise, please do so as far from the live music as the venue allows – maybe the outside smoking area!

Venues can also be at fault. There is one, very famous venue, in Soho where I regularly attend, where their cocktails should be stirred not shaken during the live performances. At other venues I regularly hear the crashing of glasses as bar staff are either careless, or have started clearing up before the night has ended. I know the main source of revenue is the

Contract for Venues

  • Provide an area away from the live music where those that wish to socialise rather than listen can take their conversations
  • Make sure you staff respect the music – waiting to clear glasses and clean up to between sets or after the sets. Don’t make excessive noise with a performance is taking place 

At the end of the day – respect those on the stage, however small, they’ve put a lot of time preparing for their performance. Show some respect for that by giving them your attention – if you can’t manage that , don’t stop others from doing so by raising your voice in conversation.

In larger venues, close to the performers the volume is usually sufficient that you’ll find it hard to socialize without straining your voice – so it is less of an issue – but please still keep those around you in mind before being anti-social to them.