Outside the Comfort Zone

Steven Lands of The Session at The Swansea Jazz Festival

A lot of people swear by streaming services like Spotify for music discovery, but for me it’s live music. It may be in part because I’ve got a couple of medium-sized venues within walking distance, but when venturing outside my musical comfort zone I’m more likely to go to a gig than anything else.

In the past year I’ve seen New Model Army, Public Image Limited, Lazuli, Peter Knight’s Gigspanner and The Session having heard little or none of their music beforehand. They’ve all been great gigs, all bands I would definitely see again, and in most cases I’ve followed up by buying some of their records.

It’s also an argument in favour of well-chosen support acts and well-curated festivals.

How about you? Do you like to discover new bands and new genres through experiencing them live? Or do you prefer to be familiar with the music first before seeing it performed on stage?

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4 Responses to Outside the Comfort Zone

  1. I prefer to not just know the band but really *love*the band. Gigs are too important to me to risk a bad one.

    Having said that, I have been to gigs “just to see” and discovered some amazing bands. But I’m usually pretty certain in advance that it’s going to be well inside my comfort zone.

  2. Chuk says:

    I wish I could walk to good venues. I mean, I could, but it would probably take me about ten hours. (Well, there’s a theatre that does occasional concerts that I could walk to in probably about 90 minutes.) Went to a show while staying with a friend in Toronto and walked over and back, it was great.

  3. Tim Hall says:

    That’s the advantage of living close to the centre of a reasonably-sized town; we’re got a couple of decent-sized venues; a 500-capacity rock club that attracts touring acts people have actually heard of (Public Enemy played there not so long ago), and a 200-capacity arts centre.

    It’s certainly broadened my musical horizons; a lot of the bands I’ve listed I wouldn’t have seen if I’d have had to travel into London for them.

  4. Tom B says:

    I agree with David,
    I wouldn’t normally risk going to a gig to see someone whose music I didn’t know. I know I should really be more adventurous but gig-going opportunities are too precious to risk a bad one. I tend to discover new music through YouTube recommendations but by their very nature they tend to be similar to what I like already.
    I could actually walk (or at least take a 20 min bus ride as I’m a lazy so-and-so) to a couple of good venues but the problem is that none of the bands I want to see ever seem to come to my town.