This is a bit of a rant.
I’m not going to name the band because it won’t do them any favours having this come up in Google searches for their name. You can probably work out who they were if you really want to know. But it’s not really about them, it’s about you.
I travelled to a gig a couple of hours away from home and booked an overnight stay in a hotel since it would finish well after the last train back. It was in one of the largest cities in England other than London. The gig was in an established rock venue within easy walking distance of the city centre, in the smaller of two rooms, but still with a capacity of a couple of hundred at least. The band have released several albums, won annual “best of” awards, and gone down a storm at festivals, and they’re on fire live on this tour. It was a Friday night rather than a midweek graveyard shift.
There were thirty-five people there.
The band themselves gave what could easily have been their best live performance of the year, pulling out all the stops. And only a tiny handful of people were there to see it, most of them familiar faces you see at gigs all across the country. Many of them were not local but, like me, had travelled a significant distance to be there.
People constantly complain on the interwebs than nobody plays gigs in their towns. The trouble is, when bands do book gigs, these people then can’t be arsed to turn up. It’s not for me to tell the band where they should or shouldn’t play, but if I was in their shoes I wouldn’t be playing either that venue or that city again in the foreseeable future. There’s no way such a poorly-attended gig could have covered its costs.
I know that time and money are finite, and some people have a lot of other commitments in their lives. But a lot of you have no such excuses. If superb bands like this are to survive, and are to be able to continue making music, you’ve got to get off your collective arses and support them. I’ve seen too many bands fold due to lack of success, only to see “fans” complain that they “never got to see them live”. Perhaps if you’d bothered to see them when you had the chance, they might not have split?
If a band you like or have heard positive things about are playing a small club near you, and it’s physically possible to get there, support them. Otherwise the live scene outside the corporate mainstream will be nothing but tribute bands.