Lovely and I trekked to Kensal Road to see his colleague’s gig tonight. They were a really good, tight band, almost Killer-esque. Very good musicians. They would have sailed through the Godiva Heats. You tend (I say ‘tend’) to see better bands in cities. I remember going to NYC and every single musician I saw, be it on the street or in a bar, was outstanding.
But the sad thing about indie live music is that, when it starts
1) the drums and wall of sound hits you
2) people start moving away, towards the bar, or somewhere where they can hear their friends
3) the only people left watching are friends of the band.
The poor act have waited hours to go on stage, only for people to start going home after their 2nd song. They are NOT mediocre, and no, you can’t blame the band for not bringing enough people – that’s just the way it is. It’s a weekday night and people wanna get home before midnight. And save money on buying another round. We waved them off as they were loading their expensive gear onto a black cab, which I’m not sure the gig paid for. I hope so.
The act before that was reggae-ish, R&Bish, motownish? Not sure what genre it was but they were a pair of really good Afro-Caribbean singers. See, a backing track is a lot less offensive than a full on band. They enjoyed more of an audience than the headline band. People could bop to their songs and smile. They can also talk over it more easily while being quite near the action.
Now I understand why people don’t really go out to see live guitar bands. Guitar indie (broadly) requires too much concentration. Some forms of music ‘hand out’ themselves more than others. Esp those with strong beats and hooks – pop basically – with more obvious words. They take a lot less effort to appreciate. Think of ‘Put Your Hands Up For Detroit’. Indie has too many words – and I can’t normally make them out in a live setting anyway.
That’s good actually, cos then I can write less. I can write just two lines and be done with it.
People have moved on from indie big time now. Well I certainly have.
I have this folder in my computer called ‘Alt/Rock/Guitar’ containing anything from +/- to Yes and I’ve not touched it for about 2 years. Stereolab has commanded my airspace since 2006 – they are ‘indie’ in the strict sense of the word, but they are more electronic and melodic than the standard guitar band we’ve come to classify post-2000 as ‘indie’ – and nowamonths when I don’t listen to them I listen to 90s dance music or Lady Sovereign. And when I don’t listen to that I listen to Kyoto Jazz Massive. If it’s a sunny day I put on some Trojan Calypso. I used to love going to indie nights, see familiar faces, fellow local music scenesters – so many memories, memories I won’t recreate by choice.
I’ve been listening to a bit of swing and big band recently because I’m compiling good music for my 40s wedding. I’m gonna write about that at some point. It’s coming soon!