Added on Wednesday 23 Sep 2009
West End Volume 5
It's one of those questions that occupies my mind from time to time - why should people attend a live gig? Don't worry for I'm not gong to drag up another rerun of my rants against plastic glasses or the wide selection of miserable venues around Glasgow. This time, I'm talking about the choice of bands on a bill.
Anyway, I'm at King Tuts to see Charlotte Hatherly. Not the best of gigs to tell the truth, and Ms Hatherly was clearly struggling with technical problems throughout. Besides that though was the rather odd choice of support acts, neither of which complemented Ms Hatherly. The first support act was a dull and under rehearsed local indie rock band and the second an irrepressibly bouncy electro pop outfit called Futuristic Retro Champions (no disrespect to that band as they gave a sparkling performance) but who thought this was a good bill? I appreciate that the ghost of "pay to play" looms large in Glasgow and the choice of support bands is based more on how many tickets they can sell to their pals instead of whether they are an appropriate choice for a support slot and, of course, it can be just as bad at free acoustic nights where the number of bands is so often deemed more important than any thought of consistent musical programming. However, you would think that venue and bar owners would care about such things as the longer someone stays in the venue or bar then the more beer they will be able to drink (responsibly).
The day before, and in contrast, I'd dropped by Pivo Pivo to see four acts - two solo performers and two bands that all had something in common. They all had strong female vocalists. Each act had its own character and Emma Curran, Julia and the Doogans, Kat Healy and Gillian Christie all impressed. However, what was more of note was that the tidal movement of audiences after each act was much reduced here. People were staying to watch the other acts and, as a consequence of that no doubt, I spotted a distinctly happy looking bar manager. There would be good takings that night. Maybe there is a lesson to all promoters in there - programme your evening sensibly, punters stay for longer and the venue and bars of Glasgow spend more on making their premises a good place to experience the musical talent that is to be found in this part of the world. Common sense really.