• Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac performing in 2013
    Gigs,  Tickets

    Rock of Ages

    I’ve found a new reason why it might rock to be older. Gig-goers, of course, already experience revered appreciation for their age when their concert-attending prowess is suddenly revealed. These revelatory moments of show-specific recognition by younger gig-lovers begin like this: you find yourself in a conversation about a band that no longer exists. Perhaps one with a sadly departed singer or an act that broke up after one album, but are…

  • H2O stage-diver at London gig
    Crowd-surfing,  Gigs,  Stage-diving

    Hard Promises

    Fitness goals: the hard promises of New Year’s resolutions. A dedicated gig-goer’s interpretation of this might be to tone up for the delicate art of stage-diving and crowd-surfing. Stage-diving [definition] – where the stage is the diving board and the audience is the water. The idea is not to hit the floor with your head but to throw yourself off the stage and land fully on the hands of the audience in…

  • Mudhoney gig in London end of show finale
    Gigs,  Merchandise,  Resolutions,  Tickets

    Talking About A Resolution

    As a fellow gig-goer in waiting, what’s on your New Year’s resolution list for 2021? Resolutions are curious things. They are intentions we already hold but haven’t done anything about, usually because they are difficult or we haven’t been ready to start. They are the subjects we procrastinate over. When was the last time you came up with a completely new idea on 1 January, something you’d never had any desire to…

  • Imelda May and Wanda Jackson holding hands on stage at a gig
    Gig Etiquette,  Gigs

    I (Might Not) Want To Hold Your Hand

    I watched the film Tenet last night. 2020 has been confusing enough, so I might as well end it with a film that’s difficult to follow and comprehend. (I really enjoyed it and don’t worry, no spoilers here.) The opening sequence of an orchestra in a packed, large venue had me marvelling at the spectre of actual masses of humans together. The audience was fully concentrating on being at a performance and…

  • Band merchandise - Billy Bragg tea towel
    Gigs,  Merchandise

    Merch Ado About Nothing

    I clearly remember a point in my life when I drew a line under buying any more band T-shirts. It’s a line that got rubbed out and redrawn consistently over the following years. However, I have since pretty convincingly moved on to the more domesticated section of the merchandise table. I now (mostly) resist another black T-shirt with an inscrutable but vaguely threatening illustration on it and instead enthusiastically dive into the…

  • Band and tour merchandise
    Gigs,  Merchandise

    You Wear It Well…Or Do You?

    It’s been said that some acts make more from their merchandise than they do from selling tickets to the show. I have no statistics to wave at you on this front but given the price of CDs, t-shirts and hoodies at a show, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to assume that the merchandise table can contribute a respectable boost to the tour profits (or in, the case of smaller acts, the hope…

  • Festival stage with television streaming backdrop
    Gigs,  Merchandise,  Streaming

    Substitute. Making The Best Of 2020 Vision…

    Where once there were gigs, now, in these historic pandemic times, we have….the live stream. Aside from a very few small, socially distanced experiments, the only way bands and their fans can, for the moment, share musical times, is via the screen. How we would have scoffed just a few months ago at the idea that we’d buy a ticket to a broadcast of a show. The internet has long provided us…

  • When will live music return?
    Gigs,  Jedi Mind Tricks,  Tickets

    Mind Games…With A Little Help From Your Friends

    In honour of every tinnitus-inducing moment of my years of attending shows (I’ve been a devotee of live music since my first teenage gigs and also have more than a decade of experience as a music photographer) I’m gathering some thoughts and posing some questions to see how we get through this together. Today’s question is whether we can make use of something akin to Jedi mind tricks to keep ourselves intact…

  • Gigs during the pandemic

    The Waiting Room

    Waiting for gigs to return during this pandemic is a bit like clapping furiously after the band has left the stage, before the lights go up. No one knows if the musicians are coming back or how long we may have to wait to find out. As the audience roars, feet stomp and hands get sore, we hysterically assure ourselves – it can’t really be over! But how long are we going…