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 do before? No, generally our resolutions are known to us long before Christmas, even.
When we peer deep into our souls, there they are, lying at the bottom of the pit, fermenting, sometimes for years, waiting for an external event (new calendar) to push us into action. You’ve probably secretly wanted to play the ukulele for a lot longer than you’ve been in lockdown, but now, as a new year unfolds, something’s changed. You face still more weeks of near solitary confinement, so perhaps it seems like the ideal time to check out your local music shop’s online store and start listening to that Eddie Vedder solo album again?
In previous years, your resolution list might have included a gig-related gem committing to something like:
1) Going to more local gigs, in addition to your usual arena shows, to broaden your gig-going experience and try to catch the next ‘big thing’ while they are still ‘really small’.
2) Getting to gigs earlier to see the support bands, thus doubling or tripling what you get for your ticket money and opening your ears to some new acts.
3) Encouraging stay-at-home friends (those unwittingly preparing for the pandemic) to come with you and enjoy some musical culture, thus boosting your favourite band’s audience and enriching the lives of those you love.
4) Buying a band’s latest release at the gig, rather than just listening to it on Spotify, so that they can make some actual money from their recordings.
5) Attempting a stage-dive/crowd-surfing experience for the first time!
6) Cutting back on stage-diving/crowd-surfing experiences to reduce injuries this year.
In 2021, personal goals and commitments to long-held dreams (gig-related or not), could be joined by some rather more altruistic music-related endeavours. It might be worth considering how to support the bands and venues we’d like to see survive the touring ban, through attending and (if able) donating to online shows, ordering records and merchandise or spreading the word about their online events/fundraisers*.
Meanwhile, learning how to play an instrument during lockdown might end up putting you on stage one day…or, at the very least, invoking a new level of respect for performers who’ve mastered the skill, the next time you see them. Happy New Year!
*Established online platforms such as Bandcamp and Patreon, along with newcomers like the soon-to-be-launched Diuo, could be joined by yet new ways to connect fans to bands in cyberspace as the pandemic rolls on.
Photo: As 2020 takes a bow, we ask ourselves, how will we stay sane before our first gig of 2021 (and fingers crossed there will be at least one!)? This image shows the finale of a Mudhoney gig at The Forum in London, in 2015. © Imelda Michalczyk