Saturday, March 20, 2010

Staid At Home?

Last Thursday night saw the UK debut of The Galileo 7 at The Fiddler's Elbow in Camden, London as part of a Rock Til You Drop night. They were one of three bands on the bill sandwiched between The 4th Suit (who had travelled all the way from Bristol just for this gig) and The Alpha Rays whose performance I missed due to an extremely ungodly start the following morning.
I'd been looking forward to seeing The G7 as a live entity since hearing their guitarist and main vocalist Allan Crockford's demos before he'd even got the bodies together to perform the songs in a live environment. Allan has a wealth of experience on the live circuit (he's an ex-Prisoners / Solarflares / Stabilisers / Headcoats / James Taylor Quartet member plus other bands too numerous to mention) and together with noted session bassist Paul Moss, keyboard player Viv Bonsels and drummer Russ Baxter, have recently come back to Merry Ol' England from a well received tour of Benelux countries. It must have been disappointing for them to play in what was largely a vacuous venue that is capable of holding around 150 punters on their return.
Such scenarios can be a little soul destroying considering the work that's put into organising gigs, not just for bands but for promoters too. It goes against the grain of any nice guy to frogmarch potential gig-goers into a show. Promote too hard and you're in danger of being seen as pushy, but if you take a softly-softly approach you may not be taken seriously. That seems to be a dilemma for Rock Til You Drop's promoter, Toby Burton, a very affable up front gent who has invested shitloads of time into his venture only to be rewarded (on this particular night) with a minimal return. A few hardcore supporters showed up, others would have loved to have been there but due to social as well as financial constraints, couldn't make it.
Rock Til You Drop focuses on forming and maintaining a musical community for the more mature acts and if our peers / friends / supporters happen to be of the same age group then it gets tougher to cajole an audience together for obvious reasons. Most have families to attend to and these cost time and money and if you happen to be an act that is just starting out it can be one hell of a challenge to gain a following. Sure, luck can play a huge part in acquiring positive circumstances but what can you do if you are just depending on hard work and you end up with a poor turnout on the doors?
Perhaps the answer lies in trying to banish the "middle-aged" attitude of the gig goers? After all, thousands of them will turn up to see a favourite name band that they followed as a youngster, what's stopping them from checking out new talent? Maybe those creaking bones can't be bothered to haul themselves out of their comfy slippers and nice warm houses to face the gamble of watching a new or unknown band in unfamiliar surroundings where the beer might taste of piss. Comfort becomes paramount on reaching a certain age, wether it's being able to get home after the gig by public transport or (as a performer) manouvering a smaller amp to venues in order to avoid a hernia as you carry the fucker up and down the stairs for the sake of a paltry half hour's worth of use. Thing is, at our age, we tend to get stuck in our ways. Thoughts of adventure lie in that well deserved fortnight away in tropical lands where everything is done for us which, admittedly, is much more appealing than a miserable night in Camden where you can't relax properly due to tomorrow's impending demands at work and in the home.
As I mentioned earlier, The Galileo 7 had gone down well on the continent having had a captive (but willing) audience. Does this mean that it's an issue of location? Camden has a plethora of live venues, all of them crying out for peoples' attention every night. Are we too spoilt for choice to the point where we can't be bothered to discover anything new anymore?
I really haven't got any remedies for this situation, but I hope it works out for Toby in the end. He's passionate about what he does and he needs more support, regardless of how old you are. As for The Galileo 7 themselves, they had more energy coming from them than many bands half their age do, so here's a middle-aged cliche for you: go see them and rock before you drop. Otherwise you could be in danger of wasting the rest of your lives in front of computer screens reading middle-aged moans like this one.
More pictures here.


Furtheron said...

Possibly guilty of the Middle age gig goer desease.

Like you say I go see many expensive gigs with old crocks on stage too far away to see their wrinkles... I should do me local stuff. Just in Kent there isn't much about

Colin Gillman said...

Thanks for making the effort to write such a post mate. We all need a kick up the baggy now and then.

Istvanski said...

Furtheron - You're kidding me? Really? What about The Tap & Tin and Nag's Head in Rochester?

Col - We've all been there. It can be hard to make an effort the older we get. Soon be Summer though, cold evening's no more...just for a bit.

rockmother said...

Yes I like your point - a good point! I'm trying to remember when I last saw a 'new' band. Ummmm...

Istvanski said...

You too, RoMo? Think harder, recommendations from friends don't count.

Toby Burton said...

Thanks too, Ista. Sorry I just got to reading it! See you tonight at PP's.