Sunday, February 09, 2014

London gig crowds

It's been a while since I've been to a live gig that wasn't essentially in an arts centre. I'd forgotten how much London gig crowds are essentially an assemblage of colossal assholes.

In any London gig about one-third of the people are there to score drugs, one-third are there to meet friends and socialise and one-third are there because of, you know, those people on the stage.

You have to play pretty loud in London, because if you don't then half the audience will be talking loud enough to drown you out.

It reminds me of descriptions of Regency pleasure gardens and Sadlers Wells in the same period. Sure you have to have some entertainment to hang all this stuff off but really your just out to see people and be seen.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Cate le Bon at the London Assembly Rooms

I've only encountered Cate le Bon as a recording artist before now, in that context you have a Welsh folky singer-songwriter with a chanteuse vibe. However within minutes of arriving on stage you have a very different take on the same music, all angular head flicks and fierce sharp rock from a jet-black Thinline Telecaster.

The sound has some of the Swansea, south coast Welsh psychedelic swirl along with the occasional freakout. For the most part it is fierce, controlled melodic lines in the style of Krautrock and the Velvet Underground.

The words and sounds remain accessible but the presentation defies expectations.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Entering the digital music era

I recently started to spruce up this blog after having spent a long time cataloguing and discussing my music purchases at RateYourMusic. One of the more amusing things was that the blog's strapline used to mention CDs. It's been a while since I've purchased music that way and it is usually just out of solidarity with good stores like Rough Trade and Sister Ray.

Music has gone digital and it no longer means torrenting music. There's a number of digital music stores that are not iTunes or Amazon (although I do like the latter's Cloud Player), I use Boomkat and (the also ironically named) CDBaby a lot along with the occasional purchase from Bleep and Rough Trade's Album Club.

I also found Deezer to be an engaging streaming service with a good catalogue after trying Spotify and 7Digital and not really being that impressed.

However it feels as if there are two digital services that are really changing the way we discover and consume media. Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

Soundcloud is like the world's demo tape. Whenever I read something about a new band I go and see if they have some tracks on Soundcloud.

Bandcamp is the service that feels like it is really changing the relationship between fans and artists. Being able to buy almost direct from the artist is like creating a global gig stall for every musician.

The issue with things like Napster and torrenting was that taken to their logical conclusion they would genuinely turn music into a hobby pursuit. The new digital services provide a way to create an audience without any limits beyond the interests of the listeners but also make it possible to allow musicians to create and be rewarded for creating.