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Friday, September 30, 2011

Why can't gigs start earlier?

Went to see Charlie Dore at Green Note in Camden Town last night. The three musicians played beautifully. Green Note is a nice little place but not exactly fit for purpose. It's so long and narrow that they had to perform in single file. From the front they looked like one of those many-armed Hindu statues.

I got up not long after five a.m. yesterday. We get up early in our house, particularly when my wife is teaching. I had a long day at work. At 6.30 I looked at my watch and realised I still had two and a half hours to kill before the show began. I went to Wagamama for something to eat then made my way over to Camden, found the venue and then went across the road to have a drink in a pub in Parkway. I bumped into an old friend, which passed some more of the time. Nonetheless, by the time she came on I was starting to fade and could only stay for the first half.

When we started True Stories Told Live I insisted that we had to start at 7.30 and finish no later than 9.30. Most people were coming straight from work and they don't want to have to kill time before the entertainment. I think it's one of the best decisions we ever made. If people want to hang about and have a meal they can do it afterwards.

I realise that most gigs are put on by people who can only make money if we eat and drink but this has meant that gigs get pushed further and further back in the evening. I suppose there are people who need time to travel in from the suburbs but most of the people I encounter have come there straight from a very long day at work. The performers may be fresh as paint but the audience are dying on their feet. If there was a thought bubble over their heads it would say "how long will it take me to get home at this time of night?"

I don't expect this to change but surely in these hard-pressed times (I walked past the Jazz Cafe last night and it appeared to be closed) there must be room for alternatives. What about two shows, one starting at 7.00? What about Saturday afternoon matinees which aren't just for kids? Lunchtimes? Back in the early 60s promoters used to organise gigs for the convenience of the audience. It seems they don't do that anymore. If ever there was a time to do it that time is now.