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Phil Starr

Pub Gigs, where is it all going?

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And don't get me started on piccolo snares ...

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The bar band business in the USA isn't exactly like the pub band business. Similarly it's dieing a slow death.

People don't have much of an interest in live rock music anymore.

Blue

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Banbury (my hometown) has always had a strong live pub band scene, but recently it has started to tail off. Fewer pubs in town are booking bands, favouring instead acoustic solo performers or duos, or even stand up comedy. This time last year my band had a diary of local pub gigs covering the whole year, at 2 - 3 gigs a months. This year we currently have just two booked. It's concerning.

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[quote name='wateroftyne' timestamp='1483789348' post='3210095']
Absolutely - it's getting ridiculous now. I wonder how many of 'em are turning up because they're deaf so they can't hear..?
[/quote]

The first gig my new band did last year was to a pub full of properly deaf people...

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[quote name='PaulGibsonBass' timestamp='1484059605' post='3212294']
Banbury (my hometown) has always had a strong live pub band scene, but recently it has started to tail off. Fewer pubs in town are booking bands, favouring instead acoustic solo performers or duos, or even stand up comedy. This time last year my band had a diary of local pub gigs covering the whole year, at 2 - 3 gigs a months. This year we currently have just two booked. It's concerning.
[/quote]

I'm banbury based as well - what band are you in?

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I've just had a look at Lemonrock for my area (Reading) & none of the usual live music venues are even in there - it's all just open mic/jam nights. This is definitely not all that is on in Reading as there are several venues hosts live music every week. Maybe Reading is bucking the trend or maybe the problem in this instance is Lemonrock.

The talk of people not being interested in live music/pubs any more is interesting as I can completely relate - I still enjoy going to the pub but I wouldn't go out specifically to see a generic rock covers band in a pub (in fact I'd probably avoid it), maybe I'm part of the problem?

In regards to the under 18's thing - I understand the landlords issues; I went to a gig last year where the headlining band was very popular in Reading but the band themselves were 15/16 and by the looks of them their fans were even younger - the venue was packed (the busiest I've ever seen it) yet there were only 4 people in there drinking beer; my mate, me & a couple of the bands parents. Whilst we did try our very best, they can't have made much money on the bar.

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[quote name='markstuk' timestamp='1484062307' post='3212331']


I'm banbury based as well - what band are you in?
[/quote]

Hi, I'm in Til Dawn, and I play solo too. How about you?

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I would go to a pub to watch bands that aren't doing rock. I don't like classic rock particularly so would love to have some other options.
I don't play pubs very often as I play in a function band which I joined because I a) want regular gigs and B) want to play a wide variety of styles including old and new.
I think the downturn in pub gigs is due to all combinations of the following (and probably more):

Smoking ban
Rising cost of drinks
Bigger variety of drinks available on supermarkets
X factor type TV
Lazy unimaginative landlords
Lazy unimaginative bands
Food sales being bigger earners
Young people having different interests
Loud bands
Bands wanting to take more money than they make for the venue.
Etc
Etc
Etc

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[quote name='mrtcat' timestamp='1484083962' post='3212612']
I would go to a pub to watch bands that aren't doing rock. I don't like classic rock particularly so would love to have some other options.
I don't play pubs very often as I play in a function band which I joined because I a) want regular gigs and B) want to play a wide variety of styles including old and new.
I think the downturn in pub gigs is due to all combinations of the following (and probably more):

Smoking ban
Rising cost of drinks
Bigger variety of drinks available on supermarkets
X factor type TV
Lazy unimaginative landlords
Lazy unimaginative bands
Food sales being bigger earners
Young people having different interests
Loud bands
Bands wanting to take more money than they make for the venue.
Etc
Etc
Etc
[/quote]


All of this +1

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Its not just the music though is it .

If your front man and band engages the audience you can play any tune you want , you will have them onside , put on a show, throw some lights at it , look interested and make like you want to be there and you can play the same set as the next band , but its a totally different experience

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I'm just back from playing a gig in a pub with a stage / venue room on the side. Tuesday night in Nottingham and there were people out. Not a bad turnout. I was more than twice the age of most of them, of course but there were young and enthusiastic people playing too. The downside was that everything was waaaay too loud. Stage volume and FOH. We usually control our own FOH but the sound guy was in some sort of arms race. If this is normal, I'm not surprised casual punters are in short supply.

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[quote name='PaulGibsonBass' timestamp='1484079841' post='3212561']


Hi, I'm in Til Dawn, and I play solo too. How about you?
[/quote]

BiteBack.. reasonably new - we're doing ok for bookings at the moment..

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I actually find that the live music scene moves in cycles.. When I was very young, too young to go into pubs, the live scene was vibrant round here. We used to dream of playing the gigs that the older boys were playing. Eventually, we were old enough and bloody discos were all the rage. No one wanted live music. We folded, then decided to go out as a two piece with a drum machine. That took off too. For years live music was King. Now we seem to be in another rut, with only a select few pubs, putting live bands on. As said earlier, these pubs are jammed. Why they can't see that people love live bands, I don't know.it it must be overheads. Back in the nineties, people had more money to spend. Now folk get pissed on cheap supermarket booze, then hit the pubs for the last couple of hours!

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[quote name='chrisanthony1211' timestamp='1484121074' post='3212769']
Where in Nottingham were you playing?
[/quote]

The Maze (Mansfield Road)

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[quote name='PaulGibsonBass' timestamp='1484079841' post='3212561']
I'm in Til Dawn
[/quote]

Oooo er Missus ... great name for a band though.

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[quote name='radiophonic' timestamp='1484124344' post='3212794']


The Maze (Mansfield Road)
[/quote]

Played at the Maze for their Christmas masquerade ball, cracking live venue.

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The 2 main things for me are...

1. Where are the mainstream guitar bands for the younger generation to aspire to emulate?
2. Without a Top of the Pops style mainstream weekly music show on the bbc no one over 25 has an inkling of what's in the charts or popular, so you've got the biggest divide ever of what is going on musically. Also this means the over 25s are less likely to buy current music and affect what is in the charts. So the chart is very youth orientated, and the people running the venues very older generation orientated. Edited by la bam

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[quote name='Lw.' timestamp='1484067063' post='3212391']
I've just had a look at Lemonrock for my area (Reading) & none of the usual live music venues are even in there - it's all just open mic/jam nights. This is definitely not all that is on in Reading as there are several venues hosts live music every week. Maybe Reading is bucking the trend or maybe the problem in this instance is Lemonrock.

The talk of people not being interested in live music/pubs any more is interesting as I can completely relate - I still enjoy going to the pub but I wouldn't go out specifically to see a generic rock covers band in a pub (in fact I'd probably avoid it), maybe I'm part of the problem?

In regards to the under 18's thing - I understand the landlords issues; I went to a gig last year where the headlining band was very popular in Reading but the band themselves were 15/16 and by the looks of them their fans were even younger - the venue was packed (the busiest I've ever seen it) yet there were only 4 people in there drinking beer; my mate, me & a couple of the bands parents. Whilst we did try our very best, they can't have made much money on the bar.
[/quote]

Lemonrock is very localised. It started in the St Albans area and linked up with a site down in Devon so it is very strong down there. On good weeks I can get 50 or more gigs within a driveable distance. If we do a gig it emails 500 people or so to tell them about our gigs. When I was doing the booking for our band most of my new leads came through Lemonrock. I'd get about ten approaches a year from pubs who had found us on Lemonrock. I play with an old University mate as a duo and he lives in Burghfield and we are often looking for something to do in Reading. It's pretty hard finding anything going on in Reading via the web, most of the pubs websites aren't maintained and the wannabe gig guides don't have gigs in most nights. I'm sure Reading has to be livelier than Somerset but you wouldn't know it. It's all a symptom of one of the things wrong with live music, not spending 2 mins entering your gigs into your own website makes no sense at all. 20 mins promoting it on the free gig guides might bring some people in

Any tips of where to look for music would be great. I'm also looking for places with regular open mics up there.

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[quote name='chrisanthony1211' timestamp='1484129596' post='3212840']
Played at the Maze for their Christmas masquerade ball, cracking live venue.
[/quote]

..apart from the live sound both on and off stage! Our singer was very unhappy with the monitoring - the perils of playing with someone who has had formal training and expects to hit every note, every time. We're playing there again next month, but headlining this time so I hope we have a bit more control. The concept is great though, right down to having a separate bar away from the bands.

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[quote name='la bam' timestamp='1484131216' post='3212850']
The 2 main things for me are...

1. Where are the mainstream guitar bands for the younger generation to aspire to emulate?
2. Without a Top of the Pops style mainstream weekly music show on the bbc no one over 25 has an inkling of what's in the charts or popular, so you've got the biggest divide ever of what is going on musically. Also this means the over 25s are less likely to buy current music and affect what is in the charts. So the chart is very youth orientated, and the people running the venues very older generation orientated.
[/quote]

Somebody has already said this but I think music really goes in cycles. You'll get a music scene building up somewhere and suddenly breaking out stimulating a burst of energy creativity and 'me too' bands. Think of Indie music bursting out of Manchester, Punk, Two tone bursting out of the midlands or even the Beatles and the Merseyside bands. At the moment guitar bands aren't really happening in the same way but there will be other bursts of activity in the future. I honestly don't think you can stop the kids making memorable music.

It's also true that there are different circuits, at the height of the pub rock scene there were also separate circuits where the older generation listened to trad jazz or folk music. Apart from a few specialist venues that has died out as mainstream pub entertainment. I suspect classic rock is at that point. We need to do something new.

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[quote name='Phil Starr' timestamp='1484131830' post='3212856']
Lemonrock is very localised. It started in the St Albans area and linked up with a site down in Devon so it is very strong down there. On good weeks I can get 50 or more gigs within a driveable distance. If we do a gig it emails 500 people or so to tell them about our gigs. When I was doing the booking for our band most of my new leads came through Lemonrock. I'd get about ten approaches a year from pubs who had found us on Lemonrock. I play with an old University mate as a duo and he lives in Burghfield and we are often looking for something to do in Reading. It's pretty hard finding anything going on in Reading via the web, most of the pubs websites aren't maintained and the wannabe gig guides don't have gigs in most nights. I'm sure Reading has to be livelier than Somerset but you wouldn't know it. It's all a symptom of one of the things wrong with live music, not spending 2 mins entering your gigs into your own website makes no sense at all. 20 mins promoting it on the free gig guides might bring some people in

Any tips of where to look for music would be great. I'm also looking for places with regular open mics up there.
[/quote]

This +1.
I'd never heard of Lemonrock until I joined this site. There are only 6 bands listed for Nottinghamshire! Doesn't seem very likely does it? I'm the new guy in the band , so I've inherited all their existing bookings and I've been pretty aghast at the lack of basic promotion by pub venues. Many of them don't seem to even maintain their own Facebook 'Events' pages or even put posters up in advance. They seem to assume that the band will do it all and bring a crowd with them even if it's out of town. The band do what they can but surely it's in everyone's interest to get people through the door and sell them beer? Then again, we played what was really just an open mic in Matlock Bath on a Sunday night. They don't usually put bands on, but the promoter wanted us to play. I expected tumbleweeds, but encountered an enthusiastic live music crowd and a decent sound engineer who made it clear that he wasn't going to blast the punters - because they are there to drink and talk too. We got an excellent sound and a great reception. It can work, but some effort is involved.

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We've used lemon rock for the last couple of years, had a couple of gigs out of it and a few people I've spoken to gigs have come along because they saw us advertised there, but I'd hoped for more for £39 a year. I expect we'll carry on with it, though it seems to be going through some of makeover at the moment and it's harder to find things.

Lemonrock link in sig.

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I really think it's the beginning of the end I'm afraid. To say something is cyclical implies that it will come back around again. I don't think the pub band scene will do anything other than whither and slowly die.

Where are the new guitar bands to inspire the next generation? Well, the only area of growth (or at least stability) in the guitar based genres is metal. There are heaps of young metal bands with strong, young, live followings but it isn't a pub scene. The young metal bands I know (including my daughter's band) play at rock nights and club nights but have no desire to play in pubs, and the kids that follow them have no desire to go to pubs either. Once the current generation of pub bands dies out or retires they'll be nothing left to replace them. Edited by PaulGibsonBass

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