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Keep Music Live….

I’ve been going to live gigs for more years than I could mention. I’ve seen pretty much everyone – from the mainstream to alternative, indie, goth, rock, big name acts, tiny acts….

I’ve seen hundred of bands.
And over the years, pretty much every venues in Birmingham and beyond….

I have an opinion on live gigs. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert – but I’ve seen so many, I have a view. And now I review for Brum Live.

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For me it’s the experience of watching a live band – those wow! instances – where you go – that was awesome! I can remember the great experiences – and the not so good. I went to Monsters of Rock (Donnington), now Download. I was only a kid, it was probably the first time I’d been to an open air gig. I wasn’t massively into rock at the time – I was an indie / goth chick. We’d gone with a mate, cos she was into the headliners – Bon Jovi. It was cheap (yes in those days it really was) – it was different – I hadn’t been there before – and my mate was begging – so we went.

The day before it had been hot and sunny. That day it was torrential thunderstorms. We weren’t prepared – and there was no cover. It was the mid eighties, and there was just one stage, and very few stalls. We brought bin bags for something like £1 (crazy prices) to wear to attempt to keep us dry. It was mud pies everywhere. And the only dry place was a hanger, where the loos were. And flying around the hanger were bats! (Only at a rock gig!). I remember sitting on the track, four of us in a row. Freezing cold. Clearly a great picture, which kinda summed up the day – a photographer took pictures of us.

It was mid afternoon, and we sat there listening to one of the lower line-up acts, about fifth on the line-up. I can remember the song – it was cool. The song was ‘One.’ The band were Metallica….. Twenty years on, I returned, so see them play once again.

I hope that a little bit of my opinion, will help you decide whether to go and see the bands I review. Of course, everyone will have a view on what they saw. But these days the sad news is that many gigs by named acts are expensive. At times hugely expensive. You are looking at around £30 for a ticket, booking fee PER ticket, credit card charges, postal charges. And that’s before you get to the gig – some venues have exorbitant parking charges (the o2 in London Docklands charges £17.50 to park – madness when CLOSER to the venue there is a Rail Station car park at around £3 to park all day!) – others charge a small fortune it you fancy a drink or food. u2 stated recession busting tickets (average price £70!), Take That tickets sold from £50 – £75.

My current benchmark has to be what Metallica (back to them then) charged, to play in the round at the NEC (now LG). I stood 10 foot away from James Hetfield. They played for 2 and half hours. And then stayed on the stage after the gig to chat to fans. Whether you are a Metallica fan or not – they are one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Ticket price £32.00. For standing. There was no area in front of us – no “Golden Circle’.  (When I was there a mate texted me to see if I wanted to see a reformed Spandau Ballet. Ticket price £70. With a set of retro hits. The answer – NO!)

I understand that venues and bands have to make money. It’s a business at the end of the day. But the country’s broke. Times are tough. Don’t price live music out the market, through booking fees and other additional  costs….