Friday, 15 July 2011

Behind the curtain...

When you write your own blog and contribute to music magazines/sites on a regular basis you do manage to get a few perks now and then that compensate for the lack of any financial benefits such as free downloads, free CD’s, free gig guest listing as well as actually getting the opportunity to meet and chat with bands and artists that you like and admire in a 1-1 setting where they actually answer your questions rather than scribble their autograph and move on back behind the velvet rope.

Some of the other perks I’ve discovered now include the ‘freebee’, industry nights put on to promote either a brand or band/artists that the label or company feel is important and by getting various movers and shakers in the industry to and ply them with free booze hopefully they’ll throw some money into the pot or give them a good write up. Apart from these people who are actually music industry suits you also have backdoor gate crashers like me who have no real business being there but have managed to wangle their name on one list or another to get past the security and make my way to the bar (free 7pm-11pm no less)

When you’ve finished a few drinks, carefully replenished and actually scanned the room you do actually realise that the puppet masters behind the scenes are just the same as any other manager or supervisor in any other office job whether it’s a paper mill in Slough or a IT software company in Uxbridge. I shudder to think about the records these people own but in the words of Super Hans from Peep Show when discussing industry ‘marks’ just looking at them “ties done up to eleven, clicking their fingers to the fucking Lighthouse Family” they couldn’t care less what sounds good but simply what sells, which is your favourite artist you’ve signed? Their favourite is simply the one that sold the most. But then again where does it say that the persons in the music industry have got to have good taste in music? It doesn’t and that is part of the tragedy. I’m not saying they have to have a music quiz brain for trivia and can name all the Frank Zappa and The Mothers albums in chronological order but a working knowledge of music and important bands and influences would at least be a plus don’t you think? Especially when they are the ones that put pen to paper and present new bands to the public and the industry.

Tonight we are treated to sets by 2 bands, obviously hen picked from a bunch associated with the evening itself. Bland and vacuous is probably the nicest way of explaining them. Everything about them was 2 years too late. The first act tried their best to mix Kate Nash, Laura Marling and a little bit of Mumford & Son violin for good measure and failed at each stop. If you were still awake by the end you were then presented with a scratchy indie band that just reeked of professionalism so much you would swear even their strumming was choreographed.

I am not one to be ungrateful as I did get a free evening of booze but if this is what the other side of the velvet rope looks like I can see why bands and artists like Pete Doherty spend their time off stage with fans and regular punters rather than the budget organiser, label executives and road manager from the record company.

Best line of the evening:
“No sir, no payment is required, it’s a free bar till 11pm”

Worst line of the evening:
“Ya, for sure, I originally met Toby and Barney when we worked at Myspace together actually”

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