It’s rare I’m driven to writing anything of any length on my blog, nothing that much raises my ire enough to merit inflicting my opinions onto the general public.
But in this case I’ll make an exception.
I really enjoy gig going. I’d say it’s a relatively recent thing though - maybe over the past 3-4 years that I’ve upped the frequency. It’s gone from going to one or two a year to one or two, or three a month.
They range from small unsigned, upcoming bands to the big headliners, and all that goes inbetween. For the past few months for instance, the gig list has included: Black Keys, We Have Band, Justice, Michael Kiwanuka, Ghost Poet, Joy Formidable, Miles Kane, Naked & Famous and the Besnard Lakes.
The venues vary too, from Manchester Apollo, down to The Ruby Lounge - capacity crowds to intimate surroundings.
Now, there’s a mental list I have of bands I’ve always wanted to see and for whatever reason (late to the party, in the wrong place/time etc) I never have. Pleasingly, this is getting shorter - thanks to Leftfield hitting the road again, Orbital reforming and Tricky dusting off Maxinquaye for an airing. But there are those who remain illusive (come on Daft Punk, get your arses in gear), and Radiohead for instance - who seem to prefer playing festivals and abroad than doing UK tours.
So it was with some excitement I saw Twitter all a rumble this week with talk of a UK Radiohead tour later this year. Excellent.
Apart from the sinking feeling when I saw the venue. The Manchester (‘no sponsor at present’) Arena. Immediate black mark. Terrible venue. Don’t argue with me, it is. Vast, soulless, poor accoustics for all but the loudest of bands (see Prodigy Invaders tour as the exception), and piss poor layout/bar services/clientele.
Anyway, that’s my opinion and if I don’t want to go to a gig there it’s my lookout eh? But sometimes I’ll make an exception if it’s someone I really want to see. Which was the case with Radiohead. Until I saw the ticket price.
£47.50 or £65 (plus all the ridiculous fees - but that’s another rant). That dear readers is daylight robbery, no matter how much you love a band.
And lets remember, this is the band who let you name your price to download ‘In Rainbows’. This is the ethical band whose tour merchandise is made from recycled materials. THIS IS THE BAND, who, in an attempt to kill off the secondary ticket market (a good thing), is limiting the number of tickets you can buy, running a paperless ticket system, requiring photo ID for entry and no name transfers after point of purchase.
Put another way, taking the rip-off element away from the secondary ticket market, by shafting you in the first place.
I’m sure people will argue that the band have little say in the pricing structures, or that I am not a true fan because I won’t shell out the extra £20-30 on to top of a ‘usual’ ticket price, or that this is just the way gig going is headed, but I disagree.
I hope it’s some elaborate idea that Radiohead have had, and that you get a recording of the gig when you leave as part of the ticket price, or you get the next album for free if you attended this tour. But I can’t see it. Hope I’m wrong.
I’ll stick to smaller bands, venues and ticket prices, thanks.
Desmond, Rigger, Stealth and Exocet :)
Justice at Manchester Academy Monday 13 Feb 2012
Black Keys at Manchester Apollo 060212.
Few more Black Keys.
Decided that despite the proliferation of all the other social platforms, I forgot how much I liked Tumblr.
So I’m giving it another go.