With ticket prices for gigs now regularly breaking the £20 mark (including that pesky booking fee) it's good to know that you can still get to see some of your favourite bands for mostly free courtesy of the resurgence of the instore performance/signing event.
Most of the shows are free although for some of the bigger acts you'll need to pick up a wristband from the store that day and occasionally you will have to fork out. Then afterwards you can ask your idols to sign that lovely new release you picked up on the way in, or the dog eared copy of their last NME interview you brought with you.
So far this year if you'd made your way down to the basement of the Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street you could have seen Thirteen Senses, Athlete, The Others, Bloc Pary and Rufus Wainright.
Down the road at HMV last night Londonist favourites the Kaiser Chiefs played to those who were able to pick up wrist bands that day; and Londonist favourites (for all the wrong reasons) Girls Aloud have also been seen strutting their stuff there recently.
So anyone who's around the Tottenham Court Road area this evening could do far worse than dropping into Virgin to see Idlewild at 6.00 (their album is growing on us) before heading off to the pub/home.
Also coming up at the Megastore this month we have:
Acoustic songsmith James Blunt (pictured) on the 10th at 6.30.
A back to basics Stereophonics on the 14th at 6.00, tickets on sale at 9am that morning.
Dance/rock/whatever from Moby when he plays on the 15th at 6.30, tickets available from 8.00am that morning.
And finally emo rockers Jimmy Eats World appear on the 21st at 6.30.
More dates as we hear about them.
Go see a band for free. After all, if you hate them, you can always leave without having wasted your hard earned cash.