Notes From The City

By Londonist_Laura Last edited 150 months ago
Notes From The City

Notes From The City

This week started well - Wednesday night was Regina Spektor at Shepherds Bush Empire. I'll be posting a proper gig review soon but let's just say she didn't disappoint, and proved even more alluring live than on record.

For me gigging this week was all about the covers. The weekend saw another trek across the country to deliver rock and pop tunes to the party people, this time at a rather posh corporate do in Chester. A well-known and very funny comedian went on first (my favourite line: "I hate sat nav. It's crap, innit? I'd rather have a midget in the boot with a map"), then we took to the stage, my frayed combats and red Converse contrasting nicely with the audience's smart dresses and shirts. Oh I do love playing rock music.

The set went down really well and, as often happens when the alcohol flows freely and the audience dance about and get excited, a few people hung around afterwards for a chat. It's really nice to be complimented on a performance but I normally try to avoid getting in to too many of those kinds of conversations, especially with men, who, in my experience, usually only either exaggeratedly praise you in an attempt to flirt or take the opportunity to try and challenge you as a performer. Any musician will be able to tell you about the people who come up to you after a show, seemingly to tell you they enjoyed it, then start telling you what's wrong with your band/songs/clothes:

"That was great, I loved your set, BUT I think you should...[fill in the gap]"

While I and the rest of the band were packing the gear away our friend who had driven us to the gig took the brunt of the conversational tactics of a certain young man who, during the last two songs of the set, had stood directly in front of me staring intently at my bass. He actually didn't take his eyes off it once during those two songs - I just thought maybe he was a bass player trying to catch me making a mistake so didn't pay much attention. Afterwards he wandered up with a friend of his and launched in to a big speech about the music industry and his place within it (please note he works for a credit card company in Chester).

We'll call him 'Guy Who Knows Everything' (GWKE) and his friend 'Guy Who Knows Nothing' (GWKN), for reasons that will become clear. The band's driver friend is X.

GWNE: Great set, man. Really liked the band. I love music, me, I'm really impressed.

X: Yeah, they're great eh?

GWNN: I don't know a thing about playing but I love to watch. I tried playing guitar but it was a disaster.

[to GWKE] You liked the band? I thought you produced hardcore trance?

GWKE: That might be what I do but it doesn't mean I don't know music, you know? I love live music, and this band are great but I have one problem with them. They have to find their own sound. All the best bands have. Oasis - got their own sound. Embrace - got their own sound.

[all the while me and the rest of the band are studiously ignoring GWNE and packing up the gear]

GWKE [to himself, mainly, remember he's seriously pissed]: Yeah, I think you've got it. But there is one problem. I've been watching your entire set, it was good stuff, you've really got something. But there is just one problem.

X: What?

GWKE: It's all covers, innit. [adopts troubled expression] You need to find your own sound. Just a couple of originals slipped in would do it. I stood there for the whole set waiting for you to play some of your own songs.

X: Um, well, the thing is...they're a covers band.

GWKE: Yeah yeah, but the problem is, they're a good band but they're not going to get anywhere playing these kind of gigs.

GWKN: You should listen to him, he's a producer. Who did you say you know again?

GWKE [very proudly]: Ultrabeat.

GWKN: Yeah, listen to him, he knows people.

GWKE: Look here, I'm not a manager, right? But I do know people and I can get things in the right places. I can't promise to get you to the very top but I can get you started.

[looks at me packing up the microphones]

Now, she can play bass. Yep, she can play, but what else can she do?

X: She has her own band.

GWKE: Nah, nah, it's this band I like. But is she in it for the music or the money?

And I have to admit, while playing covers songs at weddings and parties can be a fun and entertaining way to spend the weekend, sadly, yes, in that particular area of my musical career I'm in it for the money.

As promised last week, here's a small selection of the little gigs that you should check out if you have the chance:


6th - Dexy - POP, Soho

7th - Brickface + Glass + Grosvenor - 2Bob @ The Fox, Lewisham

8th - Popular Workshop + The Far Cries - The Luminaire, Kilburn

13th - Popular Workshop + Bretton - The Live Bar, Deptford

16th - Dexy - Dirty South, Lewisham

Until next week...

This Week's Five

1. Asleep At The Wheel - The Cinematics - link

2. January Heart - Carina Round - brand new website

3. Frankly Mr Shankly - The Smiths

4. War Of The Worlds - My Vitriol - link

5. Rock Show - Peaches - link

Last Updated 30 August 2006