Why Entitlement Is Killing The Passion In Music by Laurence

biffyiow.jpg

I don't know why I'm writing this, but after seeing a lot of things recently I wanted to concisely organise my thoughts in some way. Yesterday, my favourite band Enter Shikari announced a UK tour for early 2015. In amongst the dates were the regulars (London Roundhouse, Cardiff etc) and one or two not-so-regulars (Middlesborough, Wolverhampton). A few weeks ago, Deaf Havana announced a UK tour for December that took in a lot of B and C towns (i.e. not the major places). In both cases, people were happy with the dates, but a lot of people were moaning and expecting these bands to come and visit their cities on every tour (mostly because they live in the main cities - Birmingham etc). Birmingham is a 15 minute train ride away from Wolverhampton (I know, I've done it many times before), yet fans couldn't be bothered to do it and expected the band to come to them.

Even after playing an (approx.) 10,000 cap headline show at Alexandra Palace in London in February, the deluge of complaints against A Day to Remember about their November UK tour were about the lack of a London show. I really don't understand why fans couldn't look at that fact and think "They played a massive show in February, it's unlikely they'd sell another out only a few months later" or even better "They're obviously visiting towns that they don't normally get to - that's fair enough!".

It's this entitlement, this belief that as a fan of a band or act we deserve something, that I feel is killing a lot of the passion and excitement of modern day music.

Take for example, a release. Every time a band or act releases a new song, track or album, there are people who always comment "It's not [past album] though, isn't it?" or "This is such a change in sound, what sell outs!". They never take into account that (most of the time) the musician has written the album that they want to write (of course there are acts that are dictated by record labels and management) and therefore this album has a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears in it.

Imagine if you had spent weeks creating something that you loved and were extremely proud of. You showed it to the people that support you and they just wanted it to be something you had created in the past. How soul destroying must that be? Why should the fans expect a band to make a certain type of album? I understand to some extent that the fans allow the growth of an act, but surely if they're making the same music time and time again, they're not going anywhere? I guarantee that if the anti-new-sound fans came to a new release with an open mind, they might actually enjoy it and like it. However, of course, that's not what they think they deserve. They want their favourite band to make their favourite album again...sigh.

This also spills into the live element of music. With every tour announcement I see, there are fans (who all live in the UK) that moan about the lack of a show in their major town. There are people in Scotland, Ireland and Wales who are missing shows in their countries (which is fair enough - a London, Manchester and Birmingham date isn't exactly a UK tour, is it Linkin Park?). I also understand that to some younger fans, travelling to shows is unsafe and expensive (unless you can talk your parents into it).

However, it is also the most exciting part. All through my teenage years I had the opportunity to travel to new cities, different places and fresh venues to watch my favourite bands play. Train tickets would cost about a tenner, a Travelodge was another tenner and then maybe a drink or two. Why not save up and make a weekend out of it? Instead of spending your money on absolute rubbish and treat yourself every so often to a show in a new city. Bands spend all their time in a van/bus travelling to each town to play a show, why are fans too lazy to hopping on a train or bus or coach and explore a new place?

No fan deserves a show in their town. No tour can go to every town or city in the country. If a tour doesn't come to where you live, it's no-one's fault. You should never expect anything from your favourite musician(s), except the opportunity to enjoy the music or shows they create.

However, I've also noticed it from the other side. I've witnessed bands (on a personal level too) who have dropped the people that have supported them from the start, and only spend their time on the big-shots - the people who will keep them comfortably where they are. There are bands who come onto stages to play shows and just play it for the sake of having to play the show. These bands expect fans to be there every time they play - and it's lazy. If you're a band or an act who is getting into music for any other reason than you love it, then shame on you. Lazy musicians who think they are entitled to a fanbase lose their passion and become boring - really boring. I've witnessed shows where I wish I hadn't been there simply because the band had got too lazy and wasn't putting on a performance.

I saw Foo Fighters a few weeks back in a venue that held 600 people tops. They're one of the biggest bands in the world, and it was easily one of my favourite shows ever. Dave Grohl even said they were doing it because they loved playing shows to fans - there's a band who haven't got lazy.

I guess what I'm trying to say is - from both sides - don't feel you are ever entitled to anything. If a band wants to make a certain album or tour in a certain city, it's not up to you. You should feel lucky that your favourite band is still playing and support them in other ways (buy a shirt, their new CD etc). On the flip side, bands should never expect fans to be there. You should work for them, earn them, play the toilet circuit a million times and then they'll stay with you for a long time to come.

This is why I feel that lazy fans and lazy bands are killing passion in the music industry, why bands are splitting up left, right and centre, and why I feel that they are only a handful of bands that are keeping the rock scene alive.

Of course, I may be wrong and I'm open to debate - feel free to leave a comment or tweet me @LaurenceHebberd. If you don't agree with me, that's great - I may have just got my thoughts in the wrong order!

P.S. follow my blog with Bloglovin!

REVIEW: Mallory Knox live at The Garage (15th January 2013) by Laurence

malloryknoxgarage1.jpg

Tonight’s show is a special one for Mallory Knox. Not only is it a sold-out headline London show (an important milestone for any band), but it’s also a measly six days before the release of their debut album “Signals”, and as one of two album release shows it’s a chance for the band to show the world that they are about to take a very big next step in their career. I first saw Mallory Knox just over two years ago in a smaller London venue – the Camden Barfly where they were supporting Failsafe (the band who performed on The Inbetweeners – remember that?), and I instantly fell in love with their sound from the get-go. Ever since then, I’ve caught them supporting a whole variety of bands (and doing a great job each time), but it’s nice to see that tonight it’s their turn to be the bride, rather than the bridesmaid.

This show is a cosy one, and even before doors open there’s a queue of kids eager and ready to get inside (and it’s freezing cold, so kudos to them!). The support comes in two guises – Coastline, a four piece from Kent who would fit really well on a bill with We Are The Ocean or Deaf Havana, have strong vocals, tight songs and poppy melodies. Spy Catcher are much rougher with a pure punk feel but are still brilliant. They both warrant polite applause and nodding heads from the crowd – nothing to do with the band’s music, they’re all just here for one reason: Mallory Knox.

As the stars of the show take to the stage at around 9.30pm, the audience are ready to be shown what all the fuss and hype is about, and that most certainly happens. There’s a sense of excitement in the air with a deafening cheer sounding out as all five members take to the stage. Opening with recent single ‘Wake Up’, frontman Mikey Chapman gets the audience jumping and moving from the offset. The band take no time in running through a set list made up of brand new tracks from their debut album “Signals” (released January 21st), live favourites and golden oldies.

Songs such as ‘Hello’ and ‘Death Rattle’, both found on “Signals” and released earlier in 2012, get the crowd jumping, moshing and circle-pitting with the help of Dave Rawling’s precision-driven drumming. ‘Lighthouse’ (their latest single) has its live debut, after being championed by Daniel P Carter on Radio 1, and goes down a storm with the kids singing the lyrics back in waves of excitement (I couldn’t help it, I’m sorry!).

Old favourites such as ‘Oceans’ and ‘Resuscitate’ are met by cheers of excitement as the first notes ring in, with a large majority of the room singing every word back at the band on stage. After being a staple of their set for a long time, and now with the new album on the horizon (sorry! I’ve done it again) it’s nice to see the band play brand new tracks, and tonight we are treated to two – ‘Misdemeanor’ and ‘Beggars’. ‘Misdemeanor’, a track with no prior radio or live play, brings out a heavier side to the band, with darker lyrics than normal sung by Mikey and bassist Sam Douglas. ‘Beggars’ has a very similar sound, and having only been premiered the night before as Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record In The World on Radio 1, it already has some of the crowd singing along, especially with Joe Savins’ and James Gillett’s catchy guitar riffs (a staple part of the Mallory Knox sound).

There is a definite divide in tonight’s audience – the younger, more energetic members can be found at the front moshing, dancing and jumping, whereas the older, more relaxed members at the back are just enjoying the show for what it is – a damn good rock show. Both sets have smiles on their faces as they watch a band who have not stopped growing in popularity blow them away.

It is obvious that Mallory Knox enjoy being a band, and they’re certainly not afraid to show it. It’s rare to see a band who love being on stage as much as their audience love watching them, and as they bounce about the stage, stopping to listen and smile to sing-backs and loud cheers from the crowd, it’s grounding to see that they are humbled by the reaction and the success coming their way. This isn’t a group of stuck-up, arrogant rockstars – this is a group of friends who have worked together to create something interesting and build a following for themselves, and it’s well deserved.

If you’re a fan of hooky riffs, catchy choruses, easy sing-along lyrics and having a good time, you’re in for a treat. Look out for Mallory Knox – they’ll be supporting Don Broco on their (almost sold-out) headline tour alongside Hey Vanity in February and March, and then who knows what’s next for them after that? World domination: that’s for sure.

(This article originally appeared on Amplified.tv.)

F YEAH: Pirate & Cobie by Laurence

piratecobie.jpg

Well, here we go again. F Yeah blog number 2. If you haven't read my first blog (on Swim Good), you can right here. Thank you to everyone who did read it and the nice comments I received - it feels good that people do give a damn! I felt this next one had to go out as soon as possible, and it may be a bit short - but let's roll with it, shall we?

Pirate & Cobie

Pirate & Cobie Now, I'll put this out there: these won't be for everyone. But there's nothing in life that will please everyone. If you're into Bombay Bicycle Club, Two Door Cinema Club or Foals, take a look and check them out... I love stumbling across new bands - bands that you haven't heard about before but are a name on people's lips. This is certainly a case of that - and I wanted to quickly tell you about them. At the end of December last year (literally the final weekend), my friend (let's call her Captain B so she doesn't get all big headed and boastful but doesn't have a go at me for not mentioning her) was working at a small show in Brighton at a place called the Green Door Store (it rhymes and everything!). On the bill were a couple of bands - but the headline band were playing their last show due to their vocalist leaving for Brazil. This band were called Pirate & Cobie. The venue was lovely - go take a visit if you do get a chance, they have lots of free nights on. Plus Brighton is AMAZING. The support bands were really good and definitely warmed the crowd up, but tonight was all about the main band. I don't know whether it was the fact the crowd were filled with family and friends, or that a few Strawberry and Lime Rekorderligs taste so nice that they can make you enjoy a gig more, but you can't help but jig to these guys. This was the first time I had ever heard their stuff or seen them live - and I instantly knew this was a band I was well and truly into. The music was different, it all worked together well, and they certainly had a lot of talent. Here's their track Stay (which was a particular dancey track on the night - they even played it twice, with a conga in the encore!). Listen all the way through until the end, seriously: [soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/28416693" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] Pirate & Cobie, from Crawley, decided to call it a day and made this their final show. You can still enjoy a band after they've ended though, right? I haven't had a full chance to fully dive into their back catalogue (due to New Years' and work) - but you can right now on either their SoundCloud or their BandCamp. What I've heard so far is brilliant! They also have a Facebook page that you can visit and a website too! Maybe it's the fact that they reminded me of bands which have gone before them that I loved, or it was just the fun surroundings of a small quirky venue filled with people having a good time - they're blooming good. The guitars, the vocals, the breakdowns, the drums - it's all just the right mix. Alas, all is not lost! A few of the members have begun a new band called Bored Games! Take a look at their Facebook or give them a tweet (@BoredGamesBand) - you may fall in love with them as much as I did with these lot. They may be a band that you listen to every day, or a band you listen to once in a while, but, still, they're Pirate & bloomin' Cobie! I had never heard of them about a week or so ago, and now I listen to them a hell of a lot, and you should to! I'll leave you with an acoustic version of the track above (good, isn't it?): [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNLMo6iBX2s] Until next time!

F YEAH: Swim Good by Laurence

swimgood.jpg

Hello! This is my first F Yeah blog of 2013, and it's bit of a selfish one (I'll explain why later). If you haven't seen the intro, F Yeah is a little place where each day I'll write about a band/film/place/thing I enjoy and hopefully it'll be something that you'll like and we can all enjoy the good things in life, eh? A bit of positivity each day for 2013 for me. Anyway...

Swim Good

I first heard about this band in August 2012. 13th August 2012, to be precise, at the Don Broco 'Priorities' release show in Camden. Two guys were selling Broco's merch, and at the end I got chatting to both of them - turned out they were in a band.

One of the guys sent me some tracks - and I loved them. Those two guys turned out to be Curtis (left in the photo below) and Joe (second right in the photo below).

I checked out their Facebook page, had a listen to some more tracks and started going to some of their shows. I gradually got other people involved (they know who they are), and we watched this band grow.

Since then, Swim Good have played shows all over the country (Leeds, Guildford, London - far flung places!) with a wide variety of bands (Don Broco, Scholars, Paige etc). I've seen them a good few times live though, and there's just something about them.

swimgood

That's them there. What an ugly bunch, eh? That photo's taken by Cody Gray by the way - check out her photography, she's lovely!

Right, back to Swim Good. Firstly, let's look at their music - here's their track Better Things - take a listen:

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/54188425" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

It's good isn't it? Catchy, very catchy! Guitar pop punk with a indie feel, yeah? However, there's a certain vibe about Swim Good - a live vibe. Sometimes you hear bands and you think: Yeah, you're good, but there's no energy!

You need energy to enjoy a song (most of the time). You don't want to be listening to music and be bored, you want energy in the music that gets you pumped (unless you want to chill out).

This is where these guys are special. Not only do they have a live vibe at shows, but on their tracks too. Trust me - they do. Here's a live video from their show in London last October:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsmY2vbt67o]

Now take a listen to the track again, and you can imagine the live vibe - the energy. You can imagine Ryan (vocals) prancing and jumping around like a nut, can't you? Curtis being a spring on the bass? Joe banging those drums like a....well. And Dan (guitar) - well he's just being Dan isn't he?

Give them a shot. Who knows, you might like them! If not, at least you gave it a go!

Here's another quick track, called People Like You:

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/56929223" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

They have a lot of great things coming up in 2013 - more shows, tours, a split EP, merch - the whole lot. If you like them, get on board early, as these guys are going to blow up massively. I've heard their new stuff - it's a big step up!

One last thing, if you do get a chance to see them - make sure you have a chat afterwards. You may have even done this if you saw Don Broco live on the Lower Than Atlantis / Billy Talent tour - Curtis (bassist) was selling merch for them! What a legend!

This is where the selfish bit comes in - these guys are some of the friendliest bunch you'll meet. Seriously. I've had a chance to rage with them many a time (and hopefully many more in 2013). However I liked the band before the people (and that's why I don't feel so bad), so that's why I'm trying to push them. They're a good bunch of guys, they work hard, and they have something about them - they deserve more listeners.

If you want to find out more about Swim Good, you can take a look at their Facebook page or tweet them (@SwimGoodUK).

There you have it - my first F Yeah of 2013. Sorry if it was a bit rubbish/short/lame. I'll try and make them better as the year goes on. If you have a band or a movie or a place or a thing that you enjoy, let me know - I plan to do one of these for each day of the year. Let's hope I make it!

Happy new year everyone!

P.S. I am not F Yeah Swim Good. Seriously. Don't suggest it, because it's not me. OK?