Of course every band, every songwriter, will say that it’s all about the music and, funnily enough, one or two of this massively self-indulgent vampire breed may even be telling the truth. On the other side of the stagelights lie the audience, most of whom are simply happy to be out of the house, have a night out, hear the latest noise, laugh at the funny haircuts and get happily pissed. On both sides there may yet lie here and there, unsullied and overlooked, a sweet naivete, a purity even, in the desire to pass and receive the crucial information: the joy and the sadness, the tragicomedy: living, loving, losing and dying, celebrated and lamented through the shared rush, explosion and shocking intimacy of live music. On a good night it is all so simple. Give a band a stage and who knows, maybe they’ll have a tune or two, a bit of style, humour even, so let them play, let them play and maybe they will play with love and passion for an audience that has long, long, long been aching to hear something, anything at all really, but something alive and real: a desperate howl, a cry in anger, a belly laugh or a melody full of joy. It is the friendly voice which tells us that, despite all rumours and evidence to the contrary, yes, there is life on this planet after all.
Now, we may well wonder why we all ventured out of the house tonight in the first place. In an ideal world we would have heard about the band from that purest source of all: our Pal. Our Pal said they’re fuckin good, so let’s go see them. So we go see them, even if it’s just to tell our Pal that he/she has cloth ears. However, generally speaking, before any of this may come to pass the Devil must have his due. How did our Pal come to hear of the band in the first instance? Perhaps a Radio Plugger has been paid to perform whichever dark arts where deemed necessary in order to secure a spot on one of the precious playlists of National Radio, pride of the airwaves. Alternatively, it could be that some maverick DJ has, through some unlikely coming together of random factors, stumbled across the band (or had them stumble across him/her) and has decided to give them one or two plays in the late-night downtime. Or perhaps the bottom-feeding PR Consultant has brought us here tonight. We may have been on our way to work on the bus the other morning and, having a few bleak moments of inbetween time to colour in, wearily picked up the free and easy newspaper for commuters. Perhaps we turned to the music pages and found that our jaded gaze was caught by something which looked a wee bit different and just happened to be playing in our town this week. Or it could have been some relentless zealot of a Manager push, push, pushing at doors locked and unlocked, a Promoter who heard the band are pulling some numbers these days and should be added to a flagging bill, a Record Label, Booking Agent, Pimp, Drug Dealer, the many and varying honourable professions which arrive long, long before band and audience in the pecking order. Etcetera.
It doesn’t really matter which beat of the butterfly’s wing brought us here tonight. The important thing is that we are here. The lights go down and perhaps the noise goes from beery bedlam to conspiratorial curiosity as the band take to the stage. They’re kind of funny looking. Never mind. Let’s hear what they have to say for themselves.
A New International play King Tut’s tonight, Saturday 11th January. Tell your friends.