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Don´t get it...do you?!
Saw them in Manchester last week and was very worried when there were maybe 50 people in the audience for Jamie Isaac's set (he deserved better, by the way). Place had filled out a bit by the time These New Puritans came on but it was still by no means packed out. Such a shame.
shame. i know a few people that checked them out on the back of the press they got and they werent into it. baroque-prog isn't a seller i guess.
But his voice on it really grates and so I thought about going to the Manchester gig but decided it wasn't with the drive just to end up with my toes curling. I guess they don't have an angle which means they're a 'must see' live.
I like that sort of music, but his voice doesn't really suit IMO
bit strange. were tickets for all the shows 18 odd quid or is it just leeds? that put me off a fair bit, if it was like 14 might be busier. just feels a bit off paying over fifteen quid for them. appreciate they must have a quite expensive live show to put on but still.
yeah sort of understand why the show wouldn't be well attended, you usually expect this tier of band to be around £12.
because from experience a lot of the audience at such gig are mates of fans who are taking a punt on the show, harder to do that for a show closer to £20 than £10
But wasn't sure about the £20 price tag for myself, let alone convincing anyone else to go see a band they didn't know for that price.
It's not a massive difference, but if it had been £12-£15 then I'd have definitely been there.
Simples innit really.
Don't recall any of them being poorly attended, even the ones I expect to be poorly attended. Always venues at least 3/4 full
Why are These New Puritans playing 1/2 full venues and only 5 people are actually watching the band?
wages are stagnating while the cost of living is rising, utility prices are going up, and people generally have less disposable income to spend seeing These New Puritans?
small venue tour to start (12 pound a pop).
then a couple of full orchestra ones - those all sold out, and were marvellous and werent cheap!.
It's something people are afraid to talk about, and until anyone goes bankrupt, it won't be a story.
With record labels no longer able to invest in tour support, new artists are finding it increasingly hard to develop a live profile (and I'd class TNP as a new band, even tho they've had love from DiS and things like a shock NME album of the year... remember that only about 20k people read the NME, and mostly to read about Oasis, Kasabian, Muse, etc...).
I guess there are three factors conspiring here...
Labels used to fund support tours, even tho record labels make nothing back from live earning, it was all about helping to build a fanbase for an act. Labels are still the ones who buy the tickets for journalists to preview/review gigs. Labels are still the ones paying for the PR team to promote the record and the live dates. Some promoters/venues have inhouse PR teams, but it's very rare DiS ever hears from them (although one promoter did tell me they were pushing for an Ed Harcourt feature on Drowned in Sound......?!)
With labels now unable to really invest in live, and promoters feeling it isn't traditionally their place to invest - they consider marketing and risk their investment, which is fair enough - but the support act often only gets £50-£100, so can barely cover costs. With record earnings down and live fees perhaps not what they once were (especially if acts are playing smaller venues), acts are surviving from festival fees. Meanwhile, festivals are becoming reliant on buzz acts and reformed bands to sell tickets.
THE FESTIVALIZATION OF MUSIC
You could argue festivals are expensive all you can eat buffets, which suck a lot of cash out of the live music economy. That's not to mention how at festivals acts don't get soundchecks or much in the way of lighting (unless they're headliners), so to play a festival build an audience from playing a 30 minute set can be a massive challenge, especially for acts which didn't have a helluva lot of buzz in the weeks before.
Then there's the shift online. Promoters have been slow to adjust their marketing to the web and the decline of local media means that a lot of what promoters traditionally did to promote a gig isn't really working. Social media presents a lot of challenges to promote gigs - I've found it really hard to even get Ed Harcourt's fans in Sweden who already like his Facebook page to be aware that he's touring there next week, for instance. Things like Songkick are great, but much like iTunes, it's an external force. There's also the fact that promoters (as far as I know) and ticketing companies don't share any information with the artist, which makes building up a database of fans that bit harder - and you'd think it would be in everyone's interests to resale tickets to the same people in the same city. Or make related fanbases aware of an act playing nearby (or at a venue a punter frequents).
Anyway, this is all finger to the wind stuff, I'm sure some acts get different deals. I want to flesh this all out and do some more research but that's just a few of things I've noticed (as an outsider who has stuck my head inside of the live world a little bit over the years) that felt relevant to this conversation.
Precisely the reason I didn't go and see them in Bristol as they were part of the Simple Things festival. I was worried about how my favourite album of the year would be presented with people coming and going (and chatting) at a primarily electronic music event, potential poor sound, shorter set etc.
I would have gone to a proper TNP show in a heartbeat and might have made the wrong decision but at 40 quid a ticket, I wasn't prepared to take the risk. Then again that might have been the only way they could afford to play in Bristol.
Some really interesting points there.
Bit worrying though...because for ages quite a few people have been 'justifying' Spotify and even torrenting by saying that it's all about discovering bands that they then pay to see live etc. But that doesn't really seem to be panning out.
I think one of the oddest things I've noticed is the levels of respect for musicians dropping. I'm not saying it's directly related to streaming but I've been to too many gigs in the past few years that have been ruined by crowds talking incessantly. Then again, even at A Winged Victory... at Sadler's Wells, which was essentially a ballet, some dickhead behind me kept talking every few minutes. Coulda killed them.
i saw local natives last week and it was full of groups chatting with friends with their back turned to the stage
local natives were rampant over festival season so i'm assuming a fair few picked up tickets to what was not a sold out gig off the back of a festival slot
is just something people do now as a night out/event rather then to see the bands. People who aren't ''music fans'' (in DiS etc kind of way) go to hang out and have some beers with some music in the background.
And the whole photos at gigs debate goes on but at least they used to be photos of the band. So many times I see groups of people just taking photos of their group all in a circle on even fancing the stage.
I was trying to explain some of what has changed in this Reading review http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4146799-an-alternative-music-festival-or-a-clap-a-long-athon-reading-2013-reviewed
But I coulda written the same thing when I saw Andrew Bird at Koko a few years ago. I was livid. Hate that venue, so many noisy bastards.
Your comment about Koko really rings true with me. Not sure of this is sweeping generalisation but I guess with London being the national / creative / industry capital, it naturally breeds a culture where live music is as much about status and being seen as it is about enjoying the experience. In fact, I'd argue that most of the gigs that sell out do so because well over the half of the audience are jumping on bandwagon's / accessoring through taste etc.
I know that element of showiness has always been there, but the access to music that we have now would have been unprecedented 10 years ago and resultantly audiences are more fickle and artists face broader competition from more heavily marketed acts.
Also being hit by high costs of venue bars, meaning people are increasingly reluctant to be in a venue for much longer than they have to for the main act.
if only they hadn't neglected the Midlands completely
LIKE ERRYONE ELSE
Birmingham's sposed to be the second city
tickets sales generally for arty/leftfield acts have dropped massively in the last few years. i think this is because people have had instant easy access to all the music in the world for a few years now. therefore if something isn't instantly likeable, people will click onto something that is.
before the internet, consumers made an investment when buying an album they probably hadn't heard most of so, if it was "difficult" or "different", they would stick with it, listen more intently than today's consumer and eventually maybe grow to love it all the more because of its originality.
this is why bands like London Grammar and Bastille are so popular today, because they sound like a slightly different take on 1 or 2 bands that have been popular in recent times, ie it's a familiar sound played out with familiar melodies.
like i said, depressing.
I wonder if my opinion of Field of Reeds would be different if I'd exposed myself so much to the pre-release streaming stuff; I say this partly because I was initially disappointed by the new Mt. Kimbie (which I now really like) because I felt like I'd already heard so much of it (as I'd listened to the tracks they put on Soundcloud before it was released) and just didn't feel so interested.
My general policy is - if I'm anticipating an upcoming release - I'll listen to one or two tracks; and, if it's streamed on NPR or whatever, I'll click through to random points just to get a small taste. I'll only listen to it properly once I own it.
Also, for some reason, I just can't usually be bothered with listening to an album via on online stream. Don't now why.
the latter doesn't the same bombast (We Want War in Victoria Secret ads) or indie pop (Hologram). Without debating the merits of FoR, it's not an album that screams: Come See This Live, is it...?
like TNP aren't overcharging based on what their costs are, they just cant do gigs for the same cost as your regular 4 piece guitar band can, so they have to bump up the prices, but people arent willing to pay more (which is fair enough).
jamie from the irrepressibles mentioned the same thing a few days ago at a gig, that its easier for them to do one of shows in europe than do a full UK tour.
... but beyond critical love, am I missing something where they should be playing sell-out crowds? It's not like they're selling a boat load of records as well. They don't really strike me as an act that would be too interesting to see live, personally.
As much as I enjoy Field of Reeds I was in two minds about seeing them at Simple Things just because I thought they'd be a bit dull live. As it turns out they weren't, but I only saw them in the end because the band in the foyer were really, really bad.
which is where the gig was i think? not wembley or anything, but I'm sure there are 500 people in manchester who would have gone to see them if tickets hadn't been £18.
i wanted to go to electric brixton but it was £20 which i thought was quite a lot to be honest.
gigs cost too much these days. Ten years ago I could go to a gig for the price of three pints. Today I cannot.
do you have any idea how much pints cost these days*
*I just realized I live in the south east so my pints cost a fucking tonne.
I was gonna say 2 pints at first, then I realised how cheap a pint was back then and decided I'd be accused of talking shite.
as you were
just go to good gigs put on by cool DIY bands and none of this major label rubbish like These New Puritans or whatever
It's written a lot that bands have to make their money now a days from live performances and merch. Are they not just all out there trying to do it at the same time with not enough audience to go round?
I was surprised at the size of the TNPs crowd in Manchester but there were a couple of other gigs that night I wouldn't have minded going to instead.
'Field of Reeds' IS a brilliant record, but it doesn't have as many singles/standout tracks that the last couple did. That, plus a combination of the high(er) ticket cost, probably put a lot of people off.
is there anyone else here who likes Jack's vocals?
I mean, they're never gonna be a serious Wire magazine kind of band, but they don't fit in with the sort of Wild Beasts-esque slightly 'experimental' British indie thing either. I think there is a kind of mistrust with regards to TNP- I've failed get into them because I find them too self aware, but that might not be a fair judgement to be honest, more of a 'feeling' I get in terms of finding them pretentious or try-hard, yet I don't feel the same way about, say, Sufjan Stevens (off the top of my head), who similarly is part indie rock/folk/w/e, part experimental, and makes conceptual records (albeit slightly less earnestly than TNP).
It might not be relevant to their gigs being badly attended, but I think often we look to an American tradition of indie experimentalism for the sort of music that These New Puritans make, and perhaps find those US artists more 'authentic' than when artists from the UK do similar stuff. Which isn't really fair I guess.
and I think it works great on new album. Truth is Field of Reeds reached a level of richness and sophistication that even NME had a hard time processing it and now struggle on how to sell them as cool. You saw a similar stumble when Kid A came out and they tried to dismiss it as "try hard" or purposefully difficult. Odd thing is that I find Field of Reeds to be more accessible then most of the difficult albums people keep trying to compare it to.
Field of Reeds is also very different then Hidden which I guess was more immediate because it moved faster and seemingly had more structure but it wasn't far off in it's experimental nature and structured concept. I assume their next album will be different from all their albums as they don't strike me as a band that repeats themselves. So it's odd to me we've tried to push them into a corner off the basis of one album. Either way it's a tragedy they aren't selling places out but frankly they are just too damn good right now for this time and place. I'm absolutely fascinated on what they are going to do next and I'll be listening to Field of Reeds and Hidden for many years to come. To me a band like this is a rare thing and i'm often disappointed that stuff that I find so much artistic merit in is often overlooked and underappreciated in thrall of more disposable stuff. It's also sad they're full ambition can never be realized because of budgetary issues. It's another casualty of the everything now internet age.