Live Music & Events

What Does Live Music Mean To You?

Music can garner an intensely personal and emotional response, especially when it’s performed live. For many people, live music is not just a job – it’s a way of life. Here we speak to people that work in all areas of the music industry, about what this art form means to them and why it’s so important.

Becc_400x400What does live music mean to you?

For me it’s about feeling a connection with the artist, the song, and the journey that that experience takes you on, as well as the energy of the audience.

I love the way that you can be in an audience of thousands and go from feeling like you’re the only person in the room, to then, in the next song, be swept off your feet by the energy of the crowd in the room. That’s powerful.

Why is live music important (generally)?

It’s transformative – like nothing you get with recorded music.

Live music creates bookmarks in people’s lives. I remember things that were going on in my life around the gigs that I was at – be it Midnight Oil at Rockets Stadium when I was 16, The Angels out at the Bridgeway when I was 18, or more recently, The Jezebels at Laneways or TKay Maidza up at BigSound. They were all amazing in different ways and are experiences that stay with you forever.

What makes for a great gig. “I love gigs where…”? 

I love gigs where you can see that the artists on stage are having a great time and really getting into it. The audience can feel that and it snowballs into a great vibe. I love gigs where I leave feeling completely saturated in music.

What needs to be done to encourage more live music?

In my personal opinion, I think that the live music scene would benefit from more local music being played on commercial radio and written up in mainstream papers. At the moment there is a disconnect between what we hear on commercial radio and what is in our local music venues. I know that a lot happens online, but that’s usually speaking to the converted. Likewise, some community radio does a great job speaking to people that are music lovers already. But I think that if the mainstream media began (seriously) helping to generate new audiences for live local music it would be amazing. I think that if it is made as easy as possible for people to hear more new Australian music and then be able to go out in their home town and see it, it would help all round – culturally and economically.

I’m going to sound really old now, but those live gigs that shaped my teenage life were bands that I’d heard on local mainstream radio and read about in local press. I’m talking about Midnight Oil, Screaming Jets, The Angels, Baby Animals etc. That kind of commercial exposure just doesn’t happen as easily for local bands anymore, sadly.

What does live music mean to you?

Well, it’s our sonic culture in the broadest sense. I see music as part of our cultural heritage so it is part of who we are and who I am.

Why is live music important (generally)?

Music is the language of emotion and so we are not complete people without it.

What makes for a great gig? “I love gigs where…”? 

A great gig can work on many levels but I think it’s got something to do with the connection between audience and artist. That can be emotion, energy, conceptual or all of these things. But it’s a connection in both directions. Artists feed off their audience as much as audiences feed off incredible music. One thing is for sure, it’s got nothing to do with genre.

What needs to be done to encourage more live music?

In some ways nothing because it will happen naturally. However, we must be forever vigilant to prevent bureaucratic impediments and half assed political fixes (i.e. non evidence-based policy) getting traction. We must remember that regulators have historically been fearful of the power of music. It’s a fragile scene. The conditions for making music need regulatory space or it can’t happen. Every city in Australia is fighting the impact of unjustified non evidence-based laws and regulations so that musicians can just get in that flow state to make music. This fight will and has to continue.

Graham_Ashton_thumb

What does live music mean to you?

Ever since I was 16 years old, going to gigs has been a vital part of my life personally and professionally.  The best way to describe what it means to me is to explain that if I am ever stressed or uncomfortable and walk into a busy loud live venue I start to feel relaxed and at home.
Why is live music important (generally)?

Music is the only truly universal language and it comes in many shapes and forms. But the communication between the artist and the audience in the live sphere is much more intimate and personal that in it’s other forms.
What makes for a great gig? “I love gigs where…”?

Like a great song, a great gig is all about emotional connection.  The last truly great gig I saw was a Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds show and it had everything.  Joy, sadness, danger and of course true emotional connection.

What needs to be done to encourage more live music?

Human beings need to put down their electronic devices, get off the couch, find an artist they love and pay to see them perform until they get shivers up their back.

Visit the Footstomp music website: http://www.footstompmusic.com/

What does live music mean to you?

Discovering the all ages live music scene in the early nineties helped shaped the adult that I am today.  I remember feeling like I’d found the place I wanted to be, the people I wanted to be with and the things I wanted to do with my life.  It is still that to me today.

Why is live music important (generally)?

It brings people together.  Sometimes it can bring together people from wildly different backgrounds who are united by that one common thing, perhaps the love of a particular band, or artist or venue.  This creates communities and communities in general are incredibly important in making people feel as though they belong, whether that’s in a crowded inner city or an isolated rural town.

What makes for a great gig. “I love gigs where…?”

To me what makes a great live gig is the spontaneous or the unexpected.  Some times a train wreck of a performance can be just as great as a perfectly executed show.  At the end of the night I love feeling like I witnessed something unusual or different or that I was a part of something special.  I also love gigs where I see friends I haven’t seen in ages.  Not long ago I went to see Nada Surf play in Sydney by myself and before I even walked in the front door I started bumping in to old mates.  Inside it was like a 90’s indie rock reunion of sorts.

What needs to be done to encourage more live music?

Small venues need to be cut a break.  If a venue has been established in an inner city area for years, then tenants in any newly established residential development nearby that may be impacted by the noise should not be given the power to close it down by complaining about it.  Small venues that host live music should not have to adhere to the same kinds of demands that, say, a super nightclub has to, in regards to how many security staff etc.  The idea that the likelihood of violence in a bar holding 100 people listening to folk music is the same as a night club holding 3000 people is ridiculous.  Small venues play an incredibly important role in supporting the artists that are starting up and artists that have been doing it for decades. They are often doing it for the love of it rather than the desire to make loads of money.

What does live music mean to you?

Live music is my happiness.

Why is live music important (generally)?

Live music is important as it give each place (city/town/region) and it’s people an identity and culture. It can represent a past, present and future all in a single moment.

What makes for a great gig. “I love gigs where…”?

I love gigs where you just rock up to a local live music venue not knowing who is playing, seeing an artist for a first time and become a lifetime fan of their work.

What needs to be done to encourage more live music?

A mentality change from wider australia that live music is a valuable asset to this country and that a thriving local scene something we should all be proud of.

Live music entertains, creates employment, gives people something to aspire to, creates cultural identity and makes life a hell of a lot more interesting!

www.leahflanagan.com.au

What does live music mean to you?

Live music is the full manifestation or reflection of what is occurring in our culture at any given point in time. A form of art that is dynamic and for every type of person no matter where they come from or what they do. It’s a realisation of ideas that both challenge and move me.

Communing with a broad group of people in a space sharing an experience that captures a wonderful and sometimes confronting moment in time.

Why is live music important (generally)?

It’s a community experience which is important in the development of modern culture. The health of live music is a sign of an energetic, inspired and fulfilled community.

Every interesting period in the history of humanity has been accompanied by live music of varied types – a barometer of a time and place.

 

What makes for a great gig. “I love gigs where…”?

I love gigs where I see a broad cross section of the community sharing an experience, being moved – live music can turn a good city into a truly great city.

 

What needs to be done to encourage more live music?

Regulatory conditions need to be correctly implemented to allow for the live music scene to grow. The leadership of government is needed with a mix of policy that’s about affirming the value of live music and defends its elements.

For venues – first use, existing in allocated cultural zones, giving assistance with sound proofing are just a few issues that are important. Without the small heathly live music venues particularly, we lose important breeding grounds for young artists to hone their skills.

www.catherineharidy.com

What does live music mean to you?

Seeing live music is like no other live performance experience. Its scope defies logical explanation – for me, a gig can invoke almost primal and profound emotional responses, just as it can also be a frivolous, casual entertainment.

Why is live music important (generally)?

Music is the only creative art form found in all human cultures – it brings people together for a shared experience and emotional sustenance. Among its many attributes, live music events build communities and social connections; provide economic value, employment and career paths; and help create vibrancy, buzz and atmosphere in a precinct.

What makes for a great gig. “I love gigs where…”?

My top three gigs were great for three different reasons

Concrete Blond at the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel in Adelaide in 2002 – it was great because I was dragged along by a friend, not especially interested in seeing the band, and it was like being hit by a truck. As a live performer Johnette Napolitano was jaw-droppingly sensational. Like many musicians, she had a charisma, performance energy and connection with her audience that just doesn’t translate to recorded music or film clips. You have to see it live.

INXS at the Thebarton Theatre in 1984 – it was one of the first gigs I saw while still at school and it was so liberating to be out with my friends seeing a band – a small taster of why being an adult is more fun than being a teenager. We all had a crush on Kirk Pengilly who wore hot pink socks.

Cerveza y Putas, “Australia’s premier Spanish language Mexican punk band” at the Tivoli Hotel in 2001 comprising my stupid friends from university. David Penberthy was the lead singer. They went on to do many gigs around Adelaide and once toured to Canberra! They were sort of terrible but their gigs were so much fun and their music defined a particular era in my life.

These three examples coincidentally represent what I reckon is a healthy music ecology – one was an international musician touring Australia, one was an Australian band on a national tour before heading overseas, and one was a local band heading nowhere.

What needs to be done to encourage more live music?

  • Leadership – politicians and other leaders can take a leadership role in supporting and encouraging live music in their communities
  • Rebalancing the regulatory and legislative regime to support live music (eg Liquor Law, BCA regulations, definitions of ‘offensive noise’ within the Protection of the Environment Administration Act) so that venues can program live music with certainty
  • Better public awareness and communication about live music offered in every neighbourhood
  • More affordable rehearsal spaces and under 18 venues and gigs