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