THIS PAGE GIVES YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO VENT YOUR ANGER AT ANY INJUSTICES YOU THINK MAY BE PERPETRATED IN THE NAME OF LIVE MUSIC.
Mike from Leeds Band "Five Foot Four" has a valid point:
Even though I've been promoting in West Yorkshire for over 23 years (half of that time being the only promoter!) I still haven't got my head around the conundrum that is Leeds.
In the late '70s I brought
bands in from Merseyside (Echo&the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes,
Wah!Heat, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark,etc.),
from Manchester (Joy Division, Durutti Column, The Fall, Magazine, Frantic Elevators, etc.) and from Sheffield ( Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, Vice Versa [ABC} etc.).
Nobody had heard of these bands, sometimes they were an opening act, sometimes they were part of a package tour. The thing that impressed me was that they all were supportive of each other and, occasionally, would interchange musicians. What they call a 'scene', in fact.
When these groups played there would be a posse down the front going wild and applauding with mad enthusiasm. These people, usually around 40-50 had travelled to support these bands. Enthusiasm is infectious and normally the locals would be drawn in, therefore enhancing the reputation of the acts.
In the days of Music Hall new turns would pay a group of people (known as a 'claque') to initiate and generate applause. These hired hands would turn to a neighbour and say things like "Aren't they good?" or laugh uproariously at a joke, thereby lifting the atmosphere and making the audience believe they'd seen a popular act. This approach is ages old and it still works. Yet, whenever a Leeds group plays away, excepting a few circumstances, they struggle to bring even half a dozen people to the gig...and they wonder why it's difficult to get re-booked!
In recent years attendances for local bands have dropped dramatically, there was a time in the early days of the Duchess when I could put certain local unsigned acts on and be guaranteed a full house of at least 300. These days there are more bands around Leeds than ever before, but who can draw that amount now? In Sheffield, Monday 18th December, local unsigned band Boy On A Dolphin sold out Sheffield City Hall, capacity 2,500. Which Leeds band could do that? (Assuming we had a venue big enough!) What are we doing wrong?
You could say it's the bands
slagging each other off, pulling down anyone who makes a move, or just being
apathetic. I know from experience that I could package together 3 of your
usual young Leeds acts and be lucky to get 30 customers and that's with the
same publicity afforded to a major act. I could say the solution would be for
all Leeds Musicians to pull together, go to each others' gigs, create a scene,
be positive about other acts, if one rises others follow, get a foot in the
door - let someone in with you...and loads of other obvious clichés...but
I've been spouting those homilies for years. The real answer is...I haven't
got a clue, and if I did I'd be a wealthy man by now. Friends have said to me
"If you had put the same energy into anywhere else but Leeds you would
have been a millionaire." I used to shake my head and say
"No! No! Leeds is going to happen...It's only a matter of
... I'm still waiting.
Leeds is becoming staid and predictable, with venues closing down, good bands splitting up through sheer frustration, you are bound to hear some bickering. You can't blame these agitators if they occasionally throw a brick at the beehive. Live music in Leeds needs shaking up, it's all about supply and demand. Now that the Duchess and the T&C have closed people are losing the habit of going to gigs...reverse that trend and new venues will appear...It's only a matter of time!
Good Luck! & Merry Christmas!
anyone would like to respond to this, or if you have a gripe of your own
If you throw a cat out of the car window, does it become kitty litter?