Gigs in houses
Crap concert venues
I’ve always thought (but not necessarily very deeply) that most places I’ve seen live music were godawful holes, from the old Marquee Club in London where I saw a lot of progrock bands in the early 80s, which was a sticky-carpeted, cigarette-smoke filled, stinking hellfest, through to sterile, joy-killing monstrosities like the South Bank Centre, also in London, or the Fairfield Halls here in the Cronx. The smoking ban improved things a very small bit but the fact remains that most live music venues were never built for comfort or acoustics. Or humans. Most gigs are in pubs and clubs whose sole purpose is to part people from their money rather than to provide a beautiful environment for excellent musical entertainment.
Which is why many smaller artists now perform at house concerts. If you’ve not heard of these, they’re concerts – in a house. The clue is in the name. In some cases people sell tickets but many are free with a hat going around at the end for voluntary contributions. I’ve only been to one. It was amazing. The hosts had provided a stack of great food, there were about 30 or 40 people crammed in, the music was intense and intimate and there was a very full hat of cash at the end. The band most certainly got more money than they ever would in a crappy London pub or club where you pay to use the PA system.
At a house concert, the audience is there to hear your music and meet like-minded friends, not just to keep a venue’s beer-shifting quota up where the brewery is happy. It’s the way music was back in the days before recorded music became the norm. Certainly house gigs lend themselves to acoustic genres or to not-too-loud electric bands more than, say, very loud, neighbour-infuriating heavy metal bands, so maybe they’re not appropriate for all artists.
I’m unaware of any full-on electronic artists doing small house gigs. Do you know of any? What did they do? How did it go down? If you know of any, please leave a comment. Thanks!