Blog : Gil Scott the Heron and Other Children’s Stories

I hate almost anything that could be considered performing, especially when put on the spot. This has been the case as long as I can remember. Back in my schooldays, one year the school decided it would make a great ice-breaker at the start of the new school year if each class wrote and performed a song together in front of the rest of the … Continue reading Blog : Gil Scott the Heron and Other Children’s Stories

What makes for a memorable gig?

I wrote a couple of weeks back about my poor memory, and in particular gigs I had forgotten about. In a way, it’s not surprising. I’ve no idea how many gigs I’ve attended in my life, but in my 11 years living in Manchester, it was a least a couple a month (often many more), and plenty in the years before or since. I reckon 500 would be a conservative estimate, not counting all the bands I’ve seen at festivals. So, no wonder a few have slipped my mind. It got me wondering though, what does make one gig more memorable than another? Here are a few of my suggestions.

1. A memorable support act.

You generally know what to expect from the headline act. They’ll play lots of songs you know and like, otherwise presumably you wouldn’t be going to see them. The fact that you enjoy the band you are there to see is not in itself memorable. But an unexpectedly superb support act is much more likely to stick in your mind. My favourite example is going to see the briefly successful post-hardcore band Hundred Reasons, and being blown away by their support band 65daysofstatic, a perfect fusion of Warp style electronica and heavy post-rock, not at all what I expected to hear. The headline act turned out to be a non-event, but I’ll never forget that gig. It can work the other way too. I once saw Atari Teenage Riot support Nine Inch Nails and they played 45 minutes of white noise, annoying the crowd to the extent that they were literally screaming “f**k off” at the top of their voices. I kind of enjoyed it personally, just because it was so extreme and the antithesis of everything a support act should do. And I will always remember it, whereas I remember nothing of Nine Inch Nails’ set at all.


Continue reading “What makes for a memorable gig?”