Imagine the scene, it’s Friday night; you’re all dressed up and ready to go. It’s band night at your local pub or music venue and you’re heading out to listen to whoever is playing. As you step inside an head towards the bar, you can hear them sound-checking, so you glance over before finding your friends.
But, have you ever really thought about what goes in to making that night out for you?
Being in a band is the ultimate dream for many aspiring musicians as they strum away in their bedrooms; imagining that that are onstage at the O2. They spend years honing their talent, working to be the best that they possibly can be and dreaming that one day they will be spotted by someone who will transport them out of their ordinary lives and in to the Rock and Roll dream.
That gig you went to on a Friday night will have probably been months in the planning. Hour upon hour will have been spent rehearsing and finalising a set list; dozens of emails will have gone back and forth, chasing-up and confirming bookings. The band members will often also work a full-time job alongside their time spent performing. A Friday night gig will mean finishing work at 5pm, getting home, showering, making themselves “gig ready”, loading up and driving to the venue before setting up and being ready to perform at 9pm. One performer that I worked with was also a full-time taxi driver. I remember him finishing on gig at midnight before heading home to work a full shift.
It’s not just the band members who need to wear many hats. Often the partners, friends and family members will pitch in to do their bit. They will become the roadies, sound engineers, photographers. supporters and even bookings managers. They help with the set-up and take-down, make sure that everything is where it needs to be and generally look after the band. Most of the time, nobody even realises that they do these things. Their vital role goes unnoticed.
The 2-hour gig that you went to is so much more than simply a 2-hour gig. It is the culmination of hopes and dreams for any musician who wants to be heard. They don’t play for the money as, honestly, once the fee has been split between the members, they barely cover the fuel it costs them to get there. They’re playing because they love the music and seeing you enjoy yourself brings them to life. Those 2 hours that they are playing and you are dancing are genuinely the highlight of their week.
So, the next time you go out and watch a band, show them some love. Buy them a drink, tell them that you think they are amazing, tell the landlord or venue owner too, and keep live music alive. It might not be all that Rock n Roll, but it’s still pretty special.