Singing along with the band

Posted by on Jul 24, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Pic c/p Neil Lupin via Flickr

Tonight the boys of the band & I are playing another mate's birthday so we've been slogging away at the set every night this week and have worked ourselves into a right old state of frail humanity – sore fingers and cracked voices. And just a few butterflies…

We only ever do covers of other people's songs – not because we haven't got songs of our own (Big Andy is particularly prolific), it's just that we see our job to be helping others to have a good time and that's all a bit easier if they recognise the tunes (it's amazing how scared folk get when faced with the unfamiliar…). Every gig we do, somebody always quizzes us about this.

I thought about this repeatedly last Friday at the rainsoaked but laughter filled Madstock over in the East End. 3 bands from the turn of the 80s, Madness, the Pogues and the Blockheads – the kind of bands too easily derided and ignored by the recording end of the music industry as past it -  played to a damp but exuberant crowd of all ages…who all sang together and danced together as if it was carnival time or something…

So here's the thought: for too long, the music industry and we music fans ourselves have conspired to assume that what makes music valuable is its novelty and/or scarcity; ditto musicians (this helps put a price tag on the recorded version, I suspect).

But in the real world – and in most other cultures – music is something for all of us not just the few, something that helps us all be and interact with each other, not separate ourselves from others. And novelty is often positively unhelpful in this context in this social usage

So let's just say if you want to join in tonight, to sing along, then please feel free to do so…

Here we go, 1-2-3-4….


  1. Chris Dillon
    August 4, 2009

    I know, when our (now defunct) band played shows people would ask “are those originals?” I think it’s really the only way to talk about music. If you’ve ever played with a really tight new group for the first time, a lot is unsaid between the members. Some of the deepest things about music doesn’t translate into words because it’s crossing the brain hemispheres.
    Describing chocolate is harder than describing desserts. Describing Amedei chocolate is harder. You can describe rock (guitars, loudness, backbeat, pre-chorus). You can maybe describe the sub-genres (prog-rock, black metal). But describing a single band’s single song is an impossible task. So you’re left with meta conversation with your fans:
    – How long have you been playing?
    – How many people in your band?
    – Oh, you’re in a band? Who do you guys sound like?

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