Archive for October, 2011

October 29, 2011

Stone Roses highlight tout problem

The million pound bid on Ebay last week for a ticket at the newly reunited Stone Roses show at Heaton Park created a frenzy of internet activity, and while clearly a joke, not sure why some news channels took is seriously, it does raise an important issue that keeps getting ignored by the policy changers.  It was only a joke or at best a statement about the ridiculous nature of the second-hand ticket market, but it did serve its core purpose, to create headlines.


Let’s sort this debate out once and for all…….The fundamental reason behind ticket re-sales, and the reason there’s a loophole in the law, allowing for touts to flood the market and profit over the genuine fans and the tour promoters, exits because ticket holders are not allowed to refund back to the venue under any circumstance.  This creates a rapacious second-hand ticket market that grows bigger each year, denying fans the chance to buy tickets on an even playing field while simultaneously driving up the price of seeing live music.

Three easy steps to remove the problem:

  1. Each ticket distributor sets up a site where users can re-sell their tickets for the original price only, plus a small commission to cover the commission costs of the ticket outlet – for operation fees, plus postage and packing.
  2. All tickets for major gigs (1500+)should require a photo of the ticket buyer.  This has been tried and tested at certain events, notably Glastonbury, with unparalleled success.  Many people would argue that the major stumbling blocks for such an initiative would be cost to the ticket distributer or promoter and the dread of queuing for twice as long.  Easy to dispel those worries;  If $1 was added to each ticket it would more than cover the cost of setting up such a system, besides we’ve got the technology let’s use it!   No one likes queuing any longer than they have too, so let’s not change that!  Photo ID tickets will act as a deterrent, not many people will get checked but it will definitely make people think twice about buying an expensive ticket on Ebay if they know there’s a chance they might not get in!
  3. Last but not least, let’s legally stop reselling on the internet, with anyone caught facing hefty fines.  Once the first two steps are in place there’s solid justification for tightening up the laws around ticket touting and there’s also no excuse and loopholes for the touts to argue for their free market
This might be a template of idealistic endeavor but if nothing changes and the touts have free rein it will only serve to ramp up the initial prices of the tour promoters, knowing that their product can fetch a lot more on the black market, giving them carte blanche to increase prices across the board.  Quality live music could eventually became like opera or premiership football, elitist and regularly only affordable to the higher social classes.
October 15, 2011

Fools Gold! Rumours persist on the Stone Roses reunion.

Some things are better left alone!  An old school friend, a club where you use to get your kicks, a restaurant that once served your favourite dish.  Fond memories of a bygone age have a way of manifesting and re-imagining, entwined with the visceral energy of youth and the excitement of limitless possibilities.  Music, always the soundtrack to these wide-eyed times, with our favourite bands becoming our cosmic comrades, leading us to the forbidden fruit while simultaneously becoming our heroes, forever held in reverence.

Some bands are lucky.  An important/founding member dies before they get the chance to reform, sanctifying the legacy before the band can forever tarnish the youthful elixir and spirit that once made them the zeitgeist of their generation.  Dying young creates a myth that can’t be unravelled, however many people try.  No deaths, then split the band at the height of their youthful lustre, the more people it upsets the better!  They become frozen like a snapshot in halcyon times.  People love nostalgia, especially when looking back at their favourite band.

With persistent rumours about The Stones Roses reforming, speculation is rife that they’re going to make an announcement next Tuesday 18 October, it feels pertinent to ask the question, should they sell their soul for a pot of gold?

Clearly playing live is the raison d’être for most bands, now the main cash cow and the ultimate test of virtuosity.  For reforming bands that have famously fallen out acrimoniously the thought of performing together again after so many years is usually inspired by one thing, money!  The Roses can’t possibly re-live the energy fuelled excesses of their youth, or hope to rehash the crowning glory of their heightened success.  The musical landscape once belonged to them, 20 years ago, now it is a bitterly cynical terrain.  Failure to better their past glories will result in humility, embarrassment and at worst, dejection.  The rose-tinted spectacles will shatter to reveal a band that sounded, most of the time, a lot better on record than in the flesh.  Leave those memories alone, leave the legend intact.

October 5, 2011

RIP – Bert Jansch 1943 – 2011

The Jimi Hendrix of the acoustic guitar will be remembered as one of the greatest guitar players of the British music scene.  The folk revivalists virtuoso playing and excellent technique has influenced an array of music legends; Johnny Marr, Peter Buck, Nick Drake, Neil Young, Donovan and Jimmy Page, to name but a few.  His exceptional legacy will live on.

October 1, 2011

Bon Iver to play Sydney Opera House

Brooding indie Impressionists, Bon Iver, have announced their first tour of Australia since 2009.  Next March they will visit five cities, as well as playing the Meredith Festival in Victoria.  The highlight though will undoubtedly be 3 nights at the iconic, Sydney Opera House, in the main concert hall.  Led by singer and songwriter, Justin Vernon, the nine piece band will perform songs from their latest critically acclaimed self-titled album.

Still three months to go before the end of the year but Bon Iver’s latest long player will surely go down as the best album of the year, along with PJ Harvey’s, Let England Shake.  The textual diversity and visionary scope of the album is exquisite.  It’s not instantly revealing, but on repeated listens slowly unravels its charms, becoming a warm and comforting, if a touch baffling, friend.  Brimming with sonic splashes and melodic strokes the atmospheric music sit comfortably with the oblique vocals, rather like a Monet or Cezanne, capturing the true essence of the moment through the perception of  the artist.  It’s a wonderful album that reflects, light, movement and confusion through the delicate bio-rhythms of the music and through the intrinsic emotions of the singer.

The perfect musical backdrop for the acoustic precision and elegance of the Opera House.