Live at the Library wrap up

Panther and The Zoo live at the Central Library

So it's the end of May - and that means the end of our scheduled run of Friday night concerts at the Central Library. Across the month we had Space Ventura, who recently featured on the latest edition of Awesome Feeling, we had Tui Award winners Great North, we had the charming Panther and The Zoo and we had the lonesome, folksy sounds of newcomers The Bonnie C.

It's been really great to see people turning out for these magical little shows in a place where perhaps you normally wouldn't expect to hear music...

Over the years I've played in the odd band or two and ended up playing at venues up and down the country. But some of the most memorable, fun shows that we've ever played have been concerts in peoples' lounges.

A library isn't a lounge (no eating chips in here, guys), but putting on these shows felt really similar. There's a sense of community that's produced when you watch a band in an unusual space. The fact that the volume is lower and there's no stage seems to foster an increased sense of equality between band and audience. To me, this is how a show should feel. That's not to say you can't get that at a bar, but it feels great to do something that exists outside of that system.

An interesting person to read on this topic is legendary hardcore/punk figure Ian Mackaye of Fugazi/Minor Threat/The Evens. A really inspiring read about his ideals and the history of the Washington DC hardcore/punk scene can be found in Dance of Days - A Decade of Punk in the Nation's Capital (which you can request from the library riiiiiight here).

But without going through the book right now, the following quotes are from an interview with Daniel Bogosian at Ultimate-Guitar.Com

"Rock and roll and music in general, has been hijacked by the alcohol industry. It's not unique to America by any means, where the idea of music without alcohol is almost impossible."

Although Mackaye/Minor Threat were synonymous with the term "straight edge" (refraining from use of drugs and alcohol) he's not against bars these days. But Mackay's against the idea that those are the only places you can play. One reason why he formed his most recent and much quieter band The Evens was a desire to play in a wider array of spaces. It's a pretty pertinent point when you're talking about music in libraries.
"People have grown to believe that volume equals power. And then therefore, power can only be brought about through volume. I actually don't agree with that either."

The Bonnie C live at the Central Library

"The thing that compels people to play in those rooms [bars and typical concert venues], or one of the things that really seals the deal is volume. Because those rooms have sound reinforcement usually, or they have arrangements with the neighbors, whereas if you were to setup Fugazi to play in a house, it would be ridiculous. So volume is the thing that has pulled us by our noses into these rooms. And I think our relationship with volume is also one that has been, people have grown to believe that volume equals power. And then therefore, power can only be brought about through volume. I actually don't agree with that either."

So a big thanks to all our musical guests who offered their time and played powerful sets without (too much) volume, and a big thanks to Matthew McAuley for making the shows happen on the night, and Mimsy Cable for some great ideas in the planning stage.

If you enjoyed the sets, or want to see what you missed, why not grab some of the bands' music from their bandcamp pages at various, very affordable prices.

Space Ventura -
Great North -
Panther and the Zoo -
The Bonnie C -

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