We at SOURCE – ‘Brighton’s going-out Bible’ – are all too aware that going out is not really much of an option at the moment. Writers and photographers alike, we’re collectively suffering from a hitherto unknown condition: Live Music Deficiency Syndrome (LMDS). And we know that many of you out there are feeling the same. Venues are shut; artists have nowhere to play; punters are incapable of catching new live music.
The current situation is dire. Worse, though, is the threat that some venues might never open again. Since the lockdown began in March, we’ve been highlighting the problems in SOURCE, both for ailing venues and struggling young musicians. We’ve also outlined the work that campaigns such as Save Our Venues have been doing. Now there is a new Crowdfunder on the block. Passport: Back To Our Roots; their slogan, “Big Artists. Small Gigs. Making a Huge Difference to Grassroots Music Venues.”
Following a dire warning from the Music Venue Trust, this Crowdfunder has now been extended until October 26th “to generate some extra funds for the small venues who are in need of immediate support.” This means punters have another three weeks to register in the prize draw for tickets.
The thinking behind it is both simple and admirably worthwhile. Just about any mega-selling artist you can think of – from The Beatles to Ed Sheeran – cut their teeth in tiny clubs. Now, recognising the debt they owe to these modest yet essential places, some big acts have agreed to return to these grassroots music venues to play a series of small gigs. The audiences will comprise the winners of a nationwide prize draw.
A win-win situation, it seems to us. Once these live shows can take place safely, without any social distancing, lucky punters will get to see some huge names in intimate settings, while the venues themselves will receive urgent financial help to ensure their survival.
Twelve gigs have been announced so far, with artists including Pet Shop Boys and Jamie XX, Elbow and Public Service Broadcasting, Everything Everything and KT Tunstall playing all over the UK, from London to Edinburgh. And Brighton, of course, is playing its part. With so many acts owing their initial success to exposure in one or more of our great little venues, how could it not? Two acts with Brighton links have confirmed that they will be joining in this project.
First artist up is local lad, Mike Rosenberg – aka Passenger – who was born and raised here. We cannot remember how many times we’ve seen him play – numerous performances, from busking outside the Royal Pavilion, to holding a small crowd enraptured above the Hobgoblin, to a triumphant sell-out homecoming gig at the Dome back in 2018. With its 2.7 billion YouTube views, ‘Let Her Go’ is probably his best known song, but the above, ‘Scare Away The Dark’, is perhaps more apt in these uncertain times. Passenger is due to play at the Komedia. It’s going to be a great gig and we, like the good folk at the venue itself, are hoping “it can happen sooner rather than later”.
The other act that has signed up to play Brighton is electro-indie band, Metronomy. Original members moved here from Devon and played their first ever live gig at The Freebutt before being featured on the cover of SOURCE magazine back in 2007. From their first album, ‘Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe)’ through ‘English Riviera’, to last year’s ‘Metronomy Forever’, the mix of instrumental and vocal tracks have consistently delivered, while live, the band’s infectious bounce always proves irresistible.
Last year’s Brighton gig (reviewed here) left us wanting more, and now our hopes for a speedy return are about to be realised. Metronomy will be playing at one of our favourite venues, Patterns, the exact date – for obvious reasons – to be confirmed. It could just be the most important gig of their career. As Joe Mount, the band’s founder says, “It’s absolutely crucial that we stop as many small venues from closing as possible!”
So, to ward off the worst effects of LMDS, click here to check out the upcoming events organised so far and give yourself a chance to be at one – or more! – of these one-off gigs when venues are finally allowed to open up, knowing that every penny of the £5 donation will go to help a small grassroots venue. This is your chance to watch some big artists play small gigs – while helping these endangered venues to survive.