Thursday, February 16, 2017

Scene and heard

As reported here a few weeks back, there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the news that two Cardiff venues (plus Le Pub in Newport) will be closing their doors, at least temporarily. But is there a danger of being too alarmist, too pessimistic? Credit to Wales Online's David Owens, then, for taking the temperature of the city's music scene on a single night, 3rd February.

If you can forgive the horrifically wayward description of The Fall as "the precise approximation of Phoenix Nights for the C86 generation", the resulting article is a worthwhile read. The consensus appears to be that the scene is in really good health, certainly in comparison with the situation a couple of decades ago, which is heartening, but that that vibrancy is thanks in large part to the variety of venues both small and large and so is under threat by planned closures. While there's a definite value to a place like Tramshed in terms of attracting acts of a certain size, smaller venues like Clwb and the Full Moon are essential in giving local acts a leg up.

One of the interviewees also alludes to an issue affecting live music in general, not just in Cardiff: the simple fact that fewer people seem to be interested in going to gigs, preferring to discover and consume music online in their own home. Of course, there are other factors too, as discussed in Episode 11 of Sounding Board - ticket and bar prices, for instance - but this is a significant trend, one that would be hard to reverse.

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