Australia is in somewhat of a golden age for local music. We’ve seen the likes of Flume, Nick Murphy, Gang Of Youths, Rufus, Tash Sultana, Peking Duk and Meg Mac start super local and all perform to tonnes of fans overseas. So, when it comes to supporting these musos when they’re just starting, this is why heading down to see the locals play is well worth it.
#1 They’re Where Epic Memories Start
You know how a lot of people have killer stories about how they saw Radiohead, or INXS or the Wu-Tang Clan with “like…5 people, man”? This is how they get those stories. You’re heading off the beaten track of music, you’re getting ahead of the curve. It’s you who can say, “hey have you heard of this new band?” And feel really satisfied when no one has. If you find yourself wondering how your muso friends always know about the new stuff, this is how.
#2 They’re Bold
Even if you go see a band that easily fits into a genre, or an artist that will one day make it big, you will see the boldest, craziest version of them yet. It’s inevitable that, as a band gets popular, it’s partially the product of them smoothing out their rough edges. Most of the time, it just means dispensing the bits that don’t work, and polishing the stuff that does. But, while something cool or different is lost every now and then, you get to see a combination of sounds that no one had thought of or tried before. You get to see the musical equivalent of a brainstorming session.
#3 They’re Infectiously Different
Without getting into a whole ‘music these days’ thing, there’s a trend for big, popular songs to easily fit into categories and genres, and there’s a tendency for trends in those genres to be somewhat universal. That’s a feature as old as time and a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. Is it all similar because it’s popular, or popular because it’s all similar? Head to a small gig, though, and you might get to hear some stuff that doesn’t get popular, stuff that can’t because it’s off the damn deep end. Maybe you won’t like it, but you won’t know until you give post-new-wave-synth-reggae a chance.
#4 They’re Energetic
Go on YouTube and watch any famous musician’s live act, from any era, and take note of when the crowd starts going crazy. It’s not during a song, when a song starts, or even when the band comes out. It’s the first time it’s hinted that the band might be coming out. A small local band doesn’t have that luxury. They must earn every bit of cheers and applause they get, and they work really damn hard to get it. They know they’ve got no reservoir of the crowd’s goodwill, and will play their hearts out trying to earn it.
#5 They Wont Cost You Your Whole Paycheck
Have you had that talk with a friend who has gone to a concert recently? It’s the long one where, instead of talking about the experience, they pull out a calculator and try to quantify the fun they had, then compare it to the ticket price, trying to calculate whether they got their money’s worth. It’s not surprising for gigs where the cheapest ticket was a couple of hundred dollars. And while plenty of people get their money’s worth, it’s something you’ll never have to worry about for a gig that costs you ten bucks at the door. That freedom from worry permeates the whole audience. No one is worrying about the cost, everyone is having a good time and that’s a damn beautiful thing.
Image source: Mandurah Mail, Gig-Photographer and Best Before