Friday is Making Itself Useful for a Change

Instead of prattling on about whether or not early Bonnie Raitt was heavily influenced by the Arcade Fire, this week we shall be doing something extremely constructive with our time.  Thomas Western, shortly to be unveiled as half of Edinburgh’s answer to the Silver Columns (I’ve not heard it yet, but all I have to say is woo hoo!), is actually a highly studious gentleman (see pic) in his spare time and has asked if I wouldn’t mind posting five questions to help him with his research.  Quite what he thinks the nonsensical bollocks we talk here on a Friday is going to do for his academic ambitions I don’t know, but I thought we might as well humour him.

He’s actually studying something to with the sociological aspects of live music, which anyone who has ever seen the queue outside a Hadouken gig (yes okay, it was some time ago, but it was still hilarious) will know is a rather interesting topic. I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the social dynamics of gig-going, from the tribal self-identification to the impact of the crowd mood on the show itself, so I’m looking forward to finding out a bit more about this.

Until then, however, here are five questions for you from Thomas.  And once you’ve de-lurked to help push forward the boundaries of academia, feel free to talk utter shite with the rest of us all afternoon.

1. What is the best thing you’ve ever seen live? Including where and when this took place.
2. Why was it so good? Try and keep this answer as open as possible – it can cover factors such as the music being played, the performance, some kind of cultural significance, or just people having an ace time together.
3. Is familiarity with material a prerequisite for a great gig? Or has anyone been to a gig to see the headline act, only to be blown away by an unknown support band?
4. How important is a venue when we go to gigs? Do they have their own aura that can contribute to our enjoyment of a performance?
5. And do people go to gigs because folks like me tell them to? This is about the idea of blogs and online critics as cultural tastemakers – Pitchfork being the most obvious example. In other words, when you read a positive preview of something in my Monday listings, are you more likely to attend, and perhaps more likely to enjoy the gig as a conequence?

Now, some great live recordings, including a song from Nick Cave’s Live Seeds, possibly the greatest live album of all time.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – John Finn’s Wife (Live)

Eels – I Put a Spell On You (Live)

Radiohead – No Surprises (Live Acoustic)

Frightened Rabbit – Poke (Live)

Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band – Thunder Road (Live)

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