The night the music stopped…

A year ago this week, on Saturday 15th Feb 2020, me and my old mate and long time ‘gig-bitch’ Zip went to Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms to see John Joseph Wardle, better known as Jah Wobble – legendary bassist and founder member of post-punk band Public Image Ltd. Little did we know at the time that this would become a landmark gig for the pair of us. There was nothing remarkable about the gig itself (although Mr Wobble and his band Invaders of the Heart were pretty bloody good). However, as we left that great little venue and headed off for a few beers around my home city, we had no idea that, thanks to the impending coronavirus outbreak, we had just attended our last gig for a whole year…and counting. Between us I doubt that we have ever gone more than 3 or 4 months without a gig since the 1980s.

The last gig I went to – Jah Wobble – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham – 15/02/20
The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham – another venue currently sat empty thanks to covid

Covid has obviously had a devastating impact on the lives of people around the world and in many different ways. Sadly many of us have lost family, friends and work colleagues to this horrible virus. This really puts things into perspective when we start to bitch and moan about not being able to go to the pub, the footy or gigs any more. In the grand scheme of things is it really that big a deal that we have to wait to see Ozzy, Faith No More, Fontaines DC or anyone else we had bought tickets for? Does it really matter that a couple of years will have passed before some of us can even enter the lottery for a Glastonbury ticket (and be left disappointed) let alone actually being able to go to the festival again?

Personally I’ve come to see all of this as nothing more than a minor inconvenience in my life. Whilst I remain hopeful that that one day we will all be able to rub shoulders in sweaty venues or festival fields again I just think we have to be a little more patient. The virus isn’t going to miraculously disappear when we’ve all been jabbed that’s for sure. We are probably in for a lengthy phased return to normal life and most likely a ‘new normal’ with restrictions. Regardless, I’m not getting any younger, and the lockdowns have made me truly appreciate the quieter life so perhaps it’s time for me to retire from gigs and getting shit-faced anyway!

No, rather than wallowing in self pity I am actually more concerned about the impact that covid is having on the music industry itself. Having professional musicians in the family, we have seen first hand how the virus has affected their careers and those of their mates in ‘the biz’. In the modern era, with most music streamed online for a pittance, musicians now make most of their income from live performances. No live shows = no money for the artists, or their crews, or the ticket agencies, or haulage firms, or the venues, or their security. The list is endless. Thankfully my stepsons are level headed, positive thinking human beings and both have made the best of their current situation. Ash, who was making a good living as a sound engineer has relocated to Denmark and taking advantage of his new quieter surroundings to re-train in something entirely different whilst his younger bro Dario aka. Youngr has used his time away from performing shows around the world to focus on writing and producing new music. He’s probably got around 3 or 4 albums worth of material ready to go! Having said that he is itching to get out on stage again.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before he and his fellow musicians around the world, including the excellent Jah Wobble and his Invaders can get back to entertaining us and earning themselves a decent living again…

Jah Wobble & the Invaders of the Heart, Nottingham Rescue Rooms 15/02/20
(click image to see some footage from the show)
Jah Wobble – Rescue Rooms, Nottingham 15/02/2020

What was the last gig you went to before lockdown? Which artists did you have tickets for before gigs were rescheduled? Who is the next artist you are hoping to see and where? Comment below or join the discussion in the Music In the Attic Facebook group (link above).

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