Alright, I'm reviewing for High Voltage, so I won't bang on about the live stuff here (why write the same thing twice?); instead, I'm going to write a short thought on each panel, do my day in quotes, and reviews of the evening's music from my Twitter feed. (Oh, look how down with the 'kids' he is....)
Quotes of the day (sorry if I misattribute any, I'm short sighted):
Musician's Union: Pay to play? Ok
Chris Long: "I'm going to ask Guy [Garvey] whether he'd pay to play."
Guy Garvey: "Right now?"
Jay Taylor: "Except for Helienne [Lindvall], don't you think this panel looks like a ZZ Top covers band?"
To be honest, this panel kind of missed the point to my mind, and got bogged down in a lot of technicalities, particularly the issue of tour support. Somebody (I think Horace Trubridge) argued that since many bands have to pay for a tour support slot, a local band under a pay to play deal with a few friends might make more on the night.
The thing with this of course is that pay to play usually doesn't offer good tour support slots, and more often you're playing to a room of quite unduly tribal fans of four bands of completely different genres. More than that, to give a local example, the costs are quite huge to the band- to play Academy Unsigned at Club Academy or Academy 3, a band has to front £250. That is fucking obscene, and everybody knows that gig will not get you anywhere.
I was surprised to hear Jay mention a semi- pay to play deal at Ruby Lounge (required ticket sales, without fronting cash), for I don't remember any pressure when I played there a couple of years back. Anyway, the panel was made by MM's Cath Aubergine getting up and finally saying what everybody was thinking: pay to play is a bloody outrage and you're safer in the hands of decent independent promoters (here she singled out Dan and Hannah from Pull Yourself Together). Right on!
Afterwards, I ended up having an interesting conversation with Tom Hingley (Inspiral Carpets) about the music business, where I'm pretty sure I recieved a Marxist Interpretation... so maybe that history degree is useful after all?
Blogging the USA
A much less controversial panel, this one seemed more at pointing out the rather obvious- blogs are important, do pitch music to them, do treat them with some respect. There was appropriate mention of the fact that there's the much-maligned 'basement blogger', and then there is the blogger who strives towards something approaching Proper Music Journalism; of which categories, I presume to be in the latter. I think this panel was more aimed at the few remaining people (they must exist somewhere in the industry) who are clueless about blogs.
Would have liked to stay for the Q&A, but had to run over to work at the Keynotes, so...
"Bloggers would have been rock critics in another era" - Ryan Schreiber
"blogs are modern fanzines" - Ollie Russian
"it's only the most agreeable things that rise to the top" - Sean Adams goes on the offensive after arriving late...
"a free t-shirt or guestlist is how the PR gets a hold of the young blogger" - Ollie Russian
Right, so after that was a drinks reception and then the excellent Upside Down: The Creation Records Story film. Afterwards I caught Mark Gardener for just long enough to say "Drive Blind is one of my favourite songs", and get a sideways compliment about people my age still listening to that stuff.
Whilst working the door, I overheard somebody say "no students know what they are talking about". Ok, so I am oft-quoted as saying "students are useless", but let's just remember that those of us who do know what we are talking about will save what's left of the industry, thank you very much.
On my way to The Steals, a bunch of chavs tried to get us to give them our sandwiches. When that failed, they tried to mug us. We told them to fuck off. It was weird.
The Steals: "The Steals are like first album Verve meets the Cocteau Twins. This is a Good Thing."
Team Ghost: "Nat, you never told me that Team Ghost would be FUCKIN RAD live!"
Still Corners: "Still Corners bashing out motorik beats... Cool, but not as intense as The Secret Machines."
The highlight of the day though was at the bus stop, where some dude told me he'd seen an ace band opening for Maps & Atlases earlier that week, and for the first time I was able to casually go, "oh really? It's funny, because they are on my label..." (smarm added for emphasis)
God I am a douche.