"That evening, I witnessed Florence ethereally leap across the stage"Instagram/lillieeiger via florenceandthemachine

Neve

What was your first gig?

My first gig was Feist at the Royal Albert Hall in 2012 (my dad took me, I was 11 at the time!)

What was your most recent gig?

The last gig I went to was Oh Wonder at Shepherd’s Bush in March this year.

Who is the person you would most like to see live (that you haven’t seen before)?

I really want to see Harry Styles live – I was meant to go to his tour this year!

Who is your favourite gig buddy and why?

Each show is a different experience, so who I want to go with really depends! Not a lot of my friends have the exact same taste as me, so it’s rare I go to more than one gig with someone. But probably the people I feel like I have the most to talk about with after a show are my friends Max and Jack – we went to The 1975 together in February and literally talked about the gig the whole way home, analysing the details and how it made us feel.

What is the most memorable thing that has happened to you at a gig?

I saw Sam Fender in December 2019, and when he closed the show with ‘Dancing In The Dark’ by Bruce Springsteen, I kind of had a religious experience. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more elated at the end of a gig. But also just the whole experience of seeing Lauren Aquilina for the first time was amazing. I’ve loved her for years, and the fact that I went to her first show after 2 years off, in a room of like 200 people, was insane.

"these instances of complete unity are increasingly rare in our fast-paced society that doesn’t allow much time to let individual moments breathe"

What song do you have on repeat at the moment?

My Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify has been great over the past few weeks! Currently I’m loving ‘Are We a Thing’ by Leidi. (but of course ‘If You’re Too Shy (Let me Know)’ by The 1975 is also up there).

What song or album do you play to soothe yourself at the moment? Are you finding yourself turning to it more often due to the current crisis?

I love some low-fi instrumental music to wind-down to, and dné is an amazing artist for this. His album These Semi-Feelings, They Are Everywhere has been helping me relax for years. I don’t necessarily find myself turning to it more often, because I’m using the amount of free time to try and listen to more new artists, but this album is always there at the end of the day- special shout out to ‘Asos Model Crush’, which literally sends me to sleep.

In some senses, the way music is experienced at a gig (live, paid) is the opposite of the music listening experience on the internet. What are your thoughts on the current trend for streaming live performances?

I love listening to music online, but the point of live is that your attention is focused on one artist, one song at a time – and that the song is played in full! I’m really not one for skipping between songs, so when someone else is in charge of the music and does something like this I get genuinely annoyed. But when you’re at a concert, everyone is experiencing the same thing at the same time: these instances of complete unity are increasingly rare in our fast-paced society that doesn’t allow much time to let individual moments breathe. Streamed live performances are certainly replicating some of the magic of the real thing, but they can’t capture the spirit of live in the same way. A show is perfectly formulated to allow time for reflection, as well as for the music itself. You just can’t get that anywhere else, as much as I wish you could. I do wonder how much live performances and gigs will have changed after all of this, but I think that the transition back to them will be as instantaneous as possible, even though they’ll be one of the last things to return.

Neve on Live Music

By some coincidence, most of my favourite artists released music late last year or early this year, and so were scheduled to tour about this time. In the last few months, I’ve been lucky to see Oh Wonder, The 1975 and Sam Fender, but I was looking forward to seeing them again in the coming months, as well as McFly (pre-teen Neve’s favourite band) and Harry Styles (student Neve’s style icon). Live music is one of the biggest losers in this whole situation, and whilst it’s certainly a luxury to be able to afford these experiences, the loss that I’ve experienced as a result of being deprived of them is far stronger than I expected.

For me, a tour is a crucial part of the cycle of album release, with the end of a tour often marking the end of an artist’s current era, or the start of a new one. This started in 2012, when Feist was touring her brilliant 2011 album, Metals. My dad introduced 11 year-old me to her, and was pretty happy when he realised I would be a willing companion to see her at the Royal Albert Hall. As far as first concerts go, it was pretty epic. The venue is obviously iconic, and Feist has been a cornerstone of my music taste ever since, which I think perfectly demonstrates how you can internalise the excitement of a gig.

Recently, the excitement that I feel around live music has taken the form of anticipation; I look forward to shows for months, and often the build-up makes the whole experience more exhilarating. But now that the gigs I’ve been looking forward to have been rescheduled (thankfully none have been cancelled yet!), there is nowhere for these emotions to be diverted. I am saddened when I think about the fact that I was meant to be seeing Harry Styles on the same day that my prelims finished, or that I would have seen Sam Fender at Alexandra Palace over the Easter holidays. But there isn’t much I can do about it! So I’ll just keep reliving my favourite gigs and hoping that no more shows are postponed.

Bronagh

What was your first gig?

Girls Aloud, seven-year old me was a huge fan!

What was your most recent gig?

Mura Masa at Ally Pally.

Who is the person you would most like to see live (that you haven’t seen before)?

Tough question, but probably SZA!

Who is your favourite gig buddy and why?

My friend Natalie, she’s always willing to get on her feet to dance with me along to the music.

What is the most memorable thing that has happened to you at a gig?

Definitely having a sip of Loyle Carner’s Jack Daniels that he was passing around the crowd.

What song do you have on repeat at the moment?

‘Lucy’ by Still Woozy and ODIE, such a feel good, summery song.

What song or album do you play to soothe yourself at the moment? Are you finding yourself turning to it more often due to the current crisis?

I usually listen to Joni Mitchell’s album, Blue, when I want to unwind and relax; I have definitely been listening to it a lot more frequently than I usually would and more generally, I have been turning to more calming, mellow music.

In some senses, the way music is experienced at a gig (live, paid) is the opposite of the music listening experience on the internet. What are your thoughts on the current trend for streaming live performances?

I think the current trend of streaming live performances is definitely a great, innovative way to bridge the gap with what resources we have at the moment, and to try our best to compensate for the loss of live music performances for the foreseeable future. It is certainly a nice and uplifting way for artists to stay more connected with their fans globally, in a way that is a lot more personal than just streaming their albums. Whether the trend will continue however is still a debate to be had, not only given the importance of live music performances for economic reasons within the creative industries, but also on a more personal level. When considering the exhilarating, formative and memorable moments and connections we gain from seeing our favourite artists live, or hearing that very first beat of our favourite song slowly rise through the speakers, we might recognise that isn’t something which can be easily replicated through a screen.

"It was a truly captivating and moving performance fuelled by the pure emotion and expression she poured into it"

Bronagh on Live Music

These moments seem to be something that stick with and resonate with listeners, which is why I want to share with you some of my favourite and most memorable music performances as we live life without live for the time being.


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Mountain View

Sustainability in the music industry

Rewind to a younger version of me: an avid Florence and the Machine listener since the very moment ‘Dog Days Are Over’ graced my ears, making me feel almost invincible. The day I had been waiting for, ever since my Mam rang me on the school field to tell me that we had managed to get tickets to see them, had finally come. That evening, I witnessed Florence ethereally leap across the stage, wearing only a bra on her top half whilst belting out ‘Shake It Out’ with all her might. It was a truly captivating and moving performance fuelled by the pure emotion and expression she poured into it, and I’ll certainly never forget it.

Fast forward a few years later to a moment you might resonate with more; I was finally going to my very first festival where my favourite DJ, KAYTRANADA, was one of the headliners. The day was totally unforgettable bliss; it was spent dancing away with my best friend without a care in the world, smiling from ear to ear with the blazing sun shining down on the park.

What was, and is, so poignant about both of these performances is that they capture how there is nothing quite like that pure elation of dancing along to your all-time favourite song, with a crowd full of people who feel exactly the same about the artist and music being performed before you.

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