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We were almost sure this was a mistake, but we allowed the old curmudgeon out of the Riot Towers basement a couple of times this year to come along to gigs with the rest of the Riot Squad. We had to bring his carer along with us and he had to be home by 9pm, but at least it gave him something to talk about (at great length). Here’s what he had to say.

Blues – What happened with that? It was all really simple in my day; it was the Blues. Now everyone’s arguing about it should be a capital B and whether it’s ‘authentic’. What was ever authentic about white boys playing a music that originated in the cottonfields. And why are the audiences at blues gigs men in their sixties with paunches and no hair who have to leave by 10:30 to get their train back to the suburbs. What happened to staying out all night and catching the midnight train’s headlight. No, we’d sooner go online and argue about whether it’s acceptable to use a chorus pedal in a solo.

Americana – It can’t just be me that doesn’t have a Danny what people mean when they use the term Americana. In my day, it would have been called country and western (maybe you could leave out the western bit) but that doesn’t seem to appeal to the right demographic now. So we have Americana which seems to be anything with no mainstream chart potential coming out of America. It’s also a convenient marketing term that works for getting gigs at festivals and radio play (see Blues above). If you want to identify the real opportunists, they’re the ones that, at some point, have tried to identify with both of these genres. And they’re also queuing up to give each other awards (see above).

Showcases – What is that all about? As far as I can see you book four bands to play to an audience of their friends and family, who then bugger off before the feedback from the ending of the last song has faded out. Would it really ruin your night to listen to some music that you hadn’t heard before, or is that showing disloyalty to your kith and kin? Maybe you could scrap the guestlist and make everyone pay for those gigs.

STFU – It never used to be like this in my day. You went to a gig to hear an artist play their songs; you paid your money and you wanted to get value for that money. It doesn’t matter where you go now, you’re going to hear idiots who think that telling everyone about the delay on their commute in to the city/their meeting with their manager/their bonus is so much more important than what’s happening on stage. You can do that in any pub; just go there and let people enjoy artists playing their songs.

Over-enthusiastic fans – It’s sort of related to Showcases; it’s those fans who come along to support their own band and they do it very enthusiastically. Unfortunately, they don’t give a flying one about anyone else on the bill that night, only their heroes. They do a lot of the STFU behaviour and you wish that they would do the showcase thing and just come in to watch their band then just do one. I know, it’s inconsistent, but I really wish these characters would just come in to watch their band and GTF out of there.

Apart from that, 2017’s been pretty good. Thanks for asking.