Today I heard a claim that signified the end of the world.
It was an ad for Sunrise, the morning TV show, a Coldplay song in the background, with the tagline “the home of live music”.
A three minute slot on a breakfast TV show is greater than a night out at a stadium or pub or concert hall watching the magic of live music? I can’t support Sunrise’s claim.
Sunrise is not a grungy pub, an opera house, or a bookstore. It’s not a historical cinema-turned-concert-venue or a botanical garden filled with an orchestra. It’s not a school concert or a garage band. It’s not 5000 people at Rod Laver Arena or a venue so intimate the lead singer can hold your hand through a song. And it’s not
a knowledgeable music show. It’s not the home of live music.
I understand that TV makes music more accessible. It can promote bands to new and wide audiences – shows like Sunrise get HUGE ratings. And it’s great to hear your favourite artist being interviewed after they’ve sung. Hell, I’ve spent many hours rewinding and replaying the live television performances and interviews with Savage Garden on video tape. And Hey Hey It’s Saturday brought great bands to light, back in the day. Last week I was happy watching Bob Evans play on the late night news.
We need to see more music on Australian TV. Bands and musicians need greater exposure. But I don’t think a show like Sunrise should be the “home of live music”. It’s a breakfast TV show, focused on dumbed down current affairs, watched on the run between mouthfuls of cereal and trying to find your car keys.
As my friend said, “wow and to think I’ve spent years wasting my hard earned money by supporting artists by going to see their live gigs, when I could have been sitting on the couch and supporting Channel 7’s advertising budget. Silly me!”
We need more TV shows dedicated to music. More live concert series like JJJ Live At The Wireless, Live at the Chapel and VH1 Storytellers. More variety chat shows like Hey Hey, The Panel and Rove – often giving musicians their commercial break. And remember Recovery? We need that back! More dedication to talent and less manufacturing of music. But we still need to support live music.
In the past 15 years, I’ve seen more live shows than I can count, and every one has enriched my life somehow. Except Snow Patrol. They bored me. And that awful support act before Baby Animals were just horrible. Nothing compares to the adrenaline, joy and memories created by seeing a band or musician play live, before your eyes, outside of a TV screen. For a much longer time than three minutes too. The people you meet at gigs – the friendships and excitement shared, the way the music makes you feel alive, the way the singer looks at you from the stage – these feelings are amazing. And the live music at that show will never be recreated the same way. That’s something special.
Please, I urge you to get out there, off the couch and get out to see some live music. I know it can be hard, I have heard the excuses. Sadly it seems easier to watch a TV talent show or a
breakfast show to get your music culture fix. Sadly. But seeing live music
doesn’t have to involve a stadium show, or cost over $100. You can often take your kids. And the ‘inconvenience’ you may experience for a couple of hours of live music will be well worth it. Check your local newspaper or council website for gig guides – the next best thing may be playing at your local park or pub! And I hope that if you did enjoy seeing a band live on Sunrise, you went out and saw them live in the flesh.