Recently I've seen an article about how going to gigs makes you live longer floating around on the social media. I'm sure you've probably seen it as well, as the kids would say "it's pretty viral innit bare tings." Whenever I see this article pop up it always gets me thinking about how I'm now making some good headway into my thirties and I still spend a lot of my spare time and income travelling into London in the middle of a week for a gig, very often multiple times a week. This is some contrast to some of my nearest and dearest friends of the same age who are happily married, have beautiful kids, successful careers and are home owners. I often think that I should slow down all of this gig going and think about becoming a proper grown up.… and then I learn about another upcoming gig than I simply cannot miss. It's an ongoing and endless cycle. Whenever I think about quitting the going to gigs game, I quickly remember what I love about going to gigs. So, I've compiled a list of reasons I still love going to gigs in my thirties.
1. Music Is Best Experienced Live
You may have already realised this if you've been following this blog over the past four years but I am a bit of a music fan. Growing up there was always music on in our family house and that tradition has continued in Emma and mine's little house in Bedford. Whether we're playing a record or streaming music, we're usually listening to something. I'm not up to date with any of the current 'box sets', ask me if I've seen a film and the answer will more than likely be no. That's because I prefer listening to music and I love it even more when I experience it live. There's something so special about seeing a band play your favourite songs right in front of you. I feel like this is really how you were supposed to experience these songs.
2. Meeting Your New Best Pals
Think about the friends you've made since you left education. Are the majority of them from work? A lot of mine are too, and many are definitely lifelong ones, but do you find that whenever you meet up away from work that work still dominates the conversation? I've found it's different with my gig friends. We never talk about work, we talk about the thing we love more than anything in the world – music! (Except when the World Cup is on, when the World Cup is on we talk about the World Cup).
3. It's Better Than Watching The Rubbish That Is On TV Most Evenings
What would you rather do with your evening? Watch the latest episode of your favourite soap or reality TV show or go out and see a great band? It's a no brainer for me – great band every single time! Something I've never quite been able to fathom is why someone would stay in to watch a TV show instead of going out and seeing people doing something fun. Especially in this day and age of catch up TV.
4. Don't You Just Feel A Bit Old And Creepy In A Club?
Admittedly I have been in clubs very few times in my entire life let alone since I reached my thirties but I can only imagine that if I was going to now I'd feel extremely uncomfortable and out of place. I'd feel like I was twice as old as everyone else, I'd worry that the young ladies would be cold in their fashionable going to clubs (I guess) dresses, I'd be worried about accidentally bumping into anyone and I would just hate the overly macho attitude of the gentleman in attendance. Quite ironically I'd complain about how loud the music is and how I can't hear anything my friends are saying. At a punk show it's very very rare for these type of feelings to occur. I love the comfort zone of a punk rock show.
5. It's The Best Way To Support Your Favourite Bands
In this digital age where you can hear music from all your favourite acts for free the best way to support them financially is by going to see them at a show (and maybe buying some merch). That's as good a reason for keeping going to my gigs in my thirties as anything I can think of. If nobody goes to see bands live then they can't afford to keep on being a band and then the gigs stop and I spend every night sitting at home being quite bored and miserable.
6. It's Also The Best Way To Support Your Local Venue
I read a stat recently that stated that something like four pubs in the UK close every day. A lot of this is due to gentrification with councils and land devleopers deciding that we need more yuppy apartments. If all the pubs and music venues close then there will be nowhere for bands to play. Then they can't make money and stop being bands. Then I spend every night sitting at home being quite bored and miserable.
7. It's Much More Fun Than Going To The Gym
Going to the gym seems to be cool these days. Getting fit is important and I commend anyone who tries to keep their bodies fit and healthy. I like to try and keep fit but I like my exercise to feel like I'm having fun and not just endlessly repeating myself lifting things or running without ever getting anywhere. Instead I like to go to a ska gig and spend a couple of hours skanking away and singing along to my favourite songs and, as it's a ska show, more than likely a couple of covers. That's so much more fun than attempting to do a sit up.
8. Reunion Shows
It's always fun to be a bit cool and smug and say that you remember when a band was playing pub shows once they hit big and start playing large venues. It's even more fun when you can say I remember this band before they got back together for this run of reunion shows. That's something you can only really do when you're an older gig goer.
9. It's Great For Your Mental Health
There's so much rubbish in life that is so easy to get bogged down with. Between the stresses of working, chores, paying bills, supporting Crystal Palace and the country seeming like it's falling apart more and more each day, it's important to continue to keep doing the things you love, no matter how old you are. It will keep you happy, it'll continue to give you amazing memories and most importantly it will keep you sane.
10. Your Bands You've Seen Live Spreadsheet Will Have Even Higher Numbers
I assume it's not just me and C-Rage who have written down every single band we've ever seen and totted up exactly how many times we've seen them. Imagine having been regularly going to gigs for ten to twenty years and therefore what an impressive list of bands you are likely to have. Then think about how all your friends are going to love hearing about all your stats.
This top ten was written by Colin Clark.