This is 2018 in gigs. In statistics.
Having completed 40 gigs, with 11 to spare, I set no goal or target for 2018. I knew gigs would happen, I had no idea how many!
Gigs Attended: 79
By location: 49 were in Bristol (62%), 14 in London (17%) and others in Bath, Birmingham, Brighton, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Reading and Sheffield also got visits. Amazingly, given that it’s 15 miles away on an excellent rail link I’d not been to a gig in Bath before 2018 when I went to 4 and I finally got to Edinburgh for live music (as part of Fringe Festival). Brighton was another new gig location, as was Reading. I covered a lot more miles in 2018 I think it’s fair to say.
By venue: 43 venues were visited, St George’s came out top with 14 visits (17%), Colston Hall/The Lantern 10 (12%) and newcomer Rough Trade 4 (6%). The most unusual venue was built entirely out of Pianos. That was fun.
By artist: I saw Gaz Coombes 8 times in 2018, The Paraorchestra 3 times and Elbow, Bill Ryder Jones, John Grant, Nils Frahm, Public Service Broadcasting and Solomon Grey twice each. There were more repeats this year than last and Gaz took up 10% of my gig going by himself! almost 30% of the gigs I went to were artists I saw more than once. 36% were artists I hadn’t heard of before buying the ticket so I took fewer risks, but still leapt into the unknown on a third of occasions.
By month: Jan 0, Feb 8, March 11, April 6, May 10, June 6, July 3, Aug 4, Sept 6, Oct 11, Nov 7 and Dec 8 which is an average of 6.5 per month, 1.5 per week or a gig every 4.6 days. January still saw no gig action and March and October were still the busiest months. However, there was a general increase every month. August was boosted by the trip to The Fringe and December by a desire to get out of the house as often as possible to stave off seasonal depression.
By payment type: 10 were free, 2 free with album purchase, 2 guest lists, 7 gifts, 8 photo passes and Tom paid for 15, making 43% of the gigs paid for by others. Tom funded the travel and accommodation for a bunch of others, making them possible, but overall I spent a lot more of my own money in 2018. There was still generosity, but less in total as it was my 41st birthday, not 40th, and I didn’t ask for help as I had done in 2017. Perhaps I should have! I certainly need to if 2019 gigging is to be possible.
I went to 38 on my own (48%), 31 with Tom (40%) and 4 with Janine. So despite Tom arriving to sweep me off my gigging feet as it were, I still went out to a lot of gigs by myself.
By gender: Again only 14% were female, with 16% being mixed so I’m stuck on 70% male artists as a proportion. I am determined this will change in 2019 and of the 20 gigs I’ve booked so far, 45% are women, 20% are mixed and only 35% are all male. I will hear my sisters!
By ethnicity: Same stubborn 10% figure. Again this improves in 2019, when, so far, 35% of the 20 I’ve booked are black artists.
Best gig: This is a much harder choice than last year, there were too many brilliant ones to pick just one. Hannah Peel for sheer emotional power, or Gaz Coombes in Cardiff. Or Nils Frahm. Or Anna Calvi (I want to be her when I grow up, such power) or dancing with the Paraochestra onstage at the Old Vic. All of those were my best.
Worst gig: Again this is tricky because there wasn’t really anything I disliked, but the most disappointing was Max Richter. It went on forever and some of the selections were too strange even for me. It could, and should, have been a really magical night but was spoiled by someone not reigning Max in.
By genre: Much of the same broad mix of music was represented, I attended my first jazz festival, saw a lot more folk and classical, some fairly out there experimental stuff (music made by bicycle lights anyone?), harp and Kora music (sublime, beautiful, go), Americana, blues, brass, as well as indie and rock.
Top 10: in no particular order, and picking just 10 was actually quite tough. I’ve been to more, but also of very high quality. Such high quality that neither Elbow don’t make the cut!
Public Service Broadcasting at the Royal Albert Hall. A more perfect pairing of artist and venue I’ve yet to see.
Ex Eye. Heavy but breathtaking.
Paraorchestra at the Old Vic. Simply extraordinary.
Nils Frahm at Colston Hall. Sublime beauty. It changed me.
Gaz Coombes in Cardiff. Just one of those very special nights I will treasure forever.
Mogwai. The loudest gig I’ve ever been too.
Kamasi Washington. You will never regret being Kamsi’ed.
Catrion Finch & Seckou Keita
Youngblood Brass Band