Why Small Bands Need Live Reviews, by Ginger Wildheart

ginger wildheart
(Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

Classic Rock’s recent switch from several pages of small live reviews to two longer live features as caused some controversy. Here, Ginger Wildheart explains why he thinks this move is damaging for new bands…

The live scene in music, especially rock music, is as essential as a loud guitar. The audience is where musicians makes their mark. Forget about recorded music, it’s onstage that people create a career.

While new bands fumble at the unstable hands of new studio engineers, a lack of experience can numb the process for all (trust me, all bands have been here), rendering the outcome a far more amateur effort than that of their big budget competition. Recording is harder to get right than finding the perfect partner.

But let’s face it, a kid can look at a bigger band onstage and say, “He’s faking it, I’m not – watch this”. And it doesn’t matter what sized stage they’re playing on, or how great the PA, this kid can grab you. They’ll take everything you know and add themselves to it. They’ll imprint themselves on you forever, the way that very few albums ever will. There are too many variables affecting recorded music. The future of music depends on the kind of revelations that come from underground live music, and word spreading about new talent.

Bands are now trying to fit into magazines where it should be the opposite way round.

Venues are closing all over Britain because people aren’t going to small gigs anymore, and this is because too few bands are creating a genuine buzz, desperate as they are to chase the latest fashion created by unsympathetic rags. Publications that chase fashion rather than passion. Publications so cocksure of their importance that we can’t imagine them falling apart. Publications like NME, Melody Maker and Sounds.

But every now and again a live proposition pops up that deserves attention from music lovers, the kind of attention not strictly aimed at kids. This is what makes everyone take notice. And that’s why live music reviews from respected publications are the very diet of musicians and bands that aim to transcend budgetary restraints and studio restrictions, and prove it on the pitch… for life.

Great live music deserves great live reviews by great magazines. And that is why Classic Rock should bring back a full live review section incorporating smaller bands, support bands and anyone not currently with a PR company fighting their corner.

Thank you,

Ginger Wildheart x

The Wildhearts are on tour in the UK in December. Hey! Hello!’s second album is out now.

Hey! Hello! - Hey! Hello! Too! album review

Ginger Wildheart

Ginger Wildheart is the guitarist, singer, songwriter and leader of Brit-rock icons The Wildhearts. In addition, he has released numerous solo albums and has been involved in many other musical projects, including Super$hit 666, Clam Abuse, Super Ginger 5, Brides Of Destruction, Hey! Hello!, Mutation and Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners.