Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Looking at Ticketweb/Stargreen's listings today, I couldn't help but notice the depressing way in which many big venues around the country now are prefixed by the name of a beer, or (in the case of those 'NME nights') sponsored by 'Shockwaves' - a hair gel? Dental floss? Whatever, it's just one more in an endless corporate rebranding of venues so that, for example, the Brixon Academy is now the 'Carling Brixon Academy'. This isn't Disgusted from Tunbridge Wells complaining because of a fear that it's only encouraging people to drink more. On the contrary, one of the most depressing things at these places is that I've frequently been told that there's not enough alcohol - or rather that there's not enough different brands of alcohol, as naturally only one brand is available - that of the sponsor. This was made apparent to me during Sun O))))'s gig at Islington Academy (sorry, 'Carling Islington Academy'), where virtually the only drink you can buy guessed it. And only in a can, not on tap, if I remember rightly? So you can't even choose which beer you like to drink at a gig that you've forked out £15 or more for these days.

Sure, music is a business like any other, but it's still depressing when you go to some of these venues and see how uniform and corporatized they can be. Reading Festival, natch, is the yeah, thumps up for those labours of love that are 'going it alone', ie the independent likes of the Luminaire and the Spitz, or the Scala and Bush Hall, or the Buffalo Bar....maybe there's sponsorship lurking somewhere in these places (I can't say for sure, but I doubt it), but it's not thrusted in yr face; if it is, at least it remains secondary to the venue and the music. They're not sucking on a giant beer corporation to keep them going.
And at least at these places I can drink something that isn't bloody Carling.

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