I’ve felt for a long time that BCNR are the band I’ve been waiting for all my life. But in the days leading up to this gig I must confess I was wondering whether the COVID-induced 17 month absence from seeing them live might have cooled my ardour. I was foolish to have worried. This band continue to burst with fresh inventiveness at every turn. No question of just going through the motions.

Small gig venues take on a forlorn demeanour when their doors are closed and there’s nobody around. Such was the scene at 7.30pm on this Saturday evening outside the Joiners, Southampton. Our gig party had enthusiastically turned up early, ready to take up our ‘table for 4’ at this evening’s socially distanced gig featuring Zoe Mead (aka Wyldest) with Will Blackaby as support.

Positives to come out of the pandemic ? Well not many, but the concept of socially distanced gigs has at least meant a few new venues have popped up on the gig circuit that promoters might not otherwise have considered. And so it is that we find ourselves at the Constitutional Club, Lewes, West Sussex on a Sunday afternoon. An extremely tidy social club with a good-sized performance space leading off from the main bar area.

And now, live from Brighton, it's The Wedding Present appearing on your screens at home. For 75 minutes tonight it's a multi-camera, multi-angle presentation of the 2021 version of the band with David Gedge accompanied by Melanie Howard (bass), Jonathan Stewart (guitars) and Christopher Hardwick (drums); Wedding Present band member numbers 27, 28 and 29 in the complex and fluctuating 36 years of line-up changes.(thanks to a quick count on Scopitones website).

Only by seeing this band live can their relaxed togetherness be fully appreciated so tonight provided an opportunity for this to be shared with a wider audience. The event gave an insight to their live performance on the wide QE Hall stage, performing their recent LP ‘For the first time’ in full. In case we doubted they were playing the album in order, the stream announced each track title in huge white letters across the screen at the beginning of each song, giving a structure to proceedings usually gloriously absent in the melee of a ‘real’ gig.

Before anyone decides to inform the authorities of an illegal, socially non-distant house party in the Barnsley area this show is folk duo Gilmore and Roberts' last Patron gig before Katriona Gilmore's maternity leave starts. The show is being live streamed from their garage which they recently had converted into a performance and rehearsal space.

There is a tremendous appetite for live music in Ireland as there is elsewhere I guess. Away from the glare of the capital, enterprising souls have been putting on small gigs, to great success. The Doolin Hotel in County Clare have their Spaced Out Sessions, which so far have featured Lisa Hannigan, Sharon Shannon and Scullion amongst others, and which are ongoing. They have had to add matinee shows to meet the demand for tickets.

I’ve seen IDLES live 9 times in the past 2 years – from sweaty sessions in seaside towns, through two sets in a day at Glastonbury and on to their triumphant show at Ally Pally. Each one has been a visceral and vital experience, from the pre and post show meets with AF Gangers to singing ‘Danny Nedelko’ with Bobo on the front barrier at the End of the Road festival.

This may well be our only gig for the rest of the year”, Lankum stated when promoting their one off show at the Abbey Theatre. The Dublin band put on ‘A National Disgrace’, which was live streamed to a worldwide audience via the Dice platform on Saturday night, and available to watch for 24 hours afterwards - thankfully, as a show this special warrants repeat viewing.

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