And with brand new hopes The Temperance Movement touring across the UK this month he asks why classic rock’s new breed aren’t arena-ready.
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I won’t be at The Other Rooms in Newcastle this weekend to see The Temperance Movement in concert.
Which is a great shame because I will never get another chance to see this excellent band at such close quarters ever again.
The next time they’re in the region, I expect TTM will be headlining at the Carling Academy or perhaps the City Hall and after that the Arena……..
Hold on. Aren’t I getting just a bit carried away here?
After all, haven’t we been here before?
A few years ago, I remember watching The Answer play a storming set at Nothumbria University and felt very privileged, not just at witnessing such a great gig but being able to watch them in such intimate surroundings.
The Answer, I concluded, were destined for bigger things.
I was right. Well, half-right actually. Sure enough, on their next tour, they played at the bigger capacity Academy and that’s where they’ll be playing again on their forthcoming UK tour.
The Irish band know all about playing in front of thousands of fans in sold-out stadia but only as a support act to AC/DC.
Their own graduation to arenas hasn’t happened yet and while they are hugely popular with their own followers, it doesn’t look as if it ever will.
And it’s the same with the Rival Sons, Black Stone Cherry, Airbourne and St Jude – 21st century bands who are successful but only up to a point.
This year I’ve been fortunate enough to see Mark Knopfler, Whitesnake, Neil Young, The Who, Rush and Roger Waters play in front of thousands of devotees at sold-out arenas.
Spot the common denominator? They’re all bands formed three decades or more ago.
With the exception of The Darkness (who have subsequently been forced to downsize), I have yet to see a newer band who fall into the classic rock genre, headline an arena tour.
I’ve witnessed Arcade Fire and The Black Keys wow sold-out audiences at Newcastle Arena but in the latter’s case, they draw their audience as much from the indie fraternity as from dyed-in-the-wood rockers.
The only conclusion to be drawn from the trend is this: classic rock’s fan base in 2013 is not big enough to sustain an arena tour for any band, whose mass appeal was not already in place many years ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the Carling Academy, I love the City Hall and The Sage and Think Tank (who’ve just switched from staging gigs at Warehouse 34 to The Other Rooms) is a fabulous addition to Tyneside’s music scene.
But I want the music I love to reach a wider audience.
The Temperance Movement’s self-titled debut is as stunning as I hoped it would be. Fresh, edgy and bristling with confidence, it also happens to be one of the most brilliantly produced albums I’ve heard in a long time.
I want them to be successful, I want them to be massive and I want them to be playing huge venues in the near future.
Because that will mean classic rock is riding the crest of a wave again.