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arrive and thrive

By ASHLEY SMITHPublished 5 months ago 3 min read

Over 35 years of concert going I appear to be in the minority, those that want to see the first support and anyone that follows. The venues rarely seem more then half full when the first band appears. Then you can find that something wonderful happened and half the audience weren't there.

I attend heavy metal and thrash metal gigs, three in the last fortnight. For almost all of the gigs i have been to this year there has been 2 or 3 support. This means the time on stage is shared more evenly among performers and the headliners dont play much longer then the supports do. As this means arriving late could cost you hours of music and not leave much to come.


Many supports are accomplished bands in their own right and could go on to become massive. You could be seeing future stadium gods playing for a few hundred people. I saw the above photographed Muse as a lowly support on one of their first ever tours.

Another reason to come early is for the benefit of the venue it self. Many places rely on drink sales to survive, So don't go to the pub next door first, go straight in. This could mean the difference between the venue surviving or not. They might charge a little more but hopefully the support bands will make it more worthwhile. Also many venues have bars where you aren't able to see the bands, so still have your drink in the venue.

The other consideration is the survivability of the smaller bands in a globally expensive world. Tour costs have spiralled, streaming services pay peanuts and being in a band becomes more of a hobby rather then a sustainable job. Therefore buy something from the merchandise table if you can.

I guess in the last few years I have been to 20 plus concerts, some I couldn't afford the merch or the quality was poor . The ones I did buy at were mainly for the support bands I liked. Better still to cut costs and attract people often band members will sell their own stock. You get to meet the people who have just performed . Now one day you can not only saw the band when they were a support act, you can say you met the band.

I have heard of numerous bands who have split up as they couldnt make a living or afford to tour. Maybe a few more t shirts or record sales would make the difference. Maybe you could one day add to your boast and say you helped fund the bands rise to fame and fortune.

If you couldn't invest at the show then consider doing so on line afterwards. Even the smaller bands will have a website or social media page where they sell items. Some will also sell licenced stock through larger merchandise company's. Beware of sites or individuals selling fake or poor quality items. This also applies to the traders outside concerts selling unlicenced goods. No money will go the bands and the quality will be very poor.

Granted there are some bands trying to sell as much as they humanly can as long as it bears their logo. In recent months I have seen bandannas, wrist bands, posters, drum skins , signed records and even plectrums.

Finally please go to the gigs, wether its bands you know or not. In most cases the bands face penalties if venues arent full. Its why many play smaller venues , often choosing 2 shows rather then a larger venue.

The last but one show I attended was for American death metal band Lorna shore and their 3 support bands. I first saw the band as the second support to Parkway Drive, now they headlined in front of a sold out crowd while on a big tour. I doubt they will play many venues that small again, but I was there twice and bought a shirt.


About the Creator


England based carer, live with my wife, her parents and 4 cats. will write for all areas but especially mental health and disability. though as stuff for filthy seems popular will try there . any comments, suggestions or requests considered

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