Thursday, April 27, 2017

The end of The Rainbow...?

Very sad news from Brum, The Rainbow (picture above from the Monotonix gig there way back in 2008!), one if the city's finest small venues, is set to close next month unless someone comes forward to take it on. Current landlord Lee McDonald took it over 13 years ago and in the intervening years it's played host to some of the best local and up and coming bands around. We first started going there back in the early noughties before Digbeth was 'cool' and to be fair the place was a little bit rough around the edges (the men's loos were always a bit of an experience), but over the years Lee and his team clearly put a bucket load of blood, sweat, tears and money into it. I know very little about the mechanics of running a pub or a gig venue but I'm guessing it ain't easy so to have stuck with it for so long is pretty commendable, especially when the development of apartment blocks nearby resulted in a costly noise abatement order. Yeah, I know, why move to a city centre location and then bitch about a little noise?

Sadly it seems as though live music venues are shutting at an alarming rate these days, either because the building's worth more as a residential development or no buggers bother going there anymore and, with a lot of mainstream music becoming so blandly polished that performing it live is practically impossible/pointless (reducing gigs to nothing more than mere playbacks) I can't see that changing. There'll always be live music of course and there'll always be venues but the days when big cities could boast a good half a dozen or more diverse places to perform or watch music seem to be slipping away. I guess that's progress for you. Speaking of which here's an interesting little interview with The The's Matt Johnson. What he says isn't particularly new but it sums up just what a mess the music industry made of things and how the people who got (and are still getting) royally screwed over are the artists themselves. 20 years ago a moderately successful band could make a decent living, but now? Seemingly not a hope and that's not only bad for venues like The Rainbow but also the soul nourishing cultural broth that, for many of us, make life just that little bit better.

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