I guess that you always have a special place for the first bands that you discover, usually the ones that help form your musical opinions and soundtrack your formative years. Even though I have continued to listen to new music through out my life both as a hobby and as an income, it is with fond memories that I remember those first steps out into the musical world at large. So much has changed in the way that we access music and the way we make music, the way it is reported and possibly even the value of music on peoples lives, but at the heart of everything, for me at least, is a love of the music itself, a bunch of musicians on a stage using music to connect with the audience, say something, make you think, or at least make you feel.
For someone who has always viewed the live performance as the distilled, pure heart of what music is ultimately about, I remember those first gigs I went to, voyages of discovery through hallowed grounds such as The Marquee and The Town and Country Club and a string of less hallowed ones in universities, pubs and toilet venues up and down the country. I also recall the first festival I went to, fresh out of college and ready to take on the world, well at least the bits that looked like they weren’t going to fight back. Reading ’83. What a line up, people of a certain age, my sort of age, argue that there have been few rock line ups to match it, even if Black Sabbath had Gillan fronting them and I got to see Thin Lizzy with the main man steering the ship. Not a bad place to start my musical education and change out of sixteen quid!