I still find it hard to understand when people complain about the price of gig tickets or, more to the point, willingly pay ridiculous prices to watch their favourite bands in hangar-size venues, where the performers are so far away they have to watched on a big screen. Even for bands that haven’t hit stadium status yet, but are on the Academy circuit having built up a decent following, yet are still considered cool, ticket prices can be relatively expensive, although comparatively cheap alongside a night at the cinema. However, for fans of live music there are plenty of cheap alternatives that come with even more cool cred, especially in London, with no end of free gigs every night of the week, and often with bands that are on the verge of hitting that Academy circuit, either as supports or headliners.
Promoters Bad Vibrations were hosting this year’s Label Mates festival, with gigs around Hackney’s better-known venues. Saturday’s all-dayer was just £5 for wristband entry to any and all gigs, with some of the best indie and underground bands around. To kick it all off on the Friday night, the promoters put on a free gig at Birthdays in Dalston, with another stellar line-up.
Opening the evening was Meggie Brown and her band, who even dressed for the occasion in matching suits. She was followed by the fabulous Kid Wave, with the hotly tipped Irish threesome whenyoung headlining. All of those performers are worth paying to see in their own right, but getting all three gratis demonstrates how vibrant the London live music scene is at the moment, and while none of us are getting rich, we are being enriched.