Barry Gordon: Capital misses music to get excited about

Music fans: Pic: Comp
Music fans: Pic: Comp
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IS it me or has the Edinburgh music ‘scene’ gone into hibernation of late? Where’s the buzz? Where’s the real sense of occasion at gigs?

Ever since the demise of the Picture House there’s been scant feeling of excitement in and around the city centre. Yes, there are pockets of people, clubs and societies doing rather well for themselves in various sections of the city – the likes of Edinburgh Blues Club, Sing In The City, and those involved in setting up a couple of new jazz nights are to be applauded.

Yet there’s no real collective identity. Nothing to suggest that Edinburgh is a Mecca of music. In other words, nothing that would have Glasgow’s music scene looking over its shoulder. Are we really that incapable of producing our own Madchester (indie), our own Greenwich Village (singer-songwriters) or Seattle (heavy rock)?

Who’s to blame? The musicians? Too complacent? The public? Put off by ticket prices or too many other entertainment options? The lack of good quality venues? The promoters? The council, for their on-going desire to shut down any live music venue that receives complaints from a nearby resident? All of the above?

Whoever or whatever it is, Edinburgh needs something or someone to set people’s tongues wagging. A scene that can generate genuine excitement. If a survey of 100 tourists were asked to list the Top Ten things they came to Edinburgh for, you can be sure live music would be pretty far down the list.

The reality, though, is that things are okay. Resident bands do okay. Most clubs do okay. Some pub bands you might stumble across are okay, too. But it’s not enough to be okay.

In the words of former Sex Pistols manager, the late Malcolm McClaren, is it better to be a flamboyant failure or a benign success?

Answers please in the comments section below.