So, these have indeed been very strange times. I'm sure as music lovers (well I assume so if you're reading this!) we have all been feeling the pinch. Whether that be missing going to gigs, playing gigs, rehearsing, attending big concerts or even just going to the pub and watching some open mic night. Needless to say the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on every single one of us in all aspects of our lives not just music lovers.
We were exceptionally lucky to be able to go ahead with our concert at The Blossoms in Stockport on the 14th March. What a rager that was! With Yersin from the North East nearly shaking the building to it's very foundations, Ron Jizzly and The Spoons and their 3 guitar racket, Eye Licker showcasing their new, and in my opinion most ferocious and best, line up (correct me if I'm wrong Lee!) and finally Healer of Bastards from Birmingham who managed to get 3 encores! The atmosphere was electric and everyone was in good spirits with a good turn out considering the looming crisis. Did people see the writing on the wall and want to get one last gig in? Either way we were very lucky to be able to go ahead and little did we know that for ourselves, and many other people, this would probably be the last gig of 2020 we would all attend! Were you at this gig? Maybe you could pleasure us with a review/photos/videos.
Anyway, following the 23rd of March all pubs and venues, as well as many other places, would shut to tackle the onslaught of the Coronavirus. Some thought it was unnecessary whereas others thought it wasn't enough. No matter what views and political persuasions everyone held it was, for the most part, agreed this is the best decision. Yes, hindered by the governments failings and inadequacies; however, I won't go down this path otherwise we'd be here all day arguing on the comments. We all must at least agree in some form or another this has had a cataclysmic effect on our venues and bands. Ourselves having to cancel Shockportopia 2, which was it's second year, and that was a major blow. We had some amazing bands and venues to look forward to. But it was not to be. Hopefully we can revive it in 2021. Currently we do still have 2 gigs booked for August. The 1st of August at The Spinning Top with Kringer and The Battle Katz, Dischord, Eye Licker and The Performance Enhancing Suppositories. This was supposed to be the last stop of a DIY tour for us all across Scotland and the North of England. Needless to say the tour has fallen by the wayside; however, as things stand this particular gig is still going ahead. We also have another gig arranged at The Blossoms for the 29th August with Broken Lungs, System of Slaves, Chain of Dissent and The Kirkz. We hope both gigs can go ahead and who knows maybe we can get one of the first gigs after lockdown as well as having one of the last before it. If the gigs do go ahead we will obviously work with all the bands and venues to ensure there is a safe environment.
With no light at the end of the tunnel and no concrete stance on when things will go back to "normal" - although I don't think things will ever be "normal" again, many venues are facing closure and many bands, especially the bigger bands, have lost a lot of revenue that it threatens their very survival. For example Aborted from Belgium reported a loss of $60,000, after cancelling their tour with Napalm Death. For some of the biggest bands this is nothing but a drop in the ocean but for a band at that level it's huge and potentially critical. With venues across the world also facing permanent closure it does seem that maybe Coronavirus has to be one of the worst catastrophe's to hit the music world since World War 2. When this is all over who will be the casualties and who will be the survivors?
What's the response? What do we do? Well, as it happens, we can do something. All of us. Going back to Aborted they declared that rather than Crowd Funding and asking for charity they simply asked we buy their music and merch. Which is exactly what we should all be doing. Yes for a lot of bands at our level it isn't our livelihood like it is for bands like Aborted; however, with no gigs and for a lot no rehearsals it's difficult to promote yourself and get yourself to a new audience as well as remaining positive. And I bet a lot of bands and musicians are thinking whether to carry on. Well going back to the previous point to support them. We buy their goods. Whether it's patches, CD's, shirts, hats, coffee mugs, branded butt plugs whatever! For many it's not that easy, with job losses and reduced income; however, nearly all of us have access to social media and music streaming. Get those plays up! Get sharing. Get commenting and let them know they're not forgotten and you support them. Tell your friends what you're listening to and who to check out. I'm in a fortunate position where everyone in my household is still working, and with not spending money at the pub, we could afford to purchase a few things from bands. And there is still some new music being released. Vader, Centinex, Aborted, Acarash, and Gatecreeper have all released some absolute banging metal. Deified from St Helen's recently released Anthrobscene, which in my opinion has to be the best release of 2020 so far. (Deified were meant to be headlining the Saturday at Shockportopia 2. We will get them on in the future!) Agent47 from Manchester are releasing a new song soon. Manchester black metal outfit Deus Mori, who Lee and myself have a lot of adoration for, recently released Umbra Mortis which is just fucking fantastic. Also my partner in crime and BKZ bassist DoomWitch recently released her debut album Byte Marks. So if you like some Synthwave go check that out. Another great idea was spawned from the 0161 Metal Community page which is a book of high quality photos of some local, and awesome, bands. Drew Scott, the photographer, has compiled some amazing shots and is releasing a book of these with profits going to the Music Venue Trust #savethevenues appeal. Check out the 0161 Manchester Underground Metal Community for more info. Great idea. Great cause. Very imaginative. And not forgetting the punk side of things Follow Your Dreams recently released a banger called The Half Life of Teaspoons. Great slice of prog-punk! As well as TNS Records are releasing a split between Pizzatramp and Incisions. And you know how good those 2 bands are!
So there's a lot to look forward to whilst in "lockdown". Ourselves in Kringer and The Battle Katz will be releasing a new video soon. So keep your eyes out for that. Lickerish Records may be quiet at the moment but we do have some plans in the making (and some plans that were destroyed by COVID-19). All we can say for now is "watch this space". What I'm basically trying to say is that although things do look bleak at the moment there are still things to look forward to and enjoy. Stay positive everyone and let's support each other. Now more than ever. As well as going out their and supporting those underground bands. Spend ten or twenty pounds on some shirts and/or CD's. Share their latest release or video. Give them some love in the comments. They would all appreciate it. If you have some time to kill and/or money to spare hit up some of the records labels too. We still have a number of releases as well as Dischord's recent release Convent Crescent which comes with a novel. Which, if you're suffering from Corona boredom, is a great read and I highly recommend. And don't forget those pubs and venues you know and love. They will need us more than ever once this is over.
Anyway I hope you all stay safe and check out the following links to our site.
Peace - Pancake
P.S. Buy some fucking merch and share some fucking tunes or else 😀😍