There are defining moments in a person’s life. Their first day of school. Their first kiss. And, perhaps, their first gig. The first gig can be something silly, one that a person could look back on and remember a more innocent time. Or it could be a significant moment in discovering the music that would come to define them. Everyone is different. Your musical biology is made up of so many different sources, it’s hard to imagine that your first gig wouldn’t have a profound effect on the music you love as a whole. Below is my experience of what, to most music fans, would be one of the most poignant moments in their adolescent lives.
Gonna be completely honest here, memory’s a bit foggy. In fairness, it was about 14 years ago, ish. Not really one for the history books. I was about 12, it was to see Biffy Clyro. Are they still making music? I assume so. I haven’t really listened to them very much since then to be honest. I went with my step dad and it was in the Academy in Manchester. No, actually, it was at the GMEX. It’s the only time I ever went to the GMEX, I think. As I say, I'm struggling to recollect this one.
First band was a nameless support act that my brain has erased the entirety of. It might have been… no never mind, lost it. I had it on the tip of my tongue. Doesn’t really matter. I can’t particularly remember what they sounded like. Maybe… er… an indie band? It’s gotta have been an indie band realistically. I remember thinking at the time ‘this rocks’. That’s not true. I can’t even picture them really. This was a particularly long time ago to be fair.
I remember the second band! It was the Futureheads. They had a great song called ‘We’ll Live and Die In These Towns’. Actually, no, that wasn’t them. I think that was The Enemy actually. The Futureheads were the ones who did the Kate Bush cover, weren’t they? Awesome stuff. I guess because the first band may as well have not even played at the gig within the context of my memory, that this was truly the first live band I ever saw. So what was it like?
Can’t remember. I was 12. They definitely did the Kate Bush cover. I bet it was great. A Capella stuff too, I reckon. They do a lot of that kind of thing. I think my step dad was enjoying it. He probably was, he was quite drunk at this point. I do remember him being fairly rat-arsed. He had this technique where he ordered at the bar as if he was getting a round in so he wouldn’t have to queue as long. I think it was just a night off for him, so he probably fancied a few jars. Can’t say I blame him, not sure he was too fussed about the gig itself.
And then it happened. The headliners, Biffy Clyro, my favourite band at that point in my life (I assume) took the stage. Wow, I mean, if I could properly remember this, I bet it was a spectacle. Whatever you think of their music, I have heard they play live very well. I got to see the performance, and all I can say is, if you like their music, go and see them live, as you would for literally any band you like. Other than that I’d struggle to recommend it because I really can’t remember many details. I assumed they played ‘Mountains’ as that was a really popular song at the time. I liked the album Infinity Land a lot back then, so I reckon if they played any tracks from that I’d have been really buzzing too.
Strangely, while not really remembering any of the gig, I do have a memory of a girl in school the next day telling me she was also at the gig but it was ‘a bit too loud’. You heard it here first folks! If you like bands that are a bit loud, Biffy Clyro are a must see. I don’t remember it being that loud though, but I also don’t remember the performance, tracklisting or support bands, so maybe they were loud?
By the end of the gig, my step dad was probably a bit more drunk than intended. I do actually remember my mum picking us up and her being vaguely annoyed at him for having about 9 pints while looking after a child. But I didn’t care. I sat there, in the back of the car, looking out of the window, a cheshire cat smile on my face, ear to ear, knowing I had been to the first of many gigs. I think. I assume this is what I was thinking but I remember more the bit about my mum being annoyed.
If any of you are lucky enough to remember your first gig, please, let Aidan Shard know on the bar in as much detail as possible, and he might let you touch the ‘Quarry Egg’, a large golden egg that sits atop the building that’s overdue to hatch by several decades! If you’re lucky, it won’t hatch while you touch it and you won’t be consumed!