The music world has gone mad. Streaming has now replaced downloads, which in turn replaced CDs, which once replaced cassettes, which ultimately replaced vinyl (still with us?). As a result, it’s become nigh on impossible for artists to make any money out of recorded music. Granted, this isn’t ‘new news’ as such; everyone knows this is happening, the world over. However, aspiring musicians have a bigger problem on their hands these days, as it’s becoming harder and harder to find live venues to play at, because they’re all closing down. Why? Various reasons – some more jaw-dropping than others – but The Carnabys are set to put a stop to this with their new initiative, #savelivemusic. And we’re getting right behind it. We caught up with the band’s frontman, Jack Mercer, to find out more.
It’s a warm Thursday night in London, and The Carnabys have just launched their debut album, Too Much, Never Enough, in style, playing it to a
capacity crowd at London’s legendary – and thankfully, air-conditioned - 100 Club. The record is top notch, filled with great songs and musicality, but it’s this band’s live sound that really impresses. It’s high octane, melodic, raw, glorious rock and roll; a kind of modern day Ocean Colour Scene with a dollop of The Jam (no pun intended), and a smidgen of punk, and you’re getting close. Watching them do their thing – very well, we might add – is a pleasure to behold.
Which makes it all the more frustrating that so many of these types of live music venues are disappearing. London has already lost the Astoria, the 12 Bar, the Marquee – the list is sad and long - and it’s not just the capital where it’s happening; Leeds’ iconic Cockpit just closed its doors – a venue The Carnabys were looking forward to playing – and many cities nationwide are seeing a similar trend. The band’s lead vocalist, Jack Mercer, puts it in black and white for us:
“In the last eight years, one third of the UK’s live music venues have closed, and they haven’t been replaced.”
Pretty shocking statistics. So in a bid to battle the problem, The Carnabys are
pulling a big punch: donating all proceeds from Too Much, Never Enough to the Music Venue Trust, to help keep live venues alive in Britain. We doff our hats, gentlemen.
“Instead of opening new venues, the money will go towards keeping all current venues that are alive, thriving,” Mercer enthuses. “Be it new kit, or fucking lawyer fees; the reason venues are closing down is just stupid: not being able to pay a [legal] fee to argue with a neighbour who’s complained about the noise, so the venue gets closed down, is just one ridiculous example. That’s the reason we’re putting our proceeds towards the Music Venue Trust.”