Saturday, 28 January 2017

Real pub - real music

The plaque that is now displayed
over the Dublin Castle door.
I've just read on the PRS for Music website that the ska band Madness have presented the organisation's Heritage Award to the Dublin Castle, a Camden pub where they played their first gig in 1979. Not long afterwards, they released their first LP, One Step Beyond, and the rest [insert cliché here].

PRS for Music is the body that collects royalties on behalf of songwriters and artists. They have been giving out these awards since 2009 to independent venues that are associated with a famous bands in their early days. Previous recipients of this award have helped the likes of Dire Straits, Queen, Spandau Ballet, Squeeze, Status Quo, Snow Patrol, Elton John, Pulp, Blur and many others as they started out.

The place of pubs in the musical life of towns and cities cannot be underestimated, and for every pub that receives such an award, there are hundreds of others that also regularly present live music. In pubs and clubs I have seen many kinds of music, including rock, rock & roll, country, folk, jazz, singer-songwriters, funk and so on. The standards obviously vary but if you do go to watch local performers, you know they are not miming - sorry, lip syncing - and they will not be using a computer program to stay in tune, as many big names do (I wrote about these frauds a year ago here).

I have seen many big names over the years, on occasion travelling to the other end of the country for single gigs, but I can also say that I've also seen many excellent local bands and performers. In contrast, I have known people who like music but who rarely experience it live: for many, music comes prerecorded via radio, television, CDs or downloads. I particularly feel sorry for people whose only experience of music is through earphones as they walk for the bus.

On the beer front: I've checked the Dublin Castle on CAMRA's What Pub website, and it serves real ale. Pity it's so far away.

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