FEATURE: Don’t Make A Scene zine #1 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Don’t Make A Scene is an independent zine created by Rob St. John and Bartholomew Owl from Edinburgh-based band eagleowl. Having drawn together advice, articles and features from a range of music industry insiders, promoters, bands and music obsessives, their beautifully illustrated zine is a must-have for all those interested in gig promotion. Two of the North East’s scene stalwarts, Fakeindielabel‘s Narbi Price and John Egdell, have enjoyed a strong connection with eagleowl through gig promotions and events of their own over the years. Here, in the first of our serialised articles from the zine, Narbi Price offers some bolstering words of encouragement to prospective gig promoters.

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Image: Rachel Lancaster taken by James Grey at a fakeindielabel show, Newcastle Arts Centre, 19 March 2009

Putting on gigs give you sleepless nights. A multitude of different kinds of sleepless nights at that, excited ones, anxious ones, ones where you’re just going over ideas and thinking about mundane but essential things like the best run for the multicore and where to put the cash desk. It rewards an obsessive personality.

That being said, most of it is common sense and lateral thought. Having an awareness of everyone’s role and their needs is important. The soundperson wants to know how many electric guitars, and how many musical saws they have to contend with. The bands wants to know where they can park the van, when’s their turn to soundcheck and where the beers and sandwiches are. The punters don’t want to walk into a venue with the house lights up and guitar cases strewn all over the floor.

Be as mindful and as efficient as possible – get your gameface on; your job is to know the answers. And make sure you’ve got a float for the door!

I have in the past been accused of being somewhat misanthropic by nature but over some two hundred and odd gigs I’ve had my stores of faith in humanity frequently recharged. My over arching experience has been of people pulling toward a common goal and going out of their way to help one another – from the most menial lends of plectra and leads, to lifts with gear, sharing of contacts etc. and providing food and accommodation for hungry touring bands and generally going to the nth degree to figuratively give each other a leg up. That’s not to say you don’t get the odd unscrupulous arsehole, you do but you soon learn who they are and to avoid them accordingly.

We at fakeindielabel have been fortunate to make really good friends from all over the world through putting on their bands and particularly good ones in Edinburgh. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that you’re the first port of call for certain bands when they’re booking a tour in your town. Putting on gigs means you get to hang out with people who you really admire – Sunday lunch with Kelley Deal, voicemails from Andy Cairns, explaining to Billy Connolly what the Stinking Lizaveta on the t-shirt meant, Dressed In Wires running the length of an Artist’s Bookshop at my first gig in order to smash a giant toy Barbie Aeroplane and innumerable lost evenings spent in Bartholomew Owl’s beard (RIP) all swim to mind.

We’ve enjoyed gigs in such spectacular surroundings as a 19th century church, an 18th century library and an 11th century tower in the old town walls, as well as the Head of Steam. Once or twice. Or a hundred times.

Putting on independent shows for close to ten years now has left us tired, older and poorer. It’s also left us energised, youthful and richer. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Gigs are great. Let’s do this.

Order your copy of Don’t Make A Scene here

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