Gig review: THE DARKER MY HORIZON – Dirty Rockers, Dudley, Saturday 24 October 2020

Rock lives, music lives but only if we support it – our small music venues are on there knees trying to survive and actually attending this gig, nearly broke this rock chick’s heart for a number of reasons…..

I have now been to a number of socially-distanced gigs and of the venues attended so far, this is was the best in terms of communications and pre-gig arrangements. We were able to book seating arrangements in advance and the interaction with Dirty Rockers was made extremely easy and smooth. I had 5 friends with me, none of which had been to the venue before – all of us were incredibly impressed, it most certainly won’t be the last time Dirty Rockers hosts us.

From arrival to departure, this was a well oiled machine, friendly, welcoming staff greeted us at the door with sanitiser and explained the rules. We were taken to a table at the front of the venue, drinks menus on the table, light system to order drinks and contactless payment in place at your table. This was the epitome of well structured venue, really doing its best to support live music in the current times, keep people employed and keep its doors open.

The Darker My Horizon were in good form and in party mode as they took to the stage, opening with their latest release ‘Sleaze’, for what was to be a rocking, packed 2 hour set. Their charisma and personality jumps off the stage at you and they clearly love performing, with the crowd showing their appreciation at every opportunity.

It was a total master class demonstration of a superb rock band playing – what a privilege to be there. Paul Stead engages with his audience and dedicated a number of songs (‘Carpe Diem’, ‘Knockin on Heaven’s Door’,'Dear Olivia’, ‘Gasoline & Opium’) showing the band really know and understand their audience and they never take their support for granted – what an absolute honour to be part of it. There was much enthusiastic chair dancing in the venue as the band bounced through the epic set list closing out with ’Still Alive’ – we are indeed, but live music needs US and it needs us now.

So why the broken heart? When I took the opportunity for a pitstop at the ladies, I had a chat with Faye and Shane – what they told me was this…. the band were playing for a split of ticket sales which given the limited capacity is unlikely to cover their costs (with probably a 150 mile plus round trip), the staff were all working for free and they hadn’t paid themselves since Covid forced them to close their doors for 3 months and then re-open with all the restrictions in place at a third of their capacity.

For the gig on Saturday, they had a waiting list for tickets and shared their frustration as they knew (as did I) that they could have sold the tickets many, many times over. This won’t be an unusual story in these times and whilst some government support has been put in place, not every venue qualifies for it as they simply haven’t been open long enough. How sad that we are condemning venues who have been brave enough to open during what was already turbulent times.

This band have been hit hard, they’ve had their Facebook page hacked, have lost 10,000 followers and 5 years worth of material – are these bands working hard enough without this happening??

Please go check them out on their YouTube channel and give them a follow on social media – I promise you, you won’t be disappointed; they are one of the hardest working bands I have ever met and they are simply the nicest bunch of guys – we are most definitely part of The Darker My Horizon family and that feels like something very, very special. If you know, you know, if you don’t give them a try!

If you can, get to a gig – the socially distanced thing is absolutely fine, yes I’d like to be packed in with my mates but I’d much rather be able to see live music than not, so if this is how we have to do it, then lets make the most of it. It is absolutely critical that we music fans show our support for the bands, the grass roots venues, employees and roadies – otherwise they simply won’t be there when you want them. If there’s no gig, go to the venue for a drink, and if you can’t get to a gig, then buy some merchandise – it all adds up.

Review by Karen Clayton

TDMH Facebook page

Dirty Rockers Facebook page

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Power Plays w/c 13 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
IVORY SKIES – Bring Me Up (indie)
HONG FAUX Feign Death To Stay Alive (Golden Robot Records)
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SOLE SYNDICATE – Brave Enough (Scarlet Records)
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