Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

Click here for my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @Henry_Raby

Say Owt Slam #19 3rd Feb 2018 @ The Basement, York

Whatever Happened To Vandal Raptor? April tour:

Durham @ TTEST 12th

Leeds @ Workshop Theatre 17th

Hydra Bookshop 18th

Derby Theatre 20th

Harrogate Theatre 24-25th

London @ Ovalhouse 26-28th


Nerd Punk Book Launch 29th April, All Saint's Church, York

Spoken Weird 3rd May, Halifax

Gong Fu Poets 31st May, Durham



Tuesday, 13 September 2016

20.16 Blog #20: Can I just say...

Last week my band played a gig in Sheffield, which was riotous, sweaty and proved to me that underground DIY punk music isn’t dead, it just went folk-punk.

But something happened after our set which (conveniently) sets up something that’s been in my head for a few months now.

A young punk (I think a University student) came straight up to me to offer feedback on not only the set, but the make-up of the band.  This is just after we’d played our last song, as the applause from the welcoming audience died away, just as I was taking off my guitar, with all my body choked full of adrenalin, this guy started explaining to me how the band could work better.  I couldn’t focus on his, or what he was saying.  It barely registered.  I changed the conversation to DIY venues.  He felt that Wharf Chambers in Leeds was “too far down the rabbit hole”, by which he meant, to left-wing (I think).

The fact is, I have often felt that we as artists need to be quicker to find honesty in conversations.  Too many times have I seen a poet, actor or musician and felt they could have been better, if they changed a line, did a different poem, sorted out their introductions, slowed down, sped up, looked for the humour, used the mic.  Whatever.  Likewise I have learned for someone to point out the obvious in my work and sets.

This is a question of ‘quality’, a definition loosely set by a collective consciousness.  Problem is, how do we grade art?  The Clash’s London Calling is a high quality album to me, but probably not to a classical music fan.

So often, standards are set by a collective conscious, but that consciousness is dictated by people in power, reviewers, funders, programmers, professors.  The gatekeepers of culture.  And your gig-goer or theatre-attendee doesn’t always factor into this grand scheme.

So if it boils down to opinion, we should be ready to offer some thought on the art we have experienced.  That’s what this guy was doing, he just did it at the wrong time, too forward, too
So when is it the right time to offer constructive feedback?  When that person is in the bar afterwards, chuffed with their performance?  Later on, through the de-humanising social media which lacks the subtly and nuance necessary to offer feedback?

In my experience, this guy should have waited until a break between future bands, because actually his points were fair enough.  But I kinda felt accosted, I switched into Friendly mode rather than being able to properly acknowledge his feedback.


But if we’re ever going to improve what we share, we do need to share our thoughts afterwards.

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