Monday, 27 January 2014

Hiding In Plain Sight

Hiding In Plain Sight

When I offered to do a write-up for my friend's band following their gig at The Shore in Dundee last Friday night, I literally had no idea what I was getting myself into. What I mean by that is, though I would be writing about my friend's band, I had never actually listened to them before in my life. I hadn't a clue how good they were, or what sort of music they would be playing. I hadn't even heard of the venue they were to be performing in! So, I guess you could say that this post is about a journey of musical discovery...

The Shore is a 'young person's venue for 10-18 year olds', according to their official website, which means it's an alcohol free zone. This was something of a kick-in-the-teeth for someone who has just reached the age where they can legally buy alcohol. It's not that I've suddenly turned drink-crazy or anything, it just meant that this would be different to any other gig I've experienced. Every other venue I've been to promotes the selling of alcohol (to those who are old enough to buy it of course) and the faint scent of beer has become something I associate with live music. But on the positive side, you could say the lack of imbibing audience members was kind of refreshing. In fact, I think they were all better off without alcohol in their systems anyway! The teens at the gig were absolutely crazy!

When I first turned up outside The Shore, my (non-band member) friend and I were greeted with stares that were a slightly unsettling mixture of judging, hostile and curious. It was a relief to be able to scurry by the girls behind the looks, into the venue. However, the relief didn't last long. I hate admitting it, but I found being in that venue amongst the smattering of teens I didn't know kind of unsettling. It wasn't because they were rude or unkind in any way, they were just loud and boisterous and out there. I can't think of any way to put it other than that. Luckily, my friend and I did eventually get chatting to a few people, mostly the band members from Hiding in Plain Sight, and once the music actually started, I felt a lot more relaxed.
The first girl on stage was called...Beth, I think. And I really can't for my life remember what she sang. I just remember thinking that she was incredibly brave to go out on that stage alone, apart from her acoustic guitar, and perform. It's certainly something I would have struggled to do. And that's one of the main things I took away from the whole evening: to perform, you have to be confident. For some people, confidence on stage is a natural thing and for others it's something they have to develop over time. Being part of a band is kind of like having a safety net around you. The people on stage next to you can give you that extra boost to help you overcome stage fright, but when you're up there on your own, there's nobody to hide behind.
Hiding in Plain Sight were on after Beth, and what a contrast. After listening to renditions of songs on acoustic guitar, the electric guitar and heavy drum-kit were something of a shock to my ears. This said, the band played with enthusiasm and I enjoyed their original song 'Venom'. Even though there were a few glitches here and there with the timing, the band continued to play and refused to give up. More than anything, that's probably what I admire them for most; the determination to keep going. For a band that is just starting out, I think they did pretty well and I'm happy to describe them as a clear showcase of young musical talent in Scotland. They made me wish I was in a band!

All in all, I enjoyed the evening, particularly Hiding In Plain Sight's performance. The whole experience of going to a venue like The Shore gave me a bit of a shock however. I realised that (and this is where I start to sound like someone's granny) as a young teenager, I wasn't really exposed to the sort of lifestyle that the kids at the shore seemed familiar with. They were definitely a very alternative bunch of people, the kind that I wished I had hung around with when I was younger. But, alas, I did not. It also seemed to me that they were more aware of who they were, whether it was through their fashion sense or music taste. I don't remember ever being that self-assured.

Consequently, I came away from The Shore wishing two things: that I could play the guitar and that I could have had at least some form of self-identity when I was younger. But you can't turn back the clock, can you?