Last night I was in the pub.
This is more unusual for me on a school night than people often suppose, but I was tempted into the Cafe Rene to see a band.
This is the second time this week that I have enjoyed live music – a few days ago I blogged about seeing Black Sabbath perform their final gig at Birmingham.
In that blog I bemoaned the fact that our musical heroes are not immortal. The bands I loved in my youth are all getting on a bit and are gradually breaking apart, stopping touring or dying. The question is, who is going to replace them.
Well, having seen last night’s band I am now more confident that we have a new generation of rock stars waiting in the wings.
The band was called “Better Than We Look”, they played some great rock music, and they were all around 14 to 15 years old.
These were six young lads who, in the time honoured tradition, have formed a band in school. They have learnt to play instruments – lead, rhythm and bass guitars, keyboards and drums – and considering they haven’t been playing for very long they display a good degree of talent and confidence.
They have, of course, done all of the things that modern musicians have to do: they have filmed themselves for You Tube and they have entered talent competitions, but they are also playing in public. How much courage does it take at that age to stand up and play your instrument – or even worse, sing – in a city centre pub?
And the pub was busy.
Okay, it was busy largely with family and friends (we were there because we are friends with the bassist’s dad), but there were regular punters in there too. There was even the obligatory random drunk dancer, so they got the full Cafe Rene experience.
It is refreshing to see young people learning their skills and honing their craft, not just relying on the hope of X-Factor fame. It is good to see them playing real instruments, not just looking pretty whilst singing and dancing in front of a group of anonymous session musicians.
And it’s good to see them inspired by good music: much of what they played was already classic when I was their age – stuff by the Kinks, Thin Lizzy, Free, Elton John, Status Quo and, in an apparently unplanned for second encore, Chuck Berry.
And so I have hope for the future of rock music.
Better Than We Look were certainly better than you may expect, so if you get the chance check them out – support live music and support the next generation of rock.