No quid, no quo February 22, 2013 11:18 AMSubscribe
Can the UK's 'toilet circuit' of small music venues survive?From Coldplay to PJ Harvey, a lot of big British rock acts started out playing tiny pubs and clubs around the UK. But with many of these venues closing, who will keep the rock'n'roll dream alive?
As in London, Southampton now sees regular free gigs in standard-issue bars and pubs that are financed by sales of drinks, something made easier by a recent legislative change that got rid of any need for an official music license for venues that hold up to 200 people. For the Joiners, that kind of event is pretty much impossible: it has an over-14 license for its music room (an integral part, says Muldowney, of its ethos), and a much more thrifty culture. "The difference between us and a pub is that 50% of our crowd won't buy a drink all evening," he says; the Joiners' head band booker, Ricky Bates, also points out that whereas lesser venues will offer little better than a "karaoke PA", the Joiners prides itself on an estimable sound system, but it needs a paid engineer to work it.