It’s quiet without library gigs

The Civil Wars with the Get It Loud In Libraries team
The Civil Wars with the Get It Loud In Libraries team

Looking back over the past seven years of Get It Loud in Libraries gigs, it’s hard to comprehend the quality and calibre of artists who have passed through the city and between the bookcases.

I moved to Lancaster in 2008, and, after a few months of musical exploration, I quickly latched on to the fact that if you went to a library gig not really knowing who the band or artist was, all you needed to do was wait a few months.

Adele at Lancaster library

Adele at Lancaster library

My first GILIL experience was with Imelda May and her groovy rockabilly sound, with support from former Lancaster band The Three Ages of Elvis.

It was on Valentines Day 2009, and my then girlfriend, now wife, Liz, and I had an absolute ball.

May very quickly hit the big time, her album Love Tattoo was a slow burner that has made its way into many a discerning music lovers’ collection.

Unfortunately I missed Adele and her performance sitting on a stool snaffled from the John O’ Gaunt pub across the road, and I also missed Florence and the Machine, Plan B and Alt J.

A friend said she managed to make it to the library in time to catch Mr Hudson in 2008, but missed the support act – Jessie J.

One of my biggest palm in the forehead moments though was deciding not to go and see Frank Turner perform solo at Lancaster library on May 14 last year.

Two months later I see Frank with his band The Sleeping Souls on the main stage at Kendal Calling and I’m blown away, scooping up his digital discography as soon as I get home, and telling anyone who will listen about this magnificent songwriter.

He’s certianly got his critics, but Frank was then handpicked to perform as part of the Olympics Opening Ceremony by Danny Boyle.

Luckily enough we’re off to see the full band tomorrow night, Friday, at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

Friends have told me that The Civil Wars’ performance back in March was the best gig they’ve ever been to, and then there was American actress Juliette Lewis playing a full on and sweaty show at Morecambe Library in July 2009.

Hard to believe really, but it happened, it really did.

I took my son Will to see heavy rockers Yuck as part of a Sunday afternoon matinee performance.

Okay so he preferred to run around the bookshelves with his hands clasped over his ears, but he certainly won’t forget that one.

“Daddy – what is all this noise?”, he complained. And I said: “Give it time young man!”

Some of those 160 or so bands and artists that have played for GILIL are still as little known now as they were then, but perhaps the best for them is yet to come.

I’ve been a fan of James Lavelle for years, and I doubt he particularly needed his library gig in January this year, but he did it anyway, enjoying pints, I’m led to believe, at The Sun afterwards, and pleasing both the audience, and, I’m sure, his support DJ, Lancaster’s Ginny Koppenhol.

GILIL as it was has lost its funding from Lancashire County Council, resulting in a fairly extensive void opening up on the Lancaster music scene.

It’s also meant that if you want to see up and coming national bands, you’re going to have to travel to Manchester and Liverpool, or at the very least Preston, and we all know what time the trains run until.

That’s not to say the scene has “suffered” in itself, far from it, but the potential is without a doubt still there – the queues from the library doors round the corner to the Vue Cinema for bands that are on their way up, but still relatively unknown, is testament to that.

Thankfully, the man behind GILIL, Stewart Parsons, still has a passion for bringing quality music to Lancaster, and hopefully we will see the ressurrection of GILIL, one way or another, in the not too distant future.