Review: Live Show vs Live Stream – Part 1
What’s the difference between watching gigs in person and streaming them live?
Quite a lot, as it turns out. Both mediums have their strengths and weaknesses (you’re less likely to be hit by a hurled liquid projectile from the comfort of your living room), and the purpose of this series is to look at the differences between the two. Each week I’ll be going to a different venue in London, reviewing the gig and then watching a stream of a similar band and reviewing that. Kicking the series off are two British rock bands; Primitai and The Dirty Lies.
Live Show Review: Primitai | Thursday, 12th May – Our Black Heart
Last Friday, British heavy metal band Primitai released their third album, Night Brings Insanity to rave reviews from fans and critics alike. On the 12th May at The Black Heart in Camden, London, Primitai hosted their official album launch party. The band played a long, strong set comprised of cuts from all of their records. Opening with an eerie intro, the band kicked off with a furor that continued throughout the entirety of their set.
Starting with the positives of the live experience, the most important concept here is the atmosphere. The energy a charismatic frontman radiates (and Primitai’s vocalist Guy Millar embodies the trait) is something that can only be experienced live, as is the reaction of an enamoured audience. Speaking of which, the audience was solid; mostly comprised of loyal Primitai fans delighted to be supporting their idols. The audience willingly engaged in any offered participation, which included mass singing, clapping and even playful physical engagement when Guy leapt into the audience in the latter half other set.
The negatives of the live experience are variable depending on the crowd in question, but the good-natured Primitai fans ensured that The Black Heart wasn’t a malicious space to spend the evening. The beer however, was as expensive as you’d expect from a central London bar, and ensured a (mostly) sober audience.
Primitai killed it, and The Black Heart was the perfect venue to watch them in. How then did streaming an equivalent band compare?
Streamed: Dirty Lies + Support, Zigfrid Von Underbelly:
Settling in to watch the band’s stream, there were no qualms regarding the price of alcohol or food, and I opted to bring beer and snacks through the proceedings. It was an unusual experience watching a band sitting down, and quite a pleasant one, although there was definitely an atmosphere-shaped hole.
Greg Larkin, the first of the artist performing that evening, began his set by addressing the crowd: “right it’s just you two here so you’d better stop talking” (little did he know of my presence), before the set began proper. Just a man and his acoustic guitar, Greg Larkin played a Jon Gomme-style, incorporating plucking, tapping and using the guitar as a complex percussive instrument.
Electro-infused rock n’ rollers Sound Champion were up next. Coming in with crashing bass and guitar riffs, the band played a wonderful little set. Big Everything also crushed it; playing an awesome alternative rock with a bluesy feel to it. I really enjoyed Big Everything, and they prepared me well for the final two bands.
Lead support act, The Bread And The Butterflies, launched straight into a rockin’ number. The band is fronted by female singer, joined by male singer on backing vocal duties. The Bread And The Butterflies played laid-back revival rock n’ roll in the spirit of the 70s and 80s. The band displayed a visible energy and passion which made the experience a blast to watch. A Zeppelin cover later and that was a wrap for the band.
Headliners The Dirty Lies kicked off proceedings with their own unique blend of alt-rock which they dub ‘Pop Noir’. The band killed it; enthralling me with distorted guitars, brooding vocals and commanding presence.
In terms of the positives of the streaming experience, they too were numerous. It was a blast to be able to kick back and watch a full gig for free from the comfort of my sofa. Similarly, the camera at Zigfrid Von Underbelly is positioned just above the front row of the audience, allowing a really cool perspective of the band, free from distractions. One of my pet peeves at live gigs is the awkward shuffling of feet that occurs during band changeovers. Not an issue here: I used the time to refuel my snack deposits and stretch my legs.
In terms of the downsides, the only real issue here is the lack of atmosphere. I have no doubt that this issue can be curbed, and I wholly plan on bringing other people to watch with me next time.
Overall, a stellar two gigs from Primitai and the showcase at Zigfrid Von Underbelly. Although watching a gig in person and streaming it are different experiences, they both have their merits, and I struggled to find any significant downsides with either format.