I thought I would just jump on here to say Happy New Year to everyone, and hope everyone is planning on having a good 2021.
Now recently, I have been taking a break from blogging about the disparity of the music industry since the COVID outbreak. Simply because, well … I didn’t find it necessary to pump negative news out every week, when everyone pretty much knew how things were going down.
But, I thought I would kick things off in the new year talking about last nights’ classic round-up of New Years Eve television.
More importantly, Jools’ Annual Hootenanny.
When I watched Jools Holland last night, for the sixth year in a row now, and witnessing the same group of unified musicians playing, you could really see that these musicians who performed live for us, have not played at all since the start of the year. Not so much as rustiness for lack of practising per se, but more so the release they were giving off. From the supporting ensemble to the lead artists themselves, you could see the soul and the passion in their playing – and nerves no doubt, due to the circumstances. The release these artists were giving off when playing was an extraordinary moment to witness in a time of need for music.
No one had played live music in their local pub, since the beginning of March, least so a national tour or stadium concert, and seeing a glimpse of performing live music on national TV was certainly uplifting to see.
However, due to them not having enough artists to cover the coverage time due to indoor gig restrictions, it was a despondent moment when Jools’ flicked back and forth from the archives over past years. It was an oddly bitter-sweet moment seeing Dizzie Rascal performing Bonkers in a suit, to a room full of drunk people back in 2009. And so, from triumphantly showcasing and performing momentous moments of music to that affiliated year … to going back to 2020’s Hootenanny and witnessing often melancholic choices of music to celebrate – including soul and poetry – was quite a sad thing to see.
Now, I am not to judge harshly over contemporary and different styles of music, but I feel like placing a poet at 3 minutes to midnight was a brave choice on behalf of the BBC.
Now, of course, I certainly wasn’t expecting the same standards – like a raving mad party – we saw back in ’09, because of course, things have massively changed this year. But I feel this was an imperative move to show just how much has changed and how music and its industry has changed.
If I remember rightly, I vaguely recall British singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka advising to be punched in the face if he ever moaned about touring, sleeping on a bus or expenses of live music ever again. Because it was something we took for granted while it was here.
And watching 2020’s Hootenanny gave us all a reminder of that.