Photo features ChameleonsVox.
In the space of three weeks we saw three bands at Tunbridge Wells Forum, whose sounds were very similar, but ages spanned about three decades.
Back in April we saw Jaws, who were supported by Haus. I’d picked this gig as: 1. we were free that evening. 2. I had listened to Jaw’s free music on their website and liked it. In fact I was surprised how often I’d listened to it, that I recognised those songs when they played in the set. Haus I hadn’t listened to much before hand, but I really enjoyed their performance, and I bought a Tshirt too. Both bands were, what I would call, surfy, jangly indie pop (I did sort of just make that up). The audience was mainly as young as the bands, and quite a few seemed to know the Jaws songs enough to dance and sing a long.
In mid May we took a gamble on an evening to see ChameleonsVox play their whole 1983 album “Script of the Bridge”. Neither of us remember The Chameleons from the 1980s, but when we got to the gig, found an audience of people a similar age to us, some of whom we knew. A friend my husband hadn’t seen for twenty years reassured him that he would have heard the album at some time during their moments of music sharing. (I guess as this was the 1980s this involved going to someone’s house/flat and sitting, listening to some vinyl, not clicking a link through facebook saying “Have you heard this?”) We were a minority in the audience as we didn’t know every word and note from the album; despite the album being over thirty years old and from a not a massively famous band – here were a crowd of devoted fans, dancing and singing a long. I was struck by how their sound was similar to Jaws, and also by the difference between the audiences. Each had attracted people of their own age group, with very little cross over.
There is much to mull over here: circles of music, how much original music is there?, fan devotion, why wouldn’t more older older people go to see a young up and coming band?, how do young people discover music from the past?, the difference between music sharing over 30 years, live music v recorded, how do you play an encore after playing an album?…..
However, the final debate goes back to the old publicity one… three days after ChameleonsVox played I was talking to someone who said they would have liked to have gone, but didn’t realise it was on. It seems that even with everything the internet has to offer, after thirty years people are still missing out on hearing The Chameleons.