Thoughts on local venues, bands and merchandise by Tony Davis

Written by Tony Davis
Radio Presenter and CEO of

The Covid-19 pandemic left the live music industry in an unsure state, particularly those smaller venues such as pubs and clubs which are the life blood of local bands.

There was no doubt that the recognised, larger venues would recover and that they would continue to push out the useful fare of “named” bands. However, those smaller local venues were the ones in trouble...would they open again? If they did, would people go? Could the venues afford to pay bands?

The good news is that small venues now appear to be flourishing again, providing a place for local bands to perform and embrace the newish genre that is the New Wave Of Classic Rock, otherwise known as NWOCR. This genre has really burst alive since covid, with new bands playing new music in the style of the great rock era of the seventies.

Personally, I love the music and I love the smaller venues that I have been to such as Leo’s Red Lion in Gravesend, The Booking Hall in Dover, and the Giffard Arms in Wolverhampton. These venues (and many others!) are pushing this music forward, and new and exciting bands are bursting onto the scene - bands like Twister, Empyre, White Raven Down and Mason Hill to name just a few. If you get the chance, try and see some of these bands because they are really re-invigorating the rock scene.

Here in Sussex, places like Chalk and Patterns in Brighton and The Carlisle in Hastings are embracing these bands.

Just a final thought, it always nice to buy merch when you go to a gig, it helps the band out enormously. However, you may not realise that many venues take a percentage of the merchandise sales, up to 25% in some cases. If you really want to help your favourite “small” bands, buy your CDs and other merch directly from their websites or shop channels, they will always be happy to sign your merch if you take it with you to a gig.

I suppose what I’m saying, in summary, is that it’s always nice to go out and see a big bands, but I also encourage you to get out regularly to support the local scene. Platforms like Rankd can help you identify who the best bands locally are – so support them!

If you’re interested in the New Wave Of Classic Rock you can visit the NWOCR Facebook page at (2) New Wave Of Classic Rock | Facebook or have a listen to their favourite picks on their Spotify Playlilst.

In my work as a radio presenter, I try and promote a lot of new music. If you fancy a listen to my shows then you can find them on my Mixcloud Account at Tony Davis's Stream | Mixcloud.