This is the sound of music not happening.

From the moment the doors open for a venue ‘load-in’ – never mind the concert itself – there is a riot of noise and sound activity that comes from the energy and activity of setting up a live music gig. Right up until the last note is played and the last flight case has been packed way, most of this sound takes place within the unique reverb and special acoustic of the venue space itself, making it distinctive, and precious.

Well, for the time being, Covid has put an end to all of that.

I was hoping to record some sounds in venues for a field-recording project, but the situation was so different that instead I got in touch with Independent Venue Week. The aim was to see if we could document this pregnant silence from the empty acoustic spaces of the venues – themselves usually hosts to an almost constant stream music, sound, noise, social & communal activity.

I suggested that some of the venue recordings could be up to forty-five minutes long, as this could be about the length of a band set. Not all the recordings are as long as this but in some ways the more you listen, look at the photos, and lose yourself in that silence, the more the meaning of what is taking place takes hold. It can be notions of what you’re _not_ getting, that rise to the surface.

The photos really bring it home too.

For me one of the most important things the  silence here speaks for is the importance and power of the venue, and the people that support it – either professionally, or as gig-goers. As hosts to innumerable experiences, encounters, life changing revelations that vary on an almost daily basis, where would we be without live music venues?

Have a listen, have a think.”

Loz Colbert, March 2021.

Laurence (Loz) Colbert is the drummer in the band RIDE. He has also played with St Etienne, Gaz Coombes, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Dami Suzuki. He is currently studying for his PhD at Oxford Brookes University in Sound and Architecture around other music writing and session drumming in preparations for touring post COVID 19 – when music venues can be thriving with people again.

American Bar, Belfast

The Cavern, Exeter

Club 85, Hitchin

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill

The Forum, Darlington

The Georgian Theatre, Stockton-On-Tees

The Junction, Cambridge

The Komedia, Brighton

Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich

Parr Hall, Warrington

The Sugarmill, Stoke on Trent

The West End Centre, Aldershot