KINSELLA: Safe return of live shows music to our ears
Pandemics aren’t a ton of fun.
The current one has caused economic chaos, political instability and no shortage of anxiety, planet-wide. For musicians and for those who promote live music, however, it’s been really, really — really — bad.
For months, musicians haven’t been able to make a living playing gigs — because, in the era of illegal downloading and low-return streaming, gigging is how most of them keep the lights on. Around 75% of their income is derived from live shows.
Meanwhile, the clubs and bars and arenas that offer shows haven’t been able to do so for 20 months, give or take. The World Economic Forum estimates that the music industry is worth around $50 billion annually — and half that figure, from live shows, simply evaporated when COVID-19 commenced upending our lives.
So, for Calgary punk rock legends Chixdiggit — and for the legendary Bovine Sex Club in Toronto, Canada’s own CBGB — their joint return, this past weekend, was really, really (really) good. It was the 30th anniversary of both the club and the band, and the Bovine was packed — with verified, fully-vaccinated punk rock fans.
Before taking to the Bovine’s stage, Chixdiggit — KJ Jansen (guitar and vocals), Billy Dixon (guitar), Tyler Pickering (drums) and Rob Gruszecki (bass) — gathered in the storied apartment of club owner Daryl Fine, and talked about their first big shows in two years.