I’m about to make a large generalisation, but I’m convinced that fans of live music have a commonly agreed, fairly standardised set of measurements they use when rating an artist’s performance. Broadly, we could narrow these measurements down into two categories: how much ‘skill’ (technical proficiency) an artist has and how much ‘will’ (effort and energy) is on display.
Of these two metrics, and certainly in the context of live performances, it’s the ‘will’ which audiences value the highest. This principle makes it perfectly acceptable for an act to have an ‘off’ night (the guitarist plays some wrong notes, the singers’ voice is shot, the drummer is drunk) provided they’ve made an effort, whereas it’s completely unacceptable if an act turns up and dials in a show.
Room 94, it must be said, vastly underperformed at the 02. Their songs were out of tune, they looked lethargic and they didn’t play to their normal standards. Perhaps they had a bad night, or perhaps they couldn’t be bothered – let’s leave their hardcore fans to be the judge and jury.
If this was an off night for the lads, then fair enough – we’ve all had bad days at work. However, something about the show suggested that this was a standard performance by a band who, 2 years ago, were close to selling out the Academy 2. Tonight, sadly, it’s only about half full.
Live music fans don’t just have standard measures for performance, we also have standards for redemption – one of which believes that artists who fall down can get back up.
Room 94 had an off night, they may even be having an off period as band, but they certainly have the skill to turn things around. The big question is: do they have the will? I certainly hope so.