One of my favourite things about living in Brighton is having an awesome band playing on my doorstep, most nights of the week. Brighton may not quite be able to compete with London for live music, but I think it puts up a good fight. Although, over the years I've definitely missed out on quite a lot of great shows (big and small) because I just didn't know about them! That doesn't really happen anymore because I use a few different music apps that keep me in the loop for any upcoming gig.
Now that the Summer Festival season is truly over, it's time to look to the Autumn/Winter touring season when you get a variety of awesome bands traveling through town, as well as some local gems back from their own tours, to play some hometown shows. If you don't want to find out about gigs once they've already happened, I highly recommend checking out these live music apps.
I love Songkick and I've used it for years now. You can sync it up to your Spotify artists and see when they're traveling through your area. This is a really easy way of keeping track. Although if you're like me, play in function bands and use Spotify to learn tracks... Then you might get the odd notification about some cheesy 90's reunion gig that you're not that fussed about.
You can even set multiple locations and have a quick scan of what's happening in other cities. Great if you're heading off somewhere and want to fit in a show. I use it to check out what's happening abroad whenever I go away or what's happening in London whenever I'm there.
There's even a 'Recommended Concerts' section that shows you gigs you may be interested in based upon two things:
- Artists you already track and what other people who track that artist are also into.
- The locations that you've set. If you've set more than one, you'll be given a medley of recommendations throughout each area set.
To make the most out of this feature, make sure you're tracking artists you like and have the right location/s set.
If you don't have any artists tracked, you can still find out what's happening in your area by setting your location and scrolling through the upcoming shows.
Once again, Facebook have swooped in and added something to the table. This time, it's through their Events section. It's now practically become law that if you're a band or promoter putting on a gig, you set up a Facebook event for it. Like me, you probably get a lot of gig recommendations via Facebook by seeing what events your mates are going to/interested in. Recently however, I've started using the events section of the Facebook app itself to find out what's happening near me, most days. You can use it to check out gigs, comedy nights, workshops or pretty much anything 'event' worthy.
What it's useful for seeing...
- Your Upcoming Events
- Events Near You
- What's Happening This Week
- What's Popular Across Facebook
- What's Popular With Friends
- What's Recently Announced
It does however mean that you might have to scroll through a fair bit of waffle and duplicated events (one made by each band on a certain bill for example) making it a bit of a pain to find out exact set times etc. But as long as you find the official event, you're set.
I didn't used to use Bands In Town that often, favouring Songkick over it but with various updates over time, it's become pretty damn slick and I think it's become my new favourite. One of the best features for me, is how it syncs up to the artists you've 'liked' on Facebook. If I see a band I like or Shazam something playing in a pub and want to track that artist, I'll either follow them on Spotify or 'like' them on Facebook to keep tabs on them. This app grabs all that info, presents you their upcoming shows and recommends other artists and gigs to you, based upon your tastes. I've found this to work better for me personally than Songkick because my Facebook 'likes' are much more relevant to my tastes in music than my Spotify artists. This is purely because of the having-to-learn-function-gig-songs thing.
You can set multiple locations, similar to Songkick, but this app allows you to add a search radius on top. VERY handy if you live in a major City like London where it can take hours to get from one side to the other.
In terms of it's presentation, you can choose to scroll through events or a list of artists. Both of these options let you set a preference to either 'recommended' (which includes all the artists you track as well as those you may like) or 'tracking' (don't need to explain that bit really).
You can also search whatever is happening within your area by using: what's popular, just announced, specific genre or a broader search of everything.
The variety of presentation within this app is what makes it so easy to use. I find the 'recommended' aspect of the 'Artists' section so useful as it's pretty relevant to my tastes (thanks to the app tracking the bands I 'like' on Facebook). Those highlighted are the ones you already track and the rest are who you might like, who have gigs coming up in your area.
Are there any apps you use that I've missed off and deserve to be included? Please let me know if you've got any suggestions! Overall, I still use each of these apps every week. I think Bands In Town has become my favourite over the last year, but all of these work great and are really user friendly. It's worth checking each out because some will have gigs listed that others won't too.