Pickers haver always been a band with loads of potential, The potential has been recognised by various people – band contest judges, management companies, promoters, you name it. Even we here at All Tomorrows Parties have been sitting waiting for the inevitable moment when Pickers truly break. So I was naturally excited when I saw that they were playing – and playing in Intersoup too, the Berlin up-close-and-intimate venue, when there’s no actual stage as such and the audience stand nose to nose with the band.
So how was my Pickers nose-to-nose live experience?
Well, as much as I hate to say it, I was a little disappointed. Now when I say I was disappointed, I’m making a statement. You may have noticed on this site that there aren’t too many negative reviews of bands. That’s because we like bands. We want them to do well. We wish them all the best. We’re here to help them. Does that mean that we pretend to like bands we don’t? No, it just means that we follow the idea that if you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all. Hence the bands we don’t like, we simply don’t write about. Everybody happy. This segues nicely into the obvious question of why I want to write about my feeling of disappointment with Pickers. It’s because I think they’re great, it’s because I think they are one of the rare bands to have what it takes to really do great things, and I have in my time seen a few potentially great bands that just didn’t get there, because of one or two problems that they had, a couple of things they may have been doing wrong, and which no one ever told them about, probably just to be nice.
So I suppose I’m writing in a way in the hope that they are listening.
First off, a band that has the calibre of Pickers and that has the interested parties behind them that it has, has to have a sound engineer. Come on guys, have a sound engineer. Even for little gigs in little places. I’ve seen so many mediocre bands that had a professionally set up sound and looked professional for it, and so many great bands that were badly organised and had no sound man and just didn’t shine because of it. Pickers should be at the point where they have someone who will come to every gig they play, big or small, and make sure they have the sound they need. And if Pickers have a management company or anyone looking after their interests, then they should make sure the band is being looked after, on the premise that all musicians are generally crap and someone needs to look after them. Come on guys.
Secondly, look, it wasn’t a crap gig by any means. There were lots of good things about it. Pickers have some cracking songs, and they had the crowd generally bopping around and singing along. Unusually, it was the bass player who initiated and carried the momentum of the band, with the drummer following eagerly right behind him. Bands stand or fall on their rhythm section – yes, a little-known fact – and this one has all a power indierock band needs. The bass player had a good devil may care sneer too. So well done there.
But I wanted more. The singer and the lead guitarist gave me the impression that they were doing it by rote. There are lots of indie rock bands out there, and they all want what you want. You need to give it everything, every gig. You model yourself mostly on Manchester bands – they give it all, everything, every time, because they have it tearing up inside them, they’ve got to get it out, and the other thing is that they know how many other great bands are doing the same. I want more rock n roll. I don’ t want bands who are thinking about their career and get to bed early the night before. I want you to live what you play. I want you just back off a drug binge. I want you to date the Berlin equivalent of Kate Moss, and for it all to be going horribly, spectacularly, publicly wrong. I want you screaming on stage, like it’s the last gig you’re ever going to play in your life. And the first. I want you to want it. I want to believe.
Or something along those lines.
Again, I don’t like being critical, god knows I played enough bad gigs before I hung my hat up. But I’m only doing it because, like I said, I believe in the band.
Thanks for listening.
Rant by Chi Chi Honeysuckle