Enter Shikari band member’s boost to St Albans live music scene

WHEN breakthrough band Enter Shikari first hit the big time the St Albans music scene was thriving.

But five years on drummer Rob Rolfe has seen the number of gigs in the area dwindle, prompting him to set up a non-profit music promotions company with a group of friends to ensure the city is placed firmly back on the map as a hotbed for live music.

The third gig put on by Real Events will take place this weekend at The Pioneer Club in Heathlands Drive, the venue where Enter Shikari first started playing live and building their fanbase.

Saturday night’s gig, which is set to showcase the best in local talent, will be headlined by Kiss My Brass with other performances from The Carolines, Praden, The Vertigos and Brocker.

Real Events’ goal is to put St Albans back on the map as a regular stop for national and international touring bands and artists, breathe life back into the local young band scene and return it to the sort of “vibrant, creative environment” that Enter Shikari originally grew out of.

All profits will be pumped straight back into The Pioneer Club, which is a registered charity.

Rob, who is currently writing Enter Shikari’s third album with his band mates, said: “Seeing the local music scene now compared to what it used to be just five or six years ago, and watching the gradual decline to virtually zero in the amount of gigs around town, leaves a real bitter taste in my mouth.

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“So we started Real Events with our main priority being to put on gigs to showcase young local talent and have somewhere for St Albans’ youth to spend time constructively instead of drinking cider in car park stairwells at the weekends.

“Profits from Real Events shows go towards renovating and raising the profile of The Pioneer Club, which is one of the few venues in the area accessible to young teenagers, which has come under threat in recent years of redevelopment.”

Saturday’s gig is open to anyone over the age of 16 and there will be an after show party with guest DJs for over-18s. There is also a separate bar area selling alcohol restricted to over-18s.

Rob said the concept had been working well so far and hopes that 2011 will bring many more similar events to The Pioneer Club.

Under-18s were stripped of their only regular opportunity to listen to live bands in the city when the club was forced to stop putting on gigs in 2007, largely due to licensing problems.

But the management committee members, made up of dedicated volunteers, secured a licence last year to allow regular gigs to recommence.

The county council then threatened to remove the current committee of the club and replace them with Youth Connexions which sparked fears of a further decline in live music. But a termination notice was never served so the committee will be in place for at least another year.

Tickets for Saturday’s gig can be bought from musicglue.com for �5 and a limited number of tickets costing �6 will be sold on the door.