Why Live Music Thrives in Dives

Much has been said about the gentrification in various places, particularly Falmouth in Cornwall as new themed cocktail bars serving food replace the old place with regular clientele propping the bar up drinking pints over their grandparents’ carpet.

Recently, Rumours gave way to Small Ships, with intelligent reading material, grouped seating and a small bar with its record play and “tap house” beers. Above Hand is now the Chintz Symposium, with its terrace and curiosity shop decor and upmarket wines and Cornish cheeses.

At the other end of Falmouth is the Brig, which took over the site of an underground seafood restaurant and has the look and feel of a pirate’s boat selling rum and cocktails. They also serve food.

On Events Square is now Lemon Twist, with a baby grand piano lit in blue and a Prosecco Bar at the back mainly themed black. They serve tapas and main course dishes, the kitchen is open up to 9.45pm, and have a large menu of cocktails with happy hour at 5-6pm. They now have a DJ every Friday night and welcome piano players and are considering cabaret to go with the glamourous decor.

Just opened on the site once occupied by the Mason’s Arms is now the Moth and Moon, with the return of cocktail impressario from Live8, Ian, behind the bar. With cosy lighting and dark green inside and out, the Moth and Moon are revamping the exciting roof terrace built by the Mason’s Arms when it was a regular pub with a carpet and big screen for matches.

However, live music does not live in these places as Falmouth’s venues are small, however a couple of musicians took over wild west themed venue Hillbillys on the High Street and are continuing the work of the place’s creator from Newquay and are developing it as a boutique live venue with a piano in situ and a performance area downstairs.

Meanwhile, in more rough and ready Penzance, pubs can still be recognised as such and live venue The Studio Bar is almost a time warp back to Camden in the 90s. Reminiscent of The 12 Bar Club in Tin Pan Alley, London, The Studio Bar has excellent sound, colourful lighting and viewing space is squeezed into the size of a studio flat with a balcony upstairs. Bands such as Penzance punk act The Tribunes have filmed their music videos there and the sofas upstairs have seen many better days.

With good sound, the Studio Bar has not worried itself over plush toilets or a beer garden so the focus is on whoever is playing on stage and the bands love it. You really could play to a man and his dog in here and still get an adrenalin rush.

Line ups for bands playing at Jacob’s Ladder in Falmouth

Back in Falmouth, the live music scene is still buzzing, with the input of many talented musicians up at the University with name acts booked to perform at Academy of Music and Theatre Arts at Tremough Campus all the way to the Princeess Pavilion, which books mostly tribute acts with the occasional original band such as the Fall in 2013 and 2017 and local bands such as the Red Chords, Holiday Ghost, the Black Tambourines and Lost Dawn.

Meanwhile, Jacob’s Ladder and Woodlane Social Club still boast rough and ready decor and put the emphasis into promoting original new bands when they can afford to. The costs of being in a band are seldom met, though, with rehearsals, equipment and roadying stuff to gigs and back. Therefore to create a really vibrant new live music scene to compete with previous decades, may it be better to invest in the bands so they can afford to play rather than in renovating bars into cocktail specialties that only sustain loyal clientele if they feel at home and happy in a venue. Live music always makes me feel happy, personally.

However, it seems that the economy – plugged by student revelry – doesn’t ever seem to get reinvested into the human resource of musicians’ new songs, but always into real estate, upgrading the decor, building and retiling the loos. Live music can thrive in a dive as when the Sex Pistols were playing in Cornwall, i am sure they would have felt out of place in a cocktail bar, but cocktails in clean surroundings are what people expect in the 21st Century.

With many places to perform around Cornwall, this website aims to tell you what is going on where, whether you are a venue wanting people to know about your live music events, to bands wanting to know what music is promoted where or a live music fan looking for what is on in a particular genre, location, venue or on a certain date, Livemusiclistingscornwall.com will be here for you.



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