Earlier in the year we reported on an innovative gig subscription service called Giggedin that had just begun to operate in Sydney. Having now expanded to Melbourne, the service provides – for a monthly fee – access to unlimited gigs in a chosen city. Their aim is to change the way people engage with live music, making attending a gig part of every music fan’s weekly routine.

Now that the service has been running for a while, we decided to get one of our writers to try out the service, and report back about the experience. So as winter gripped Melbourne, Nick Cheek braved the cold to see what it was all about – and if it was worth the cash.

Image by Tiffany Williams

Gig One – Harts

Saturday 28th May, John Curtin Band Room, Giggedin Exclusive (with a plus 1)

“Been a long time since I played a room of this size,” said Harts as he took to the stage for his member only show prior to heading off on a European tour.

The room wasn’t packed, but those there were enthusiastic, those at the front dancing and singing along to every word, clearly fans having signed up to Giggedin to be at the show.  Everyone in the crowd was clearly big music fans; attentive, vocal and enthusiastic.

Accompanied by a drummer and array of backing tracks and loops, Harts was liberal with song structures, but musically precise.  Whilst his festival antics didn’t work as well in the small room, he still proved himself to be a fantastic showman, and brilliant guitarist, proudly showing his Hendrix influence by closing the set with Purple Haze.  The sound was a little rough in parts, but overall it was a great way to see an artist in such an intimate setting.

Verdict: Hit

Gig Two – Last Dinosaurs

Friday 3rd June, Northcote Social Club

The Last Dinosaurs had sold out three nights at the Northcote Social Club as part of their ‘Miracle Methods’ tour.  Allocations had been exhausted for Giggedin members, however there is an option to go on a waiting list, and more tickets had become available the day before the show.  I didn’t know much about the band, but the night suited me.

After getting the door time wrong (it was 8:30 not 7:30), and realising the headline act was not on stage until 11:30, I was finding myself with quite a few hours to spare.  As I hadn’t opted for a plus one, I did face a long wait alone on a cold Friday night.  So, perhaps a little irrationally, I left before a note was even played.

It does highlight one of the inherent problems with Giggedin’s service.  If you aren’t paying any more to see a specific show, then there is no financial incentive to show up if you change your mind.  Your account does get blocked for 48 hours if you are a no show, which provides something of a deterrent, in addition to missing what I am sure would have been a great show.

Verdict: Miss

Gig Three – James Franklin

Thursday 9th June, Shebeen

Somehow I’d never been to a gig at Shebeen, and as the venue had announced that week, amidst some controversy,  that it would soon be closing, it seemed an opportune time to go.

One of the best things about Giggedin is that it provides the opportunity to see an unknown act just because the night suits you, and who knows what gem you may stumble across.  Your new favourite band? The next big thing? An unexpected but amazing night of music?

Alas, none of these would be the case this evening.  Launching his Pumpkin Pie EP, James Franklin clearly has a good number of supporters as the small room was quite full.  Clearly none of them Giggedin subscribers (I was a nameless entity on the door list simply as ‘giggedin’).

James Franklin came on stage looking like a ’70s cult leader, all in white, a bandanna keeping his long curly hair off his face.  This was clearly a guy who had watched a lot of X Factor, as he was all about the look and the right poses, and very little about the substance.

Touting themselves a funk band, the decidedly un-funky 5 piece launched into a very unconvincing cover of ‘The Letter’, before a couple of rather unoriginal originals, including a Queen rip-off that Franklin even announced as “this is my version of a Queen song.”

As the band started to butcher ‘Higher Ground’ fifth song in, I decided to cut my losses and leave.

Verdict: Miss

Gig Four – Hayden Calnin

Saturday 11th June – Howler

Having enjoyed Hayden Calnin’s music for a couple of years, I was genuinely excited about attending his launch show for his Cut Love Part 2 album.

Howler is a fantastic room for live music, and perfect for Calnin’s beautiful, melodic, and sparse music.  The large stage in a wide but shallow room focuses the attention towards the artist, the bar tucked away in a corner as to not be a distraction.

Whilst you are unlikely to have heard Hayden Calnin on the radio, he has developed a loyal following, and Howler was near capacity.  The crowd was attentive and refreshingly silent, allowing everyone to fully appreciate his music that works as much for the spaces in-between as for the notes themselves.

The sound was crisp, the light show not overbearing but certainly provided many Instagram-able moments throughout the hour long set.  The big crowd sing a long in the final song of the encore a perfect way to end the night for one of Melbourne’s undiscovered gems.

Verdict: Hit

Gig Five – Olympia

Sunday 19th June – Northcote Social Club (with a plus 1)

Melbourne singer Olympia was playing her second sold out show at the Northcote Social Club as part of her Self Talk album tour.  The Melbourne singer recently appeared on the Groovin’ the Moo line-up, is part of Paul Dempsey’s touring band, as well as recently performing a hugely popular Triple J Like a Version.

The band were mostly a three piece, with Olympia on guitar, although later joined on stage by support act Sarah Belkner, helping out on keyboards and vocals, as well as 5 members of Angie Hart’s Ladychoir towards the end of the set.

Olympia is mesmerising and impressive live, her powerful vocals spot on, the songs coming alive far more than the recorded version.  She is funny, shy, down to earth, chatty and awkward in a very endearing way, and she can sing, really sing.  You would expect this to be the last time she is seen in a room that small.

Verdict: Hit

So, Is It Worth It?

Five gigs over four weeks, with around $90 worth of tickets – not including the Harts members only gig. While not every show went quite as expected, three were excellent, and definitely made it well worth the monthly fee.

The whole process is quite exciting as well, as new gigs become available almost every day – some only the day before, others further ahead. Just pick a night you’re free, and then find someone to go and see.

For couples or gig-going friends, the $65 ‘Infinite Plus’ plan is great value, and means you always have a gig buddy. The ‘Infinite’ plan is only $35, so for those solo gig-goers it’s well-priced, and means you easily have the opportunity to get your money’s worth.

Giggedin will not suit everyone, appealing mostly to keen music fans who like to attend gigs regularly, and provides a good incentive to go and see more live music.  Importantly, the service gets more people out to gigs, which is a win for both musicians and music venues.

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