Is live music in Adelaide dying out?

I wanna rock and roll all night, and party every day! (Image Source: Buckwild)

By Liliana Burges | @liliana_burges

Many say this generation of young adults are reverting to the ’60s and ’70s in their choice of music, with Woodstock-inspired festivals and extensive protests, but are we heading back in time with how we party on a Saturday night?

Whether you’re a rock-and-roller from the ’70s or a millennial being introduced to Adelaide’s nightlife, live music is still adored by many.

Numerous forms of music have been introduced in the last 50 years, yet we always seem to revert to the forever-appreciated live music.

A young adult like myself can go to Adelaide on a Saturday night and hear electrifying music from DJs in all the local clubs, or walk a little further down the street to a local pub and catch rocking live instrumental music.

A DJ still conducts live performances, and their music is generally tracks mixed distinctively, which differs them from traditional live performances you would see at a pub which are usually instrumental.

With so much variety in Adelaide’s nightlife, the question begs: What are millennials craving more, live music or electronically simulated music?

Tanika Prowse, Function and Event Coordinator at The Elephant, believes age plays a significant role in an individual’s preference towards live shows and DJ sets.

“From my experience, I believe that 18 to 21-year-olds are favouring DJs, whereas that over-21 age bracket is still drawn to live music,” Ms Prowse said.

Of 14 individuals aged between 18 and 21, nine said they preferred DJs, and five instrumental shows.

Ms Prowse believes live music will eventually fade out as the larger generation supports DJ and electronic music, but she still holds out hope for live music’s future.

“From a business perspective, I think there will be a rise in the use of DJs,” Ms Prowse said.

“[DJs] are generally cheaper and that younger bracket tends to go out more frequently.”

According to Prowse, adolescents that prefer live music may not be able to access it easily anymore, with numerous venues discontinuing their live performances.

Ms Prowse said her discussions with regular live performers revealed a “serious downturn in live music available in Adelaide over the past years”.

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The Elephant Pub (Image Source: Trip Advisor)

Jack Dempsey, a 20-year-old trade worker from Adelaide, is a young appreciator of live music.

Mr Dempsey described live music as “beautiful” and “memorable”, opposed to electronically simulated music.

Mr Dempsey further reiterated his preference for live music when describing the better “vibe” the show brings.

“[Live shows are] more friendly, people are local and much more tame,” Mr Dempsey said.

“You can have more fun and get more out of [your experience].”

Mr Dempsey also had similar views to that of Ms Prowse regarding age, saying that in his experience, “more mature people attend live concerts rather than DJ sets”.

Sarah Martin, Publicist at The Gov, believes young people favour both live shows and DJs.

“There is still a huge mix of interest in both live and electronic music…,” Ms Martin said.

“We see a lot of young people attend live music events at The Gov regularly, there are also plenty of young people attending venues across the city.”

Ms Martin believes both live shows and DJs aren’t going anywhere.

Her advice for live-music-lovers: “if you love it, seek it out”.

The Gov is one of the many hotspots in Adelaide that young people visit to explore live music, and Ms Martin’s comments show the venue is not going to be losing its sizable following any time soon.

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The Angels performing at The Gov (Image Source: Reddit)

Soraya Durden, eighteen-year-old Woolworths employee and former student at the University of South Australia, prefers DJs to live music on a night out.

Durden’s preference is a result of DJs having more variety in their music and there being less chance of the performer making a mistake, as they are simply playing their tracks.

She also prefers the style of music offered at a DJ set, as opposed to the instrumental sound heard within a band.

“The music heard at a DJ set tends to be more dancey and techno, RnB is also heard, which is the style of music I prefer,” Ms Durden said.

So, is live music dying out?

Well, as long as there continues to be live music venues across Adelaide, young people will be there, and might hit the clubs afterwards…

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