A MUSICIAN with more than 40 years’ experience in the business has been forced to learn new tricks in lockdown.
Martin Burton, ex-frontman of The Gents and now singer-songwriter for The Last Man, took to playing gigs on Facebook after venues were forced to close their doors.
Now he has branched out into live shows on YouTube after Facebook pulled the plug on bands performing on their site.
Martin said he missed playing in packed pubs and clubs but keeping in touch with his audience online with shows live from his home in Conisbrough had gone some way to filling the hole.
“I love playing to audiences who can join in — that’s a big part of what I do,” he said.
“I do a lot of covers and originals and encourage the audience to sing along and dance.
“But this (playing online shows) has been great — it's far better than nothing.
“While I am performing I get a lot of comments and my wife deals with monitoring them and joins in the chat with people.
“I perform from a music room and studio at my home which I have built up over 20 years. It is where I record my own songs and covers
“But I’ve never really done any live video streams before so I feel like I’ve been thrown in at the deep end.
“Thankfully, I have a lot of family members that know more about it than me, so I’ve been able to pick their brains, and have watched a lot of instructional videos too.”
Martin said his shows combined requests from fans, new material by himself, popular covers and songs he had previously recorded with The Gents and The Last Man.
“The band are still in touch and we have been doing rehearsals at Steve the guitarist’s big set-up — he has a large drum room in his garage,” said Martin.
“Steve is still sending me bits and pieces of music to put lyrics to.
“There are a few bits inspired by lockdown but to be honest I’ve not done a great deal of writing myself as I’ve been learning all the songs people have requested - I’ve learned another 50 new songs.”
Martin, who learned the bass as a teenager before picking up an electric guitar later on, said he used about half-a-dozen instruments during his performances.
He said he was asking for donations from viewers of his YouTube shows, adding: “People have been wanting to do something to contribute as they can’t buy CDs – the idea is to throw a quid or so in my guitar case.
“I’ve had a lot of donations from family and friends but I’d like to open it up wider than that and asking people if they want to put a bit in to do so.”
Martin said he thought coronavirus had put paid to the traditional gig experience of shoulder-to-shoulder audiences – but there could be an unexpected fillip for social clubs.
“I have done about four gigs since lockdown and they have been great,” he said.
“Things have worked perfectly with the social distancing but I think it’s only going to work really in the bigger social clubs and working men’s clubs.
“Some of them have really big rooms you can get a lot of people in.
“One guy I spoke to said since they opened back up it’s better than it has been for years as they are getting a lot more people in.
“Some people are less likely to go to the pub as they’re feeling dubious about getting too close to people.
“I just don’t see us going back to the scene in pubs and clubs where people are almost stood next to you. Even when coronavirus calms down, we are going to be socially distancing.”