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Blog: Places I Have ROCKED

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After yesterday's excursion into People I Have Rocked With today we're going to skim the surface of the ocean of data concerning Places I Have Rocked IN. The simplest way to start is just to look at the places I rocked the most times, and here they are:

Top 20 places I have ROCKED
1The King & Queen, London56
2The Charlotte, Leicester35
3The Lamb, London33
4The Dram House Upstairs, Edinburgh25
5The Magazine Hotel, Leicester24
6Buffs Club (R.A.O.B.), Edinburgh20
7=Firebug, Leicester17
7=The Criterion, Leicester17
9University of Sheffield Students' Union, Sheffield16
10=The Green Dragon, London15
10=Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh15
12=Ray's Mum's Back Garden, Stourbridge14
12=Fox & Firkin, London14
12=Medina, Edinburgh14
15=Bull & Gate, London13
15=The Windmill, London13
17=Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London12
17=Camden Comedy Club, London12
19Physio & Firkin, Leicester11
19=The Midland Railway - Butterley, Derby11, The Interweb11

I was really really really tempted to make this a Top 30 as there were so many brilliant venues that are missing out - places like Victoria Inn, Derby, Pump & Tap, Leicester, The Lexington, London and The Durham Ox, Leicester. However, once I did that there were even more after that that would have made it a Top 40, and so on and so on. Over the course of 1000 gigs there has been a whole lot of GOOD TIMES in some amazing places - 370 of them, to be precise!

The top of this list isn't really a surprise, as The King & Queen has become my home from ROCKING home over the past decade. It's a lovely pub where a) the people are nice b) it's easy to book a gig and b) you can get served at the bar really easily, which are the main three ASSESSMENT METRICS for anywhere in the world of venues. Most of the gigs there have been Totally Acoustics, but I've also done several one-offs for Album Launches, Show Previews or General Touring (it's GRATE being able to say to Tour Buddies "Oh yeah, I can definitely book us somewhere in Central London, leave it with me" even if I do then feel a bit bad when that's usually the ONLY place I manage to book, leaving them to do most of the others - sorry Gav, Pete and Matt!). I've even played there at other people's gigs like Scaledown. I love it, HENCE that's why it's the location for Gig 1000!

I was however VERY surprised to see that the second place venue is The Charlotte in Leicester. It's a LONG time since I last played there, not least because it's not a venue anymore, and I hadn't played there regularly for a decade or two before that, but on the other hand I HAD played there IREEGULARLY every couple of years, and in my early days of ROCKING in Leicester it was THE big place to play. Likewise, I haven't played The Magazine since 1996, largely because it was DEMOLISHED not long after that, but when it WAS going I played there a lot. It was in many ways similar to The King & Queen, a really great pub that was also easy to get a gig at, and was the place where MANY old stories occurred. Did I ever tell you about the time I told Tim that Simon From Voon had been sent to prison? Or when we padlocked our "van" (a shopping trolley) to the fire escape? Or when we plotted The History Of Life? Or the Voon VS Prolapse STICKER FEUD? That was all there!

Elsewhere in the list we have The Lamb, precursor to The King & Queen for Totally Acoustic gigs, where the people were nice and it was easy enough to book a gig but not so easy for them to actually remember the booking, and also where it was VERY DIFFICULT INDEED to get served, hence the switch. The Dram House comes out on top of Edinburgh venues as we played there in two different years (when it had two different years, and is called something else now too).

It's interesting (to me at least) that almost all of the venues are in either London, Leicester or Edinburgh, with the only exceptions being places I played regular EVENTS at (Fuzztival for Sheffield Uni, Hibbettfest in Ray's Mum's Back Garden, Indietracks at Butterley and the Lockdown Totally Acoustics on The Interweb). I did play all OVER the place, but it's almost as if other plaes weren't so keen on having me back. Let's DELVE into this a bit more with the next table, showing CITIES.

Cities I Have ROCKED
Other UK48
Other non-UK14

Again, it's pretty clear that London, Leicester and Edinburgh are the main places that have felt my ROCK, making up 62.4% of all gigs played! However, there are very strong showings for Sheffield and Derby (places I like VERY much) as well as Brighton and Nottingham. Seeing these latter two cities in the list surprised me, as they're both places that I've always though have RESISTED my ALLURE, especially in Brighton where I have spent many long train journeys home regretting that a place so handy to get to, with so much vegetarian stuff, also PUBS and SEASIDE, was seemingly immune to my CHARMS. Maybe that's why I kept going back, to try again?

A quick note on the GEOGRAPHICAL GROUPING: in order to get the above FACTS I went through all the places named and everywhere that I'd played 5 times was labelled an UBERCITY i.e. a category for the above analysis. I then went through grouping other places in with them, so for instance the 6 gigs in Manchester include one in Salford. This was done to make the analysis a bit more readable, rather than having millions of different places all having one or two gigs each - I also bunched up anywhere outside of the UK into their own category (14 gigs abroad is pretty good I reckon!) and kept the online ones together too. Even then it left a pretty hefty 48 gigs in generalised areas I only visited the once. I have basically followed a policy of "If Someone Asks Me To Do A Gig, I Try And Do It", hence there have been a whole lot of excursions into the unknown over the years, as evidenced in today's final table, which shows number of venues by how many times I've played there:

Number of Gigs played per venue
Gigs playedVenues

Just to explain how this works, the above shows that there was one venue (The King & Queen) that I played more than 50 times, five where I played between 20 and 49 times, 18 for 10-19 gigs and so on.

It also means that there were 232 venues where I played once and never got asked back - 62.7% of venues I played in (232 out of 370) said "No more, thanks very much", but on the other hand 76.8% of actual gigs I did (1000 gigs overall minus 232 single places) happened in places that DID want me back! Overall I think that's pretty good - I've always been under the impression that a large number of my gigs have been put on by people who have never put on a gig before. "This looks like fun," they think, "and what could be more fun than booking MJ Hibbett?" An ADMIRABLE, and also CORRECT assumption, but sadly I fear that my PULLING POWER has rarely been high enough for this sort of thing, so a lot of those first gigs were also LAST gigs, as the now older and wiser would-be promoters have thought "Hmm, I seem to have spent a lot of money just to sit in and watch an MJ Hibbett gig on my own". I mean, now I've typed that it sounds AMAZING, but I guess it's not for everyone!

Looking back at it though, it's pretty wonderful to think there were LOADS of places that I kept going back to, even when it was only for a few times. As I said at the start, there are LOADS of places in the main list that meant an awful lot to me as part of my GIGGING LIFE, and it's lovely to see the EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE that there were so many of them. GOOD TIMES!

And speaking of GOOD TIMES, tomorrow I'm going to have a look at when those GOOD TIMES actually were - what time of the year, what day of the week, and so forth. Join me then for INSIGHT!

posted 26/1/2023 by MJ Hibbett

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You misspelled Middlesbrough. That might be a problem with database fields, too. I see Peterborough was not a top performing venue. It never is.
posted 27/1/2023 by boroBOROboro

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