When you go to local rock/metal shows a lot, you notice some of the same faces in the crowd, some of the same bands play together and even if it’s quiet, there tends to be an air of support. Mayhem Underground was an effort to bring these people together so there wasn’t just an air of support, there was an overwhelming amount of it. So that these same faces weren’t standing awkwardly by the bar but actually talking to each other about a shared interest in bands or even music in general but more than this, it was about bringing all the local rock/metal bands together as a community, one that works together to get recognition from record labels and from local fans. As well as that there’d be weekly competitions and free entry to local rock nightclub Cathouse. Doesn’t this all sound just about perfect? What everyone needs and something people can only benefit from? We thought so too.
For the first while, it seemed like what Chris Clarke and the crew (including myself) were aiming for was actually within reach. People turned up every week, the atmosphere was incredible, people were looking forward to Mayhem Underground nights and it was, for lack of a better word, fun. A fuck load of fun.
Then a lot of people did what most people do with something good after a while; they took it for granted. They stopped turning up as often, stopped supporting it and the old familiar, hackle-raising line would come, I’ll be along at one soon! I do keep meaning to! Obviously intent means nothing and while it was lovely to know people wanted to come, turning up would have been a little more effective. Nevertheless, we carried on. Our spirits weren’t dampened; we knew Mayhem Underground like everything else in life would have it’s ups and downs and we assumed the problems we were having were short-term glitches.
Apparently not. As the weeks went on, the attendance numbers went down and the bitching went up. I won’t name names because I’m not looking to shit-stir. These bands know who they are and what they’ve said. Some of them are friends of mine, in fact most are but they weren’t the only ones. Mayhem Underground was accused of being something to promote Chris Clarke’s band (Lets Play God). That doesn’t warrant any kind of response, if you think that you’re a bit of a Negative Nancy and don’t understand that sometimes people do good things for the sake of doing good things. It’s no more or less than that and let’s face it, most of you benefited from Mayhem Underground anyway so why begrudge anyone else that does? Childish.
Another common accusation was that it was clique-y. Which, actually, to an extent I understand. A lot of the bands do seem quite close to each other and the crew and I imagine that can be daunting for newer bands but the only reason this happened was people turning up, believing in what we had going on and supporting us as much as they could. Spend enough time with people you like, you’ll become close to them.
Finally, there was the accusation that we were all in it for the money. Put it this way, Mayhem Underground as we know it is pretty much done and that is not because we’re all off on our yachts to celebrate fooling all those innocent bands (MUAHAHA). After all costs were covered, there was barely profit. Like I said earlier, being nice for the sake of being nice and supporting something you think is worthwhile was all Mayhem Underground was ever about.
Now, Mayhem Underground as we know it almost done. Like good music, good people and good spirits, it will never be completely gone and who knows what the future holds but for now, we have two shows left and that is it. It was the only ‘club night’ of it’s kind in Glasgow centred around rock/metal, it could have been something amazing and it was supposed to be a community. I won’t pretend there isn’t a bitter taste in my mouth; few things irritate me as much as people saying they support independent music and then failing to prove it but I’m happy we had what we had for a while and that we all held on so much. I think Chris Clarke may have been a little too ambitious but who isn’t when they’re excited about something big in their lives?
Anyway, my final point is local music, unsigned bands need your help. Not at the next gig or maybe in a few months but now. There might not be a next gig, if the support isn’t there, if the fans aren’t showing, you can see why bands would feel disheartened and especially in a recession feeling like they should put their time and money towards things that may actually help their future and themselves.
Also, when people are offering to help your bands, help you, bring the scene together etc, don’t instantly accuse them of having bad intentions. Everyone has to start somewhere and Mayhem Underground and nights like it could be great leap-pads to bigger, better things. I feel like by not supporting it, us and the other bands a lot of people have shot themselves in the foot and will only realise it now or in the next few months when Mayhem Underground is no longer around.