Judge’s Loose Screw

Hardest working band in the UK?

Hardest working band in the UK

Perhaps JLS should change the meaning of their name to Just Look Stunned as recently PRS for Music named them the UK’s hardest working band of 2012. Not only that, but this is actually the second year in the row they’ve clinched it – in which case maybe it should be Just Look Smug.

There’s little point in debating who qualifies as a band – JLS are a musical ensemble, and furthermore I am reliably informed (by Wikipedia and someone who actually watches X Factor) that at least one of them can play an instrument, which puts them ahead of some of their pop peers. But the hardest working band of an entire country – for the matter of playing 34 gigs – is maybe a stretch on par with Mr Fantastic.

I’m sure they’ve all been working very hard at music from a young age – or so the introduction to every X Factor contestant ever leads us to believe – but you can’t help but think that where they are today is more down to taking a ride in Simon Cowell’s great glass elevator to the top, than scrabbling up rung by rung.

Yes, as PRS for Music’s logic seems to go, they apparently headlined more major shows than any other act, and let’s give them their kudos if they can fill the places, but at the same time there’s a huge spin machine of promoters, PR agents, record label flunkies, and salesmen behind that success. And when the majority of what you have to do is turn up and sing – are you really working up a sweat for it?

For my money the definition of a hard working band is one that does the hard slog on the road, one that does it despite having to hold down another job to pay the bills, who load and unload the van, who pester promoters for slots, who sort and sell their own merch, who drum up support for themselves, and still take the time to sign fan autographs before they pile back into the van for an uncomfortable night’s sleep.

But why should we decide such an accolade on any biased criteria, or individual opinion? I propose that in order to determine the true hardest working band in the UK all candidates should have to undergo a series of representative tasks. First events are the 50-metre amp lug, the which-cable-goes-where mental challenge, changing a flat tyre against the clock, who can do the most night’s consecutive gigging before they start foaming, and how long a set can you play in front of a projectile launching crowd. Bonus points if you get them clapping instead of lobbing.

On that basis I think JLS might just be knocked off their podium, in which case they should Just Leave Silently. Wooden spoons available on the way out though boys.

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