How much does the casual fan notice mistakes

bigbang

Pioneer Member
Dropping a stick or missing a fill here or there versus bringing the quality of the music down all night long because of rushing or timing issues are pretty different things. Nobody's going to complain about a show they went to because the drummer messed up a fill. That's just a moment in time. But as others have pointed out, if the feel is compromised because the drummer is just not nailing it, everyone - musicians and non-musicians alike - will detect it and it will affect their perception of the band.
Absolutely.
It's funny , the tour I just got off from I played to backing tracks. It's amazing how much of a crutch they can be. It's always there..same tempo , same timing every night.
That's why it is so important to work with a click when practicing.
 

Taye-Dyed

Senior Member
One mistake I really really hate to make, but do once in a while is missing the crash cymbal. People understand when you drop a stick, drummers are almost expected to from time to time! But missing a crash is sloppy playing / lack of concentration / indecisiveness and I get very mad at myself when I do it. It is very obvious - you are just hung out to dry - no way to cover it up! Last time I did it, I looked up and a couple of guys in the front row were smirking at me. I smiled back and shrugged like it is no big deal, but I did feel embarrassed.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Don't screw up your backbeat, or any queues and 90% of the folks in the house won't know you made a mistake. The other thing is "the look of confidence". If you make a sour face, people will know for sure you jacked up that part or that fill wasn't what you wanted. I think it's just as important not to let on in a visual manner when another band member messes something up. I've seen nasty stares back and forth on stage before, and that's just bad mojo.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Obviously the blatancy of the mistake governs how many will notice. A dropped stick is less likely to be detected than a cymbal stand falling over, for example. However if the drummer falls over, it's a safe bet that most people will notice.
And the bigger the howler, the more entertaining it is. No drama if you're The Stones, a disaster if you're Yes, and probably something to be played up to the hilt during a Weird Al show ... and then duck for cover afterwards :)


I think that is true - people do notice mistakes, but don't notice that they notice. If the performance is flawless and outstanding in other categories, that leads people to remember the performance. If the mistakes add up, people usually just forget what they heard.
That's it exactly - just a general non-personal dissing of the band.


Dropping a stick or missing a fill here or there versus bringing the quality of the music down all night long because of rushing or timing issues are pretty different things. Nobody's going to complain about a show they went to because the drummer messed up a fill. That's just a moment in time. But as others have pointed out, if the feel is compromised because the drummer is just not nailing it, everyone - musicians and non-musicians alike - will detect it and it will affect their perception of the band.
Again, the crux of it for me. Never forgot the time my band's manager congratulated me on a gig. I said, "Are you serious? I screwed up X and Y etc" and he said, "Yeah, but there were none of those little mistakes you make". The man was a fool, determined to fit my band's square peg into his preferred round hole, but that was a sharp comment.

I was obsessed with "making it" (ie. an idiot) and to it was critical that the band never made big mistakes that would spoil our wannabe-pro cred. But, in doing that, I undersold the "silently" obvious "little mistakes" ... clunky transitions, losing the pocket, etc. My approach was a pretty crappy, fearful way of making music in hindsight.

So I'm liking the idea of surrender these days, which is hard for a control freak, but a much better way to approach things IMO.

Relax and surrender to the music, just play the things that make your ears happy ... and, if there's a few bumbles, they're just a few duff moments against an hour or two of good stuff.

Their only importance is to set the agenda for the next pad session.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Seems to be two discussions in one here. The first being that small mistakes rarely go noticed.......I agree, minor flubs are easily covered and seldom picked up. The second intimates that the mistake made by some acts is getting up there in the first place......again, I agree that's what separates the memorable from the forgetable.

I'll take a guess that the OP was referring to the former. So for the purposes of answering the question, in my experience punters are oblivious to the majority of minor mistakes made during a gig. Anything short of the completely obvious, is water off a duck's back.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
One mistake I really really hate to make, but do once in a while is missing the crash cymbal. People understand when you drop a stick, drummers are almost expected to from time to time! But missing a crash is sloppy playing / lack of concentration / indecisiveness and I get very mad at myself when I do it. It is very obvious - you are just hung out to dry - no way to cover it up! Last time I did it, I looked up and a couple of guys in the front row were smirking at me. I smiled back and shrugged like it is no big deal, but I did feel embarrassed.
Don't worry about it. Missed the crash on 1? 2 it is then.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I think a lot of us are a little self centered.... in that we think everyone is evaluating us. Seriously? The people in the audience are more concerned with how they are looking to a member of the opposite sex to step outside themselves to notice that the drummer made a slip up. Don't even sweat it, it never even happened.

Just don't make sour faces or visibly beat yourself up. Guys who do that really need to lighten up and get over themselves. Smile instead.

If I miss a crash on the one, I will go back a 2nd time and hit it. I wanted a crash sound somewhere near there anyway, close enough lol.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I think a lot of us are a little self centered.... in that we think everyone is evaluating us. Seriously? The people in the audience are more concerned with how they are looking to a member of the opposite sex to step outside themselves to notice that the drummer made a slip up. Don't even sweat it, it never even happened.

Just don't make sour faces or visibly beat yourself up. Guys who do that really need to lighten up and get over themselves. Smile instead.

If I miss a crash on the one, I will go back a 2nd time and hit it. I wanted a crash sound somewhere near there anyway, close enough lol.
This is my general thought too, although there's a hole in the plan.

When there's another drummer in the house, I get all nervous. I truly believe that most "mistakes" we make go un-noticed by nearly everyone... But given how much I personally focus on the drums when I watch a show, it makes me nervous when there's another good drummer, and you both know damn well you didn't mean to not have a kick drum on that beat...

I've been trying lately to go to more "open mic" type jams where everyone or nearly everyone is a musician. I still make a mistake here and there, and I know they heard it, but usually, I'm not judged to harshly anyway, and I think it's helping me to get over my musician-phobia.
 

burn-4

Senior Member
what you have to realise is you and the band know the songs inside out from playing them over and over again so when something changes it immediately sounds different- whether this be a mistake or using a different band member for a one off gig for example

the audience have more than likely not heard you play before, certainly wont have the same level of familiarity you do with that particular song, so to them your 'mistake' is just part of the song they are hearing played by you for the first time

Obviously something huge will get noticed- like playing the end figure after the 2nd chorus (instead of going to the middle 8) and then stopping whilst everyone else continues.... If a drummer stops it is pretty damn noticeable lol and the example there is one I made a few months back hahaha

But even something so blatant as that went unnoticed to probably 75% of the audience if not more- obviously the sound and lighting guys and the band noticed and found it hilarious and reminded me of it for the next few weeks but nobody complained or was particularly critical of the show
 
I had a gig a few weeks back, and we did a cover of 'Good Golly Miss Molly.'

Unfortunately after the opening, the singer completely forgot about part of the song(if your familiar with the song, it's the part with the line "Mama, papa told me 'Son, you better watch your step")

Meanwhile I'm playing the beat as normal, hoping the guitarists and bassists just play along with me, but the guitarist decides to cut straight to the solo and the other guitarist and bassist follow him. So in the second or two it took me to figure out what's happened, I'm now playing with the backbeat on 1 and 3, instead of 2 and 4. I know in theory it should be easy to 'stagger' your beat and get back in time, but I just couldn't do it, and it was a very long 20 second solo!

I've watched the video back and because I kept calm and don't look like I'm panicking, it's not quite as bad. And no one I spoke to after outside of the band seemed to realise.

Very frustrating, not the the first time it's happened and it's annoying that both times it's happened, I've not been able to put it right.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
When there's another drummer in the house, I get all nervous.
Of course, we all know that another drummer in the audience, especially a player of note, is no more important than any other audience member, but it doesn't feel like that, does it! If that's the case, & at our gigs it frequently is, I just stick to the plan. If anything, I'll simplify a little for the whole gig, but pop a 4:05 in where they least expect it ;)
 

Xero Talent

Silver Member
Typically an audience is very forgiving, particularly if there's alcohol being served, and you're the closing act!
 
I think this is a very difficult question to answer. It depends on the context of the gig (wedding gig, jazz cafe, showcase etc) and it depends why people are there. If you are playing to a bunch of musos, then you can guarantee that all the drummers in the audience will be listening to every ghost note and every articulation that you play. That doesn't mean that they will notice your mistakes, but it does mean you have to play clean and play in time. :)

Lay people... I don't think they notice. As it was once said: everybody makes mistakes; pros make them twice. I swear by this. :D
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

IMHO:

Only musicians and highly senstive music lovers will detect a missed beat or a bum note. On an average, the above kind of listener would form, at best, about 10% of the listening audience.

So there ya go...


PS- The bigger mistake, audience wise is to not play with passion or conviction. To play tentatively. They feel that lack of vibe more palpably. And if someone asked, would probably say " the music was so so.. nothing exciting"

...
 
What ruins a performance more than the initial mistake is the rest of the band's acknowledgement of it. MAN is it painful to watch guys on stage turn and give the drummer a dirty look for starting the chorus a measure earlier or something.. this looks HORRIBLE to the audience!! Better to not even bat an eye lid or laugh it off if you have to..most of the audience won't notice and laugh with you if you're laid back enough!

Of course there are circumstances that you can't play off so easily.. like outdoor gigs on windy days.. lol, I had to literally spring out of my throne to avoid being crushed by falling P.A. speakers..Cymbals catching wind and flying off stage in the middle of songs LMAO!! Oh god, wish I had that gig on video..

still, it wasn't as bad as this though!!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyDtQm0RWfY
 
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