Rock Gigs Not Very Rock Anymore?

Macarina

Silver Member
In a much different time and different place there was a band called Dichotomy that played down on the riverfront. It was pretty much a 'show' with music as the glue.

They were known for connecting with the crowd kinda like a Dueling Piano's show. I'm pretty confident the whole looking down at the cell phone while they were performing would have went much different than today (evil grin).
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Any conclusion would require statistically significant quantified observations...

No 2 bands have the same audience environment.

No 2 gigs by a band have the same audience environment.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
If a performing band cannot motivate an audience into listening, enjoying, and applauding the music then basically my view is that the band are not up to much really.

No different than a comedian. If no-ones laughing it's not because the audience are crap. It's because the comedian is crap.

It's no wonder people don't stick around and listen sometimes, or are easily distracted. The music's often absolute dogshit. Simple as that. One in five I'd say of the bands I hear on the local scene, I'd rather have stayed at home and watched TV than hear. And I have a pretty eclectic ear, and so if I'm thinking that, then I'm pretty sure that a decent percentage of the audience are to.

If the band I was in wasn't appreciated by audiences, nor re-booked by venues, I'd ditch it. Not because of any bitterness towards the audiences but because I'd feel my band were no longer cutting the mustard. It's our job to entertain, not an audiences job to BE entertained.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
If a performing band cannot motivate an audience into listening, enjoying, and applauding the music then basically my view is that the band are not up to much really.

No different than a comedian. If no-ones laughing it's not because the audience are crap. It's because the comedian is crap.

It's no wonder people don't stick around and listen sometimes, or are easily distracted. The music's often absolute dogshit. Simple as that. One in five I'd say of the bands I hear on the local scene, I'd rather have stayed at home and watched TV than hear. And I have a pretty eclectic ear, and so if I'm thinking that, then I'm pretty sure that a decent percentage of the audience are to.

If the band I was in wasn't appreciated by audiences, nor re-booked by venues, I'd ditch it. Not because of any bitterness towards the audiences but because I'd feel my band were no longer cutting the mustard. It's our job to entertain, not an audiences job to BE entertained.
Yea, its not the audience, especialy if they have paid.

I have been saying for a while now, even medium size City Hall type venues with well known bands, new and old, there is something missing. There is no spark. Its all very professional and clean and well rehearsed but there is no sense of "A moment in time, never to be repeated" You can bet the performance will be exactly the same for the whole tour, no pushing the boundaries or playing off the audience. Its all to safe.

Will anyone be saying, like the audience did when the Who played that gig in Leeds, "I was there, it was special" ?
 

tcspears

Gold Member
YeYou can bet the performance will be exactly the same for the whole tour, no pushing the boundaries or playing off the audience. Its all to safe.

Will anyone be saying, like the audience did when the Who played that gig in Leeds, "I was there, it was special" ?
I think that is exactly the problem. Groups are so polished, that they lack charisma and the ability to play off the audience. I've noticed this especially with GB bands doing classic rock covers: it's a bunch of middle aged dudes with in "dad" jeans and white sneakers, playing perfect note for note covers of the same songs every band does. I'm falling asleep just typing it. I'm not saying you have to do all originals, but a group has to find its own unique style and find a way to embody that style. That means arrange covers to sound like your band is playing it, not the radio, actually dress like you're at work and not doing yard work.

Audiences are more distracted these days as they are exposed to music all the time, it's our job to give them something unique and something we're passionate about! They should feel excited just watching us.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I think that is exactly the problem. Groups are so polished, that they lack charisma and the ability to play off the audience. I've noticed this especially with GB bands doing classic rock covers: it's a bunch of middle aged dudes with in "dad" jeans and white sneakers, playing perfect note for note covers of the same songs every band does. I'm falling asleep just typing it. I'm not saying you have to do all originals, but a group has to find its own unique style and find a way to embody that style. That means arrange covers to sound like your band is playing it, not the radio, actually dress like you're at work and not doing yard work.

Audiences are more distracted these days as they are exposed to music all the time, it's our job to give them something unique and something we're passionate about! They should feel excited just watching us.
With you on that. Why not play covers but bring something else to the party, make the song your own. Its music, give it your personality.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
This should probably go in the Unpopular Drummer's Opinion thread but, here goes. As someone who has been on both sides of the band thing for many years, that is, as management that hires bands and as a drummer in a band being hired, this is very common. With the exception of concert type bands like Bermuda plays in (or plays, symphony, broad way type shows, etc.) and some festival type events, bands are GENERALLY hired for two reasons. 1) To provide some nice background and hopefully a little dance motivation or in bar situations,2) to bring people in who will buy drinks; it that's simple! To add insult to injury, most patrons pay very little attention to the band until they get drunk enough to want to dance. I learned this many years ago and have accepted it as the way it is. Of course it is always great to play those gigs when people really do get into the band! That just seems to be more the exception than the rule. Perhaps this is just speaks to the talent level of my bands, but I have seen it with other musicians who were much better than my groups!

We have all seen/heard "popular" local bands who are hired a lot that aren't necessarily the best musicians. The reason they consistently get hired is because they put butts in the chairs and the cash register is ringing. Yes, there has to be a certain talent level and showmanship (what I have also found that song selection is more important than most everything else!), but it is a revenue thing. As we all know, it is a self perpetuating thing, especially if you can get the girls to come! The guys will come and so will others to be where things are happening. Again, it is USUALLY more about the social side for people than coming specifically for the band. I am not sure that our true "fans" pay as much attention to us as we think or they let on!

I had this big debate with a band mate many years ago (and we were basically a "bar band"). His position was were "partners" with the bar and thus had more input into when we started, stopped, how loud we played, etc. I can tell you, from the management's perspective, we are an independent contractor HIRED by the establishment (And unfortunately, due to many of the attitudes and lack of professionalism by SOME bands, we are considered a necessary evil, certainly not a partner!) . As such, the establishment makes those type decisions. Yes, in a perfect world there would be more of a "partnership", but we ain't living in a perfect world!

OK, sorry to alienate some, but sadly, that is the way many bar owners/managers and patrons view us!
Excellent. Thank you for providing some much-needed perspective. I've never been on the club-management side of the equation, but it's always been patently obvious to me that economics trump aesthetics every time. And that's as it should be.

This hurts the feelings of some musicians, and I can understand that - even relate to it a bit. But if you can't accept the fact that you're no more than a tool for the club to utilize in boosting bar sales...maybe playing live music isn't for you.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
It's the pusification of the American man and men in general. Really
Personaly I think its the music colege scone cutter production line of trained musicians. Music school used to produce musicians for orchestras. Producing musicians for rock and Punk and Pop acts? Get real, the whole ethos of rock and roll is that it has no rules, there is no right or wrong way, just your way.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
If a performing band cannot motivate an audience into listening, enjoying, and applauding the music then basically my view is that the band are not up to much really.

No different than a comedian. If no-ones laughing it's not because the audience are crap. It's because the comedian is crap.

It's no wonder people don't stick around and listen sometimes, or are easily distracted. The music's often absolute dogshit. Simple as that. One in five I'd say of the bands I hear on the local scene, I'd rather have stayed at home and watched TV than hear. And I have a pretty eclectic ear, and so if I'm thinking that, then I'm pretty sure that a decent percentage of the audience are to.

If the band I was in wasn't appreciated by audiences, nor re-booked by venues, I'd ditch it. Not because of any bitterness towards the audiences but because I'd feel my band were no longer cutting the mustard. It's our job to entertain, not an audiences job to BE entertained.
I'd have to agree.

As much as I love live music, and as much as I support the idea of musicians playing, there are so many bands that just give playing live a bad name.
 
G

Ghostnote

Guest
If you want to get a reaction from an audience rent a hall in a small town, bring a PA, and put on a show. Small towns are the most fun places to play because those folks don't get bands coming all the time and it's a bit of an occasion for them. They really get into it. The last show I played, we rented a hall, advertised it as 80's night, and the place was packed with girls wearing pink neon. The floor was packed by the second song and stayed that way the whole night. Had a hell of a time.
 

The Sloth

Member
People also ignore national and internationally known bands they pay quite a bit to see these days. I don't buy that if a band in a bar/club is being ignored, it means their music isn't captivating. People are up their own asses with the smart phones. You also have to consider that familiar always wins, and most listeners are practically illiterate when it comes to music. It doesn't sound nice, but it's true. People with a short attention span+wanting to hear music they know+an unwillingness to be challenged by a new musical experience = the bands' fault?
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Sounds like the old sound pollution beer sales scene/scam has played itself into a corner. Before, they could play loud so that you couldn't talk with your friends, and the music was undanceable so all you could do is sit there and drink, but now the audience doesn't even do that.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
People with a short attention span+wanting to hear music they know+an unwillingness to be challenged by a new musical experience = the bands' fault?
Yeah. It is. Yes, I think it's terrible that people are so jaded, addicted to their electronic communication devices, and have such short attention spans. But we're not going to change that. All we can do is deal with it. The best way to deal with that is to use your art to grab the punter's attention.

A smashing act will pull a punter's face out of her phone. What we don't have is acts.

As this thread notes, extremely competent musicians who hit every note professionally and make beautiful music are boring. Why? Because if all I want is competently-performed music, I can put on Pandora and play the actual song. Why should I pay a bunch of musicians for that?

You say you want the audience's attention? Grab it. You grab attention by having an act. Being a live-action CD player is not an act, no matter how good you are at making music. Having an act is spinning around in midair like Tommy Lee. It's biting the head off a chicken. It's being Dread Zeppelin - if you want to form a cover band, have an angle, a gimmick that makes you different than the other 10,000,000 cover bands out there; be an act, not a breathing iPod.

You dig?
 
G

Ghostnote

Guest
Exactly! I think our last gig went over so well because we did a theme (80's Night), so we and the crowd dressed for the event and that kinda made the audience part of the show too.

Yeah. It is. Yes, I think it's terrible that people are so jaded, addicted to their electronic communication devices, and have such short attention spans. But we're not going to change that. All we can do is deal with it. The best way to deal with that is to use your art to grab the punter's attention.

A smashing act will pull a punter's face out of her phone. What we don't have is acts.

As this thread notes, extremely competent musicians who hit every note professionally and make beautiful music are boring. Why? Because if all I want is competently-performed music, I can put on Pandora and play the actual song. Why should I pay a bunch of musicians for that?

You say you want the audience's attention? Grab it. You grab attention by having an act. Being a live-action CD player is not an act, no matter how good you are at making music. Having an act is spinning around in midair like Tommy Lee. It's biting the head off a chicken. It's being Dread Zeppelin - if you want to form a cover band, have an angle, a gimmick that makes you different than the other 10,000,000 cover bands out there; be an act, not a breathing iPod.

You dig?
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I've always wanted to hire a stripper to dance on stage while we play, it might be distracting though (to the musicians).
Band I'm in played a Punk Vs Metal night in Manchester a couple of years back.

Opening act were called The Upside Down Ladies....pole dancers.

They didn't strip but I'm convinced one of them 'winked' at me if you catch my drift.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Band I'm in played a Punk Vs Metal night in Manchester a couple of years back.

Opening act were called The Upside Down Ladies....pole dancers.

They didn't strip but I'm convinced one of them 'winked' at me if you catch my drift.
Nice! Yeah, people need to do more of that. I've always played behind older women who weren't much in the looks department (or singing for that matter).
 

RockNGrohl

Senior Member
I find that in big cities, people are too cool to dance, especially in the hipster age. People that are into live music in DC are into indie hipster rock stuff, if anything. I was once told my band wasn't "weird enough" to play the famous Black Cat, hipster ground zero.

When I gig out in small towns in Virginia, people love live music because they aren't so hung up on being cool. Maybe they aren't career people and they just want to cut loose. They dance all night and get crazy and don't care. That's fun peeps to play for.

I also find people in their 40s and 50s love to dance. Younger people might dance at a rave, but they ain't shakin their ass to Tom Petty and Zeppelin songs.
I know what you mean! When I lived in DC I would see my favorite local emocore band, Velvet at the Black Cat every chance I got. Think Sunny Day and Get Up Kids, and less Panic At The Disco and guy liner.. It was always a three act bill with Velvet on last. People would all pay their cover, get stamped, settle in back and ignore every band. No matter ho good or bad. No applause, no noise, just the clicking of bar glasses and silence, which an occasional snarky laugh if the band wasn't hip enough or said lame stage banter.

One time there was this one female singer songwriter and her band. Her on acoustic, her sister on a Fender short scale Mustang or or Bronco bass, and another rootsy looking gal playing lead on Fender strat. Guy on drums with excellent fills. But what hooked me was the AMAZING poppy three part female harmonies. Like three Sheryl Crows on stage. Intricate and lush like Crosby Stills, and Nash. But I was the only one who walked up anywhere near the stage to watch or even acknowledged their existence. I was blown away! Odd for someone so poppy and normal to be at The Black Cat. Velvet then went on and only me and my brother and their wives/girlfriends would watch. We became friends with them a bit simply because we cared about the music. But no else there did. And this was before the iPhone! Very depressing.

But I still see it with millennials today. Not at big stadium shows where everyone is having a good time, but at clubs, people seem to need to act too hip to enjoy themselves. One of the best shows I ever saw were the Police at Fenway Park in Boston, MA. on their big reunion tour. Sting in fine form. I look around 360 degrees and EVERONE was up and dancing. Every single person! Not a single non moving person to be anywhere in the park! I used my binoculars and couldn't find a single one! And the applause was deafening! best show ever!
 
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