Stage Banter

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I mentioned in another post that I just had knee surgery and consequently, I have a lot of time on my hands to just sit in front of the TV. I've been watching a lot of highlights from various music festivals, and one thing I noticed that quickly became annoying is the lack of variety in stage banter. What the band or front person says to the audience. "Are you ready to rock", "Lift your hands in the air", "Lets make some noise", pretty much all the same ole stuff that every other band says. I started wondering if it's all starting to sound alike because I'm getting old and I've seen it all before, nothing new under the sun and all that. Or is it just the younger bands that are on these kinds of shows and they haven't heard it a million times already and it's new to them. It made me start thinking more about what my bands say on stage and how we interact with the audience. I was wondering what some of your bands do and say on stage to not sound like a cliche'?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Oh I'm with you all the way there. My band takes the "pause for the cause" lol.

I'm SO tired of hearing that, not even kidding, every single break.

I like honesty onstage. Not trying to play a part, just being yourself, and hopefully they're likable. I like people who pick out audience members and include them in the banter, like we're all one, not separate.

If I had a mic, every night would be hot shoes night. The woman with the hottest shoes, according to audience applause, wins. Stuff like that. Make it fun and include the people.

The worst is when my band tries to educate the audience from the bandstand about the upcoming song. BORING! Shut up and play! SUAP.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Two that I've been known to use:

The first is borrowed from Madge's sig line (and is a quote):
Ladies and gentlemen, we've suffered for our art. Now it's your turn!

and...

We're here to put the "taint" in entertainment!
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
Sometimes I enjoy a little trivia contest. The front person asks the audience something like "What city was Elvis born in?" and the winner gets a free box of candy.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Stage banter is such a complex topic, and it really depends on the leader's personality and the room.

For the most part, stage banter seems awkward and forced. To make it worse some bands try to bring up sport teams, or try mkaing jokes, and just cheapen the whole experience.

It's best to let your on stage personalities, and your music do the talking for you. Maybe intro a few songs if they are rare, or have some signifigance to the event, but they don't need to know the title and meaning of every song.

Miles Davis was one extreme with absolutley no stage banter; often times he wouldn't even look at the audience. But those arena rock/jock rock bands just come off so corny with all that "are you ready to rock" and "let me see your hands".
 
I'm pretty much "meh" on the subject. In my band I discourage it. Let the music do the talking, shut up and play, etc etc.

A hello at the beginning and a goodbye thanks for coming at the end is enough for me.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
A hello at the beginning and a goodbye thanks for coming at the end is enough for me.
This is exactly what one of my bands does. We have programmed loops that we run between a couple of songs when we change tunings. Other than that its one song into the next into the next. Our singer isn't a particularly loquacious guy anyway, so the less he says the better.
 

double_G

Silver Member
my fav is Steve Perry from Journey on the album "captured" -- as one run-on sentence (RE an awesome, responsive audience): "how about we do the rest of the tour with you, take you on busses across the country, that sound good ?"

"captured" also has one of the best arena rock drum solos ever recorded, Steve Smith on "la do da". :D
 

Acidline303

Senior Member
The one that really bothers me is when singers sit there and explain what a song is literally about. It's fine if they tell an engaging or funny story about how the song came about or something related, but to tell me how the food tastes before you show me what it is seems really pointless.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
My last band was the best I've ever been in - just filled with excellent musicains, excluding me. But we all had the personality of a brick. Then we got a new bass player who was a young, good-looking and outgoing person, and he changed the whole band's personality. Every night was an outpouring of good humor, audience participation, and swooning women (for the bass player - the rest of us were ugly). It's amazing how just one band member with a huge personality can energize a band and the audience.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Derek

Silver Member
I'm another one who prefers minimal banter at a gig. Like the others say, when you do, don't force it or try to be a rock star. Just be yourself.

At the end of the first set, "Thank you, we're (insert name), time for a break, remember to be generous to your server, they're working hard..." etc. Generic example. We tend to remind folks to be kind with the tips for the waitresses a couple of times during the gig.

And I agree with the others, unless it's a rare one or you squeeze in an original, don't introduce song titles and the original artist.

Got to admit though, I like Larry's idea of the ladies hot shoe contest. Keep it fun and get the crowd involved.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
I think the personality of a band is important and it only takes one person to define that personality.

A jukebox can play Mustang Sally all night long but it can't do anything different. You can try to let the music do the talking but chance are, you are going to be perceived as background music.


I only know one local musician who is absolutely great at connecting with the audience ion every single occasion. He doesn't rely on stale, scripted stale rock and roll banter. He can improvise for the occasion.

This shows 100% confidence in whatever he is doing and it adds a LOT to the entertainment factor.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
For me, best case scenario, whoever takes on the front duties, I like it when they really know how to read and then work a crowd. I know one guy who is excellent in that capacity. He's just so friggin much fun. If you have a guy like that, the music can almost be secondary.

People don't care how good you are, they just want the band to be fun. Musicians staring holes into their instruments.....so many bands do that. Who actually takes it to the next level and entertains the crowd? My band definitely does not lol. It doesn't take much. It doesn't have to be a lot of words. They just have to be fun words. It's all about seeing the band from the AUDIENCES POV. Not many people get that.
 

Derek

Silver Member
Good point Larry, and a very key point being, "doesn't have to be a lot of words, just fun words." When a front person unfortunately doesn't understand the difference, near silence is better than babbling.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
For years I had a singer who would babble too much in-between songs, so I'd just count off the next tune so she'd be forced to stop talking. hah.

As far as bands on TV, I think if a band is touring, and doing 200 shows a year (give or take), chances are the stage banter probably tends to fall into saying pretty much the same things show after show, and after so many shows, the banter probably ends up pretty generic.

In addition, few bands (at least rock bands) want to perform in front of a crowd that's just standing there. So the singers ends up saying the generic lines of "let me see your hands" and such just to keep the energy levels up.

I do agree I dislike it when a singer goes off on a long explanation of what a song is literally about. Say a line about the if you must, but let the music explain the story.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Depends on the band, the music, the venue, the crowd, and so on.

I was once in a band that was quite honestly the most fun I've ever had in a band. We all got along together great, we had very much the same outlook on things, and we were in it for the fun of it, not to become the next big thing. Our gigs were pretty high-energy and so there wasn't a lot of need for banter, but we did always have something silly going on onstage. Most of our gigs, though, we just plowed through the set without much in the way of chatter.

One gig I've done in recent years was behind a singer/songwriter who at the time had equal shares of respect in the scene and personal demons. His music got people dancing and involved, but between songs the energy bled away as he bantered. This confirmed my resolve on the subject. I have since then seen the gamut of banter in my local scene, and I tend to think it robs any performance of its momentum. Sometimes it's unavoidable, especially when as a part of the gig you have to inform the audience about things going on in the venue, at the insistence of the owner or manager, but IMO you don't have to do a three-minute comedy routine about the two-drink minimum.

Over the years I've watched a lot of live performances on video, and I find myself reacting more to acts that just plug on through the setlist than bring everything to a crashing halt with banter. On video, I have no way of knowing if there was banter but it was edited out... which shows you the perceived value of banter.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
I don't care for rehearsed stage banter that gets repeated from town to town. "You know people...I was driving here tonight on..."(insert semi local highway name and drunk crowd goes nuts because Paul Stanley knows THEIR highway!!!)
 
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