theatrical attire onstage

diosdude

Silver Member
Am I totally crazy? I'm just frustrated every time my band plays out that we look like a bunch of dorks in black jeans, black concert t-shirts. There is nothing unique about the look of anyone in my band except me; I have a pretty radical looking traditional shao-lin hairstyle (like chow-yun-fat in Crouching Tiger or Jet Li in Fearless). The guys in my band, well they just don't give a crap when we play a show with 15 other bands that look like everybody who hangs out at the music store and we look no different. I proposed we go a little theatrical with our look to spice it up and maybe people might remember who we are by associating our killer sound with a unique look. The cool thing about my band is that we are from totally different ethnic backgrounds, I'm asian (filipino), My guitarist, Luis is 100% Cuban, My other guitarist, Doug is 100% Jewish, my bassist, George is a huge Black man, and my keyboardist, Justin is like 75% Irish. My idea was to just dress in ethnic extreme:

Men's cheongsam Kung-fu coat for me, African Kaftan for George, Guayabera Shirt for Luis, Rabbi vestments for Doug, Irish Kilt for Justin. I think it would just make a lasting visual impression to go along with the lasting musical impression...

My band just totally dismissed the idea. What do you think?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Great question Dios. One of the original bands I was in quite a few years ago now, went through this same dilemma. 'How do we make ourselves stand out from every other band out there?'

Over a period of a few weeks very few stones were left unturned...from the predictable - Beatle-esque, same, same but different clothing (think Sgt. Peppers). To the sublime - mascots etc (think Iron Maiden). To the utterly ridiculous (everyone wearing diff. hats) - WTF!!

At the end of the day, everthing we came up with just sounded so contrived and 'forced'....it just wasn't 'us' at all. In the end we settled on just being real....which meant being ourselves. Sure we tried to shop for clothing at diff. shops and make ourselves less dishevelled and a little more noticeable than what we were, but I gotta admit I found it incredibly difficult finding an angle so that we would 'stand out' from all the other bands out there.

I'm looking forward to following this thread and hearing some cool ideas that would have been beneficial nearly 20 years ago.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Over 10 years ago now, I was in a band, we looked not different than most other bands.

Someone got the idea we should dress up a bit, which lead to dressing up a lot, and we doubled our fan base pretty quickly.

Of course, now I look back and shutter at some of the looks I had, but at the time, it worked our for us well for us, and (helped) get us a lot of record company attention.
 

jake_larson

Senior Member
Thats a pretty crazy idea, in highschool I was in a 3rd wave Ska band and at a gig i decided to cut up all my clothes and cover the band in random stickers. That was a good gig and we had lots of interested people afterwords.
 

theindian

Senior Member
Yeah, image is pretty important to making a band stand out. I try to approach it like I am going to the club or going to a party. I think for theatrics the music has too call for it. I want my group to look cool but not necessarily costumes either. A good image will make you memorable but a bad costume will make you just as memorable in a negative way. I was in a group with a guitarist who insisted on wearing ridiculous overbearing outfits for shows. I would have to call him before gigs and be like "ok man what are you wearing tonight?".
 

nosta001

Junior Member
Its a shot, try it. Look at slipknot and all the other bands out there that dress up in crazy outfits, there's no way you can forget something like that ya know. Its always a good way to stand out, but on a good show chap!!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I think the idea is to look at what the music is about, what you as a band are about, and expand on that - ham it up ... make it larger than life and have fun with it.

Some examples from different genres - Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Kiss, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Queen, Nirvana, Sex Pistols, Grace Jones, Jethro Tull, Stray Cats, James Brown, Elton John, Marilyn Manson, ELP, Nina Hagen, NIN, White Stripes, Beatles, Screaming Jay Hawkins ...

The common thread - all were (at least eventually) true to their own sensibilities and expanded on what they were about to make their image seem larger than life.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Really, if you think like your audience instead of musicians, a band will be percieved as "better" if they are fun, interesting to watch, and more entertaining. Like it or not, the music takes a back seat to the show from the audience perspective.

Compare that to a band who is musically better, but not fun to watch, doesn't engage the crowd, and generally just stands there playing great sounding music.

The crowd will go see band #1 before band #2 every day of the week.

I think it's a good idea to try and be entertaining, no matter how you do it. (interesting garb, good repoire w/ the audience, fun to watch)

But you can't force it, it has to be something you all want to do. Just do your thing Dios, at least you have a vision, it can't hurt.
 

KnockOut86

Senior Member
There is a fine line between "adding theatrics" and "looking like idiots."

OP - If I was in your band I would be all about that, and I would def see a band who dressed up like that as well.

Funny story...In high school my band had an original song called "fat girls" (I was an immature 15 year old lol) and at the battle of the bands we had our friends dress up like Anna Nicole Smith and sing back ups and eat potato chips. People talked about that forever.
 

ChrisCirino

Senior Member
Assuming your proposal is not a joke, that may be the worst idea I have ever heard. How could anyone take you seriously dressed like the United Nations. Just a few questions though. Why would a Filipino where Chinese garb and have a Shao-Lin hairstyle? Wouldn't a barong Tagalog would be more appropriate. Why would the Irish guy wear a kilt? Irish men don't wear kilts, Scotsman do. I'm also certain that not all Jews are Rabbis, some might even be offended by someone pretending to be one, you know like Catholics and Priests. Maybe, you should dress as the signs of the Zodiac, like Spinal Tap proposed. That'll get their attention. Or you could just play better than the other bands on the bill, that always impresses me and makes me remember a band.
 
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diosdude

Silver Member
Assuming your proposal is not a joke, that may be the worst idea I have ever heard. How could anyone take you seriously dressed like the United Nations. Just a few questions though. Why would a Filipino where Chinese garb and have a Shao-Lin hairstyle? Wouldn't a barong Tagalog would be more appropriate. Why would the Irish guy wear a kilt? Irish men don't wear kilts, Scotsman do. I'm also certain that not all Jews are Rabbis, some might even be offended by someone pretending to be one, you know like Catholics and Priests. Maybe, you should dress as the signs of the Zodiac, like Spinal Tap proposed. That'll get their attention. Or you could just play better than the other bands on the bill, that always impresses me and makes me remember a band.
How could anybody take YOUR band seriously?:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4-5Fsv6r_U&feature=channel
They look like a bunch of Mon-Fri 9-5'er white collar dudes going to a sunday barbecue, not a metal band.

The Philippines is not a distinct, individual culture. The General population is descended from a global mish-mash of gene pools including Taiwanese, Spaniard, Chinese, Indian, and aboriginal. Although Catholicism is the majority, Hinduism and Bhuddism are widely practiced. The cheongsam jacket is widely worn in all of asia, from china, malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines.

As for Kilts, the Ulster, Tara, and Clodagh are recognized as distinctly IRISH kilts, while there are family Tartans worn by Irish clans and also generic national kilts.

If someone gets bent out of shape if Doug looks like a rabbi, well there's a saying that there's no such thing as NEGATIVE publicity.

Seriously, I've been to some concerts where the guys have had hideous garb (Tool as Ozzfest when Maynard wore a skirt and a bra comes to mind) But seriously, you're more apt to remember a band that stands out visually than one that does not.

The zodiac thing sounds interesting. What would you suggest?

What is the name of the band, and what kind of music do you play.??
Burn the skies- progressive rock/ metal
www.myspace.com/burntheskies
www.burntheskies.com
 
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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Assuming your proposal is not a joke, that may be the worst idea I have ever heard. How could anyone take you seriously dressed like the United Nations. Just a few questions though. Why would a Filipino where Chinese garb and have a Shao-Lin hairstyle? Wouldn't a barong Tagalog would be more appropriate. Why would the Irish guy wear a kilt? Irish men don't wear kilts, Scotsman do. I'm also certain that not all Jews are Rabbis, some might even be offended by someone pretending to be one, you know like Catholics and Priests. Maybe, you should dress as the signs of the Zodiac, like Spinal Tap proposed. That'll get their attention. Or you could just play better than the other bands on the bill, that always impresses me and makes me remember a band.
I dunno.

How did any take Motely Crue seriously in the 80's?

Skipknot in 90's? Kiss in the 70's?

The list goes on of bands who've done some weird looks and somehow made it big.
 

diosdude

Silver Member
I dunno.

How did any take Motely Crue seriously in the 80's?

Skipknot in 90's? Kiss in the 70's?

The list goes on of bands who've done some weird looks and somehow made it big.
That's my point exactly, TY DED. If you were at a Halloween costume party and a bunch of dudes dressed up as say, Warrant, would you be able to tell them apart from the guys who dressed up as Winger? What about the guys who dressed up as Sum41 and the guys that dressed up as Blink 182? Paramore and Evanescence? Get the point?

What band is this?


Kiss?

No, It's a Tribute band called "The Band formerly known as Kiss". Kiss has a distinct band identity that is instantly recognizeable. Why would it be the "worst idea ever" to try to go for that?
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
I once wore a black suit with a white shirt and black tie to a gig. I looked Reservoir Dogs sharp. I didn't sweat as much as I thought I would so I wore it to the next gig and the bass player and keyboard player did the same. We looked stupid. Morticians in a wedding band with the singer and guitar player looking like last minute fill-ins.

Sometimes the Billy Bob Thornton look can work for one person but it can also backfire when everybody tries it.

You're in a metal band. Be bold and bring back the spandex, boots and big hair. Maybe it will catch on again.
 

georgeman

Senior Member
I once wore a black suit with a white shirt and black tie to a gig. I looked Reservoir Dogs sharp. I didn't sweat as much as I thought I would so I wore it to the next gig and the bass player and keyboard player did the same. We looked stupid. Morticians in a wedding band with the singer and guitar player looking like last minute fill-ins.

Sometimes the Billy Bob Thornton look can work for one person but it can also backfire when everybody tries it.

You're in a metal band. Be bold and bring back the spandex, boots and big hair. Maybe it will catch on again.
LOL - and don't forget the platforms, tight leather pants and bananas :)
or extremely tight girlpants for the guys with no shirt or an unbuttoned shirt...
i'll try to get pics uploaded soon if i can get them.
 
B

Big_Philly

Guest
Why not go for a suit & tie look when playing metal? I think combinations that deviate far from a certain stereotype are as memorable as anything extreme. When I was in a metalcore band I was determined to wear a suit & tie when performing (but we never got to performing - long story).
 
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