1. #41
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    What I hate is bands doing cliché moves posing as Chuck Berry or Mick Jagger. I mean do something original or don't waste my time! I also hate people who do crap songs they happen to have written instead of their own great interpretations of great songs combined with original material that can hold its own with the great songs by others.

    As for the Dead, it was never about watching or listening to the Dead that I could tell. They were just an excuse for a great party that was all about the people who showed up. For some it was a bit of a spectator sport to see how badly they'd fuck up but what was on stage wasn't really the point. I'll never forget Mickey Hart running up the stairs to our control womb shouting they'd finally recorded a song where the bass and drums were actually holding a groove. I appreciated that these guys had no delusions at all of being great musicians.
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  2. #42
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    I'd say what it's about is emotional involvement with the material and communicating that involvement to the audience rather than jumping about on stage because you've practiced jumping about onstage because you think that's what you ought to be doing. The latter just looks staged.

    I caught Ray Davies a year or so ago and a good part of his show he just sat on a stool and played and sang with another guitarist, also sitting on a stool. There was absolutely NO lack of interest there, the audience was totally involved. OTOH I see some of these young bands on TV jumping about in a totally self-conscious way and it's just boring.

    On the third hand, The Who never looked staged. Or boring.
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    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
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  3. #43
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    you're talking about extremes though.

    Not everyone is a "natural" performer.
    So it's in those cases that, even if it looks 'studied' to the jaded, I'd rather see bands TRYING, and aware that they should be

    arenas full of kids go to see McBusted jump around in a totally orchestrated and practised way, and love it.
    to THEM, it's not old hat. It's just a band looking exuberant instead of bored.
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    I get what you mean but still, when the moves look studied it's not really fun. I remember back in '78 there was a pop-punk band that I did some work for called The Readymades (one of he first bands on Howie Klein's 415 Records). They had good material and put on a hell of a show, jumping around, windmilling, and mugging for the audience, but never once did they look studied and they never looked like they practiced their moves in the mirror - it was all just good, exuberant fun.







    The bands I'm talking about now look like they studied that and are kinda doing the moves by rote. Like "Oh, this is the part of the song where I jump around and shake my head THIS way." Like they're watching THEMSELVES, not interacting with the audience.

    Maybe I'm just getting old....
    Last edited by John Eppstein; January 1st, 2015 at 03:05 AM.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  5. #45
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    Maybe I'm just getting old....
    well, with respect, that IS part of it

    as said earlier... it's easy to get jaded.
    and it usually IS the middle aged soundguy saying "yeah, yeah, the kid thinks he's Pete Townshend..."
    but the AUDIENCE only sees an exciting show... they've never seen Pete Townshend, and to them it just feels right.

    that's not to say that on one person a windmill looks a lot more 'natural' or comfortable.
    Still, i don't actually think the bands that stand still and look boring are doing it because they've carefully evaluated and determined it's not right for them to jump around.
    it's just that they're intrinsically boring performers; or don't understand that they do have to be performers, not just musicians.
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    I'm guessing you think these guys look 'rote'... but they're selling out 50 arenas this year, so the audience doesn't think so.

    full disclosure, I write with one of them (the Busted part), so he's a friend,
    but I think what they do clearly works, whether it's brand new to look at or not

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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    Originally Posted by John Eppstein
    Maybe I'm just getting old....
    well, with respect, that IS part of it

    as said earlier... it's easy to get jaded.
    and it usually IS the middle aged soundguy saying "yeah, yeah, the kid thinks he's Pete Townshend..."
    but the AUDIENCE only sees an exciting show... they've never seen Pete Townshend, and to them it just feels right.
    OTOH, those old Readymades vids still make me tap my foot and wiggle uncontrollably...

    I think it's more that since I was there when it was all happening anything less than the real thing just seems lacking somehow - and frankly I think today's kids feel it too, hence the lessened interest in live music.

    that's not to say that on one person a windmill looks a lot more 'natural' or comfortable.
    Still, i don't actually think the bands that stand still and look boring are doing it because they've carefully evaluated and determined it's not right for them to jump around.
    it's just that they're intrinsically boring performers; or don't understand that they do have to be performers, not just musicians.
    Yes. And, as per my Ray Davies example, it's not always necessary to jump around a lot to engage the audience. It's all about connecting emotionally.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  8. #48
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    I'm guessing you think these guys look 'rote'... but they're selling out 50 arenas this year, so the audience doesn't think so.

    full disclosure, I write with one of them (the Busted part), so he's a friend,
    but I think what they do clearly works, whether it's brand new to look at or not

    Heh.... Actually, you'd be wrong - they did invoke a certain amount of head nodding and bouncing of the right foot (I tend to heel tap, not toe tap.) And they looked like they were engaging with the audience, not doing moves practiced in a mirror. And I didn't see one stupid looking hipster haircut on any of 'em.

    I'd like to see 'em in a small club, away from the gas flames and fog jets, up close and personal with the audience.

    It's no so much about whether it's new, it's more about whether it's real.

    Here's another Readymades vid that's absolutely nothing new, not even then, but it always was a real crowd pleaser. I know you're a huge Who fan, be interested to hear what you think...

    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  9. #49
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    Bassists should NEVER do a spread eagle. They may, however, execute a back scratch.

    Spread eagles are reserved for guitarists with a flying V and is REQUIRED to be performed at a 30°-45° angle.

    Singers are stipulated NOT to move backwards while screaming profanities. At least not in a chain gang style. Or at least not perpendicular to the drum riser.

    Etc.
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    If you don't get the crowd started right off the bat - maybe you should write and/or perform more interesting songs?

    If a song grabs my heart I couldn't care less whether it is performed on tuned pillows performed by nude chain saw jugglers or balancing off a tripped out Rhinoceros.

    A good performance can be found in any or every genre and consists of two things:

    1) The central time connection. Everybody apparently hooked up to the group clock.

    2) Relaying emotions. Everybody is completely focused on conveying the emotional impact of the song.

    /P
  11. #51
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    Knowing what is original and what is derivative doesn't necessarily make anyone jaded. I think that context puts an un-necessarily negative slant on have taste born through experience. I have a great enthusiasm for people who are great performers of many stripes partially because I have seen or worked with a lot of performers and know the difference. I agree that young enough audiences won't know whats derivative, but that's sort of a weak argument really. That's nothing to speak of a performance that is great and more to speak of an audience too naive to know better. Sure, stupid music for stupid people sells, so maybe even knowing what is original and knowing a little about the history of music and so forth isn't germane. I'm still excited by music that is done well and performances that are done well more especially. I still enjoy thinking about what makes great performances great even if younger and more naive audiences won't understand the mechanics to the same degree.
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    Spread eagles are reserved for guitarists with a flying V and is REQUIRED to be performed at a 30°-45° angle.
    Bullshit!

    Chuck Berry did it with a 335. And got damn close to 120 degrees or better.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  13. #53
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    Knowing what is original and what is derivative doesn't necessarily make anyone jaded. I think that context puts an un-necessarily negative slant on have taste born through experience. I have a great enthusiasm for people who are great performers of many stripes partially because I have seen or worked with a lot of performers and know the difference. I agree that young enough audiences won't know whats derivative, but that's sort of a weak argument really. That's nothing to speak of a performance that is great and more to speak of an audience too naive to know better. Sure, stupid music for stupid people sells, so maybe even knowing what is original and knowing a little about the history of music and so forth isn't germane. I'm still excited by music that is done well and performances that are done well more especially. I still enjoy thinking about what makes great performances great even if younger and more naive audiences won't understand the mechanics to the same degree.
    Absolutely!

    The problem is, most kids don't seem to be connecting well with most of the music that's being sold to them recently. Yes there are definite exceptions. The problem is that are not nearly enough of them.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  14. #54
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    When I was very young my mom spent the summers playing piano at the Beach Club in Wildwood, NJ. While she was playing I was usually babysat by one of the main performers. Being generally quiet and staying out of their hair I got to see performers like the Mills Brothers, The Ames Brothers, Tony Bennet, Eartha Kitt and a slew of other performers of that era. What I came away with, besides a love of the guitar from the Mills Brothers, was how they connected with the audiences. There wasn't much jumping around in those days but each and every one made the audience feel like they were the most important audience they played for and they were there to perform in front of a group of friends. They also did a lot of the same songs so that was a great lesson in how to make a standard song your own. Ok, I used up my two cents.
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    Knowing what is original and what is derivative doesn't necessarily make anyone jaded.

    No.
    but yet there is such a thing as jaded.



    I'm still excited by music that is done well and performances that are done well more especially...
    me too
    and the two don't need to be mutually exclusive.

    trying to put on a great show doesn't make you less of a songwriter or musician.
    Ask The Beatles, who learned their craft by jumping up and down until the stage fell down while they "made show".
    They also managed to write some songs.
  16. #56
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?


    I love the crap out of these guys because I am as much of a spaz, inside. But I'm not sure their thing would translate to other performers/music. Funny thing is, when they play/move more 'straight' I don't like it nearly as well.
  17. #57
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    Bullshit!

    Chuck Berry did it with a 335. And got damn close to 120 degrees or better.
    Not the leg angle - the angle from facing the audience.

    I guess my point was - the discussion does have a silly ambiance to it.
    Last edited by Knastratt; January 1st, 2015 at 08:53 PM. Reason: Optional
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    What I hate is bands doing cliché moves posing as Chuck Berry or Mick Jagger. I mean do something original or don't waste my time!
    For the most part, yes, but there are always exceptions. It depends on how well you pull it off. If somebody can do a duckwalk and splits like a young Chuck Berry and retain the same sense of excitement or better, fine, but that's damn hard to do - even Chuck can't do it anymore.

    Jimi Hendrix got all his wild stage moves, playing with his teeth, behind his head, humping his guitar, all that stuff from Howlin' Wolf.

    I remember catching Wolf at one of the little "workshop" stages at the Newport Folk Festival in, I think, '66 and he did all that stuff Seeing a 6 foot 4 350lb black man doing all that really wild stuff from about 5 feet away left a very lasting impression, let me tell you. At the time Hendrix was still a backup musician on the chitlin circuit.

    I remember the first review of Aerosmith in Rolling Stone where they said Steve Tyler was "just like Mick Jagger but her's got no moves and can't sing..."
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    I think another thing to remember is that all humans are of quite similar construction, i.e. we all have arms and legs generally attached in more or less the same way...and said human form holding a guitar or bass has got certain range of motion limitations if they're actually using the instrument to make music.

    Therefore, a lot of performers are going to tend to produce similar moves. Just because those are the AVAILABLE moves to a human holding a guitar.
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    Default Re: things performers do on stage at shows - what works and what fails?

    I have nothing against jumping around if it's appropriate for what you're doing and no one is seriously injured

    but yet there is such a thing as jaded.
    I resemble that remark.
    trying to put on a great show doesn't make you less of a songwriter or musician.
    I agree. I'm a huge Hendrix fan. And Weedy, I have yet to see you burn a bass guitar. Or even play one with your teeth.
    Ask The Beatles, who learned their craft by jumping up and down until the stage fell down while they "made show".
    They had to forget a lot of of what they learned as a cover band. Brian Epstein made them destroy all the pictures with Lennon wearing a toilet lid as a necklace, etc. Got them to dress "presentably", to lose the leather jackets.

    They also managed to write some songs.
    That's what really set them apart. But by the time they got to the USA after already having been stars in Britain, their material had already become too complex to jump around to.

    They obviously didn't have to. They moved as much as they could, but the main thing is that they exuded exuberance and charisma. And the audience identified them with their music. They arrived as heros before they played a note.

    Their material and the way they played it (and the way it was recorded and produced) is what made them huge stars in the US before they arrived at JFK.

    The first time anyone saw them live in the US was on the Ed Sullivan Shoe.

    Jumping around and windmilling was both impossible and demonstrably unnecessary.

    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

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