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  • Where Have All The Music Theatrics Gone

    I go out and see band and the musicians look dead as a door nail. They stand there like a statue playing their riffs picture perfect and I'm left feeling visually empty. Noones taking chances hanging five taking it to the risking missing a note or two to throw some theatrics in there to rev up a crowd.

    Is that a lost era of music? are we stuck with picture perfect notes so noone can critisize the artsts expertiese at tyha sacrifice of putting on a good show?

    Where are the bands like the who who could thrill an audiance in both their recordings and their shows with their raw renditions of emotional turmoil and bands like the Tubes that would put on an entire broadway show when they performed?

    Maybe its a lost art thats its demand but I do miss it.

    I'm going to see McCartney here in Houston in about a month.
    He may be an old man now but he will likely blow chunks over much
    of the so called new talent thats popular these days as far as showmanship is concerned.

    You's think with all the turmoil in the world now, some artists could focus
    that into a healing artform. I guess it requires some seasoned artists to direct
    what is going on into something artistic. Question is who is qualified to do it, and who can lead the new artistic movement? Madona had her shot and and usede it. Besides who wants to see that old bitch naked?

  • #2
    I don`t think its a lost "art form" because I don`t think its art. To me, its just a players pre-determined act. I think a lot of kids today see it as unnecessary and fake. Even for me, growing up in the 80`s with the hairbands and what not, its hard to watch all the nonsense let a lone do it when I`m performing. Of course theres different levels of showmanship... there are the Alice Cooper`s, the Freddie Mercury`s, the Jimmy Pages`s, etc... For McCartney, he`s coming from another time and era, and his talent far above most so I say, enjoy the show and stop comparing.

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    • #3
      I like a good show too. You should see my two son's band. They're excellent musicians and showmen. My oldest is very reserved and mild mannered, but as soon as he hits the stage its like Superman. Even blows me away. My younger son has always been a ham. He plays bass and is all over the stage revving up the crowd. He
      <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

      “Music is well said to be the speech of angels... nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine."

      ~Thomas Carlyle

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      • #4
        I go out and see band and the musicians look dead as a door nail. They stand there like a statue playing their riffs picture perfect and I'm left feeling visually empty. Noones taking chances hanging five taking it to the risking missing a note or two to throw some theatrics in there to rev up a crowd.

        Is that a lost era of music? are we stuck with picture perfect notes so noone can critisize the artsts expertiese at tyha sacrifice of putting on a good show?


        A couple of things...

        First of all, there's still a lot of bands that put on a show, theatrics, whatever, although the era of large-scale '70s productions seem to be gone. Economics and the general zeitgeist definitely seem to take the wind out of large productions, but they're still there. But I see a lot of this in rock bands, pop bands, etc.

        Second of all, there was this sort of movement, a reaction in the late '80s that extended well into the '90s that reacted against hair bands and New Wave bands and sought more authenticity or sincerity (or in some cases, at least the appearance of that ). That kind of thing resulted in many things, including dressing down instead of putting on outrageous costumes, considerably subdued demeanor (or at least, not flashy, showy, flamboyant, or whatever, although one could still thrash about the stage and move around quite a bit), singing more "earnestly", and often abandoning long, lengthy solos, among other things. And I think that some of this has continued to carry over into the next generation of bands. I still kinda see this thing among today's indie and emo bands, for instance.
        Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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        • #5
          Styx killed theatrics for everyone.

          (kinda like Frampton ruined the talk box)

          Terry D.
          Telling Stories releases 2nd CD, see our WEBSITE! Please check out my GROUPIE STORY and Tales from the Road.

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          • #6
            Dead pan sincerity or flamboyant fakery?

            Some kind of choices....

            My personal goal is, when it comes to all the window dressing of performance, is "do something with what you got there, but don't get carried away" -

            But I think I'd take fakery by a genius over sincerity by a hack.

            nat whilk ii

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            • #7
              Me, I've always found stage theatrics barely tolerable at best. I tend to find them juvenile, distracting, annoying, boring, and they tend to alienate me from the people on stage performing schtick.

              I grew up watching vaudeville. I know schtick. If it's great schtick, it rises to the mildly amusing in small doses. (Think Abbot & Costello's "Who's on First?")


              Now, that's not to say that there aren't musical performers out there who put on a fun, interesting show, people who are legitimately funny. Two of the funniest guys I've ever seen in concert are two guys who write some dark, serious stuff. (At least sometimes.) Leonard Cohen and Richard Thompson can both be totally delightful. Thompson, in particular, can sit on a stool with his guitar and crack you the hell up in a very natural, off the cuff seeming way.

              And, you know, I've been able develop an alternate approach to watching show bands from the soul world or outfits like Sunny Ade's band... but for years, as soon as the synchronized dance moves busted out, I was fidgeting and looking for exit signs. That and the flashy clothes really turned me off. (But, of course, after I'd been around a little, I realized that dressing like a bum was basically an upper half affectation and that the guy in the alley tossing your trash into the truck dreamed all week of putting on his white linen, three piece disco suit and going to a club where everyone else was dressed up and the folks on stage were putting on a hell of a show. I get that now. But it doesn't really come natural to me.)


              Anyhow, I guess we all like different stuff. Me, I've always thought band uniforms and dance moves and rehearsed patter and stage bits were insufferably corny. [That goes for everything from Peter Gabriel's went-on-one-show-too-long bit of falling backwards offstage to the cartoon-as-band approach of KISS.] But others may well appreciate the very things that turn me off. Big world.
              .

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              • #8
                Some might argue that the "show " aspect is adding a needed bolstering to less than stellar songs or musical acumen and talent ; a.k.a. KISS syndrome..

                But the others simply add it to pile on their already formidable game !!!

                First kill the goose by refusing to feed it , then blame it for dying and not giving anymore gold eggs


                Professionalism is an attitude and , not a possesion that you own forever once you have acheived something.



                "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

                Albert Einstein


                .

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                • #9
                  I go out and see band and the musicians look dead as a door nail. They stand there like a statue playing their riffs picture perfect and I'm left feeling visually empty. Noones taking chances hanging five taking it to the risking missing a note or two to throw some theatrics in there to rev up a crowd.

                  Is that a lost era of music? are we stuck with picture perfect notes so noone can critisize the artsts expertiese at tyha sacrifice of putting on a good show?

                  Where are the bands like the who who could thrill an audiance in both their recordings and their shows with their raw renditions of emotional turmoil and bands like the Tubes that would put on an entire broadway show when they performed?

                  Maybe its a lost art thats its demand but I do miss it.

                  I'm going to see McCartney here in Houston in about a month.
                  He may be an old man now but he will likely blow chunks over much
                  of the so called new talent thats popular these days as far as showmanship is concerned.

                  You's think with all the turmoil in the world now, some artists could focus
                  that into a healing artform. I guess it requires some seasoned artists to direct
                  what is going on into something artistic. Question is who is qualified to do it, and who can lead the new artistic movement? Madona had her shot and and usede it. Besides who wants to see that old bitch naked?


                  Short answer... No.

                  You just aren't seeing the right bands, maybe?

                  lol, don't generalize that an "era is dead" because a few bands you saw have no stage presence.

                  And if you are looking for a new artistic movement, don't EVER look to the mainstream. Once something new makes it to the mainstream, it's already too late.

                  If you are dissatisfied with the state of your local scene, you are in a perfect position. Create what you want to see.
                  gibson SG - treble boost - fuzz x2 - marshall JMP - 4x12/2x15

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                  • #10
                    Some bands do it better than others. Queen comes to mind. Of course Frank Zappa took me down many avenues I'd of walked by without his music.

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                    • #11
                      KISS is a great example of "check your cynicism at the door and let's have some fun." If you do that (like most people do at their show), you'll have a great time. In contrast, I wouldn't expect amazing visuals from bands like Rush or Dream Theater. I'm there to hear them perform complicated music as flawlessly as possible. The focus is different.

                      One thing I thought was funny was when I went to see an Extreme/ZZ Top concert in 1991. Extreme was depicted in their videos as this fun, Van Halen/Queen-type band, jumping around and doing goofy things. In concert, only Gary Cherone was doing that. Nuno Bettencourt stood like a statue, playing everything as note-perfect as possible, but because a lot of the music was so layered and complicated on the 2nd record, he couldn't really perform. I was impressed with his abilities, but I'm sure other people thought they sucked because he just stood there. One guy even threw a bottle or something at him when they did a short acoustic set of Hole Hearted and More Than Words. I laughed when he flipped the guy off while playing a chord. I'm guessing the guy threw the bottle because he was hoping for a bigger show than what he got.

                      In contrast, ZZ Top used other things as part of their show. They didn't jump around and scream like young men, but they had moving conveyor belts which the bassist would walk on (this was during their Recycler tour). For the Eliminator-era songs, the drummer appeared from the side of one stage with a small, simple drum set that moved to the middle of the stage with the conveyor belt. When they went back to perform their other songs, he reappeared on the huge drum set on a riser. Pretty cool stuff.

                      It just depends on the band.
                      (This is my Non-Signature.)

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                      • #12
                        Some bands do it better than others. Queen comes to mind. Of course Frank Zappa took me down many avenues I'd of walked by without his music.
                        Right, Zappa, Queen, Gabriel, they had often great music (maybe not to everyone's tastes, perhaps, I never really bonded with Queen but I'd be among the last to dismiss their more than occasional brilliance). Ditto some of my favorite soul outfits. I learned to put up with the synchronized dance movements on stage and the spangly suits because the music was often so great.


                        PS... Tim's description of that ZZ Top concert just makes me hold my head in my hands. I really loved some of the stuff from their first couple of albums ("Blue Jean Blues" will likely always be in my top 25 somewhere) but the thing I liked about them from their music was that low key, just get down and play some Texas blues vibe the records had. I was amused for about half one video when they crossed over to the mainstream... In my world view, if music isn't good enough to hold you rapt, no amount of leggy, busty models or fibreglass dream hot rods is going to make it work for me.
                        .

                        music and social links | recent listening

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                        • #13
                          "Long time passing.....Where have all the music theatrics gone, long time ago...."

                          Sorry couldn't resist LOL I think a big part of it is that after the excess of the 80's, when musos look back today and see how cheezy it looks now, they are hesitant to do anything that flamboyant, and want to go to the opposite extreme to avoid it...

                          I also think that a lot of musos have SERIOUS self esteem issues, and aren't comfortable doing anything more onstage than just staring at the fretboard or keys or drums, and a lot of them are so insecure that they think if they do show some genuine emotion it will come off as cheezy or forced...
                          Originally Posted by co&cafan808


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                          • #14
                            The Lady Gagas and others in the more commercial dance/pop world are plenty theatrical. Because that theatrical style of presentation is currently associated with lighweight music for teenyboppers more serious musicians are not so likely to go that route.

                            Also, pop music currently seems to be in a phase where exagerated emotionality is the mainstream, artists who don't want to come off as superficial and commercial tend towards a more restrained style of presentation.

                            Another factor is the cost associated with an elaborate stage production. Now that record companies don't subsidize tours like they used to (except for possibly for the most commecial artists) fewer artist have the resources to be theatrical.

                            On the other hand, a little imagination can go a long way. Los Straitjackets come off as very visually flashy just by wearing masks and moving their necks in unison. However, that is much harder for an artist with a more serious theme/style in their lyrics/music to pull off.
                            "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."- George Orwell

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                            • #15


                              On the other hand, a little imagination can go a long way. Los Straitjackets come off as very visually flashy just by wearing masks and moving their necks in unison. However, that is much harder for an artist with a more serious theme/style in their lyrics/music to pull off.


                              They were fun. A friend of mine brought me to one of their shows at the Echoplex in Echo Park recently, and I liked 'em. They've apparently been doing that for quite some time. I like the Spanish with the Midwestern accent too. Lots of fun all the way around.
                              Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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