Harmony Central Forums
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Sometimes you just have to say "What The .....?"

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse









X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Sometimes you just have to say "What The .....?"

    Like probably most bands, our performances usually fall somewhere in between playing so-so and playing pretty good. Once in awhile we have a GREAT show; once in awhile we have a total clunker. That's the nature of live gigging, right?

    Last night was a complete off-the-rails clunker. Luckily for us, we always manage to somehow still go over with the audience--and last night was no exception---but the fact that we did is one of the reasons I'm posting this.

    Last night was one of the gigs where we left the stage all feeling angry and defeated. Pissed at ourselves and each other. Looking at each other and say "what the hell was THAT????" We spent probably an hour before we started to pack up just all talking about what went wrong and what we need to do to make improvements and make sure another gig like that doesn't happen again. We were all actually embarrassed by our performance. Although I think we still managed to get probably 75% of the audience response we would have gotten with a great show. But still...

    ....it actually felt bad to get compliments afterwards. It was almost hard to be gracious in accepting them because I just want to scream at the people "HOW COULD YOU NOT KNOW HOW BAD WE SUCKED!?!?!". And we even got a huge tip which I commented we should probably give back! (Of course, we didn't....)

    Which brings me to my point here: nights like this make me wonder what the point of it all is. A) if we're not going to play well, then why bother playing at all? and B) if the crowd isn't able to notice that we play poorly, then why bother playing well? Believe me---I'm glad we're (for whatever the reasons) able to paper over the horribleness of gigs like this and still connect with the audience, but after a certain point it almost becomes embarrassing that we're able to do that. Does that make any sense?

    Yeah...we'll take a step back and regroup and put some time in and woodshed and all of that. And all will probably be fine by the next gig. But it really just does make me shake my head at the whole process sometimes.....

    Anyway...just needed to vent after last night's horror-fest....
    _________________________________________________
    band websites:
    http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
    https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
    https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
    http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

  • #2
    I suspect that like a lot of professions, musicians are their own worst critics. It took me a loooong time to realize that it does not have to be perfect which is not to say that yo don't critique your performances and look to see where you can improve but at the same time I don't think you should agonize too much over it. I played a fund raiser gig on Friday with the guys I play with, I am sure we messed up about half our songs in one way or another but we had fun and the audience had fun and everyone went home happy. That's good enough in my book!
    The further away I am, the better I sound....

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by the_big_e View Post
      I suspect that like a lot of professions, musicians are their own worst critics.
      Very true. I was telling the story of the gig to my wife and she compared it what she does at her job as a massage therapist. She puts a lot of effort into making sure all the small details are the best they can be --- her personal demeanor, room atmosphere, temperature, music, aroma, etc --- so her customers can have the best possible massage experience. And sometimes she gives what she thinks is a bad massage but they rave about how much they love it anyway. Which, of course, is part of why she goes to all the trouble to make sure the other stuff is right, but it's still frustrating when it makes her wonder why bother to give great massages if they are going to love the bad ones? But the truth is I'm sure her "bad" massage is still pretty awesome.

      At the same time, while I'm not going to agonize over it, I hate to fall back on the "well the crowd loved it anyway!" excuse. There still has to be a basic level of quality regardless of how well we can paper it over when the quality isn't there.

      And one thing I do worry about is that I know people will never (or very rarely) tell you when you suck. Yes, it was nice to have a dozen or so people come up to us after the show and say how much they loved it. But anyone who might have walked out because they thought it sucked? We'll never hear their feedback. They just leave disappointed.
      _________________________________________________
      band websites:
      http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
      https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
      https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
      http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

      Comment


      • #4
        I had the same exact experience Friday night at a private party that we played. I felt like it was a total clunker. Mad at myself, mad at my bandmates and irritated as all get-out at all of the many many "that was great" accolades we received. Exactly like you described. I could have posted the same exact post, word for word.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by guido61 View Post

          And one thing I do worry about is that I know people will never (or very rarely) tell you when you suck. Yes, it was nice to have a dozen or so people come up to us after the show and say how much they loved it. But anyone who might have walked out because they thought it sucked? We'll never hear their feedback. They just leave disappointed.
          And that was my sentiment as well.

          Comment


          • #6
            My wife has been coming to see me for many years. She's got a good ear and knows our songs. She said the only time she can tell one of us makes a mistake is by how we look at each other after it happens. Whether it's a laugh, smile, evil eye, etc. Even with her more experienced ear, she has a hard time hearing when something isn't right. That said, the average audience has no clue. This is evidenced by the myriad of bands who are really just not that good but continue to get gigs and draw people to their performances. Even obvious things like bad vocals seem to not get noticed by the average patron. We as musicians are our own worst critics, but that doesn't change anything for me. I will still want my bands to take pride in their performance and prep work so we can give the best show we can.
            My Live Gear: Roland FA-08, Hammond SK1-73, Moog LP
            My Band: http://www.bksband.com

            Comment


            • #7
              It isn't about the individual gaffs or sour notes so much. You're right that the audience isn't going to pick those out. Even major trainwrecks aren't going to be noticed by most. They just think that's the way we do the song.

              It's the cumulative effect that all of that has on the band and the overall ability to be our best and sell that performance. It's the difference between people thinking the band was awesome or the band was meh even if they don't have a clue as to why they got either impression.
              _________________________________________________
              band websites:
              http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
              https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
              https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
              http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

              Comment


              • #8
                I was (and in some ways still am) having the same problem with my band. At times it just seemed like a complete "steaming pile" show. Mess ups in songs that we've been doing for years, a drummer who's just singing away on every song, despite the fact that he has no damn part to be singing in most of them. I was having a real problem with "good enough" being just great with everyone else; the rest of the band, the audience, etc. Frankly I was beginning to feel like a crappy bar band that had nice equipment and was really not liking where we appeared to be headed. So I started multi-tracking out of the eight sub groups on the board. I was really surprised when I played with mixing it the next day. It was good. More than acceptable. Sure some of the obvious stuff was there, but over all it was way better than I expected.

                So now I'm stuck. Sure it was fine. But what if all that stuff, which I consider to be easily avoidable and a big source of personal irritation weren't there? I'll be the first to admit that, as mentioned above, I'm am my own worst critic. Detrimentally so at times. I'd just like to come off a show where it's not only good enough for the crowd, but that I think is worthy of our best effort. It feels like it's been awhile. That should be the nominal expectation, not the reverse. That what I believe makes a great band and I think the audience may not be able to pinpoint specifics, will know it as well. I'm sure my expectation may be too high for some, but they're no different than I expect for myself.
                Last edited by trevcda; 08-18-2014, 12:51 PM. Reason: Overthinking...again.
                I love to sing, and I love to drink scotch. Most people would rather hear me drink scotch.

                Comment


                • #9

                  Originally posted by trevcda View Post
                  I was (and in some ways still am) having the same problem with my band. At times it just seemed like a complete "steaming pile" show. Mess ups in songs that we've been doing for years, a drummer who's just singing away on every song, despite the fact that he has no damn part to be singing in most of them. I was having a real problem with "good enough" being just great with everyone else; the rest of the band, the audience, etc. Frankly I was beginning to feel like a crappy bar band that had nice equipment and was really not liking where we appeared to be headed. So I started multi-tracking out of the eight sub groups on the board. I was really surprised when I played with mixing it the next day. It was good. More than acceptable. Sure some of the obvious stuff was there, but over all it was way better than I expected.

                  So now I'm stuck. Sure it was fine. But what if all that stuff, which I consider to be easily avoidable and a big source of personal irritation weren't there? I'll be the first to admit that, as mentioned above, I'm am my own worst critic. Detrimentally so at times. I'd just like to come off a show where it's not only good enough for the crowd, but that I think is worthy of our best effort. It feels like it's been awhile. That should be the nominal expectation, not the reverse. That what I believe makes a great band and I think the audience may not be able to pinpoint specifics, will know it as well. I'm sure my expectation may be too high for some, but they're no different than I expect for myself.

                  All of this.

                  The only thing I would add is that if this were just about the money and just a job, I could probably much more easily overlook all that nonsense as long as it didn't affect my bottom line. But since it's mostly about the enjoyment of playing music and performing, then the problem is comes down to the simple fact that I just don't have as much fun when the band plays poorly.
                  _________________________________________________
                  band websites:
                  http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                  https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                  https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                  http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have gone through this same issue several times... but I realized early on that most of the time the only people that know that the band messed up... is the band. We have what I think are bad shows all the time but nobody else even realizes. Hell... even musicians in the crowd won't notice a mess up most of the time. When you are up there playing you are concentrating almost entirely on the sound you are producing. The crowd is thinking about the sound, about their friends with them, about that guy/girl they think is attractive, about what they want to drink next, and probably 10 other things. It's very rare to have someone in the audience focus on the music as much as you are focusing on it.

                    When I go to watch other bands I spend some time focusing just on the music in the beginning and I see mistakes all the time... but once I enjoy the experience as a whole... those mistakes blend into the background and become less noticeable... and that's what your typical audience does.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think there's a HUGE difference between the band "messing up" and "not clicking" or not being "on". To "not click" is just as, if not more painful than clams. I have found there is always a quantifiable issue that can be addressed pragmatically.

                      You can say, "We need to practice more!" Sure that'll help. But practice what? Running through tunes? Identifying the issue is 3/4s of solving it. At times the answer may not be pleasant or very comfortable. Analyzing live recordings is the only way. Identifying the issue and then pointedly go about fixing the issue.

                      Sidebar: I have a good buddy that fancies himself a player but has never really played professionally. He's over 60, owns oodles of classic and new guitars and is a decent enough player lacking a basic pro skillset. Time, pocket, tuning, taste. etc. He suggests we work up The Hollies Bus Stop tp perform at a BBQ the next day on two acoustics.. Big gig! I love the guy and say YES!. As we're running through the song he keeps stumbling over this transition from the intro to the solo. So I say, "Let's take it from the intro after the C2 and going into the solo then loop back to the intro and keep doing that."

                      Why? Let's take it from the top!

                      When I finally convinced him of the error of his ways, we looped that sucker 20 times and he got into some sort of trance and nailed it. And what he thought would be torture was undeniably FUN! THEN... we took it from the top and through to the end perfectly.

                      Identify the issue, and pointedly correct it. You're listening to a band recording of the night before. The gig sucked. What the hell went wrong. As you listen closely you realize the drummer is pushing everything and the bass player is playing way behind the beat. Hence... everything feels like pulling teeth. No wonder you were miserable. You've now identified the problem. Or one f them.

                      Pointedly fix them.

                      Mr. Drummer, Mr. Bass player. here's you very own metronome and a copy of Louis Belson's Modern Rhythm Studies in 4/4. Do it. PLEASE! Start on page 1. It's golden.

                      Maybe the guitarist is too loud, the singer sings flat, the keyboard guy has vanilla tones you didn't really hear before but have subconsciously made you feel like a doof standing next to some guy putting out mini Casio-tone sounds for modern cover songs.

                      It's very easy to say... well, it was just a bad night. We all have them. But that's just giving into the fact that identifying the problem may be uncomfortable. But it doesn't have to be if everyone is willing to take on the challenge of fixing it.

                      __________
                      Your god doesn't exist but my god does and he is all loving. If you disagree with me I'll kill you. - Prince Ea

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        Originally posted by Lee Knight View Post
                        I think there's a HUGE difference between the band "messing up" and "not clicking" or not being "on". To "not click" is just as, if not more painful than clams. I have found there is always a quantifiable issue that can be addressed pragmatically.

                        You can say, "We need to practice more!" Sure that'll help. But practice what? Running through tunes? Identifying the issue is 3/4s of solving it. At times the answer may not be pleasant or very comfortable. Analyzing live recordings is the only way. Identifying the issue and then pointedly go about fixing the issue.

                        That's all good advice, Lee. Listening back to live recordings is a must, IMO.

                        In our particular case it's more about people simply not bringing their A-game to the gig for various reasons. In many ways the issues are more personal than musical. Everyone in the band certainly has the ability to knock the songs and the gigs out of the park. It's mostly about making sure people have their head in the game. (Not drinking too much during the 4 hours between set up and the time we go on stage would be a big help!) The clams turn into trainwrecks turn into bad attitudes and then no ones clicking. Step #1: REMEMBER THE FRICKIN' ROAD MAP TO THE SONG.

                        Some of that is solved by more rehearsal. When we're only gigging a couple times a month, and having full group rehearsals even less than that, it doesn't take too many clams before we're headed to trainwreck city. Especially since we've taken to so many unique arrangements of material lately. REMEMBER YOUR FRICKIN' PARTS. Is that too much to ask?

                        But it's more than just more rehearsal. It's keeping your head in the game while onstage. I can't teach that. We can't rehearse that. I can't teach the guitarist to better be able to hear when he's playing a different part from the rest of the band. We can't rehearse making sure the bass player doesn't drop notes every time a big set of titties walks past the front of the stage.

                        Beyond that, and in a more general sense---bands are always a challenge in that it's such a mix of personal and musical. None of us are Julliard graduates and even if we were, that wouldn't guarantee we'd get along any better either personally or musically. So any band is always a tradeoff being dealing with quirks in people's personality and playing abilities in exchange for being able to get along and keep the band together.

                        After 10 plus years of playing with these guys I'm still amazed I put up with all the crap the goes on both onstage and off. I'm sure they feel the same way about me. Whaddya gonna do? Just keep pushing forward and work to make the next gig better than the last one!
                        _________________________________________________
                        band websites:
                        http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                        https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                        https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                        http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by guido61 View Post

                          Some of that is solved by more rehearsal...
                          I'm a "regular" member of 2 part time bands. I typically gig 3-4 gigs each month - split between the two groups. I've gotten pretty adept at maintaining two playlists - and dealing with gaps between gigs that is regularly measured in weeks. My experience has been that what I do during my personal practice time is far more efficient than trying to have more band rehearsals.

                          If I sit down and run thru the planned setlist 24-48 hours before the gig - I'm almost guaranteed to have a great night. Just ensuring that I touch each song shortly before the gig goes a long way towards reducing any uncertainty that may crop up.

                          Don't get me wrong - I'm not selling the value of rehearsal short. However, time available to invest in practice of any sort is limited. When I need to ensure I've got an entire playlist up to speed for a night - my personal practice time is more important to me than group rehearsals.
                          The SpaceNorman

                          www.facebook.com/SuperstarsOfRock
                          www.souldoutrocks.com

                          Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
                          Keyboard Rack: Samson SM10 Line Mixer, Motu MIDIExpressXT MIDI Interface, Shure PSM200 IEM system, M-Audio Wireless MIDI, Live Wires IEM ear buds, iPad wOnSong.
                          Stage Amplification: Stereo via 2 Yamaha DSR112s

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It may be that the band is just burned out on the routine after all these years. Bands are always the most exciting in the working your way up the feeding chain stage rather than after you have arrived. It may be also that deep down everyone knows you have had better days behind you. You don't play that much, and I think that's a factor. Even the best bread gets stale.
                            "you mess with him and you mess with the whole trailer park"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Projecting again, are you Tim?
                              _________________________________________________
                              band websites:
                              http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
                              https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
                              https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
                              http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

                              Comment



                              Working...
                              X