03-11-2012 11:37 AM
03-11-2012 05:57 PM
There's a local band that has gotten much better at using backing tracks so they are more subtle and in the back ground, but when they first started using them they sounded terrible. The tracks were so over produced that it was an absolute distraction from the performance. They were always having issues monitoring themselves so they weren't always in sync with the track. Now they become less reliant on the tracks, reduced the tracks volume in the overall band mix and they look and sound alot better. About a year ago every band and their brother were adding tracks, but I've seen alot of bands pull back and just stop trying to cover songs they don't have the instrumentation for. The worst performance I have seen was a band that was trying to pull off "Don't Stop Believing' using a backing track. The piano intro starts and the singer started sing the lyric and the the track shut off... so the singer stopped. The guitar player fiddled with an iPod for a about a minute and the track started again. And again right after "living in a lonely world" the track cuts out and again the singer stops... incredibly embarrassed. So they ended the set right there (it was the last song in their set). Later I talked with the bass player and asked him why didn't she just continue the song and he replied "because they never rehearsed the song ever without the tracks"... they were completely dependent on them. :facepalm: And some people mention that having two keyboard players in a band must be a 'burden'. We created the tracks we use for Jump Around, Brass Monkey, Insane In The Membrane ... load them up to an Akai sampler and we play along with those tracks. It lends itself well to the delivery and performance because those original tracks were all recorded using a TB808 and some keyboards. When we first started playing these songs 2-3 years ago some in the band community were vocal about us not performing them as a band. Well the were never recorded using a band in the first place. :rolleyes:
well last night I hit the town with a few friends and some band members. As soon as we got to one of the bars we noticed the band playing sounded "odd." At first we couldn't put our finger on what was wrong it just didn't sound right. Finally about 2 songs in, I realized there was NOTHING real about them other than "some" of the vocals. Everything was tracked! Including most of the drums. The drummer was behind glass and was playing softy sometimes but sometimes he would just sit there. The guitar player was bopping around, posing and strumming wildly. Keyboard tracks were coming out of no where and it was awful. My little group hated it and we left. Some of the people we met out (non musicians) even noticed it and thought it was silly, one girl called it cover band guitar hero :lol: I understand playing to an added track if needed or to tracks for some stuff: NIAB's brass monkey comes to mind- but THIS! This was the whole show. My opinion is I did not enjoy it at all. Just a little sunday afternoon post about my night out...
03-11-2012 06:21 PM
03-11-2012 06:27 PM
No one cares but the other musicians. And Grant's story about the track messing up? That's not the tracks fault. Just the inability of the musician to know how to use his machine. Song would have sucked just as bad with blaring feedback through the whole thing. Like anything else, it's what you do with 'em and how well you use 'em. And if you use them correctly, they should be seemless and virtually unnoticeable. The fact that you ARE using them? Nobody much cares unless you tell them and even THEN, virtually no one does.
In all fairness, they were very musically talented - much more than our band - but as soon as we realized they were using tracks we became the judgmental musicians in the back of the room. The audience, on the other hand, didn't notice or seem to care. They were just having a good time.
03-11-2012 08:42 PM
03-12-2012 05:09 AM
03-12-2012 06:29 AM
Some are using pure karaoke tracks and playing on top of it.
03-12-2012 06:33 AM
03-12-2012 07:05 AM
03-12-2012 07:33 AM
you are correct sir. they were pretty solid musicians but this singer was totally "polluted" :lol: We did spend a lot more time watching them cuz he was train wrecking them constantly and it got to the point where we were actually enjoying it. -as evil as it sounds. We weren't vocal about it with anyone other than ourselves... hehehe. But The backing track band we just couldn't stomach for more than 15 minutes.
Sounds like the band was pretty decent and the singer was a douche.
03-12-2012 08:06 AM
that is what it sounded like this band was doing. it was just so fake sounding that I felt ripped off and offended. I have seen solo guys use tracks before and I'm OK with that. but 5 guys pretending to rock out? Nah... and my group wasn't the only one that had a problem with them.
03-12-2012 08:19 AM
I agree. I'm not against any band that uses them. I just think most bands put the cart before the horse. I think what I find distracting from tracks, at least the bands I've witnessed using them is that most seem to check the tracks off the list as if it's all they really need to help deliver the song. I'm talking of course with modern dance music in a full band context. As if... OK, we want to cover this music because we see other bands successful covering this stuff. We don't have keyboards or instrumentation, or even vocals to help carry the songs... so lets just grab an iPod and download backing tracks from iTunes. Yeah, that'll work. Problem solved. I'll see bands run to add tracks to stay relevant before making fundamental improvements like lighting or improving the PA or even adding a player or two that can help deliver the music convincingly. I know many will say the audience doesn't notice... but they do notice when a band puts alot into a live performance. And backing tracks alone won't enable that. If simply adding the tracks were all that was needed to convincingly pull off a style of music then every band no matter their skill set would have throngs of willing patrons dancing in front of them. Taking a white bred, classic rock band and expecting them to sell a Rhianna song just because they have backing keys, electronic percussion and even a waterfall of backing vocals to help deliver the tune is as silly as my band trying to sell ourselves as an orchestra polka band, because we're using prerecorded brass and wood wind. I think we do the best possible (= passable)job we are able to do delivering current Top 40 and electronic dances without the broad use of such tracks. I think there's an honesty to that level of delivery that doesn't translate the same as if there were 4 people on stage and a mountain of sound behind them. We don't sound exactly like the record, but it sounds live enough to draw the audience in. I'm not comparing what we do toward other even more successful bands on the regional scene that are able to sell the experience without tracks being a distraction. Some bands have most of the members roaming the stage free of having to lay down much at all, leaving themselves open to 'sell it'. And those bands draw big. Still we're able to draw similar and still not be constrained by a 'click'. We can stop in the middle of a song (draw attention to someone's birthday), change course if the audience wants to hear something else. Again, when we do use tracks it's in the case of covering hip hop, which allows us to focus our full attention on the audience and not have to worry about laying down the music. I'd like to think it's the best of both worlds. I'm sure some would disagree.
To me the secret of good tracking is to not make the tracks shine through. Use them as support but not lead. When well done they can enhance the performance without drawing attention to themselves.
03-12-2012 08:41 AM
That's what I thought originally, but I didn't see one. They were damn good musicians, though.
Mike- that band you saw might have been using a vocal harmonizer, not vocal tracks.
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