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Banter and crowd involvement

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You want to see enough. I can't believe there is a Youtbube video of this but this happened downstate NY near Albany. We were playing a ski resort and drunk kids started pitching these glow sticks. I was really mad and almost went after someone that night in March of 2010. I remember it vividly. This happened but then I got hit and the horn players also. Check this out. It was too much and no security did anything about it. I found this video a short time after we did the gig:

 

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I can only reply from an audience perspective since praise bands don't tend to much patter, at least ours doesn't. First, keep it short. You're a musician, not a stand up comic. They're not there to listen to you tell jokes. Second, keep it relevant or at least interesting. If there's a funny, or at least interesting, short story about how you wrote one of your originals or the first time you played a specific cover that's coming up, tell it, not what you had for breakfast. Third, keep it appropriate. A couple of years ago my wife and I went with another couple to hear the Melvin Turnage Band (R&B, Motown) and at one point the gal fronting the band told a long story about getting laid in the car right before a gig. Frankly, I did not need to hear that.

Edited by DeepEnd

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It depends on the audience.

 

In our weekly marina gig, there is a lot of banter with the crowd, same for the monthly gig we play at a RV resort.

 

On other gigs, we hardly say a word.

 

The object is to figure out what your function is on that particular gig, what today's audience wants, and do your best to deliver.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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When you are doing it to “fill time”, then you are doing it too much. If it is flowing and feels like part of the set and is working well, you should know it instinctively.

 

If you’re forcing it, or if the audience or the rest of the band is looking at you to get on with the next song already? Then it’s gone on too long.

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You’re a musician not a comedian. I’ve found those who banter a lot are not good players/singers. A little talking every few songs is cool. But they want to hear you play/sing believe me.

 

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It's pretty situational based on the crowd/event. If you do it to a packed dance floor the band had better be doing something behind you LOL. Keep it short and you will be fine.

 

I mean sometimes you have to do it cause of instrument changes or technical difficulties, but we generally try to keep things moving: as noted they came to drink and hear music, not see a comedy show. But some good banter can enhance the experience.

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If I have a dancing crowd, I go from song to song with no pause between them. When the crowd tires as they eventually do, that's when I'll talk, but only if appropriate for the gig.

 

If you do enough gigs and pay attention, you develop a feel for when to talk, when to joke, and when to keep your mouth shut between songs.

 

It's all about doing the best job for the audience you have in front of you at the moment.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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Well yest in that respect. I misread the post. The video I posted above was a bad situation.

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A good rule of thumb is to simply pay attention to your audience.

 

If you are lucky enough to be on stage long enough, the audience will tell you what songs they want to hear, how loud to play them, how long to play them, when to banter or not, and so on.

 

What we do is not a lecture but a dialog with the audience. Give them what they want, when they want it, and they will give you applause and repeat business in return.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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Yes and that can be tricky as well. You kind of have to be selfless about it. Some singers and musicians miss the mark in this way.

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True. You have to always know why you are there, why you are being paid, and what benefit can you provide to the person who is hiring you.

 

We are artists, but we work on commission. DaVinci, Michelangelo, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and so many other artists worked on commission to please their benefactors. So we feel no shame, but in fact privilege to please our benefactors.

 

What does the entertainment purchaser want? What can we do to provide that better than our competitors?

 

We are a small service oriented business, and we want to be the best at what we do. If that means banter, we'll do our best, if that means non-stop music, we'll do our best, if that means anything in between, we'll do our best.

 

Insights and incites by Notes.

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I can only reply from an audience perspective since praise bands don't tend to much patter' date=' at least ours doesn't. First, keep it short. You're a musician, not a stand up comic. They're not there to listen to you tell jokes. Second, keep it relevant or at least interesting. If there's a funny, or at least interesting, [b']short[/b] story about how you wrote one of your originals or the first time you played a specific cover that's coming up, tell it, not what you had for breakfast. Third, keep it appropriate. A couple of years ago my wife and I went with another couple to hear the Melvin Turnage Band (R&B, Motown) and at one point the gal fronting the band told a long story about getting laid in the car right before a gig. Frankly, I did not need to hear that.

 

never mind all that personal opinion stuff, do you recall any of the details about the singers story?

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Posted (edited)

its probably stream-able from the bands FB page... ;)

 

and who says you're not a stand-up comic? If whatever you do on the stage makes the audience react positively, then it works.

 

For instance, Tuesday night, our blues jam hosting gig, after the third song, I said ' Those of you familiar with our band may have noticed we are missing one of our founding members; Could we have a moment of silence? No, he's not dead, he's on a week long cruise with his wife...'. It got a good laugh...but that is the other piece, it can't just be random, it really has to relate, in the moment.

Edited by daddymack

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its probably stream-able from the bands FB page... ;) . . .

If it is, I don't want to know. I remember something about sticking her foot out the window and not taking her shoes off but that's all the details I can recall.

 

. . . and who says you're not a stand-up comic? If whatever you do on the stage makes the audience react positively, then it works.

 

For instance, Tuesday night, our blues jam hosting gig, after the third song, I said ' Those of you familiar with our band may have noticed we are missing one of our founding members; Could we have a moment of silence? No, he's not dead, he's on a week long cruise with his wife...'. It got a good laugh...but that is the other piece, it can't just be random, it really has to relate, in the moment.

True as far as it goes. Some years ago Mrs. DeepEnd and I saw Leo Kottke perform live and he told a couple of good jokes but his main draw is as a guitarist.

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I have not seen Leo in decades, bu I remember him as having a rather sardonic wit...he was my duo parner's idol, so we would see him every time he was anywhere nearby...like 100 miles...

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We don't do banter much at all in my cover band. I never really thought about it until I did a fill in gig recently. The singer rallied the crowd, called for socials, held the mic out to them for crowd participation pars like "da da da" on sweet caroline (we didn't do that one, just using it as an example).

 

The whole night, this guy kept the bar packed til close. He didn't spend more than 15-30 seconds just talking... it was either a quick rally, or a crowd participation event like doing the socials.

 

The bar told us later that it was the best night they ever had on liquor.

 

Now I get it.

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In the case above, if he is a singer who isn't playing an instrument, then that guy is doing what a front man does: he hypes the crowd. It is a bit more challenging when you are playing an instrument, and singing lead, and trying to get the room involved, but it can be done.

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We don't do banter much at all in my cover band. I never really thought about it until I did a fill in gig recently. The singer rallied the crowd, called for socials, held the mic out to them for crowd participation pars like "da da da" on sweet caroline (we didn't do that one, just using it as an example).

 

The whole night, this guy kept the bar packed til close. He didn't spend more than 15-30 seconds just talking... it was either a quick rally, or a crowd participation event like doing the socials.

 

The bar told us later that it was the best night they ever had on liquor.

 

Now I get it.

 

Especially in this day and age, getting the crowd involved is SO important.

 

A great front guy can work a crowd like magic. But even with my band, we've worked up a few 'bits' that are tried-and-true for us and without fail get the crowd involved and leaves them thinking they had the best time ever. Fortunately for us we don't play for the same crowds over and over so we can use the same bits repeatedly. And it just takes a few. For the most part, we play the entire set straight through with no gaps between songs, except for 2 or 3 times a set where we specifically stop to do something with the crowd.

 

And the getting-them-to-sing-along stuff works great too.

 

But few bands are so good, or play in environments, where just giving them a "concert" to look at/listen to is going to be enough.

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When I gigged on the cruise ships the crowd turned over every week, so we could do the same shtick over and over and over, week after week. It was a good way to find out what worked consistently and what worked only occasionally.

 

Notes

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my gigs are worlds apart... my background allows me some tools to comfort others in dealing with their emotions... (most of the time). but then my comfort zone used to be being the lead in crisis intervention teams at whatever mental hospital i was working, so...

the very nature of what im doing can allow for torrential emotional outbursts or states of bliss and serenity... and everything in between. my little niche allows me freedoms only dreamed of before gongs. its required to talk to my audience, no banter.. its education. most have no clue what theyve signed on for and those that do know dont mind being reminded of how simple the path can be.. first, im really unfamiliar. i dont dress or conduct myself in accordance with popular culture. the instruments i employ are unfamiliar. (when was the last time you were physically present with a 54” chau gong?, a kyiizii? tingshas? futujara? do you even know what they are without google?, and you are musicians!). further i have developed a playing style that is apparently unique... two schools in DC approached with a desire to have me teach after hearing me play at Catharsis on the Mall. two students from one school honored me at their first recital at the smithsonian on my last visit... this is a different world. i dont ask for quiet... rarely need to... its like theyre waiting for me to speak... this is definitely not your fathers oldsmobile! example... my last performance at Catharsis was @ 1:30 am sunday morning. it began saturday as a sunrise meditation for increasing the frequency of compassionate action on our planet. it began with the intention of being a two hour, give or take, meditation... at 11:30pm i fell out, the medic said complete exhaustion, dehydration... i slept for two hours and as awakened by a storm... and 163 people singing at the top of their lungs... i learned that someone told about my experience with hurricane michael and a little ptsd thing so they were drowning out the sound of the storm... for me... they had cared for me as if i was beloved family. as i stood,the rains were stopping and i heard someone ask... “is he going to play?”... silence... looking around the dome i recognized artists and people i know and artists and people i know only from pictures or internet... almost every one of them i remembered a kindness from... a flash of inspiration! i walked into the crowd and took the hands of the first person and spoke the kindness i had witnessed them perform... i began passing each, in turn, the few i didn’t recognize i hugged if receptive and thanked them for being...the entire time, everyone remained silent and attentive...ok, there was a lot laughter and happy crying... i would guess that in your venues, this might not work... but in this one, that particular moment, we shook washington DC from a little dome on the mall... this led to what i feel was the best public performance of my life, on any instrument, period.

certainly for myself, a lifetime memory. thank you, adam eidinger!

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Played a trio gig at a restaurant yesterday. . . . . elevated deck with a beautiful view of the Maine coast. The crowd ran the gamut from folks in their 80s down to toddlers. A few people watched us intently, but everyone was silent at the end of each song. Undaunted, I said a few words from time to time, but mostly kept things moving. At the end of the set, I walked through the crowd to get to the bar, and someone from each table turned to tell me how much they liked us! By the end of the second set, we had some banter going, occasional applause including folks sitting at a lower level deck who couldn't see us! How curious that it often takes a set before people warm up to you enough to clap and talk back to you!?

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There is one particular yacht club that I've been playing at a couple of times per year for a number of years now. They never applause, they never react except for a little dancing after dinner. We do zero banter unless the management wants us to make an announcement or if someone wants a happy birthday.

 

The dinner set we run at about 65dba and after dinner around 80. The first time we played there, we figured they didn't like us and we'd never be back. But as they passed the stage on the way out we got thumbs up, smiles, and thank you comments. When we were done the ones that stayed thanked us for a wonderful evening.

 

Years later, it's still the same. We're used to it, and look forward to returning.

 

Every gig is different, and that is part of what makes this profession interesting.

 

Notes

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