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NeverTheMachine

What kind of things do you say between songs at a gig

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....... if you're the lead singer, I guess you kind of have to talk to the crowd, between a couple of songs, or get them going in some way. In fact, it's the only thing I really do not find enjoyable during a gig, even if there are friends in the crowd, they're digging the songs a bit, and people are attentive, I feel a "thank you" suffices, but am I a dick if I don't say more?

 

What are some of the things you all say, jokes, etc..?

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If you followed my band you could have heard "we've had some requests.......but we're going to keep playing anyway" from the bass player......every gig for the last two years. :( If I do the joke I at least change it night to night, like " sorry, we don't know THE BASS PLAYER HAS A FAT ASS, but thanks for asking" etc. My bass player has this annoying idea that you have to say something, anything, regardless of how idiotic, between every song. Can't shut him up to start the next song. Of course, the times I need 10-15 seconds to change guitars or check tuning quick, dead silence while he stands there watching me.

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For me, this is the hardest part about fronting a band. I'm confident in my vocal skills, and I hold up my end of the guitar chores, but sometimes when I should be saying something clever to fill dead space, or otherwise doing something to engage the crowd, my brain just goes completely blank. I dislike practicing crowd banter, so most often I end up thanking the crowd, encouraging them to tip, etc. You know, beer salesman stuff.

 

I guess I'm from the Frank Zappa school of "Shut up and play yer guitar."

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"Thank you...1234" should suffice, unless you've got to kill time. It doesn't hurt to have a few awful jokes to kill the time it takes your drummer to find his missing stick or whatever, because small talk with a big crowd is murder.

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Talking isn't music. Unless you are a truly gifted speaker, don't. I mean, why? I've worked with a guy who equates a frontman with talking. Please... no!

 

The band should be aware of the next tune as the current one is winding down.

 

Pedals, capo, slide, guitar change, program change, tuning, gain settings, whatever. Ready for the almost too quick... 1, 2, 3, 4... It should be a difficult thing to try and stop the band from going into the next song. All on stage should have so much forward inertia that to find time to say something is like pulling teeth.

 

Nobody cares what I have to say. But I can make music.

 

If your band gives you a hard time, tell them they're the ones who need to get it together and already be into the next song. And they wonder why DJs are popular...

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I say all kinds of things... Always on the fly. I usually make people drink with us the entire show and say things like "Drink, bitches". Sometimes I'll intro songs in a funny way. For example: Last night we played "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul. So I intro it with "Guys.... I hate to bring the mood down but if you have ever been in a difficult relationship where you want someone to be honest with you I hope you can identify with this song. When I wrote it I was in a really sad place". And we start it SUPER slow with just guitar and vocal and rock it out. The crowd cracks up when I do that.

 

its the last song on our page and just FYI - the recording was a one take live version with some guitar punch-ins.

www.myspace.com/austincowbell

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Less is certainly more when it comes to talking to a crowd. More music and less talking should certainly be the objective. When you do have to talk on stage - PSA (public service announcements) focused on getting tips for the waitstaff AND letting the crowd know who YOU are (i.e., band name, return dates, etc.) - are fair game.

 

Done right - talking can be a relationship builder on the inevitable slow nights. If you find yourself playing to a sparsely filled room - striking up a conversation with a table of birthday partiers, sports enthusiasts, etc. - can sometimes go a long way to getting the handful of folks that are there involved with YOU. We'll ask about what the celebration is ... and then offer a tune. Sometimes we'll play a little "stump the band" to get some banter going between us and a very small crowd.

 

I'm a big believer that "salty" langauge has no place onstage. Despite the fact that I have a tendency to swear like a sailor - you won't hear anything that you can't say on the radio being blurted from our stage.

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Killer and extremely important things to say:

 

"It's great to be here at [venue name]."

 

and

 

"Make sure you tip your bartenders and waitresses."

 

Take care of the people who take care of you.

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Huge tip #2:

 

Train your drummer to follow singer comments with a drum fill.

 

Nothing is worse than having a singer ask "[venue name], How you doing toniiiiight?!!!" and then hear crickets.

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One thing I always like to say to a crowd, which always grabs their attention, and usually I won't say it until the dance floor is full, and it's at the end of the dance tune we covering. I'll ask, You folks liked that song ? 99% of the time we get a reaction alright, :eek: but it's always been a good response. :thu: Our singer might single out a couple for a ballet that were fixing to play, and this next song goes out to the lovely couple over in the corner, get a room. :lol: Who here has a birthday today? to bad we don't know birthday tunes. Then we'll play a little Beatles melody of it's your birthday. Lot of folks celebrate their birthday by going out to club and having the bar crowd and staff sing happy birthday to them makes them feel good. Or at least it did for me when I had 300 folks singing me happy birthday. :cool:

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There's a fine line with this.

 

I like it when a band has at least some interaction with the crowd. It feels more like a party to me whe they do. When the band doesn't interact at all I feel more like I'm listening to a jukebox or at a wedding where it's more reserved.

 

But, there can't be too much. That's worse than none at all to me.

 

We are all entertainers. So, if there are tuning issues or technical difficulties you have to keep the crowd interested or you can lose them very easily. Joking about whatever the issue is seems to work.

 

My singer is pretty good at knowing when to and when not to talk.

 

I would say generally I like us to have some banter with the crowd after every 4 songs or so. I think it makes things more "personal".

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I share singing duties with our lead singer. However he just doesn't seem to have born with the banter gene and he will just stand there during instrument changes. So I end up doing most of the banter.

 

I hawk our T-shirts for sale, encourage people to tip the staff, introduce members of the staff, and sometimes give some backround on the next song. Sometimes I slip a Zappa quote in to see if anyone notices. I like to tell people that Elvis is in fact really dead, and that he is up in heaven in a big purple chair.

 

Max

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I've been known to say some outrageous stuff between songs. Usually it's whatever comes to mind at the time.

 

Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's not. When it really hits it's a great feeling. When it doesn't go over too well, I usually say something like, "This concludes the comedy portion of the show."

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There's a fine line with this.


I like it when a band has at least some interaction with the crowd. It feels more like a party to me whe they do. When the band doesn't interact at all I feel more like I'm listening to a jukebox or at a wedding where it's more reserved.


But, there can't be too much. That's worse than none at all to me.


We are all entertainers. So, if there are tuning issues or technical difficulties you have to keep the crowd interested or you can lose them very easily. Joking about whatever the issue is seems to work.


My singer is pretty good at knowing when to and when not to talk.


I would say generally I like us to have some banter with the crowd after every 4 songs or so. I think it makes things more "personal".

 

 

I tend to agree with this. When I'm in the audience I prefer to be engaged a little more than just one tune after another with a few seconds of silence or a 1-2-3-4 in between. I just saw the Derek Trucks Band for the first time last week, and he's an amazing player, but not much of an entertainer. The only words spoken at all into the mic, other than sung lyrics, we're him listing off the names of the players and a Thank You Goodnight at the end from the drummer.

 

I'm interested in seeing a little more personality, to me that's what sells the show. Tell a joke, tell an amusing story, tell me what inspired you to play or write the next tune, whatever. There's plenty of cover bands who can pull off the songs you're playing, give me a reason to want to see you over them. Even if it's a big name national act, I prefer a little bit of chatter. I'm not just there for the music like a few people mentioned. I'm there for the experience of seeing you live, whatever that might entail.

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I tend to agree with this. When I'm in the audience I prefer to be engaged a little more than just one tune after another with a few seconds of silence or a 1-2-3-4 in between. I just saw the Derek Trucks Band for the first time last week, and he's an amazing player, but not much of an entertainer. The only words spoken at all into the mic, other than sung lyrics, we're him listing off the names of the players and a Thank You Goodnight at the end from the drummer.


I'm interested in seeing a little more personality, to me that's what sells the show. Tell a joke, tell an amusing story, tell me what inspired you to play or write the next tune, whatever. There's plenty of cover bands who can pull off the songs you're playing, give me a reason to want to see you over them. Even if it's a big name national act, I prefer a little bit of chatter. I'm not just there for the music like a few people mentioned. I'm there for the experience of seeing you live, whatever that might entail.

 

Back in the 90's when Dickey Betts was still with the Allman Bros, he used to say, "We're gonna be here for a while, so if you don't hear everything you want, that's tuff!"

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I tend to agree with this. When I'm in the audience I prefer to be engaged a little more than just one tune after another with a few seconds of silence or a 1-2-3-4 in between. I just saw the Derek Trucks Band for the first time last week, and he's an amazing player, but not much of an entertainer. The only words spoken at all into the mic, other than sung lyrics, we're him listing off the names of the players and a Thank You Goodnight at the end from the drummer.

I gotta say if you're going to see Derek Trucks to be "entertained", then you're at the wrong show.

 

He can get away with not being "entertaining" because - he's a great player and that's what he's known for.

 

If he did the "entertaining" bit it would likely turn off 90% or more of the folks that are there just to hear him play.

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My bass player has this annoying idea that you have to say something, anything, regardless of how idiotic, between every song. Can't shut him up to start the next song. Of course, the times I need 10-15 seconds to change guitars or check tuning quick, dead silence while he stands there watching me.

 

I had a lead singer like that years ago and I can totally relate. It makes me laugh now but that's only because I fired him.

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At some point in our set, I'll usually:

-Say a quick word of thanks to the venue and the other bands on the bill

-Thank the audience for coming out and/or give a quick "thanks" if there's a particularly good response to a song

-Briefly acknowledge anything weird or funny that might happen onstage or off, if I can think of something that might get a few chuckles or at least a smile

 

I think the bottom line is to know your audience, err on the side of brevity, and not do anything that feels forced or too silly. Beyond that, just be yourself.

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I don't sing, but I tend to get stuck with the banter for some reason. I'm absolutely horrible at it, so I tend to skip it much of the time. This can be bad when I'm changing guitars and we have that annoying dead air. I'm okay with the banter if the crowd is actually interested in us...if the room's sparse or we're not getting enough drunks singing along, I tend to freeze up.

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We structure our set list usually in batches of 3 - meaning we do three songs bang-bang-bang with not even a second's wait between them. This helps to eliminate dead air. However, at the end of those 'triplets', someone on stage needs a swig of beer, or to tune their guitar, or to adjust the drums that are attempting to run away from the pounding they are receiving....

 

My 'banter' depends often on my mood. If I'm tired and don't feel like talking, I'll actually say to the crowd "Man I'm tired - and don't feel like talking and sounding like an idiot up here so let's just hit another song". Otherwise, I usually slip into the typical frontguy routine- maybe a short 30 second story about the next song or the original artist who recorded it, or the usual "tip your server", or I'll pimp our t-shirts.

 

And when the crowd is really going and we've got them totally in our hands I usually will go off on whatever comes into my head things like inviting girls to show their ...ahem...wares, pointing out to the males in the audience how smoking hot the ladies in the place are tonight and I'm relying on them to bring those ladies up to the dance floor so I can check 'em out.

 

I'm normally Mr. Mild Mannered shy guy, but once I'm on-stage with a guitar strapped on me and an audience of fans in front of me, I become 80's hair-band front guy (minus the hair & spandex)

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It's usually just myself (guitar/vocals) and the lead singer goin back and fourth a little bit. We rip on each other a little through the mic at times, the crowd gets a kick out of it. Mostly stuff like "Should I tune that for you?" or "I thought that thing was tuned at the factory?".

We remind the crowd that the area in front of us is reserved for them. When people scream out their usual request for songs that we don't play, we'll throw out the old "This isn't the song you requested, but it's got a lot of the same notes".

As the night goes on we, of coarse, encourage women to throw em out. We also give out some t's in our shirt for shirt give away. Again for women only.

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I come from the Phil Anselmo/Mike Patton mindframe...which is basically say whatever ya want, how ya want it.

 

In my current band, I only sing. Between tunes, (even if it's just 60 seconds) I can either stand there and look at the guitarists tune up or I can get to know the audience. I go for the latter...

 

I definitely encourage drinking....probably too much. (In fact, we have one song where I encourage every one to get a fresh drink in the intro and finish the drink by the outro, while I do it with them....).

 

Working in the service industry for years, I always make it a point to tip....

That in itself has gotten past bands re-booked at the same place just because the business relationship.

 

But yeah, I talk a lot....make fun of people....burp in the mic....you can get away with anything in a metal band.

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