WHY PLAYING LIVE IS IMPORTANT

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WHY PLAYING LIVE IS IMPORTANT

Post  Admin on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:56 pm

01 Introduction:
The first thing anyone will ask you when they like your demo tape is "When can I see you live?" so a good live act is as important as a good demo tape. It will also bring your band together and help improve your music. Most importantly it's a chance to find out what your audience think of you and your music.

This section explains what you can get out of playing live, including:


Promotion
Developing as a performer
Developing your material
Developing as a musician

02 Promoting For Bands:

Playing live is the most effective way of promoting your band. More so than posting out demos and more than putting your music on the internet.

It's how people get to hear about you. Although A&R scouts rarely turn up at gigs at random, they will phone around promoters and local press and find out who are the up and coming bands.

Live gigs are often a bands first contact with the music press, too. A good review in a couple of papers can help build your name.

"Something that grabs a promoter's attention will get put to one side and maybe given to other promoters. A&R men ring us up quite a lot and ask what decent demos we've had recently. Word spreads and pretty soon you've got a buzz going."
Jim Mattison - Bugbear Promotions, ( London Dublin Castle , Hope & Anchor and others)


03 Developing as a Performer:

When it comes to tightening up your act, one gig is worth dozens of rehearsals.

There's nothing like having to get up and perform all your tunes back to back to really show up holes in your technique. This is where you learn to perform rather than just play your material.

And the more you do it, the more confident you get. This is where you acquire star quality - the ability to hold attention. And if you're a band, there's nothing like having to deal with dodgy foldback and other problems to really tighten things up.

"The thing that strikes me with most bands that approach me with demos is that I don't think they've played nearly enough live gigs. Bands that have played three gigs and recorded a demo haven't developed yet."
Simon De Winter - A&R, Gut Records

"I had someone who'd done three gigs that had gone well and was asking me for industry contacts. I gave him the analogy that if he went for a kickabout in the park with his mates and scored a hat-trick, he wouldn't be contacting Aston Villa and expecting to be tried out for the first team."
Nigel McEwan - Music Business Advisor, Musician's Union



04 Developing Your Material:


When you can see the whites of your audience's eyes, you really get to find out the strengths of your music.

Which tunes increase the queue at the bar and which fill the floor up?

You'll be able to tell within a few bars whether that tune that sounded so great in the rehearsal room or your bedroom is what your punters want to hear.

"There's no better way to get feedback than to stand in front of a group of people who aren't your mates and play your songs."
Simon De Winter - A&R Gut Records

"It tests your mettle. It makes you a better band. It forces you to be good or those people will eat you up."
Mike Mills - REM

"In the studio it's very pipe and slippers. If something goes wrong, it's like 'do it again.' Playing live, the moment is gone and you're on to something else. It's much more immediate."
Laura Burton - Freelance Live Sound Engineer (London Garage, LA2 and tours)


05 Learn By Doing:
Although playing live is one of the best bits of being in a band (and many people say it's the whole point of it) you still need to be thinking about how you can keep improving.

Once you're comfortable on stage you can start pushing the limits of your performance. Sell your music to the fans.

"Loads of bands just don't seem to learn from gigs. They come along and you explain everything to them and then they come back three months later and you have to explain it all again. If someone is forever telling you to turn your amp down, there's a good chance that you're always too loud!"
Ant Brown - Freelance Live Sound Engineer (London King's Head and tours)

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Re: WHY PLAYING LIVE IS IMPORTANT

Post  carryonanon on Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:02 am

not to mention, y'know, it's character building Razz
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Re: WHY PLAYING LIVE IS IMPORTANT

Post  JimGoesSolo on Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:18 am

Part of what I believe killed off Second Street was the permanent talk of taking time off to write new stuff.

Its the worst idea in the world. Never take time off to write stuff, write it as you're practicing in between gigs, try new ideas as soundchecks etc. I really think time off from playing live has a negative effect on the performer.

I think playing once a week at open mic nights has improved me a massive amount, even just playing once a month was getting a slow improvement out of me...
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Re: WHY PLAYING LIVE IS IMPORTANT

Post  Dmanlamius on Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:55 pm

I think that songs evolve with more gigging you do with them, anyway....

They need time to mature by themselves.
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Re: WHY PLAYING LIVE IS IMPORTANT

Post  JimGoesSolo on Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:59 pm

We had a song circulating for months that we'd not gathered up the balls to do live. It was a really different song to what people expected from us I think. We played it once and it was a disaster, but I think if we'd kept going on it, it could've been awesome, it almost certainly would've led us in a different direction...

I think it needed to be played live when we wrote it, the months practicing it but never playing it meant it was a great song to play, but it had no place in a live set, it just wasn't of that environment.
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Re: WHY PLAYING LIVE IS IMPORTANT

Post  iammyownhero on Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:08 am

no-one'll give us gigs Sad but we're working on it! Very Happy

but the one gig we did do was invaluable, apart from our drummer, we've all gigged before, but as a unit, it highlighted a lot, and our own stuff sounded way better than the covers we'd thrown together!
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