Watching the audience

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HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 4429
The other evening Mrs9000 and I went to a local watering hole that regularly has live music. I normally try to get a seat that I can watch the band from. However, this time I had to settle for where I could hardly see the band, but had a great view of the audience. It was surprisingly interesting (and educational) to watch how people responded to the band. Some observations...

1. The audience don't care about virtuosity. As long as they've got something they can dance or sing along to then they're happy.

2. Guitar solos. See 1.

3. Making the odd mistake. See 1.

4. Establishing some kind of rapport/banter with the audience early on was very important to being accepted by the audience.

Probably all completely obvious to those of you that gig regularly, but definitely interesting to see.
It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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Comments

  • Guitar_SlingerGuitar_Slinger Frets: 1432
    edited May 2018
    I took the missus to see Matt Schofield at the 100 Club ages ago and we had a table at the end of the stage.

    Most of the audience in the "mosh pit" were odd-looking blokes who spent the evening staring at Matt's hands, while holding the glass of the one pint they bought all evening. Obvs, buying another pint would mean they'd lose their spot/view.
    “Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?' 'Supposing it didn't,' said Pooh after careful thought. Piglet was comforted by this.”
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  • AlexCAlexC Frets: 1715
    Most people don't know anything about music. I don't mean that in a high and mighty snobbish way, but how music is 'made' is a mystery to them and a good majority of them couldn't care less. Rightly so. People know what they like. Simple as. They also couldn't give a stuff about technique, just the resulting sound. And they certainly don't care what model and year and value a keyboard, bass, guitar etc is.
    And yes - striking up a rapport with the audience is crucial - which means having a confident, personable, charasmatic front person. And that's true from Shea Stadium to The Dog And Duck.
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  • Guitar_SlingerGuitar_Slinger Frets: 1432
    ^ agree about the not knowing how music is made. The wife only listens to lyrics in a song. I didn't start playing until my early 20s and am surprised how re-listening to tracks or even whole albums from before I played sound different.
    “Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?' 'Supposing it didn't,' said Pooh after careful thought. Piglet was comforted by this.”
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3778
    I've noticed over the (many) years there tends to be 2 types of punter at our gigs. Theirs the normal girls who wanna dance and the blokes who want to get slaughtered and watch girls dance and then there's the people who are obviously players themselves and they take more notice of the tricky bits \ solo's ect than they do of the actual song. These are the people watching the guitarist rather than the singer and these are the people having a gander at the gear onstage during half time ... nodding to each other and pointing bits of kit out ..

    Punters might not care how music is made but even if they don't know it they do care what it sounds like  ... even if they can't explain what they hear other than "I like a good beat and lyrics " etc. Subconsciously they do tend to know what's played crap and what's quite good which is why although any old band can hold an audience in the Dog & Duck on a pissed up Friday night you need a much better standard of band to hold an audience at a fairly sober corporate / awards / daytime festival gig etc. 

    And that's also why some bands are going out for £250 and some for £1250 despite the fact we are all playing Mr Brightside and Sex on fire etc :)
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • merlinmerlin Frets: 1842
    I played a gig over 20 years ago in a small town in Germany with a trio consisting of cello (used as a bass), accordion/cymbalom and me on clarinet. We were playing very traditional style klezmer music, so basically....tunes. 

    During the interval a German journalist came up to talk to us. Her first question, which really helped me understand what non-musicians experience when they hear music was "How do you know when to stop?". I think she was hearing note after note after note, after phrase, after phrase etc etc without understanding the connections between any of them. It seemed like she thought we were telepathic or something. I replied "we rehearse", but she didn't understand what I meant. 


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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 491
    Yep agreed, normal punters are only there to get pissed and have a dance, not analyse what scale the guitar solo came from or if the arrangement was diatonic etc etc. If you don't play well they still think you're amazing! Does get a bit irritating hearing out of time claps or not on the backbeat (2 and 4) and out of tune singing.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 648
    Secret: try not to get too hung up, the audience aren't.
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  • David5150David5150 Frets: 116

    I'm shocked and upset that you're telling me the 'audience' down the dog and duck care little for the new impulse response I've used for that gig!!!

    Put on a show. Smile. Get folk involved and everyone will have a great night

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  • BellycasterBellycaster Frets: 2883
    Although the OP is right for describing a lot of gigs, it really does depend on the particular audience and the particular gig/venue etc.

    @Danny1969 pretty much nailed it.

    I remember when I was able to go into Working Men's Clubs with my parents in the mid 80's when I was 14 or 15 and the bands then were exceptional, the lights/smoke/stage fx were awesome, the sound was always done by a guy in the middle of the Concert Room with the big desk. The covers were played note for note and as big sounding as possible.

    Bands had massive reputations for a reason and the best bands, the bands that always packed out the place were nearly always Rock, or, Heavy Rock bands. It was the accuracy and technical ability (because it required technical skill to play it) of the musicians that brought the folks in.

    These bands got paid good money back then and fuck ups were less forgivable because the type of audience for the genre noticed straight away.

    I think average overall quality has lapsed a bit over the years, the WMC's demanded a higher quality of Band/Musican. The era put the music in there and the scrutiny from having to know the solo to Final Countdown, because it was Number 1 and all the "Metalheads" were watching the Guitarist playing it.

    Oh happy days :)
    Coin Detected In Pocket!
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  • LebarqueLebarque Frets: 1049
    Her first question, which really helped me understand what non-musicians experience when they hear music was "How do you know when to stop?".


    Are you sure she didn't say "how can I get you to stop", @merlin ?   ;0)
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  • McSwaggertyMcSwaggerty Frets: 154
     Punters want to have a good time.....they don't like show-offs and don't care for guitar pyro-technics - they want to sing, dance, jump about, and have fun. 
    It might be a crap venue or you are feeling shit...doesn't matter if there is 20 folk there or 200 - it's your job to entertain them.
    If they stay until the end and leave with a smile on their faces, they will come to see you again..... and bring their friends with them.! 
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