Being aware that your movements on stage can add an extra area to consider (especially if it is a particularly demanding gig), as this is essential to come across in the best light. Anyone can listen to your music and enjoy it at home, but you need to give them something to get out of the house for.
The main thing to remember is to not jeopardize your playing because you’re thinking about moving while on stage, but at the same time you don’t want to be one of these players that are glued to their instrument and never look up. I’ve met players that focus purely on the image (and they have the mirrors in their respective studios to watch themselves) but forget about practicing the songs/specific fills/licks – which means yes they look good, but the playing could be a lot tighter. We have already talked about the other end of the spectrum where people spend so much time on their playing and nothing on the live show – which sounds great, and looks boring, and with the music scene in London just picking up, you want to give the people something to look at and something to remember you by. This gives you another connection besides your music that people can latch onto. It’s all about finding the balance between the two.
For example, this might not be to everyone’s musical taste, but whenever this band is in the UK, I HAVE to see them just for the live show. It adds a whole new meaning to the songs when you see them played live… Anyone into Metal/hardcore/alternative –take notes.
Granted, it is on the extreme side of the scale. Here is another example… I am biased however; everyone should love something about this next band, Pink Floyd. This is a band who have become so renowned for their live shows, that if you ever want to think about doing a Pink Floyd cover band, you best make sure you can back it up with an impressive live show; anything from images on a projector screen, to an incredible light show. To make a point, I have taken this video from The Australian Pink Floyd, an amazing tribute to Pink Floyd:
Focus on the sax player, he absolutely owns the stage, a great performance while executing the parts he needs to play too. His charisma comes across and his presence glows without upstaging anyone else– it all fits together… he found the balance. Observe how the choreography allows for him to have his solo slot, having this in place gives him less to worry about while performing, allowing him to just enjoy what he is doing.
Now, what the two bands above have in common, is they both create an atmosphere from the word go. They both use their music to inspire their live show (or sometimes even the live show to inspire the music). It’s important to think of these things when putting your live show together, you just need to make sure you’re not doing anything live that is out of your comfort zone or that you have not practiced. Don’t get me wrong, we all take risks, and if they come off then fair play, but also, we all have interesting stories about when things go the other way!
If in doubt, just always remember the 5 P’s … Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. In the next article we will be looking at how artists draw inspiration and use skills from other areas and incorporate them into their live show.
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