#1November 3rd, 2006 · 10:03 AM
34 threads / 17 songs
581 posts
Canada
Acting like a star!!!
                          

So...I was wondering about those of you who do live performances.....What do you do, or did you do, to get yourself prepared for the performance aspect of playing live.  I don't mean your singing, or your playing...I mean creating your stage persona.

I was thinking that some people who have never performed live before may not realize how important it can be to have an onstage personality, onstage moves, things to say between songs (I know sometimes that I have no clue what to say between songs, and usually end up rambling and soundling like an idiot  )

To get the ball rolling here, I'll tell you all what I do.

When I have band practice...I have a huge mirror in the room....and I look at the mirror like it is my audience...but also observe what the heck I look like...am I making goofy facial expressions...do I look like I'm feeling what I'm singing....what physical movements look natural and fun, and what makes me look like an idiot....

What do I say between songs to the audience? Well....I usually try to make observations about people, like if I see a couple snuggling...and the next song is a love song - then I might say " This next song is for the couple in the back corner who can't keep their hands off of each other...if you need the keys to my van come see me between songs  "  I might talk about what the song I'm about to do means to me, or what its about...I might comment on something big that's happening in the news or sports.  You have to guage your audience...some want to laugh..some want to think...it's up to you as a performer to be observant of your audience and act accordingly.

Also, when I'm playing...I try my best to make eye contact with as many people as possible...just a glance and a smile (not staring in a zombie-like way that's gonna make them start to feel uncomfortable).  And if you're playing at a bar - be sure to say something nice about the servers...they'll appreciate it and you might just get more drinks on the house.

So...I'd like to hear YOUR opinions and suggestions on this....creating a guide for the newbie performer! 
#2November 3rd, 2006 · 12:13 PM
24 threads / 9 songs
284 posts
Mexico
how to..
haha, spoony.

it's a good idea create a "guide for the newbie performer"!! speccially in the Lessons Forum.

The first thing i thought was the movie School of Rock, when we saw it, my brothers and wife said "that's you when you play"

I use to make a Shido Chow (in spanish means something as cool performance). sometimes I dance or jump, or just see what's the reactions in the audience.

here it goes one of my favorites things to do before-diring-after playing:

BEFORE:

I do some exercises for the fingers (that helps specially when you play under the rain), a couple of movements for the arms and legs, jumps, and sometimes screaaam....

I use to drink the house's mix: lemmon and honey with a chamomille tea. and then a liquor as tequila.

I never tought in the costumes, sometimes in the haircut (one day i get a punk mohawk before the show to be 'original' and the bassist of the other band did the same  )

DURING

I always get a beer on stage and when I got nothing to say I just get up the beer and I say Cheers!!

I never ask the audience about what they want to hear because I never know what they want. So, never ask is a good way to create a good impression.

If i dance-jump-slam i try to interact with the audience, but ('cause it supposed to be a guide) don't try the "audience swiming" because they don't catch you, that could happen if your weight is upper than 80 kgs...

A good point is: If someone of your band mistakes (as forget the notes, the lyrics, etc.) try to act as it was practiced before. and DON'T fight on stage.


AFTER

when you down the stage, don't try to make friends (you are a rockstar) make fans!! lol 

Dodo
#3November 3rd, 2006 · 12:21 PM
6 threads
138 posts
India
oh.......yes!!!! preparation is very important......'correction' the most important thing before you get on stage. to be very frank i learned it the hard way. i freshly remember the time i had gone up on the stage without any preparation what-so-ever.

here's the epic incident :
our lead guitarist and the bassist,notified us weeks before that they would not be able to make it to the show. don't know why me opted to go ahead with it along with the rest of the band (i still think its got something to do with all the cola i drank the night before i gave a go-ahead to the band). anyway where was i........we got a bassist who agreed to play for us. to make it short with out our key members out of the scenario we practiced new songs "easy ones" and made ourselves ready for doom's day. on the final day there were tons of problems. the van that had to transport the drums broke down. we reached the venue just an hour before the show. the guy mixing/handling the sound system was a lunatic.......i could bet you my arm, he for sure had Cotton stuffed in his ears......boy he could not understand a thing i said. just before the event we decided to do one more song as the organizers told us that we had to be on stage for a bit more longer. finally it started, i could feel the dizziness rush through my body. the drummer did not hear a thing and so the tempo began to alter arrrrrrr. the vocalist missed his lines his face changed. we made sure to look like fools who didn't know what they are doing. i just stood like a pillar made of rotten sand......if you get what i mean. the audience just stared at us.......they looked at us as if living creatures had just arrived from that cold place........pluto.

i recall my self......feel like a total idiot i could have sworn with my foot in my mouth that if i had a gun in my pocket at that moment i would have shot my self on the thigh and then the next bullet would have gone into my pea brains. boy i did not know what on earth i was doing there......i had no physical moment what so ever.......did not dare make an eye contact with the audience......as spoon wrote, was making all those goofy facial expressions......i had no attitude of my own......in-fact i was not me. i could imagine myself looking like a complete jerk standing there like a dead man. if the audience had eggs and tomatoes with them they would be all the more delighted showering them on us.

had i practiced and prepared in front of a mirror none of this would have happened to me.

thus the moral of the story is that you must think before you go up there. sit back think analyze practice be sure of what you are going to be doing when you are going live or else doomsday might come your way
#4November 3rd, 2006 · 12:26 PM
34 threads / 17 songs
581 posts
Canada
that sounds like a horrid experience Nobster 

..so....do you still make goofy facial expressions??? 
#5November 3rd, 2006 · 04:05 PM
118 threads / 55 songs
3,081 posts
Netherlands
jeez that sounds like the ultra nightmare, nobster! I would have walked off the stage for sure and blame everybody else and quit the band instantly.

And dodo, you're right about all you said. Make fans, not friends! Friends don't buy your album, they expect you to give it to them for free! In fact, they don't listen to your music to groove to it, they just want to criticize you to little bits and tell you it was "really well done, but just not my style, and frankly I think it isn't ANYBODY's style, so have you thought of any serious carreer moves lately?"

hum ho.. the mirror. Well in preparation for my latest project I've been using a video camera to see what I look like doin' my thing. I actually found out about how stupid is looks when I don't shut my mouth immediately after singing a phrase.

I've always tried to connect to the audience, the only thing I'm iffy about it the intro speech. Just don't know where to start - this all depends on the mood of the night itself. "Like uh.. Hi guys..." isn't much of anything...
For sure, I'm gonna introduce myself, and have given my robotic band members (the gear I use to back me up) names, and will introduce them as such aswell, and give the audience a quick demonstration of "how I do that thing", secretly starting the actual performance with this... And after that just go on as if I'm doing a presentation (which it eventually is). I will not forget to mention that the audience should "feel free to dance, have a beer, a conversation, or listen to some good music!" in between songs... And I'll be wearing some special stage clothing so I stand out of the crowd more... I dyed a lab coat I stole from work, black... I'll be wearing a hat and yellow-teinted glasses that heighten the contrast of my view, so I can work my machines better... And with all that I'm just being me, not taking "no" for an answer, though with ears and eyes opened wide.

Like "OK guys... I told you I was in a retro mood tonight... So I'm gonna take you all back to the time I was still satanist... Now, this is all for fun, so don't freak out on me now, but this used to be a ceremonial tune when we did in '96... " (starts The Foreplay Electric) "I guess you liked that :)"

... and so forth...
#6November 3rd, 2006 · 09:43 PM
6 threads
138 posts
India
embarrassments
spoon wrote…
that sounds like a horrid experience Nobster 

..so....do you still make goofy facial expressions???  ;)

well i try my best not to make those goofy faces any more. i always make sure my mind is in a proper state before i go into the battle field. now i do rehearsals and find out from others........what i look like  

PuppetXeno wrote…
jeez that sounds like the ultra nightmare, nobster! I would have walked off the stage for sure and blame everybody else and quit the band instantly.

hell......it was a nightmare for me. i could not have walked offstage as the sponsors were good guys nor did i quit the band.......but one thing we did right, that was to kick the culprit out of the band who caused 70% of all the embarrassments.
#7November 3rd, 2006 · 11:45 PM
159 threads / 32 songs
1,956 posts
United States of America
practice your #ss off
First, know your music it will give you more confidence. Then you need to give yourself the best self image that you can. I have watched lots of live videos from performers that I admire, and am impressed by. Then I try to see and understand why they are so good. Usually it comes down to attention to details. Build your show from the start. Solid set lists with segues, and practice your sets and the show, song to song, to song, with just an idea of what to say during the  breaks (try not to ramble and keep it short). I don't think you need to practice what's said, just have some idea, cause things change from gig to gig.

  Right before I hit the stage, I like to loosen up, and clear my head of any nonsense, like bills, or other jobs,  or relationship problems.  As I like to drink beer.  I will usaully have a few before and during the gig.
  In between sets is meet and greet time. network and promote. We have our own button and key chain  maker we like to give some of these out during the gig. 

  If you know your songs and have a solid self image, the next thing is experience. I can go to almost any jam night in town, and just by watching how they walk on stage, can tell the ones who have been there awhile, and the ones new to the stage.
  Experience: IE Nobster had a nightmare gig. He did not quit just learned from it. All musicians have these even on the biggest stages, and even if they have been playing for years. S#%t happens, after alot of S#%t happens ; you realize not to sweat it. As a bass player I jammed with in Dallas said when things went bad, "Dude it's just Rock-N-Roll".  This always put things in place. Amp blew up, "That's Rock-n-Roll" , two bands booked for the same gig, "That's Rock-n-Roll" ect. Got to drunk fell of the stage "That's Rock-n-Roll".
 
 I'm not usually into performers that talk alot between songs. A little banter with the audience is needed. We usually try to keep it light and fun. Self Deprecating humor among ourselves works well. 

Remember to have fun.
 I look at some audience members, but something I was told by a drama teacher; that if you focus your eyes about 1 foot over the head of the people in the back, it looks like your looking at alot of them (way the eyes are made or something).
  When playing clubs that have servers, always remember to remind the audience to tip the bartenders and servers.

 

  IMHO the best thing you can learn, is to love to, "fly by the seat of your pants".
#8November 4th, 2006 · 10:26 PM
26 threads
86 posts
United States of America
Hm, most of the preparation for me is resting between sound check and performance, so I'm not falling asleep by the last song. I've been stuck on stage since I was a little kid so I'm completely used to being in front of a crowd. Therefore, when playing I act pretty much like I do any other time - i don't really prepare any special style or ritual for playing because now it's for an audience, I just play like I would during practice or even by myself.

Our bassist and one of the guitarists, however, have a different approach. I've seen them doing many things backstage, some of which are seeing how many jumping jacks they can do in midair before falling back down, slow dancing with each other, giving each other body massages, and just jumping in the air and throwing their arms and legs around as much as humanly possible ... No, they aren't gay, they actually both have girlfiends of their own. They're just - a little different. Musicians, you know?
#9November 6th, 2006 · 06:56 AM
118 threads / 55 songs
3,081 posts
Netherlands
BTW
I think one can safely say passing the "acting like a star" exam when one has managed to grow permanent sunglasses (and feels comfortable with them at all times, under all circumstances).
#10November 6th, 2006 · 03:45 PM
34 threads / 17 songs
581 posts
Canada
some more notes:

-practice in the outfits you want to wear onstage...might be more essential for women..who practice in track suits and then wear tight and/or skimpy clothes on stage.  I had this wicked shirt that I wore once...not really realizing that everytime I hopped around a little I was showing more than I wanted to   no one seemed to mind though....(except for me!)

-wear comfortable (yet stylish) shoes

-be gracious.  If the crowd gives you applause and cheers and praise - thank them.

-act like you know exactly what you're doing

-don't fight with your band members

-don't make excuses for poor quality..like saying "uh..we've never done this song before, so it may sound like crap"...just play it and own it.

how you act when you're on your break is important too.  I think it's great to talk to people from the audience if possible...(they might buy you drinks !  ) be approachable, be yourself
#11November 9th, 2006 · 10:20 PM
1 threads
New Zealand
What Do you Want
Remember the most important thing about the performance is the performance. Take that word literally and treat it seriously.

Generally, the notion is that whatever you are feeling on stage, the crowd, in their efforts to enjoy the performance, will empathize with what you are feeling.

Ever been captured by a performer in their emotion? They weren't trying to make you feel something, the crowd were feeling as a result of the performer engaging the emotion in their own performance.

Get it?

So to do an excellent performance, you gotta know your sh**. Know exactly what you're doing, and plan it in advance.

If you feel nervous and show it, the crowd will notice (remember that time you were watching someone really nervous perform, and it made you feel uncomfortable like "ohhh, he's really nervous" and didn't enjoy it as much as the dude that was like "ohh, he doesn't care but he's having fun anyway!")

Also what you say onstage determines what they think of you
"Oh, this is a new song forgive us!" puts in my mind as a crowd member that its gonna suck, and even if it doesn't, why prejudge your own performance before it even starts? Why perform it even?

I suggest not performing new sh** unless you've got it down and it ain't crap. You wanna put out only the best. Raise your standards.

The best thing about the fact that a crowd will try to enjoy what you are giving them is that you can define it yourself.

Make and design your own character. That's your onstage performer
(ill use he not she, coz im a he, if i was a she, id use she)

What does he look like?
If you're watching him, what's the first thing you notice?
What kind of energy do they have? Mellow?Cool?Frustrated?out of control? Spastic?
Why do you like them?

Then take a look at the questions above and say:

How can I be like this person?
What's one thing i can do to be closer to embodying the idea of this person?

Most importantly:
How would this character i want to be interpret the music that is consistent with the persona i want?

So a Rock guy wouldnt cry all over the stage like an opera singer.

Just like an Opera guy wouldn't start getting all krump up in the shizz. Fo sho.

Basically
1)Know your sh**
2)Know your character and act accordingly
3)Don't apologize for shi**y performances. Let the crowd let you know and learn from it.
#12November 16th, 2006 · 11:48 AM
34 threads / 17 songs
581 posts
Canada
re: What Do you Want
WillNZ wrote…
Just like an Opera guy wouldn't start getting all krump up in the shizz.

what does krump up in the shizz mean?
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