Thoughts on live music

Saw a singer/songwriter I know last night and I was impressed at how well he was "playing" the room. It was a sit down eatery, various people schmoozing, boozing and chewing - typical. He was the perfect complement to the whole scene, providing the sound track for the people there. Sometimes I would see some one glance at him and smile or tap a foot or close their eyes and go to that place they were at the first time they'd heard the song they were listening to - nicely done.
There are different venues and as many different audiences/crowds/gatherings/congregations, etc. To seamlessly blend in without drawing undo attention to yourself is a learned trait developed over many nights of performing. It is not an easy things sometimes.
I've seen people burn a room down and chase people out, or play originals, one after the other, and the paying folk are simply not paying any attention and the player is left feeling unappreciated, with little to no feedback from a crowd who did not come to hear his "art".
I've played nights where each set is forty minutes of "work", dishing up songs like so much hash, all the tried and true covers, collecting the $60 and packing out. I love playing, but when I try to push my ego out there, lots of times it gets bruised.
The oldest cliche in show business, "Give 'em what they want" is so true.
I love House Concerts for the attention you get as a performer, after all, that's why they are there - to hear you. But I still temper my ego and look for the cues, what's working and what's not, and try to tailor my performance to what those attentive eyes and ears are there for - fun, distraction and maybe a song that will stay with them long after I've left.

1 comment

  • Fred

    Fred

    Amen Marty knowing when to push and when to ride has to be a know ability of the performer. I feel any musician that is in the audience will give the attention that is deserved. It is the other 98% that do not have a clue. Sadly, they don't know how. Keep plugging away even though I can't be there I am one of you biggest fans.

    Amen Marty knowing when to push and when to ride has to be a know ability of the performer. I feel any musician that is in the audience will give the attention that is deserved. It is the other 98% that do not have a clue. Sadly, they don't know how. Keep plugging away even though I can't be there I am one of you biggest fans.

Add comment