Is there is a stigma to using a backing track for a live performance?

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by RobertVII, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. RobertVII

    RobertVII SS.org Regular

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    After trying time after time to get a band together I became a solo artist, and I'm currently recording my debut EP. My plan was to release this EP and then make another file without the parts I plan on playing live. Essentially having a backing track without the parts I would be playing live. After chatting with some friends I found out some bars and venues in my area won't allow me to use a backing track for my performance. This brings me to my question, is using a backing track bad?
     
  2. Bloody_Inferno

    Bloody_Inferno Silence is Violence

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    Odd, it seems that every band I see in the local pubs nowadays uses a backing track.

    Backing tracks are becoming the norm nowadays. Though in your case, I'm assuming that you'd be the only one performing live to a full backing? In which case, I can only imagine that the venues would prefer to have more than just one live member for musical entertainment.

    You can try to assemble a trio consisting of yourself, a bassist and a drummer, then use the backing track for all the other auxiliary parts (additional guitars, keys etc), and you'll probably have a better luck a gigs.
     
  3. concertjunkie

    concertjunkie SS.org Regular

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    That is an odd response from the venues. I actually have a friend who is in a one man instrumental band (he plays guitar by himself on stage along to backing tracks) and he does pretty good! Has quite a following for himself established. However, he has played one or two shows with a fill in drummer and bassist, and it seems that was better received than one musician on stage. You can do it solo, it has been done. IMO if you are going to do this solo, I would suggest making it engaging to the crowd, otherwise it can be a bit boring to watch someone walk back and forth on stage and not engaging anyone.
     
  4. Lasik124

    Lasik124 SS.org Regular

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    I've seen it done with Bloodsoaked, dig their albums

    I couldn't get into it live though. Just how I felt though.
     
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    You answered your own question. If some venues won't hire you because of it, then it's not ideal.
     
  6. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    It's just a hard thing to sell. Very few of the one-man shows I've seen have been particularly good. A solo acoustic thing is usually cool, it's got it's own vibe to it, and I quite like that kind of show, but to play tracks that were clearly written for a band, and have most of it just be pre-recorded just doesn't have that same "intimate" vibe as a selling point.
     
  7. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Just don't try and do it at places with big stages unless you're bringing a full production. We just opened for a tour that was a relatively well-known guitarist from several bands and his touring "band" that were both one-man guitar player gigs...neither had any stage backdrops or lights, and one of them stood off to one side of the stage like there SHOULD be a band...either way, both sets were kinda sad to watch and definitely not entertaining or engaging. I think had either one of them put a little effort into production and done more to engage the crowd then shout "How's Everyone Doing?!" in between songs it could have been enjoyable, but as it was, not so much. If you want to go solo, get some custom stage scrims, and get a reasonable light show that is synced to the music, so it will at least be entertaining to watch outside of the playing.m It's weird that bars wouldn't wanna hire you, though, seeing as most of them would consider it an opportunity to pay as little as possible for the entertainment, hahahaha.
     
  8. CapnForsaggio

    CapnForsaggio Cap'n (general)

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    Wacky Inflatable Tube Man Band?

    If you could program a midi light show to illuminate the tube men, I think you'd be on to something....
     
  9. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Hey, that's a better idea than hiring these guys...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. crankyrayhanky

    crankyrayhanky SS.org Regular

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    Seems to only be a problem on small local levels. The majority of professional acts have some kind of backing tracks supplementing the music and general audiences don't notice/care....as long as you have a few people on stage, lol. Tough to sell as a 1 man show unless you are really engaging and uber talented
     
  11. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Your friends said that - what did the actual venues say? There's a difference between "they wont put me on the bill because I use backing tracks" and "they won't put me on the bill because I don't have a draw".

    I played Burlington VT and the opener was a solo dude with a backing track band - didn't seem to be any issues.

    I'd finish recording the EP and then come back to the concern of live performance once you know what's what song wise. :2c:
     
  12. RobertVII

    RobertVII SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for all the input so far guys I appreciate it! I'm definitely gonna research some ways to really engage my audience, so I'll be more exciting to watch.
     
  13. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Definitely depends on the crowd and venue. We used to use a drum machine as a backing, and the actual drummer could come out front and sing. Sometimes it was no big deal, and sometimes we'd get heckled and have .... thrown at us by drunk frat boys saying weren't playing our instruments. Then we'd play a Dave Matthews tune and the frat boys would be all happy again. Ok, that last part isn't true. :lol:

    But yeah, it just depends. People are weird about stuff. But there's no fast rule about it, so I would do like these guys above said, and keep in enterntaining.
     
  14. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    [OT]Who was that? If he's local, I probably know him.[/OT]

    Then again, what happens in VT doesn't really reflect what happens in the real world.

    Here's what I've done with Bostjan Zupancic: MicroMetal (which has been successful enough by my standards, but not by most standards):

    1. Write material. I have charts for most of the songs I intend to play live.
    2. Record demos of said material. Contact local radio.
    3. Book shows and get whatever media attention I can get.
    4. Hire local musicians to play shows with me. If Drummer #1 can't commit to a one-off show, call Drummer #2, and so forth, until Drummer #76 accepts.
    5. ???
    6. Profit lose money

    In my case, there are only 3 bass players willing to go headlong at the microtonal stuff for a one-off gig, and exactly zero wanting to become a permanent fixture of the band, so if I get 3 no's on a booked show, I have to dust off the old octave pedal and ABY, and have things just be that much further from ideal.

    Anyway, there's one workaround for this. It's not perfect by any measure, but never let the idea of perfection stop you from developing something that is good but imperfect.
     
  15. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metalâ„¢

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    Enchanted Forest Water Safari in Old Forge NY? :ugh::lol::lol:
     
  16. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    :lol:

    It's Munch's Animatronic Make Believe Band. I thought it was fairly well known, but I guess it's a regional thing in the midwest...

    For those who don't know- When we were kids, we would have birthday parties and whatnot at places like "Major Magic's Arcade and Pizzeria" or "Chuck E Cheese's Pizza Time Theater." Such venues were basically a huge arcade that served the cheapest pizza. You could eat greasy pizza, then run around and wipe your greasy hands all over tons of arcade joysticks while your parents contemplated adopting you to Nigeria for 4-5 hours. An obligatory part of this tradition was to gather everyone in a dark conwebbed side room for cake and blowing out candles. There were no noisy fun arcade games in the room, no skee ball, no whack-a-mole, just a curtain and tables. The acoustics of the room were eerily void-like, contrasting shockingly with the raucous beeping and shouting and ching of coins coming from the arcade. Once gathered in this room, someone who got invited by mistake, usually, would activate the animatronic band, causing the curtain to rise, and the rattly animal-robot-humans to being playing. The cacophony of buzzing electric motors, ungreased metal parts jerking around, and prerecorded children's music was a thing made of pure nightmares, which inspired games like "Five Nights at Freddy's" and rock bands like "GWAR".
     
  17. Element0s

    Element0s Low Fantasy/Black Denim

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    This was beautiful. Thank you. :')

    OP: Lots of great advice in here already but if you're worried about people looking down their nose at your over the use of backing tracks, maybe try brainstorming a few ways to make the use of backing tracks more interesting and "part of the show". I've seen a lot of one-man bands back themselves up by creative use of loopers, synths and literally anything that requires a measure of skill, timing and taking interesting musical risks to pull off. If you're just a dude playing guitar along to background music safely pre-loaded on your laptop, then your gig is gonna be just that: safe background muzak that more-or-less runs on rails. People like risks and conflicts and they like seeing someone overcome them.
     
  18. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metalâ„¢

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    I grew up with that crap :lol::lol::lol:

    Looks exactly like that!
     
  19. Zombie13

    Zombie13 Guitartist

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    You pretty much described my old live setup. At a show, I always got the "oh great, a one man band" followed by an eye roll, but that disappeared after playing. If you sound great and really want it, you'll make it happen.

     
  20. Rachmaninoff

    Rachmaninoff Amateur porn actor

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    If I go see a gig and there's a backing track, I just turn around and go away.
     

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