Would you see a band with a prerecorded rhythm section?

Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by Dabo Fett, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. Dabo Fett

    Dabo Fett SS.org Regular

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    Quick question, would you be interested in seeing a band of two guitarists who sing play live with a prerecord drum and bass track?

    Haven't been able to find a rhythm section that gels, and now that half the band is in philly and the other half is in queens it makes it hard to even look when there's a whole state in between
     
  2. Humbuck

    Humbuck SS.org Regular

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    Yes. I already have.
     
  3. auntyethel

    auntyethel Skommeling

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    I think it'd depend on the energy you two could put forward. There is a certain amount of 'liveness' that a drummer adds. I've seen a fairly upbeat folky-type artist who had none of his own energy, and having a prerecorded kit behind him made it really odd to watch.
     
  4. Dabo Fett

    Dabo Fett SS.org Regular

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    That's the whole problem. Ideally we'd at least have a drummer. Apparently they barely exist on Long Island though
     
  5. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    If the music was unique and interesting, I don't see why not. In other words, you're kind of asking the wrong question in my opinion. If the question was: "Would I need to make a 10x bigger creative effort to make an engaging live show with just two karaokeing guitar players?" then my answer would be yes. I've seen plenty of great live shows where an artist used their creativity to completely overshadow the backing tracks. But these artists didn't try to act like they were on stage with a band, they made something cool and fun with it, and the unusual lineup made it MORE memorable. But if you go up on stage with an attitude of "This is just a temporary solution out of necessity" then it'll probably be terrible for anyone watching.
     
  6. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Just get a scrim of a cartoon drummer and put some lights behind it. Nobody will care.
     
  7. Rawkmann

    Rawkmann SS.org Regular

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    My band gigs this way with 2 guitar players and our vocalist. To be honest I think most people barely even notice we don't have a drummer until half way into our set. Hasn't been a problem, we always get great crowd response.
     
  8. Rachmaninoff

    Rachmaninoff Amateur porn actor

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    No. The dynamics of a full-member band are completely different, personally I don't like watching playbacks.
     
  9. thebrokeguitarist

    thebrokeguitarist Friendly Alcoholic

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    I don't care how many people are on stage with you if you can engage me as an audience member and what IS being played live is authentic. But that's IMO.

    Also, writing good songs helps.
     
  10. zenshin

    zenshin SS.org Regular

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    I actually like this idea...

    Personally, I'd go with a cutout of Chuck Norris and stick it behind a borrowed drum kit. Make something fun out of it (if that's the vibe your performance is going for of course).
     
  11. LeviathanKiller

    LeviathanKiller Knee-shooting Archer

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    In that shadow over there -->
    * immediately pictures this on stage *
    [​IMG]
     
  12. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

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    There are plenty of awesome bands that do this but it can go wrong really fast. HIRS, Cloacal Kiss, and Ghengis Tron are all unique variations on that idea. The best results come from fast tempos and short sets. If you're up there playing long melodic parts it wont be as interesting to people. .... it that goes for most bands anyway.
     
  13. olejason

    olejason SS.org Regular

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    It would have to be something really different, unique, and good. Standard metal, djent, meshuggah, etc. no way I'd watch that.
     
  14. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    You're in Philly, a huge town? Hang in there and you'll find a drummer.
     
  15. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    The epitomy of this, to me, is Buckethead:

    For as much of a fan of Buckethead as I considered myself, I walked out halfway through one of his 2012 concerts: Two hours late to the stage, no opening act, no band. The guy just hit "play" on his iPod and played the same Youtube and DVD-documented set he'd been doing for 10 years, then occasionally broke into his "I'm 42 and doing the robot" shtick between songs. Even a Branson audience would have been disappointed.

    Having other musicians or even a designated speaker would have made all the difference, but he apparently needs to keep travel costs as light as possible, if he's ever going to afford a custom toilet mounted four feet off the ground.
     
  16. Randy

    Randy Ooh, Degrasse Tyson-son Super Moderator

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    Ed Sheeran has no problem selling tickets and dropping panties with a looped rhythm section.
     
  17. Zombie13

    Zombie13 XIII

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    That's my current setup, although it's just me on guitar and vocals, still looking for other reliable members. Drums, keys, bass and rhythm guitar parts are on a backing track, I do all the leads and vocals. The crowd is meh about it, but in the end, they appreciate the music.

    Here is a short live clip
    https://twitter.com/ZombieThe13th/status/839943596400746496

    Here is the studio version of the same song.
     
  18. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Solo acoustic folky pop is a much better context for that than hard rock/metal. :2c:

    There have been an abundance of these threads lately. I don't know each and every situation, but, speaking honestly, and very broadly:

    I think a lot of these bands are just too eager. In the old days, you found the right people, rehearsed your ass off, then booked shows. Most projects never made it past the "find the right people" phase. But honestly, these guys are killing opportunities for the rest of us. At heavy risk of sounding like the "get off my lawn" old man, here's where I am coming from.

    I played in a kick-ass cover band. We had a decent following locally, and were looking to branch out. At the time, there weren't many other bands in the area, and we had a lot of cool opportunities.

    Then a booking agent came into town and got agreements with a lot of the places where we played. This guy mostly booked college bands and younger guys who were just getting started. A few of these bands were incredibly talented, but had little business sense. So, it seemed like a great idea. Our band now had to book through this guy, and he was pretty cool with us, but it cost us - we'd book a place we had played two months ago for $400, but now the offer to play there was $200. We balked at the half price thing, and the booker said he would talk to the owner and try to get $250 for us, and we said "no." (We could play somewhere else for $400, so why bother with $250?) A few days later, the owner calls us and asked us to play there for $350. "So what gives?" we asked. The guy says, "Well, I don't know about this booking thing. One night we get a guy with a banjo and another guy with a snare drum, the next night, we get what we think is a full band, and it's all prerecorded stuff. If I wanted to get a jukebox, I would have just bought a damn jukebox." Eventually, he fired the booking guy and just went to bands directly.

    See, it depends on the genre. If you are going for high-energy stuff, you want pounding drums, thumping bass, and buzzsaw guitars. If you want to dance, you want a solid drumbeat, pumping bass, and strummy guitars, and maybe some horns. I think people are okay with some substitution, like a keyboard instead of some horns, but I really really don't think most audiences are willing to forego the drums and bass under the expectation of a full band.

    I've seen some guys pull of the one-man-band thing, but, ... I've seen the same guys who pull off a one-man-band thing with a full band, and it sounded 10000x better.

    So, what is happening?

    A lot of these guys are just eager eager eager to play out. If you are not ready, you are not ready. If you are not ready and you think prerecorded tracks will make you ready, you are wrong. If you are ready, but you just can't find the guys to do your thing with you, that's something else, but you need to be ready to stand alone with your music, not stand behind your music. Do you dig? If I see two guys singing and playing guitar with a backing track, the only way that will be the least bit entertaining would be if it was entertaining without the prerecorded tracks, and then you added the prerecorded tracks as an accent. Once you are dependent upon them, the whole thing collapses under its own weight.

    At first I was pretty much like "yeah, do whatever you want to put out there," but after watching the music scene in this small town take some damage because of a widespread expectation of poor behaviour, I have to say something.

    I hope this doesn't come off condescending toward the OP's music, since I don't know anything about that specific situation, but I hope the bigger message here gets through to somebody out there.

    And, as I said before, you guys in big cities have no excuse. There are hundreds of drummers and bass players around you hungry for work. Maybe the next guy you try out is not the right guy, but, if you are playing music that needs bass and drums, for Pete's sake, get a drummer! I know a lot of really good drummers who will even work for beer, pizza, or gas money. Just keep looking.
     
  19. vividox

    vividox SS.org Regular

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    To me it just comes down to the music. If I want to see the band, I'll go; if I don't, I won't. It doesn't really bother me when instrument(s) are played on computer and only parts are the performance are played live. Especially in most guitar-centric bands, I'm mostly there to see the guitarist anyway, so if the stick monkey isn't in the back, no biggie.

    I get the "get off my lawn" sentiment about performance and rehearsal and practice and blood and sweat and tears, but honestly, I'd rather see something rather than nothing. If throwing a backing track into a live performance is easy and it gets more live music out there, more power to it.
     
  20. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    It would be great to earnestly believe that if the music is good then nothing else matters, but there's just that presentation aspect of a live show that must be satisfied. I don't think that prerecorded parts are a total deal-breaker, but there's that uphill battle to get people's attention and to not look either incomplete or like a metal version of a happy hour lounge act.

    The best solution, of course, is to get a live rhythm section. If not, get something to 'fill' the stage with, maybe a video element. Or- not sure how do-able it would be- would be to rig the backing track to where certain parts were broken-down into sampled stems that were triggered by a sample pad that could be played live and incorporated into the show.
     

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