Would you see a band with a prerecorded rhythm section?

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

  1. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    I think anyone can get away with backing tracks, provided their energy and style of music lends itself in a direction away from (or independent of) the band dynamic:

     
  2. bhakan

    bhakan SS.org Regular

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    It's definitely really hard to pull off well, but that's sort of the nature of live performances. Putting together a band takes a lot of hard work. Writing/performing songs with loops takes a lot of hard work. There's no escaping the hard work you have to put into a live performance.
     
  3. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Things are always in flux. But there are some aspects of a metal band that are more fluid than others. As long as we are talking about metal, I really think that guitar, bass, and drums are the mainstays that are not really going to change without changing whether or not it's metal.

    On the other hand, a guy who gets up by himself with an acoustic guitar at a coffee shop and plays covers of Cannibal Corpse and Bolt Thrower is pretty entertaining.

    As for the beer joint, in general, at least in my neighbourhood, it's already gone. When I moved here 7 years ago, there were a dozen bars in this town and the two nearest towns. None of them had live music. Then they suddenly all had live music. Then, 75% of them went out of business. It's a combination of things. Little of it had to do with Bob, the errant sound engineer, but, I hate to say it, the music scene here had a lot to do with it.

    I saw it a lot, myself. I'd go out specifically to see a metal band play at a local bar. I really don't care to drink there, but I have to do some business with the establishment to keep them in business, so I have one beer. I enjoy the metal show and have a great time, but, on the other hand, most of the bar's regular patrons, who would have been drinking dozens of drinks, leave, because the music is too loud and obnoxious for them. When it's not the metal show, but it's Folks 'R Us or the band of septuagenarian Beatles impersonators, the same basic problem applied: some people would rather sit there and drink with nothing else going on than put up with music they don't like, and, well, those bands are often not well received by general audiences, to put it politely.

    So #1, most of those establishments already went the way of the Dodo, on my end of the experience, but #2, these bands using backing tracks contributed to that. I had seen, on dozens of occasions, rock/punk/metal acts with a prerecorded band, and a solo guy, playing at a bar or a club, and saw people come in the door, turn around, and leave.

    So, whichever the case, if the line of thinking is that music venues are evaporating, and therefor the venues that are left are more apt to accept acts that play a style of music engineered for a full band, but using prerecorded tracks, then I question the logic getting from A to B.

    I might be totally wrong. Maybe I'm not thinking "ahead," but unless there is a reason to change the thinking, then the logic that the same rules don't apply, therefor the opposite rules apply, then it's an error in thinking. For example, if you've only ever hit nails with a hammer, and someone hands you a screw, it doesn't mean use the other end of the hammer.
     
  4. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    The music scene didn't close down bars, bars that don't know how to operate with what they're working with close down. For me personally, I don't see the difference in a two man show that's guitar/drums or bass/drums and a two man show that's vocals and guitar with backtracks, or two guitars and backtracks, etc and those shows do just fine around here (as long as the artists/promoters handle advertising just a little bit). Unless I'm seeing SunnO or Jucifer or something where sheer volume is part of the show, I'd much rather see one guy with controllable stage volume and tight playing than 4-5 guys battling for level over a live drum kit (not saying every metal band does this...but every metal band does this, lol) or 4 guys that are on and that bass player that just can't stay on top of the drums, etc.
     
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Three of the bars, in particular had been around for decades and were under the same management the entire time until they closed. A bunch more had been around just as long, but had gone through minor changes. There were a number of factors at play, but there is no doubt that the recent influx of unprepared musical acts had a role in at least a few closures. I wouldn't say it was the absolute biggest factor, but between crackdowns on bars in general, it sure seemed like the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak.

    And to be clear, I'm not just talking about one-man-bands here, but, in general, unrehearsed and unorganized shows, of which many of these Vermont-millenial-generation-style-one-man-bands were a substantial portion. As I pointed out, though, there were plenty of older dudes starting up bands as well, who simply weren't playing music people wanted to hear, even in the background. For the record, the louder full band shows over the two years prior to the mass bar closings here were always 10x+ better attended than the stuff I'm picking on.

    IDK, though, some music just doesn't really have "general appeal" to any particular demographic, and that's really what the problem was with the music scene. The scene here honestly went from dead to vibrant to completely dead. The only shows left now are basement parties, bonfires (obviously not this time of year), and cover bands in the one bar that still does live music. The more chill one-man shows go over well at coffee shops and pizzarias, which is great, but metal-esque music just doesn't really work in that context.

    Just to drive this home, here are some of the music venues here that either shut down or stopped having music in my area (population of my town is about 8k):

    Phat Kats: Operated for >10 years under the same management, was a favourite hang-out. Shut down due to noise complaints. You honestly couldn't hear the bands from outside of the building above a quiet conversation. Pretty much everyone I know suspects it was political.

    The Packing House: Operated for >10 years. Was a major music venue in town, then stopped having live music when the scene died. Continued operating without music for a few years, then shut down just weeks after bringing back live acts.

    The Stage: Newer music venue. Operated for 2-3 years. Shut down due to lack of business.

    The Dawg House: Operated for ~5 years. Stopped having bands due to noise complaints.

    The Whiskey Den: Newer venue. Went from live bands to DJ's, because too many bands were scaring off business.

    The Pub Outback: Operated for many years as a favourite hangout for middle- and upper-class. Started having bands. Quickly got a reputation as the place that had bad bands and very suddenly closed down after that.

    The Taproom: This bar has a huge ampitheater-style stage and dancefloor, but doesn't use it anymore due to too many customer complaints.

    Parker Pie: Pizza place with a bar. Still operates as such, but stopped having live music, despite having a separate staging area.

    Brewski's: Was a very popular place for people to go see bands. Huge stage area. Shut down due to owner illness, but was already planning on shutting down due to lack of business.

    Jasper's: Long time bar under consistent management. Still operates, but very rarely has live music, and I don't know the circumstances.

    The Lake House: Same management for eons, always a place to see live music. Under some sort of legal stress now, doesn't seem to currently have bands.

    Parker Pie Wings: A bar/restaurant at the airport that was billed as a live music place. It was a cool place, but it didn't seem like anyone there ever stuck around once the band started playing. It's closed now, due to lack of business to cover building repairs.

    Sweet Harmony: pretty much the last consistent music venue within a practical drive from me.

    The Dusty Bottle: Out of the way bar that might have bands. Last time I saw any word of a band playing there was October-ish.

    The Church: An old converted church that has metal bands, but doesn't seem to advertise by anything other than word of mouth, and I know most of the bands who played there last year, personally, and no one seems to know what's going on with the place now.

    That's what, 15 music venues within a 90-ish minute drive of me. 10 of them closed, and only one is consistently doing anything in the music scene still. 2-3 years ago all of these places were bumping. Is that a changing of a generation?

    No, I think it's politics. People don't like bars. People don't like alcoholics. But what about the places that had music, but didn't serve alcohol? I think the general population doesn't like music anymore. :( I think this happened because places opened their doors up to too many unvetted bands and artists. I think I have solid observations that proved this: A place is busy, a band starts playing, and people leave, then the place is empty.
     
  6. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Again, though, that's on the bars to organize music to keep themselves in business. If nobody is going to see ANY bands, stop having bands. Obviously if a band isn't ready to play out, they shouldn't, but venues don't have to book bands that play once and kill the room. If its four hours of covers and everone is leaving, you misunderstood your customer base (as a bar owner) and hired the wrong band. If you're a venue owner and you're doing original shows, and you keep bringing in bands that don't advertise, or never do any advertising of your own, that's again, the fault of the person setting up the shows. Admittedly I live in a place that has quite a few more people, but when there are shows, the bands get out and advertise to bring the right crowd to the venue the day of, and when bars book cover bands THEY advertise well in advance, again, to get the people in the door that want to see that stuff. Poor management is what killed those bars off, not the music scene. Doesn't really matter how long a place has been around.
     

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