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Live performance clichés


FuzzyDunlop
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After reading 'the seven deadly sins of playing live', courtesy of some Guardian whinger, and realising some of the 'sins' are merely miserable complaints (introducing the band) or plain nonsense (tuning instruments in between songs), I thought it'd be good to consider things that truly are annoying no matter who performs live. And the crowd gets off lightly with this, and there are a fair few annoying things there.

I'll start off with one, although it's hard to come up with something that doesn't sound like I'm just being miserable.

1. Leaving half the words out of songs and letting the crowd sing

All well and good in moderation, but when the singer spends half a song standing about so the crowd can sing a whole verse or a couple of choruses, and then goes on to do it for several other songs, it becomes annoying.

2. Talking during the performance

Why pay upwards of £20 for a ticket only to stand about yelling intolerable bullshit throughout it all? No one else wants to hear it. Shut the fuck up.

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2. Talking during the performance

Why pay upwards of £20 for a ticket only to stand about yelling intolerable bullshit throughout it all? No one else wants to hear it. Shut the fuck up.

Nah. I'd much prefer this to happen more often. I can't stand charlmess, by-the-book performances where they just chug through a 20 song set and then go, only acknowledging the audience with the most perfunctory acknowledgement: 'Hello London!'

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Encores are part of the fun , it’s a little bit of fun the performer has with their audience. I went to see Roy Ayers a while back at the jazz café, and after the “final” song, the MC came on and said “OK guys, Roy’s gone off stage now, but if you show some appreciation he might – just might – come back for a little while”.

Obviously, we made some noise like motherfuckers, screaming and shouting and whoopin’ and hollerin’ as only pissed-up Islington jazz-funk wankers can until, after about ten minutes of increasingly raucus behaviour, all the lights came on and the bouncers told us to go home.

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Nah. I'd much prefer this to happen more often. I can't stand charlmess, by-the-book performances where they just chug through a 20 song set and then go, only acknowledging the audience with the most perfunctory acknowledgement: 'Hello London!'

I meant the crowd, not the band. Should have specified. Band talking is good, I like that.

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Depends who does the talking; some bands between song patter - Shellac, Future of the Left, Dan Deacon off the top of my head - are the best things about their performances.

I find it bizarre that the Guardian writer equates tuning a guitar to not having rehearsed.

Edit: Crowd talking I agree with definitely.

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Nah. I'd much prefer this to happen more often. I can't stand charlmess, by-the-book performances where they just chug through a 20 song set and then go, only acknowledging the audience with the most perfunctory acknowledgement: 'Hello London!'

I think he meant the audience.

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Actually, I went to see Ian Brown last weekend, and he pretty much personified the 'not playing the hits' mindset, by way of him chugging out middling album tracks for an hour, and then playing F.E.A.R. and Fool's Gold during the fucking encore.

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I should really read posts before I reply. But yeah, can't stand audience chatter.

Also, drunk cunts who stumble in minutes before showtime and just expect people to get out of their way so they can get to the front. FUCK YOU.

On the same theme, people who barge to the front and then stand still whilst everyone is dancing/whatever - even worse are those who barge to the front and just talk. It makes me want to kill.

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Another one is starting a set off with an unheard of song, and this is especially prominent with acts showcasing new material before the album comes out.

New material is good, but starting a gig on something no one has ever heard just makes it harder to get into. The Courteeners did this on Friday.

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I went to watch the late Arthur Lee at the Coal Exchange a couple of years back and there was a 60s/70s cover band on before him who would. not. fuck. off. As a result, we had to leave halfway through Arthur's set to catch the last train home, so I didn't get to see him do 'Maybe the People Would Be The Times'. He's dead now, so I never will. Arseholes.

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Encores are part of the fun , it’s a little bit of fun the performer has with their audience.

Senser at the Joiners in Southampton a few years back. if you know the Joiners, you'll know it has no stage entrance and the band have to walk right through the crowd to get to the "backstage" area.

the band finishes the set and Heitham says "erm, normally at this point we'd go backstage and you would beg us to come back out and do a couple more, but we can't really go anywhere, except down there i s'pose" pointing to the steps at the side of the stage down to floor level "and then they'd need to turn all the lights out so you couldn't see us, you don't actually want us to do that do you?"

obviously the crowd did want this, so the entire band, all 6 of them, troop down into the little corner at the side of the stage, the lighting guy turns the lights off for a couple of minutes and the crowd chant for the band to come back, all the while the band are just about visible in the gloom laughing before they come back up on stage and finish the set proper.

it is a delicious rock n roll cliche though, New York Dolls played The Talking Heads in Southampton last week and given the same layout as the Joiners, their idea of "backstage" was out the stage fire exit into the freezing cold carpark for five minutes.

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I can't remember if it was with Tool or A Perfect Circle, but their singer did "Right, pretend I've gone off stage. Five, ten minutes pass. You're all screaming wildly. Suddenly I'm back! With a costume change! Ooh, a sparkly ballgown! On with the show!"

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As an extension of that: going down the front of a big gig, everyone's squashed in, jumping about, sweating and happy. And then there's the one couple, big guy, tiny girlfriend, standing still. She's moaning that she can't see (she's 5ft2).

It's possibly the only place on earth you can witness a girl getting elbowed in the face and nobody cares.

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I actually prefer it when someone tunes their guitar on stage. I don't know why, but it feels more intimate, like that's their favourite guitar and they only really want to play with that one.

I hate it when they're constantly changing, a roadie coming on after every song to give the lead guitarist his 8th guitar of the night. It feels like there's a Gibson factory off-stage and he's just testing each guitar as it rolls off the production line, handing it back to the roadie after each song "yeah that's fine." Pick a fucking guitar and stick with it.

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(she's 5ft2).

And I bet you a tenner that the girl only got to that position by ramming her little pointy elbows into every man she walks past rather than feeding her way through gaps in the crowd as men do.

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a Female friend I used to go to a lot of gigs with used to insist on getting there early and getting right to the front. I would situate myself just behind the moshpit so I could actully watch the band.

I ask her after how the gig was " The people were awful they kept pushing and pulling me about. ANIMALS"

I lol'ed

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2. Talking during the performance

Why pay upwards of £20 for a ticket only to stand about yelling intolerable bullshit throughout it all? No one else wants to hear it. Shut the fuck up.

I was at a NIN gig at the Astoria a few years back and some german lass was chatting bubbles during Hurt. She got shushed.

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I'll add one. Not having an emergency backup plan.

Went to see a band that had been together for about 30 years.

Said bands songs rely very much on the two female vocalists harmonising.

Halfway through the first or second song one of them walks off. And doesn't come back.

You could see the fear on the faces of those left on stage. "Tell a joke. Heh heh." "Um can't think of one."

Mind you they were troopers and after a bit of panic did the rest of the gig with the remaining female vocalist trying hard as she could to sing both parts and almost pulling it off.

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That ridiculously tall dickhead who decides to stand in front of you, regardless of not even having that much space in front to begin with. Halfway through the gig.

I usually find they appear seconds before the headliners come on, after you've stood there for two hours with a perfect view of the shite support acts.

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