Setting up and planning a live music production can and should turn into a routine endeavour. Especially in terms of professionalism and workflow.
The good thing about these kinds of routines is the way they save time and resources. Having the entire course of action planned out and sticking to a solid frame of reference can increase the serenity and therefore vibe of a tour.
The flipside, on the other hand, is the way these autopilot-routines potentially enable musicians and crews to lean towards some form of tunnel vision. While this is perfectly natural, it can, in some cases, inhibit the progress of a show/production.
We gathered some interesting pointers – hidden champions – that you might want to think about, especially before but also in medias res of an ongoing production.
A musical project that is able to control and limit the stage noise at will has a powerful advantage. By being able to minimize the sound that radiates from stage, musicians alleviate their technician’s ableness to handle a given venue, no matter what size or conditions.
Hitting it loud is great and for most projects punctually important. Still, having a good perception of what is actually needed is most definitely equally as vital. Giving the technician space to work, sonically, is a huge part of creating a compelling and interesting live show.
By playing with dynamics and not pushing through 1 ½ hours with full throttle, you give the audience and yourself a context to develop varying types of tension.
You also done some respect to your colleague at the FOH faders, making his/her life a lot easier while working on a clear and suitable mix.
By introducing a multitude of technical periphery, the visual variety of typical band shows has increased immensely. Still, movement can also be a cornerstone of an interesting live narrative. It acts as a positional steering-tool that fluidly loosens a static scenery.
The act of mixing up positions can keep a whole live show fresh and engaging. It’s easy to forget what a great asset a certain amount of unexpected movement on stage can be – especially when breaking free of traditional lighting dynamics and action.
Really being aware of the bodies that are on stage is exceptionally important when establishing a diverse, unconsumed live experience.
Each music project has a different form of external and internal communication. It can be immensely helpful for musicians.
Some projects are extroverted, some less. For some narratives the silence between songs acts as as an incredibly important energetic vacuum. There is no non-communication as soon as the show beings. Sometimes doing nothing acts as a communicative action that overshadows the music in intensity and honesty.
Figuring out and limiting the live production to a reasonable amount of different modes creates a definitive sense of holism. like a tent that is spread out across the broad variety of expression of an evening.
If silence is your thing – see how far you can stretch it. If your show should be experienced as a communicative encounter, be aware that announcements might be equally as important as the musical content. Be aware that you are communicating with all actions you conduct, but also by means of those you leave out.
Please try to handle your outros with the same amount of love as your intros. Actually everything else in the show.
The emotion that stays in the room right after the completion of a song has a great effect on the starting point of the next one.
Songs are connected, and just like you plan your setlist in vague arrangement of what might fit together and what might not, outros can and should be adapted to enable a smooth proliferation of sonic beauty.
The non-binary plan-C
Even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. You always have a multitude of options at hand if things start to go haywire. What I’m talking about is developing a Plan-C – as opposed to Plan-B being moving on to the next song, or the one after that – where every song can be played, either in “normal” mode or some other mode that might deliver a different, yet strong energy.
If things crash, laptops need time for a re-boot. You have the luxury of being able to deliver a simple musical craft. You can play a reduced version of a track on an acoustic guitar or piano for example. Try to grasp that chance and see what happens.
You might be able to turn a catastrophic malfunction into an impressive example of musical honesty. Just reduce and cut to the core of some idea you started with. It won’t necessarily work in all contexts, but in many, it will.0 be the first one to show some appreciation for this!