Back To Bass Licks: Lesson Two
Written by Rob Lane
Sunday, 17 March 2013 03:30
Let me go to the show!
I don’t go to half as many gigs as I used to. I guess I’ve become ‘one of those guys’. A lot of the time I struggle to find the passion and general entertainment value I used to get from seeing a live band. I know the great gigs are out there but it’s just a matter of sifting through all the crap to get to the good – and for someone like me that takes a lot of energy! I’m getting kinda lazy!
In today’s world we really are overloaded with choice, especially with music. I often want to put aside a week or two so I can just listen to and find new bands which will get that excitement back. Occasionally an album will hit me and give that recharge but more often than not there doesn’t seem to be the time to absorb music like I used to. If it doesn’t instantly grab me I move onto the next thing because there’s something else to be doing or some other distraction. That’s a shame.
With gigs I feel differently – you bands get a little more time to make me a convert (I might give you up to three songs if you’re lucky!). One of my little ‘rules’ is that it’s really important as an audience member that each show feels like ‘MY’ show. I don’t want the gig I’m watching to be a carbon copy of the one from the night before or the one which will be on the next date of the tour. A LOT of bands are identical each and every night – same set list, same banter in between each song: professional sure, but shit, that’s boring!
Ask most people what some of their best gig memories are and a lot of the time I think the response would be “Oh, I remember when such and such said this,” or “Then this happened.” More than likely it will have been something unrehearsed or unplanned. Something unique for that gig and some magic that was only made in THAT venue on THAT night!
A couple of weeks ago I got to be a part of a House Party Tour staged by Texan musician Ryan Hamilton. He’d visited the UK a couple of times before as a member of the band People on Vacation along with Bowling for Soup’s Jaret Reddick. Falling in love with our country and the BFS fan base he wanted to return, but wisely realized a full tour might not be viable. Instead he opted to perform in people’s living rooms and, along with roommate and BFS buddy Erik Chandler on board for the ride, he really did create something special and unique for those who attended. There I was with just a handful of others sat on the floor watching two musicians, thousands of miles from their homes, making amazing music right in front of us in the most surreal of settings. Each show on the tour would have captured its own memories and individuality never to be repeated again. That’s what the live show is, and should be, all about. That, people, is punk rock at its purest regardless of the music being played!
The most simple of things can draw an audience member in and get them on board. I always remember and admired how Andrew Griswald, singer and drummer for the mighty Dangerfields, would always do his homework before each gig and find out some local knowledge or random bullshit which he could fire out to the crowd. Combine that with the fastest and most intensely vile sarcasm possible and he couldn’t lose! Or maybe it’s how someone like Butch Walker, Jesse Malin or Miles Hunt can totally engage people in between songs with their stories and tales. Sure, I guess some of these have been told a million times before but they deliver them with such style and allow the audience to be a part of it that it becomes unique.
This isn’t for everyone, I appreciate that. Some people don’t like too much talking which I’ve seen at some shows. Whilst I’ve reveled in seeing a band have fun and banter with audiences, reviews of the same show have followed saying they should have shut the fuck up, and could have fit in two more songs. Seriously? The bands had already played full sets including all the songs everyone expected to hear but they’d rather have a few more ‘diverse’ album cuts than a band having fun and feeding off the crowd to make an individual show? I know which I’d prefer.
Remember this is the LIVE show. The Music is only a part of the whole experience. A gig has the opportunity to make memories for years to come. There’s a connection that can be made if you step that little bit further away than what was laid out in the rehearsal room. Memories can be created that can be brought screaming back years later when someone hears a song or steps into a room. The live show is everything.
I need to get out more, literally.
Laney’s Straight To Video EP – Power Pop Covers of your favorite Movie Soundtrack tunes – will be released on April 1st via TrashPit Records.