First of all, apologies to any bands that may recognise themselves in this week's post. My intention isn't to offend, upset or criticise, but to mention something I experienced last week; if it helps get people turning out to support live music, and bands recognising the importance of putting on a professional show then that's got to be a good thing. Right?
Last weekend I was photographing a band called Luger Boa (you can check out those photos at Under the Radar, or the full set here). I went along with low expectations, having seen them before and not really getting into their sound; when I left the gig I'd changed my mind about them and have been talking them up all week.
I have to admit, I'm still not a huge fan of their sound, although they've improved since I saw them a couple of years ago (I don't know what it is about the music I'm not getting; it's balls to the wall rock n' roll, and that normally does it for me). What changed my opinion of them was their incredibly professional live performance.
Watching them, I was reminded of how important good stage presence is to a band, to the point that a band that lacks it doesn't tend to go very far or last very long. Luger Boa knew how to work the crowd; before they even started they had someone come out and announce them with the declaration that "most people will only ever experience one truly great moment in their lives, and this is one of them". The whole set they never stopped moving and, most importantly, they looked like they were loving every minute of it.
Contrast that with a "new band" night I went to earlier in the week. While the music was good and the bands played well, for the most part there was little movement from the bands, not a lot of audience interaction and in one case the drummer got up as the band was starting and went to get a drink from the bar.
The audience tends to reflect the energy and interest of the band on stage. A band that appears disinterested in their audience and doesn't involve them tends to lose the interest of the audience. Live bands perform because they want to play in front of an audience, if they don't treat that audience with respect, then it's likely to be reciprocated. Conversely, put on a great show, be energetic, involve people, and even if your music still needs work you'll probably find your fan base grows quickly as people share their experiences and do the hype work for you.
Have you seen any bands that put on a great show that left you buzzing? Or saw a band you thought were going to be great, only to find that they were a let down live because they lacked energy of presence? Drop us a comment below telling us about it (you don't have to name the bands if you don't want to)...