9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Complain about your schedule. Apparently people like that sort of thing.

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9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:23 am

I have mixed feelings about this so I'm curious how the rest of you feel.

Discuss your feelings.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby Lunkhead » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:27 am

It really depends for me. When I feel prepared and when I really personally enjoy and connect with the music then performing has been one of the most fun things I've done. Even though there were a lot of details and logistics that drove me crazy back when I played in Jonathan Mann's band, I enjoyed the music and the vibe and playing some of those shows made me really happy. I don't really enjoy performing if I feel unprepared or like it's not going to go well though, or if I go in feeling prepared then screw up a bunch. Also performing as the front/only person, which I've only done a few times, is still kind of terrifying . I much prefer being in the band.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby user » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:38 am

Beforehand might be a little nerve-wracking, although I typically have the easiest job in the band (drums). And afterward could possibly be disheartening, if I feel like we didn't do so great. But during the performance? Hell yes it makes me happy. Ecstatic even. Maybe if I played a real instrument like guitar or piano, or God forbid lead vocals, I'd feel differently? I dunno. For me it's a rush, it's a new drug every time. [EDIT:] The most terrifying, and the absolute worst, live performance I've ever done was at SFL Santa Cruz: just me singing, the gf (who didn't actually do anything, just stood on stage), and a theramin that I used like once. No rehearsal. In retrospect it was just embarrassing, but it was still a lot of fun to do at the time, no matter how nerve-wracking.
Last edited by user on Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby fluffy » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:39 am

I love performing live, but I'm also a control freak and Song Fight Live is often a stressful experience as a result. I wish I had a single actual band that I could rehearse and perform with.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:48 am

I just feel like it's either self-serving or thankless. I don't get very nervous at all. But when it's over I feel exhausted and wonder why I even bothered.

Song Fight Live is a different experience than typical gigs.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby Niveous » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:58 am

I'm split on performing live. I've been doing more open mic nights to get comfortable with being on stage. I still feel very anxious when I perform solo. But once I'm in a band situation, it's totally different. I think it's because I don't have to split my focus between singing and playing guitar. If I'm able just to go out and sing, my nerves suddenly go away. Take for instance my Come and Take It performance at Portland. The backing track came on too soon and the band totally missed the cue. If it was just me alone on stage, I probably would have taken that much harder. Having the support of Den, Mike & Roy, I rolled with that punch. So, to answer your question- performing solo gets me nervous and I wish I could feel happier about it while performing with others brings me great joy.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:14 pm

This is really fascinating.

I find it a lot more nerve-wracking to have a band.

Niv has a good point, in that I think doing guitar and vocals together allows me to excel at neither.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby Lunkhead » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:12 pm

Song Fight Live is definitely its own breed of live performance. You have to pick a balance between how much help/accompaniment you want on stage with you vs how much control you want to have over how prepared everybody is. The "pickup band" aspect of it is pretty deeply ingrained in the experience though. For some people it's the only time they may ever play music with others lives, or the only time they play their songs in a band, etc. It often yields fun unexpected results.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby fluffy » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:46 pm

So, back when Octothorpe were performing regularly, we'd also rehearse regularly, and that did make it a very different sort of thing. Which isn't to say it ever went particularly smoothly (due mostly to Maddog's ongoing shenanigans) but it was great fun to be able to just sit down and play my 2-3 mediocre drumbeats over and over again and then build up to Skyline and Zombie Son. I still have our standard set list ingrained in our brain, and after we did More Science at SFLive I was still expecting us to go directly into Dusty Plains. For example.

When I perform solo I do a lot better. Or at least I think I do. But many of my songs are too big for me to do alone. I've also had a couple of small Sockpuppet sets of me + Spud + random guest drummer and those went pretty okay.

Every year for SFLive I think I'll just do a solo set but then I think about how much fun it is to perform with others and how one of the greatest things about SFLive is just how people can do things together that wouldn't normally happen, and it's not like we're recording a live album or trying to get discovered by a talent scout or whatever.

But whenever I perform, SFLive or otherwise, I always end up thinking, "Man, I really gotta do this more."
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby glennny » Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:57 pm

Playing live is the best. My favorite part is the connection with the other band members. Especially if there are improvisational moments that magic happens and the zone is achieved. There's also quite a thrill when the audience mouths or sings along to words you've written. To me the worst part is booking the show, selling yourself to land the show. Lugging gear is a drag, I don't mind the physical labor, I most worry about theft.

performing makes me very happy.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby jb » Tue Sep 01, 2015 3:32 pm

I like to sing for people, and I like to sing in a band with people who are punching a song in the face. Typically that means I have to play along on guitar, though I think I'd do a better job if I didn't have to do that.

But I love being up there and performing a song to its utmost artistic potential. I don't feel like a showman though-- there's a local band where the singer/guitarist jumps on tables and stuff, and people seem to be really into that level of energy. I don't have that in me, but I do love to put it all out there, music-wise, in a performance.

There's a level of performance that you can reach where people just go "wow, what did I just see?"-- that's my ambition. The trick is to be able to realize when you're living such a moment, so that you can enjoy it with everyone else. That's a pretty advanced level of self-awareness.

And, I guess I should say, I am much more interested when it's my song that we're playing, or if I feel some investment in what we are communicating as a group. I don't have any interest in spending a lot of time learning cover songs, for example. The sheer act of performance isn't really what grabs me.


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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby iVeg » Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:03 am

It depends on the band, the music, and the people involved. I play out about once a month right now, easy bass and some BGVs. It's very fun.
If I have to play guitar, it's often to fill in last minute for someone else who's a much better guitarist. That's frustrating.
I don't play my own music anywhere.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby j$ » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:28 am

I like the idea but hate the reality of it. Better in a band but after years of playing one a week or so, I realised I just wasn't enjoying it - not so much nerves any more as just a sense of 'what's the point'? So I haven't played live since May and I don't really intend to again unless I get my 'vanity mojo' back :)

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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby tuuur » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:24 am

Performing solo does not make me happy. I feel like I am imposing my music on others, a feeling that I don't like at all.

Performing in a band is much better, although I am not the guy that people in the audience talk to.

All in all, it feels like I am playing music just for the music.
Because I myself like it; and not to entertain people.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:41 am

j$ is one person who echos my sentiment!

I wonder if it's an expectations thing? All of my stress happens after a show rather than before, and I don't quite know where it comes from.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby jb » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:49 am

tuuur wrote:Performing solo does not make me happy. I feel like I am imposing my music on others, a feeling that I don't like at all.


Are you playing in prisons or something?

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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby tuuur » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:02 am

jb wrote:
tuuur wrote:Performing solo does not make me happy. I feel like I am imposing my music on others, a feeling that I don't like at all.


Are you playing in prisons or something?


My last solo gig was in a cafe that specializes in Belgian beer.
I was booked as a singer songwriter together with two others, so I thought the audience would not be interested in covers.

I was wrong... when I played 99% of the audience talked so loud I couldn't barely hear myself.
Then the 3rd artist took the stage and played a *lot* of very well known covers. That caught the interest.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby fluffy » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:50 am

A common problem, unfortunately. When I was doing a regular gig in Seattle, people couldn't give two shits about my original songs, but whenever I did my shitty cover of Toxic people would completely perk up and be all WOOOO. And then every time I got on stage after that, people would just keep on cheering for Toxic before/during/after every song, and then when I finally played Toxic they'd be satisfied and go back to not paying attention to my music.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby Caravan Ray » Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:14 am

I love it.

Sitting in a bar right now in Brisbane about to play to a new crowd. Love it!
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby Caravan Ray » Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:30 am

But didn't always like it. I wasn't very good. I sort of think I am good enough now that I enjoy it.

My favourite performance in Portland was the only fluffy was there for. Good foot. That was cool
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby Caravan Ray » Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:09 am

Tough crowd tonight. Competing with Brisbane v Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs on the big screen. But went well, the Scraming Orgasm song usually does the job.
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Re: 9/1/2015 - does performing make you happy?

Postby jb » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:54 am

On the subject of people listening to you:

SITUATION:
A coffeehouse, or some other venue where there is another purpose
A group show with several other acts

REAL TALK:
Your songs have to grab these people viscerally in order for them to pay attention, because there is friction to overcome. You are essentially a busker without a hat. If you have a funny song, start with it. That cover of "Toxic"? Maybe start with that. If the crowd joins in and claps and is engaged-- then perhaps try one of your more serious songs. This is why Caravan Ray is getting good at playing out-- his set is full of songs about sex, in a funny and self-deprecating way. If I were to play a venue like this, I'd probably start with "Totally Diggin' Your Mom" or "Let's Get Naked" or something similarly amusing.

Even the largest bands deal with this all the time, if they play something like a festival or they do a corporate gig. They can't assume the crowd is there to hear them, and a large portion of the crowd won't be. I saw this with "Train" (who I don't like) at a conference a couple years ago. I saw this a couple days ago while watching the live stream from PAX-- Song Fight's favorite son MC Frontalot was playing, and I'd say only about half the crowd was into it-- everyone was there to see different people, some were there for MCF, others were waiting for Freezepop, etc. etc.

It's only if you are at a show where people are purposefully there to listen to YOU that you can play whatever you want and expect them to listen to you. That means your own show, or a Song Fight show (even that will be hit or miss of course).

Set your expectations appropriately and you'll have a better time. That even means playing those crappy coffeehouse shows-- you'll feel a lot better about them if you are only looking for that one person in the crowd that you didn't know who turned out to be paying attention. Getting a stranger to be interested in your music is a feat.

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