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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
reggie miles Daily gripe... Background music at gigs (46) RE: Daily gripe... Background music at gigs 29 Jan 10


Just played a relatively new open stage at a place where the manager turned up the canned music so loud beforehand that I could hardly hear my guitars to tune them before I got up to play. I was first on the list to play that evening. So, having to tune while on stage was a little annoying, not just to me but I'm certain to those listening too. Some folks just don't understand how to offer live music in their venues. They need to consult a professional about how best to feature it.

Maybe I've just found a new job description, "live music production consultant".

I also have to agree that offering the wrong kind of music before, after or in between an acoustic performance is presented is counterproductive to what will be appearing on stage. Fortunately, my performance was strong enough to counter the throbbing electronic disco that the manager saw fit to shove down our ears via his volume knob. He even asked for my contact info afterward.

I went to another relatively new open mic event that had the stage area in a corner near one of the exits. The bands played behind about a three and a half foot wall. So, if you stood while playing, the upper half of you could be seen over the wall alright but if you sit in a standard chair as I do when I play, don't count on getting any eye contact. Couple that kind of separation from the main body of the room with poor sound gear, no lighting and a giant flat screen tv with sports events playing right next to the stage area and you've got a recipe for sonic wallpaper. They might as well just play cds as have real folk offering their music in such an inhospitable environment.

I've played at venues where they saw no need to turn off their big screen sports tvs or even turn the volume down. Some still allowed customers to plug the juke box while I was offering my music. One place decided to allow the open kitchen area's radio to stay on and bleed into the space where I was being paid to entertain. I don't get it. If They're going to pay for live entertainment, why do they seem to do their level best to minimize it with so many other distractions, clacking pool balls, flashing video games, loud dart games, pinball games beeping, big screen tv sports droning?

Most musical events like open stages happen for about three hours a week. The venue pays a host to act a MC and handle all of the sound gear etc. The host usually puts the word out about the open mic and asks friends to come down to participate and offer their talents. I've noticed that many venues then won't allow that live music event to be the focus of that three hour time slot. They want to continue to feature all of the many other pleasant distractions that they normally offer their customers at the same time that they offer their live music event. Then, they wonder why the live music doesn't ever work or capture the attention of their customers. Duh!


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