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Dilemma, how to tell your singer that it’s down to her why we don’t get big gigs

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by SachaPlusDeluxe, May 13, 2014.

  1. Buzzardeater

    Buzzardeater Tele-Holic

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    It sounds to me like the guy was trying to say she lacks dynamics. It's hard to quantify. It is possible to hit the notes but not drive the song.

    What does the band look like, recorded live?

    A band I know went off the boil because their singer, unbeknownst to them, had gained weight. It affected her confidence and she quit really belting it out and became a frontman that hides from attention. I am not suggesting your singer is like that, just that these things can be complex and layered.
     
  2. krisls

    krisls Tele-Holic

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    Lot's of good posts and a couple in particular say most of it and well. I will say that being alone up front on a stage, expected to carry the show is a great place to find your insecurities and they can get loud.

    Do you guys back her up? All show enjoyment and glad to be here-ness? Lean into the mic and back her, smile across stage? Do you lay back and leave her too it? Song choices can make or break too.

    It's tough from a distance but you really need to be objective and look at stuff closely. Sounds like your 3/4's of the way there, just need a little up front work and plenty of solid back up. A quiet chat first then maybe a band get together sans bitchiness, guys do that just as well as girls just in a different key.

    Good luck with it I'm sure it can work out.

    Kristina
     
  3. greytop

    greytop Tele-Holic

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    This
     
  4. Stefanovich

    Stefanovich Tele-Holic

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    The second to last band I was in had a good (but not great) singer who was a GREAT frontman. People loved our gigs and we always had more offers to play than we could accept. The last band I was in, the singer was good and had really great character in his voice, but he was a terrible front man. We had problems getting gigs and it was only after we pushed him to start interacting with the crowd in a fun and positive way that we began to be better received as a band. As far as I am concerned, for any band, there needs to be a great frontman and that person is usually the singer. If your singer is serious about being in a band, she will work on her rapport with the audience. It will feel weird and forced at first, but eventually she will get better at it, and both you and your audiences will be happier for it.
     
  5. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

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    it helps if the band isn't farting around between songs. bang bang bang.
     
  6. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    the guy told you what he told you.
    Is he right? (insert your real thoughts here)
    Are there parts he didn't say about, say, YOU? (you may have a sense of that)

    I like the idea of having a band meeting and saying
    "Gang, I talked to the booker at X club and he gave me some feedback as to why we aren't getting gigs"

    Ask if they want to hear his suggestions.. if they say yes, say "Okay, lets see this as someone who likes us and wants us to succeed, so, lets NOT be defensive....

    Then say, "WE need to project more, bring the energy up, better stage presence and stagecraft, we need to be excited to be up there, improve our between song connection and to work the audience more effectively... in solo sections, whether we are singing or playing if we are soloing we need to be present and clearly in charge of the moment."

    Then shrug and say, "This sounds simple. Maybe we should do a rehearsal where we pretend it is a gig, lets workout our set list and what we are going to say and how we are going to go GRAB that audience. Whaddya think?"

    If you are a band, you dont single out. If she is retiring and not stepping out and up... it may be that the rhythm section isn't driving the music and that is making her tentative.

    My son backed someone the other night and the girl had pitch problems and he complained about it and I said, "she lost her sense of the melody and that drove the pitch problems. You guys didn't rehearse enough and when you were playing I didn't sense you were 'singing the song' just kind of 'following her' which she needed that guitar to drive her and lead her..."

    I think it surprised him because he appeared to play just right, but I meant it. Music is a team game, you win as a team, you lose as a team. Own it together, the non musician booker is seeing the symptom not the illness.
     
  7. NiceTele

    NiceTele Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been in this situation a few times with great, but timid singers who don't naturally have a lot to say. We shared the talking load around on stage..make sure at least a couple of the band other than the singer have a mic set up so you can talk amongst yourselves. Comment on the song you last played, or the one you are about to play etc.
    I used to make lighthearted general comments to the bass player, drummer and singer who would respond back and also included comments to the audience, who would respond as they saw the band was enjoying themselves- and that seems to endear a band to an audience...and venue management.
     
  8. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    This reminds me of the first version of the first proper band I was in. One of our first proper gigs was videoed by a friend. We were so nervous of our playing it showed in our on stage presence. We were rooted to the spot, not moving, not smiling, stiff and anxious looking, except for one guy. He was by far the worst musician in the band, but he jigged and jived and looked alive, and was enjoying himself.

    Once I saw that, I started to make a deliberate effort to move about as if I were enjoying myself even if I was feeling uptight. And once you do that you DO start to loosen up and enjoy yourself. This is a big part of the audience reaction. Most of them listen with their eyes!

    How does your singer look on stage? Does she move and groove to the music? Do the rest of you do that? Stage patter may not be needed beyond some basic song introductions. Maybe you guys just need to look alive when you're playing. You don't necessarily have to do the friendly, jocular stuff. Stage presence can be a bit of swagger and atti-toode ... can be dark and moody, depending on the kind of music you do.
     
  9. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    Right on the money.
    You are going to let a club manager, one with not a ton of experience tell you how to run your band?
    No no no.
    This is a band problem , don't isolate one person as the issue, especially your vocalist, whom I assume you need.
    Being a front man/person is a job, just like being a drummer or guitarist, except that it takes you away from the music, off the stage to deal with your audience.
    Has to be done.
    Learn how to relate from the stage, speak to your audience in a friendly, respectful manner. Keep it light, don't ask them what they want, tell them what you're going to do.
    Your idea of going to see other bands with good front people to analyze what they are doing is how you handle this issue.
    Strategize, think, practice, act.
     
  10. Chritty

    Chritty Tele-Afflicted

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    Do you have any footage of you guys performing??

    Engaging with the audience between songs can be everyone's responsibility, not just the singer's. Anyone can have a mic setup for them. If there is someone who is better at it than the singer then they can really stop the awkward, cringe-worthy moments
     
  11. Kingpin

    Kingpin Friend of Leo's

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    If you have personalities that mesh, and everyone has roughly the same competence on their instruments---that is something to hang on to!

    Enjoy what each person brings to the table... for ANY player in the band you could probably find a more skilled replacement, but that isn't the point of being in a band with people you like. Do what you can to improve the band on a "WE" level.
     
  12. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

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    Fronting a band is hard work and takes some experience to do well. There's a lot more to it than just singing. Give her time to mature and give her help on stage (yes, the guitar player is allowed to speak to the audience between songs) and guidance off stage. Stage presence is an acquired skill to appear natural to the audience and should involve all members of the band, not just the singer.
     
  13. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    One strategy is to acknowledge how great a certain performance went on a given song, set, or gig. You could then start talking about ways in which the band can more consistently reach those heights. Always talk about us and we, rather than you and yours.
     
  14. Kustom250

    Kustom250 TDPRI Member

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    This.

    I play in bands because I like the people first, the music next and the gigs after that.

    Only you can decide if that order is important to you.

    What you do totally depends on what order you put those things. If getting the big gigs is the most important dump the friend and get a real front person.

    If the people are the most important part then you have to deal with being the band you are. People can improve but I don't think you can really turn them into people they're not.
     
  15. Zillinois

    Zillinois Friend of Leo's

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    Be honest. You are all grown-ups, right?
     
  16. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Suuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrre they are.
     
  17. SachaPlusDeluxe

    SachaPlusDeluxe Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for all the comments guys I sorted it last night, I brought it up with my friend, our singer, before practice in a nice way without being harsh then we all discussed it later and our bassist who is very confident is going to help with fronting the band.
     
  18. Chritty

    Chritty Tele-Afflicted

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    Cool. Keep us updated with the band's progress!!!
     
  19. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    Im in a similar situation. I was told by a few people that it was our female singer that was limiting us. But I knew she had pipes. You could hear them in some songs. This was even though the other guitarist was singing more as we went and was definitely the weaker singer. The other guitarist was also the main leader of the band and better at front man banter. Not great but better than our female singers banter. She came from Karaoke with those related std problems.
    So I never told her about the criticism and just lived with it as she slowly grew. We are all slowly growing so fair enough. Well recently we lost the drummer and the core leader rhythm guitar/singer. We really were stumbling as I worked on my vocals and band leadership and our female singer worked on band song leadership. And with out our former leader as a crutch we both have really grown. I always thought our singer could be good and as she is taking ownership of the band with me we are both getting somewhere. She is winding up songs with flair and command. I suspect her presence will be better. I love the idea of writing banter out. Its bound to help and add to confidence that makes a great front person. She is getting her voice and I am finding mine. And our new guitarist is a very solid singer.
    And as a bonus we did a 3 part harmony the last few weeks that blew our socks off.
    Our sound guy was there and he perked up like the RCA dog and then went twiddling knobs like he finally had a reason to. This wasn't happening until the structure change.
    So follow lots of the good advice here as will I. I am going to look at adding acting to our stage. You don't need to be self conscious if you are playing a character. At practice I'm going to start having us write characters. The cool guy, the cheap guy, the nervous guy, the ditzy guy, whatever. I'm a natural shy introvert so at a series of parties I set to play the part of the outgoing party guy. It didn't drain me so much because "it wasn't me". I got so good at it friends were threatening to cancel parties I couldn't go to because I (or my character) made the party. It was crazy. I'm going to try this with the band.
    That and the 3 part harmonies should jump us up 3 levels.
     
  20. Kyluckyman

    Kyluckyman Tele-Holic

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    Why not video tape a show or shows and review them for what was done right and identify areas for improvement? What could be done to make it better for the audience?
     
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