Managing distractions on stage

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Flat6Driver, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    It's inevitable of course, but how you do manage to contend with the 900 distractions when you're playing live? I mean ladies (please only ladies) flashing or throwing underwear on stage, drunk people, etc.

    Had a gig last week and it went great. Lots of friends of my band mate their (I brought nobody, LOL). We had the usual stuff going on, but were on a stage and it was easy to not get distracted by the crowd. Did my signing, since I was up higher, I could look over people's heads and focus on delivering my lyrics and my guitar playing.

    Last night I played an open mic. Acoustic in a bar for about 20 minutes. It was more crowded than last week when I was also there. So the list of distractions: The host retrieving his guitar while I was almost about to start to add a new battery (knew this was coming), the drunk guy prepping for his set by preening in the mirror that was to my left, the cajon player asked to join and I was OK with it, but he had a rough time catching the groove so his timing was off, a wedding party rolls in and one of the guys offered me a Kazoo. I picked a few songs that were well known and saw a lot of folks signing along so that was cool, but when I'm trying to recall the lyrics (and the missing chord on one) I'm always a little nervous about the distractions. Then of course, because I'm in the hot light by myself and so concern about my "stagecraft" I'm thinking about the next song in the middle of the current song (this I need to stop).

    I know it's all part of live experience, but there must be some wisdom out there to share.
     
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  2. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I just think about the music: it's inside this little circle, like making a little fire

    no fire, nobody eats

    etc
     
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  3. Rockerfeller

    Rockerfeller Tele-Meister

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    That's got to be tough at a solo acoustic show! I don't have a lot of experience with that one. With the band, I ALWAYS have people come up and try to talk with me during a song. I've had them come up while I'm playing the intro to Sweet Child of Mine to ask me a question. Not once! Easily 12 times. Are you for real? The way I deal with that now is I walk away from wherever they are (I'm not the lead singer). I'm stage right, so I'll go hang out with our other guitar player on stage right until they go away.

    You can't do that at an solo gig. If it was really bad, I might just close my eyes and keep playing the rest of the song. If you can't see the distractions, maybe they won't impact you as much? Plus, people will think your really dialed into the performance zone!
     
  4. kbold

    kbold Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Must be doing OK to have this kind of distraction. Whatever you're doing is working IMO.
     
  5. Alamo

    Alamo Doctor of Teleocity

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    ^^A sudden outburst of Pete Townshend'ism should keep them off your back.
    even with an acoustic guitar :lol:

    Pete Townshend.jpg

    and don't forget the windmill ;)
     
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  6. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    While performing, I'm too worried about screwing up to be distracted by anything else ... Call it concentration, if you like ...
     
  7. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Holic

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    This. Granted I haven’t logged as much stage time as some of you guys, but even at practice (but especially at gigs), my focus on the song at hand is so intense, by the end of the session, I’m soaked in sweat.
     
  8. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've been gigging for over fifty years (since Jr High School) I've NEVER had a lady/woman/girl flash me or throw underwear onstage.....but I still have hope.
    My preferred solution to any other distractions is to just know my material so well that it's almost automatic.
     
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  9. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    Hi,

    Once, when I was younger, stupid & drunk (not stupid cos drunk - stupid + drunk :oops:), I was in an audience and up against a chest high stage, and I tried to tie the shoe laces of both of the guitarist’s shoes together. Almost had it when he realised and shuffled awkwardly away.

    When I woke up the next day, through the haze and headache, I reflected that I was lucky the guitarist wasn’t me - as I’d have kicked myself in the face. :mad:

    Pax/
    Dean (the older, moderately more sensible, slightly responsible version)
     
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  10. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I do close my eyes a bit, so much so my wife used to razz me about it. I use that to visualize the page from which I learned it. I get really familiar with the chord chart or whatever I learned the song from and picture it in my mind. Sometimes.

    The distractions didn't really throw me off (as many as there were) but I really noticed everything going on last night.
     
  11. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    When I was getting back into playing a few years ago, I would attend this open mic/jam thing. It was at a Best Western hotel bar on a Thursday night. The highway crew would be staying there along with other locals dropping by. They would part-tay. I was jamming with the other two musicians that showed up. There were a couple of ladies that would dance together. And yes, flesh came out. They were heavy gals, so it was a lot of flesh! So it does happen.
     
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  12. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    A few observations from 40 plus years of playing and singing in front of people (without regard to whether I always did it well):

    1. It's relatively easy in a band situation to fight through the distractions and play/sing well. You're onstage. Or maybe even on the floor in a corner. But even if the fight on the "dance floor" is threatening to knock down your mic stands or you're wishing you had chicken wire like the Blues Brothers or Roadhouse movies (this does happen), you and the band can keep going.

    2. Acoustic solo is tougher. It's just you and your guitar/banjo/accordion/autoharp/whatever you play. places that pay people to do acoustic solo usually have nice/polite crowds, even if they're not really there to listen to the music. Open mics can be great; or can be a trainwreck. A couple years ago, after going from playing blues clubs and festivals to playing in church, I wanted to work on acoustic solo material again. So I started finding some open mics to play. One place in particular was so bad--people dropping and breaking glasses, or throwing up--ten feet from the stage--that I quit going there.

    Focus on your material and trying to play and sing it right while also reading the room. If the place is bad enough--find someplace else to go. They're not paying you.
     
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  13. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I welcome almost all the distractions offered at my gigs.
    Sometimes they take the focus off some less than stellar performances.
    Sometimes they are very entertaining.
    I still play a few rowdy, drunk (not me), loud gigs.
    Most of my gigs are civilized and polite, so the ones with extra distractions are fun, by comparison.
    I’ve seen some really weird, violent, and shocking things in my 46 year run.
    I’ve seen fights, nudity, horsemanship (twice), guns pulled, assaults, and all manner of verbal abuse.
    I have largely managed to survive and rise above it, so far.
    “Barworld” is a strange place.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
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  14. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I felt the same way when I was working. Nothing like a little crowd dustup to get a set going.
     
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  15. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    my college girlfriend threw her bra onstage once

    it might even have been at me

    I appreciated the support, because she needed it
     
  16. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    this is where howling feedback is the best thing in the world. especially when you keep it going between songs.
     
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  17. L.A. Mike

    L.A. Mike Tele-Afflicted

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    Ignore the distractions and do your thing. And interact with the people who are paying attention to you.
    What you have described is normal.
    I could tell you about playing with my band and opening for a couple of major acts we were stupidly paired with by booking agents. A couple of them were great bands, but we had nothing in common with them stylistically. The audiences were angry that there was an opening act to begin with. The verbal insults started before the first notes were played, heckling and insults were coming from lots of people, things were being thrown at us, some of them dangerous. The booing drowned out our singer and he had his mic jerked out of his hand by the cable and pulled into the abyss never to be seen again.
    Rock and Roll!!!
     
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  18. rosellem

    rosellem TDPRI Member

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    Since I use in ears I feel like I am in my own little world anyway. Now that I said that i'm sure something will happen that distracts me at next Saturdays Halloween show!
     
  19. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    if we are mentally prepared and "SELF" rehearsed, there are very few things that are really distractions, they are "entertainment" for us !
     
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  20. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Imagine it's the ninth inning ... Tie game ... Two outs ... You're at bat ... Championship game ... The Crowd is wild ... You are facing one of the best, toughest pitchers in the game ... Now what ??? ... You concentrate and believe in your ability and skill ... Then you hit a homer off the second deck ... Or not ...
     
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