Some things go without saying, I for one like my tea with sugar, but not seventeen spoons so that I’m left licking the inside of my mouth like some sort of crazed drug addict. I like a bit of vinegar and red stuff on my chips, but not so much that I find myself having to don a snorkel and armbands to reach those delicious crispy morsels at the end, only to be disappointed when I finally reach my soggy prize.
This tasty pretext aside, the same goes for experiencing live music. Without confidence, a band can come across as uninterested, and possibly even worse, amateur. However as much as stage presence is an essential ingredient to a great live performance, too much blatant choreography and self satisfying ego-boosting can really leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Some of the best performances I have witnessed have come across as so by being hugely boosted by the performers’ ability to portray the emotion of the music or lyric in exactly the right way. If a songs intent can be portrayed in a way that captures the audience’s attention and emotion, the audience, be it one man and his dog or a festival crowd will revel in the occasion.
A mistake that so often unfortunately happens is that someone will think stage presence means moving or acting in an unnatural way. So many times I have been watching a band intently, only for the inevitable solo to kick in and the guitarist in question to start acting as if he’s sodding king of the axe. Yes we know you can play that thing, and perhaps your hands can move faster than the average Joe 10 fingers, but the last thing I want to see is you standing legs akimbo with your tongue sticking out thinking you’re Zakk Wylde. As good as you are I will not be prepared to look at your stupid face while this disgraceful act of self indulgence is occurring.
If you’re playing as part of a band, the most important thing to remember is, well that you are part of a band. If the band is really into the music, playing off each other and seem as if they are feeling the emotion whether it’s heavy metal, folk or punk the audience will get it, they don’t want to feel awkward and embarrassed to be there.
As relieved as I feel to have gotten this out of my system, I know that sooner or later I will be standing in a crowd happily supping my tasty yellow beverage when the next episode of “look how great I am, who wants to touch me?” occurs, behave yourself and you will get a lot more respect from your peers. That’s right, peers.
Thanks for your time, and remember, I do not want to look at your stupid face!