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Old 05-29-2013, 12:16 PM   #1
thorbor
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Stage Presence

So, I've read some guides and threads here on UG on stage presence, but I haven't found a lot of examples of it yet (not that I've been actively looking for them). I know the dos and don'ts in theory but I haven't seen it in practice yet, for a typical poprock band.

The reason I'm posting this thread is that it seems to me that a lot of people have different definitions of a good stage presence. While some people prefer rehearsed moves, others like to keep it simple and natural. From a couple of videos of local bands I've seen, it seems that almost all of them try to act "cool" on stage and while that might look cool enough if you're standing in the audience, it looks pretty bad on tape.

Anyway, I'd like to hear some people's opinions on this, preferably with some examples. I've just never really watched any dvd or live video of a pop band, usually just jazz fusion which has a different feel to it.
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:28 PM   #2
Myshadow46_2
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If the musician looks like they are enjoying themselves and they are playing their parts well enough then I'm not bothered if they are stood still or all over the place. Also, different types of music will call for a different type of stage presence. Just imagine the Beatles throwing down...
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:49 PM   #3
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It depends on the music. Not just the genre but each song. You wouldn't rehearse a synchronized windmill for any kind of ballad or soft passage. I generally try to move about on stage even if it's just turning around to another member or walk about the stage a bit. People are there to see a show. In addition, I always try to make sure to try and use my body language to emphasize different parts of a song. Headbang the heavy bits, look stoic during the ballads, a bit more eccentric during fast parts etc etc.

obvious-yet-often-over-looked-tip: Make sure you can still play your parts in conjuction with whatever your doing on stage. I used to over-do it and miss notes and frets all over the joint.
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Old 05-29-2013, 04:39 PM   #4
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I have moves that I do, but I never rehearse them. When the feeling hits, it hits. I just go up and have fun. Of course, I play metal, so my idea of stage moves is a lot of headbanging and running.
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:24 PM   #5
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Just go on youtube and have a look at some famous bands, maybe look at the rolling stones. You mentioned pop-rock bands, so maybe look at Good Charlotte, they have great stage presence. Or you could try Greenday, Matchbox 20 or blink 182, but I don't know if their stage presence is as good. But, when watching these videos you need to remember that they have a far bigger stage than you are likely to have, so some of the things that work for them may not work for you.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:47 PM   #6
thorbor
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Thanks for the comments so far, guys.

When I watch local or amateur bands, it always seems to be that they are playing by themselves. Even if people actually go out of their way to walk over to other bandmembers, it often feels forced to me, like, they are meeting up on stage for the sake of meeting up but it doesn't feel like they really have a connection, if that makes sense.

I guess what I'm afraid of is that when I'm on stage, I'd try to have as much interaction with my band as possible. By that I don't mean turning the back towards the audience like a Miles Davis, but instead just try to convey the image that there is "one band" on the stages and not "five musicians". Just don't know how to do that in a convincing way.
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Old 05-30-2013, 04:41 AM   #7
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Interacting with other band members doesn't have to be forced, it's easy enough to make it natural, especially if your band uses non-verbal communication. Like, toward the end of a solo, you might look toward the singer to tell him that the solo is over, or you might turn to look at the drummer at the end of the song so you end the song at the same time.
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:35 AM   #8
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I'm going to be crucified here, but unless you're punk or Black Metal or something, you should always be choreographing your performances to an extent. I recently worked with a band where the singer would actually tell us what to do, and this was a Metalcore band, he'd go through with us in practice when we'd jump, headbang, when we'd interact with other members, etc. In my main band (Celestial Wish), the stage show is a huge part of it, as local bands look so amateur when they stand there or do random, uncoordinated moves.

As for interacting with band members, I will say, please, please, don't overdo is. Stand back to back with the other guitarist during a harmonised part, go up to the singer, for God's sake, do not do half the gig facing the drummer. There is nothing more disrespectful and amateur than a bunch of musicians playing to each other.

If you want to make it seem like the band is a full unit, again, I'll be crucified, the image will make the band. Band's nowadays are getting signed based on their looks, and, no offense, but the greasy band of misfits playing Pop Punk and saying "We'll break the mould, they'll like us for their music!" isn't gonna get anywhere. If you all go up wearing different clothes, one guy's in black, the other's in a red wooly jumper, one's wearing denim, it will look like a few guys on stage. I'd recommend wearing clothes you wouldn't wear in an every day situation, dress like a performer, not a fan of a band (I'd say never wear a band t shirt on stage, but that's just me), go as over the top, or as small as you'd like, just stand out and look like you're in the same band, and that's most of the work done.

A band that stands out for me that I've seen recently is The Defiled, who've recently been signed, I've noticed that on big stages, they don't have a massive amount of interaction, you've got the keyboardist on the right smashing his keyboard up and sometimes singing, the singer/guitarist in the centre doing his thing, and the guitarist and bassist around the left, and the drummer in the back, but because the image is together, they look like they're in the same band, they're not exactly pop, but the idea is there.
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:37 PM   #9
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Nothing wrong with a bit of choreography. You practice your songs, why wouldn't you practice how you present yourselves on stage?
A lot of it does come from just playing a lot of shows. You learn to anticipate what your other bandmates do, and eventually you hopefully learn how to interact and make it look cool. But like anything else, it takes work and practice and honest criticism. Get somebody to film your shows, and then go through the tape, taking notes on what works and what doesn't.

Most important advice I ever got was to practice the same way you play. So try to recreate your stage show when you're rehearsing.
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Old 05-31-2013, 12:20 AM   #10
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Go watch some all time low or sum 41 or something and just see how they do it. They're both very active on stage and just get some ideas from that. But watch some of your favorite bands and see what they do, you don't have to copy them, but just see what is accepted in your genre.
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Old 06-01-2013, 01:38 PM   #11
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I like to just make it natural. A bop of the head or a tap of the foot is usually what starts off, and maybe I find myself headbanging or shaking to the music.

I feel weird when I jump around so I don't
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:24 AM   #12
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Something to be really careful of is to not look at another band and copy what they do. I see a lot of kids in metal bands who look like they've watched videos of bigtime metal bands and are doing what they do, but they're just doing it because they think they should, they lack any real conviction.

So I say, do things. If you're wondering whether or not you should do something, don't do it, because it will look half-assed. Just do what you feel, film yourself at a few gigs, watch it and figure what's good and what's not.

With positioning on stage, your feet are always pointed straight at the front of the stage, you're always square with it, unless you're actually walking to somewhere else. If you're sort of on an angle you look really unconfident and unsure, so take not of that. And either stand with your legs definitely apart, or touching. No standing with your legs sort of close together. The main thing is to be sure and confident in everything you do.

My two cents.
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:56 PM   #13
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^ Not really sure i agree with the positioning part here. If youre confident it will show regardless of which way you're facing. If you arent facing straight to the crowd but looking towards your band for assurance then yeah youll look uncomfortable.

I believe stage presence comes with confidence and you need to play shows and feel it to get there, it comes with time.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:37 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Aussie_skater
^ Not really sure i agree with the positioning part here. If youre confident it will show regardless of which way you're facing. If you arent facing straight to the crowd but looking towards your band for assurance then yeah youll look uncomfortable.

I thought this was true too, until I watched videos of myself turned slightly to my band mates, though I think I looked confident it just didn't look quite as good as straight ahead. But it probably depends on the type of music you're playing as well.
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:50 PM   #15
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It reeeeally doesn't matter what you do.
The point, in my opinion, would be doing something that keeps up with the music.
Do what you feel like, and that'll probably be cool.

I am the singer/rapper of a hip-hop rock band, and on stage I mimic the song's lyrics, and I dance shuffle.

Don't really know why, but the way I dance seems to be really appreciated by the crowd (more than my singing sometimes XP).

So, do something liberating, whatever it is, and people will feel that it's something you like to do ant that will be cool.
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