guitar_mad_ali
COBHC
Join date: Apr 2005
804 IQ
#1
My band have been gigging regularly the past year and now we're doing our first small tour so stage prescence and our attitude is more important than ever.

For some stupid reason I studied a Popular Music BTEC (english qualification, 18-19yrs) and they showed us things like planning moves on stage and ques for the other band members to say "Im going to come across to this side of the stage" and blanacing the stage.

I've never discussed this with the band, I think they'd be open to try it I'm just not sure if it'd stick. Does anyone here have these kinds of routines, real planned out stage choreography? Do you know anywhere I could find resources that would help plan these out?
Thanks UG!
shreddymcshred
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2009
306 IQ
#2
If you don't practice like you will perform, you are cheating yourselves out of the comfort of knowing what to do. There's something to be said about spontaneity, but this could end in disaster.

If you have your old books or notes from that course, you should start there. I don't have any other sources for you, but I do believe you have a good idea.
TNA
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2005
1,056 IQ
#3
Unless you are the Backstreet Boys I don't think you'll be choreographing your performance. People run around and do stuff on stage because they are up on a stage and they are pumped up. Of course there's certain songs where you will usually do the same move or whatever. There are several well known bands that have bad stage presence. As long as the singer is moving that's good enough, everyone else is icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.
scguitarking927
Time for a revolution
Join date: Oct 2007
1,627 IQ
#4
Quote by TNA
Unless you are the Backstreet Boys I don't think you'll be choreographing your performance. People run around and do stuff on stage because they are up on a stage and they are pumped up. Of course there's certain songs where you will usually do the same move or whatever. There are several well known bands that have bad stage presence. As long as the singer is moving that's good enough, everyone else is icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.


+1

I hate detailed choreography, especially when everyone does exact the same thing or copies other bands. *cough* metal bands
guitar_mad_ali
COBHC
Join date: Apr 2005
804 IQ
#5
I agree in that an entirely choreographed set would look terrible, much akin to the backstreet boys! And that spontanious-ness is desirebale. I think that having a thing or two planned out though would help get the other guys in the band moving when normally they dont.
guitar_mad_ali
COBHC
Join date: Apr 2005
804 IQ
#6
Quote by shreddymcshred
If you don't practice like you will perform, you are cheating yourselves out of the comfort of knowing what to do. There's something to be said about spontaneity, but this could end in disaster.


this is good advice
Aussie_skater
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2007
77 IQ
#7
Quote by scguitarking927
+1

I hate detailed choreography, especially when everyone does exact the same thing or copies other bands. *cough* metal bands


I agree with you but im not sure about the copies other bands part, especially for metal bands... there's only so much you can with metal and head-banging. Of course that whole crab style head banging has been copied and done to death.

Still you should try to get more movement in the band when praticing and it will come naturally when performing. Don't forget that some of the simplest things can look good, for example if you have two guitarists solo-ing with their backs leaning against each others centre-stage.
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krypticguitar87
thats that...
Join date: Aug 2010
673 IQ
#8
Quote by TNA
Unless you are the Backstreet Boys I don't think you'll be choreographing your performance. People run around and do stuff on stage because they are up on a stage and they are pumped up. Of course there's certain songs where you will usually do the same move or whatever. There are several well known bands that have bad stage presence. As long as the singer is moving that's good enough, everyone else is icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned.

tbh I don't think TS is talking about coreographing their set but more talking about certian things ahead of time, if a guitarist chooses to swing his guitar over his shoulder, everyone should know, because people not knowing is how they get smashed in the face.

the band should have little signs (things that the audience won't really notice) to give eachother for things like "I want to move over there", or "I'm gonna do [insert move here] so you should give me some space" things like that make your show run smoother and it's less likely that someone gets hurt.
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cheapr2keepr
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2007
123 IQ
#9
My best prep comes from being ABSOLUTELY expert in your music such that you don't have to think at all about playing the music correctly. You will then be less likely to get distracted by doing stage moves to F up your music.

Depending on your music style, stage moves might be expected. There is nothing wrong with planning or ripping off established moves, as long as it "looks" like it was completely natural and organically derived.

Don't forget the important logistics, like eqipment limitations or stage boundaries. You'd hate to have your guitar unplug in the middle of a solo or dislocate/break something because you fell off the stage. Because of this, planning is a must.
Pandawithapick
Registered User
Join date: Aug 2009
289 IQ
#10
Like most things, the answer to this, is going to be somewhere in the middle. While choreographing dance moves is pretty lame, its good to plan some things ahead of time. I see nothing wrong with planning ahead of time when someone does a jump, or certain parts of a song where one member crosses the stage. Not that you need to plan any of this, but I don't see a thing wrong with it.
sonny bb
UG's New-ish Guy
Join date: Apr 2007
2,041 IQ
#11
IT all depends on how you feel in the music. Someone said something about the crabcore thing. When you get to the point of choreographing a reaction to your music, it loses something.


that said, don't try to windmill the guitar out of nowhere.
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jpatan
UG's only REAL Llama
Join date: Sep 2009
1,736 IQ
#12
Quote by Aussie_skater
Don't forget that some of the simplest things can look good, for example if you have two guitarists solo-ing with their backs leaning against each others centre-stage.




Seriously? Every time I see a band do this, I cringe. In terms of cheesy cliche rock and roll moves, it falls right in between 2 guys singing into the same mic, and when the whole band lines up doing "the stab" move with their guitars in unison.

I don't go to a show for all the crazy theatrics on stage. If the singer has energy, and the guitarists don't just stand there staring at the fretboard I'm good.
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Cowless
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2010
307 IQ
#13
There are two rules when it comes to stage presence; 1. Be a good dancer. 2. Look at your audience.

You should practice doing both.
KORRUSK
METAL!
Join date: Jul 2011
544 IQ
#14
For stage presence, just be entertaining and have fun. Don't overthink it, just try to let loose and open up to your audience.
You Ruined It
I play the gee-tar.
Join date: Feb 2010
708 IQ
#15
The important thing in my opinion is to groove to the music, no matter what genre. If you're feeling it and you're moving it then that's good. Also it doesn't hurt to know the song backwards and forwards you can concentrate on listening to the others than yourself.

My bandmates are actually really good with stage presence with the exception of the co-guitarist who gets really stiff unless I make him look at me jump around or something. And most of us (myself included) have to work on facial expressions and smile more.
mrbabo91
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2010
1,819 IQ
#16
Quote by Cowless
There are two rules when it comes to stage presence; 1. Be a good dancer. 2. Look at your audience.

You should practice doing both.


Be a good dancer ?

Really
seljer
UG Resident
Join date: Apr 2005
1,381 IQ
#17
Quote by jpatan


Seriously? Every time I see a band do this, I cringe. In terms of cheesy cliche rock and roll moves, it falls right in between 2 guys singing into the same mic, and when the whole band lines up doing "the stab" move with their guitars in unison.

I don't go to a show for all the crazy theatrics on stage. If the singer has energy, and the guitarists don't just stand there staring at the fretboard I'm good.

This is slightly unrelated to this thread but I was watching this yesterday and I think it managed to cover every single one of those clichés you listed and probably a couple more (i.e. the longest choreographed outro ever) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnZM1CzQF8Y&list=UUdbJCOYEJ5Z9hlx2jXX5ulg&index=25&feature=plcp <- however there is a moment there when they go for the two singers on one mic thing and one of them can't get to the microphone because the other is standing in front, I think thats more like the thing the TS was asking about
timfleur1987
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2011
108 IQ
#18
My god Seljer, that was... something. The outro, the stabs, and the solo.. 'classic'.

But TS honostly, just be yourself on stage. Move to the music, try to be at ease, and enjoy yourself. When you can show your audiance you are having a good time at playing music and you're not standing there stiff as a board, it will catch on. Choreography just gives you one more thing to worry about on stage.

And I'dd like to add, in addition to what I've said before, its important that your band acts and looks like a whole. My band has a keyboard player who barely moves during live gigs, but since we automaticly invlove him in the show, he doesn't 'stick out'.
yoman297
hi
Join date: Oct 2010
1,476 IQ
#19
I think about cool things I'm going to do when I go up on stage and keep those in mind. Every time I play a song in my cover band it's the last time I play that song, so I try to make it good.
QuantumMechanix
UG isn't that helpful
Join date: Aug 2007
2,577 IQ
#20
Interesting topic. I don't think there's anything wrong with some choreography, as long as it's not like a constant thing throughout the song. It's cool when there's like a synchronized band stomp or a part in the song where everyone jumps. I was thinking of doing some of that with my band. Here's a local band from my area that I think does choreography right. (It's djenty hardcore metal stuff, sorry if it's not your thing)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-VquUNzwtE
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Mithaearon
Grunger
Join date: Aug 2006
119 IQ
#21
How much preperation do we put in to our live performance?

Absolutely none apart from making sure we have the songs down pat. We don't practice "throwing our moves" or any such nonsense. That would be fake. We make sure we know the songs, know the set get up there and play. Let the music take us and go with the flow. Sometimes you can over think things.
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sputnik,mi.amor
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2011
21 IQ
#22
Well, there are some kind of moves that doesnt require any practice and anyone can do, but there are also moves that require more planneation, whoever tells you that you should not practice you in-stage performance is lying to you or does have an incredible inborn-histrionic skill, remember that when you are performing in live you are not only a musician but also an entertainer, and you MUST entertain your audience otherwise they will be out saying "well that was boring although the guitar player sounded good"
StageMasters
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2013
32 IQ
#23
Actually, not preparing your show is 70% of why so many bands get dropped by their labels even being signed. Many artists are great in studio and can get a very descent album with a very descent production but when it comes to stage, they have no idea how to engage the crowd, how to communicate within the band, how to share energy with the crowd, what to do if something goes wrong, how to enhance the impact of their songs with stage presence etc. Most of these guys will simply play their songs on a stage like if they were playing for themselves and will get an audience overwhelmed with boredom.
Every artist or band should rehearse his songs for the musicality but should also include rehearsals with the stage set up and, as foolish as they may look, rehearse their show like if they were performing for an audience, including outfit, interaction with band members, interaction with the imaginary audience and get it done without stopping (like if it was the real show). I advise you to film it and watch it together with the band to see what should be corrected, changed or enhanced.
Any band serious with his career should proceed that way.

Cheers and good luck

StageMasters
Addonexus408
Bay Area Thrash
Join date: Nov 2011
77 IQ
#24
The only preparation we make before we go on stage is what side of the stage we are gonna be on.
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CelestialGuitar
Celestial Wish Guitarist
Join date: Nov 2011
518 IQ
#25
Quote by StageMasters
Actually, not preparing your show is 70% of why so many bands get dropped by their labels even being signed. Many artists are great in studio and can get a very descent album with a very descent production but when it comes to stage, they have no idea how to engage the crowd, how to communicate within the band, how to share energy with the crowd, what to do if something goes wrong, how to enhance the impact of their songs with stage presence etc. Most of these guys will simply play their songs on a stage like if they were playing for themselves and will get an audience overwhelmed with boredom.
Every artist or band should rehearse his songs for the musicality but should also include rehearsals with the stage set up and, as foolish as they may look, rehearse their show like if they were performing for an audience, including outfit, interaction with band members, interaction with the imaginary audience and get it done without stopping (like if it was the real show). I advise you to film it and watch it together with the band to see what should be corrected, changed or enhanced.
Any band serious with his career should proceed that way.

Cheers and good luck

StageMasters


I'd definitely agree with this. I don't mean to be rude, but I think you have to take people's advice with a pinch of salt, because every day you see bands who know exactly what they're doing on stage and have choreographed it, and they're absolutely huge. Iron Maiden don't exactly go "This is feeling god, lets bring out a 10ft tall mascot that we were umming and ahing on whether to use before the show and hope that whoever's controlling him makes him go to decent places", and then there are bands like U2 who'll have very particular staging and light shows to highlight certain parts. Ever seen a stage go dark with the singer highlighted as he or she sings a soft part? Choreography. One of the best bands I've seen live is Hell, they choreograph their entire stage show, get costumes ready, place instruments in the right place, and they put so much work into putting across their act that you believe it.

It may sound 'fake' or 'totally not cool bro', however, you'll never be signed if you go on stage with Pantera T Shirts and waddle about the stage. A stage show much be tight, precise and memorable, as much as you may not want to believe it, a crowd won't care about your music. They will care about the atmosphere, the energy, the spectacle and the interaction. Even if you 'feel the music', you will just look like you're inviting the crowd to a rehearsal, so a degree of choreography must be done. I've even seen punk bands who say things like 'In this part of the song, the singer always does this', and that's choreography. You mention bands like Backstreet Boys, and while that isn't what you want to do, it's very professionally performed, and they're making money. In my opinion, there's no difference between playing a concert and performing in a musical, or play, or opera, in all cases, people must believe what you are putting across, they must be engaged by it in some way, and it must entertain, if I wanted to hear my favourite band, I'd listen to their CD. When I go to their concert, I want to see them play the music in real life, and it's a bloody disappoint if they bore me to death with their poor stage presence.
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StageMasters
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2013
32 IQ
#26
Couldn't agree more with you CelestialGuitar!!
A show is not only about music. It is made to stimulate our senses. It's a physical experience for your eyes, your ears, your taste (with the drinks), the touch (clapping the hands), the smells etc... a show is an emotional and physical journey for both the audience and the performers. Whatever style is played, a concert needs to bring extra dimensions than only the music. Those who are aware of this can really make a career in this business. The others, unfortunately, miss a chance to do so!!


StageMasters
D..W..
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2012
21 IQ
#27
Quote by CelestialGuitar
Iron Maiden don't exactly go "This is feeling god, lets bring out a 10ft tall mascot that we were umming and ahing on whether to use before the show and hope that whoever's controlling him makes him go to decent places.


Iron Maiden is a good example of an extremely coreographed, precisely planned, and incredibly amazing performance. Bruce Dickinson doesn't just get lucky with timing when he throws his hands up in the air at the same time as those 50 ft flames go up behind him. And Eddie surely came out during Run To The Hills during every show in the Maiden England tour (the latest one, which I saw). I don't know really if Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Steve Harris knew where they were going when they ran around stage, but probably. That stage was the same for every show in the tour. And still, the stage presence is really unmatched.

I don't think it's wrong to leave some improv space when you perform- but at the very least have an idea of what's going to happen. Set list, for sure. Know what songs you're going to play and when, and have an idea of what you think would look good during certain songs or even parts of songs. Like CelestialGuitar said, things like the stage getting dark and vocalist getting spotlighted during a soft part of a song. I personally wouldn't want to plan every move I make, but depending how awesome you want to make your concert, you may need to. That 20 ft guy on stilts or robot or whatever it is really doesn't just come out at random, and people happen to love it when he pops out of a tank or smashes some guitars (that one always made me wince. Poor guitars ^_^ )- and how planned is that? They obviously had a fake tank for him to pop out of and couple guitars off-stage, ready to get smashed.

Small stage, you may not have much space to do crazy stuff. That makes stage presense really important. Get good at interacting with the crowd, with the band, with everything. Make sure your sound is dialed, but do remember that the performance is everything. I hate rap, and I've found myself enjoying it when they were standing on stage in front of me.

Some bands add spontaneity by doing stuff like inviting people on stage to play their instruments for a cover (usually after sifting through two of three people who obviously can't do it. And this clearly is a bad idea in a small space. Out of 50 people, you'd be hard-pressed to make it work. Green Day does it, but god only knows how big their crowd is. I'd say a couple hundred, couple thousand people and you could pull something like that off relatively easy). Or even give some space to improvise with the band (let the crowd know what you're going to do though), and just let them enjoy that it's something totally new. For an audience member, it's a cool feeling to witness one of your favorite writing music in front of you, even if they never again play the riffs you heard. I've seen local rock bands invite their friends (guitarists, beatboxers, vocalists etc) and totally elevate a place with a completely new jam.

There are obviously hundreds of tips and ideas that people will give but I think this is another thing that boils down to practice and finding your style. Some things will just work for you, some won't. Maybe you want to plan the whole thing down to the step, maybe you want to do something you've never done before. You'll find what works for you and what defines your stage presence. But just remember that it's possible to have no stage presence and bore an audience with a dead, predictable show. So change it up, and keep it new, but do know what you're going to do beforehand.
Last edited by D..W.. at Jan 19, 2013,
Punk_Ninja
Orianthi fanboy.
Join date: Mar 2006
4,555 IQ
#28
A lot of people seem to go a bit elitist when it comes to stage presence. All this "No preparation, preparation is cheating and is totally what makes you a boy band" stuff is just so annoying.

While I don't think people should be spending more time choreographing their dance moves than on their playing, there should be at least some thought and effort into what's going on at a gig.

In the band I'm in at the moment there's always an element of fun at the practices where we'll do things like try to put each other off while going through a song or something like that (we're pretty tight so it's always light hearted and never impedes our progress) which carries over onto the stage.

At the gig I played on Saturday, earlier in the night it was freezing at the venue, so I was kinda dipping down with my knees to keep moving in an attempt to keep warm, which then turned into a big of a joke between our members cos me and the bassist both did it in time with whatever song was on the PA. Part way through the set me and the bassist started doing that and cracked each other up. Yeah sure we weren't looking super srs and hardcore, we probably looked like complete twats to be honest, but we laughed, maybe amused some people in the crowd and something like that didn't have anyone saying "WHY YOU SO BOYBAND?!?!!?" like just about everyone round here seems to think (btw, that's an unfair generalisation, but I remember the topic of stage clothes came up, and when I said "You should try to stick to a certain theme, as loose or as tight as that may be" and I pretty much got told that such an idea makes you a poser or something...cos apparently dressing in a suit while another member wears jeans and a t-shirt and another wears a spandex one piece is the best way to dress in a band...but now I'm going off topic!)

I think a large part of it is being natural.

I know for a fact that I have the potential to look a bit of a nob on stage, cos I move a bit like how Josh Klinghoffer from RHCP does live and tend to be a bit overly into the beat. But because it's not forced it never comes off as something strained.
At the same time, I know plenty of people who stand perfectly still only nodding or slightly moving to the rhythm of the music, a lot of people say this is the worst way to be, but because it's comfortable for them to be like that, they look right.

I've seen some bands who jump as hard as they can, or who move across the stage loads, but look really bad because they do it in a sort of "[band] does this, so I should do this" kinda way.

So yea, while choreography probably isn't the way to go, having some kind of thought as to what you do on stage is kinda important. If it's through talking to your band about your 'limits' in terms of stage presence, or if it's something as small as just visualising a crowd while practicing, going on with no idea of how you're gonna act on stage is a one way ticket to awkward-ville.
yoman297
hi
Join date: Oct 2010
1,476 IQ
#29
Now I usually try not to force anything at all, usually I'll just have head nods or foot taps or something similar.