#1
Hi guys, I'm kinda feeling under the weather. I have a set of songs and I want to do some gigs but it is almost impossible to find people where I live. 

So I was thinking, wouldn't it be better for me to just create some backing tracks at home and perform by myself?

Problem I see with that, do you personally think that performing with backing tracks is cheesy? 

Also I am not really sure I would have the ballz to play in front of people just by myself.

Any kind of help welcome.
#2
Genre is the key thing here. If you're a rapper, performing with backing tracks would be okay imo. If you're a metal artist it would be lame. So what kind of music do you play?
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#3
I would be playing something in the lines of hard rock, surf, metal-ish. I don't know if I'm allowed to post links here but here is an example:

It's just really difficult to find people, and then I see how much fun a guy like Buckethead can have by his own...and I feel motivated to do the same.
#4
I have been using midi backing tracks using a laptop and midi sound module with my partner for more than 20 years now. We are a classic rock/oldies type of band. I don't feel that's it's too cheezy because we create the midi files ourselves and we both sing lead and harmony live. I play guitar at gigs and create midi for the keyboards and a few other instruments but since my partner or I created them originally I don't have any guilt about using them. It also allows two people to sound like five or more players and we can gig more often in any size room. I have never worked to pre-recorded tracks but I know people who do and I don't personally have a problem with any of it if it's something they created. Like Kev said above, it depends on the genre of music you play and your audiences expectations. If you wanted to do a metal thing or music based more on improv, I would say no.   

One tip I can pass on if you do decide to do it. Your PA has to be very good. I have heard others try it with PA systems that were good at projecting vocals but not much else. If your tracks are coming out sounding like a "boom box" instead of real live instruments, you will need to upgrade to a bigger system. Good luck.  
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at May 19, 2017,
#5
if you have backing tracks, it better be high quality, the music better be great, and you better put on one hell of a live show. no staring at your feet with a 4/4 drum machine and a generic bassline puttering in the background

at that point, you're a performer more than a musician, and need to adjust accordingly

an alternative would be live looping. bonobo has done this in his smaller shows, where he had himself and 3 other guys performing these complex arrangements. he had a winds player switching instruments, a drummer, and an auxiliary member that did guitar and various percussion/keyboard stuff, with simon playing bass with one hand and simple keyboard parts/adjusting his backing tracks and loops with the other. that works, and creates a "mad scientist" vibe, but again, you better have some money ass music and good equipment to pull that off





the rapper thing is a valid point, but even then it's preferable in the indie camps to have your producer/DJ mixing live. Eyedea and Abilities did this, and Busdriver has some stuff where he's doing his own loops/samples live







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#6
I agree that the One Man Band thing is a hard act to pull off. You gotta be a step above buskers playing wooden flute with a karaoke machine. Playing lead guitar over a backing track is extremely lame outside your practice room. Something has to make it interesting and entertaining.

You could also just play jazz and get all the solo gigs you want.
#7
wow thanks for all the help, I feel more encouraged now. I'm really shy about my music but I think that every musician has to embrace who they are and just do it the best they can.
#8
Backing tracks or not... doesn't matter to me.  If it's good it's good, just be really good at what you do.

There is a guy, Hank Easton in San Diego, who does solo acts, about 1/2 with and 1/2 without backing tracks.  He plays so well that I'll go see him when he's with a band or when he is playing solo with backing tracks.  Here he's doing a a Hendrix cover with backing tracks:

Last edited by fep10 at May 23, 2017,
#10
What about :



And other street performers like Marcello Calabrese and Miguel Montalban? They seem to have gathered quite an audience during their shows, and they all have high quality backing tracks, not that Midi BS.

I say if you want to play with backing tracks, do it... it might open some awesome possibilities for you down the road or you could meet cool people while playing. Enjoy!