#1
I know there have been other threads on tips for interacting with audiences, but those mostly dealt with moderate to heavy bands. I'm in a band with a friend of mine and we play lighter, acoustic rock originals (I play acoustic guitar and sing and he plays melodic stuff on electric guitar and sings backup). Anyway, we normally only play small places (coffeehouses and the like) and whenever we do play, it always seems like the atmosphere is very awkward. My buddy and I try to interact with the audience a good bit (but not too much) by introducing songs, telling what they're about, cracking jokes, etc. but it always seems like there are only a few people in the crowd who are actually interested in what we're saying. I know that it's not because we suck (excuse me if I sound a bit egotistical here) because we have random people that we've never met before come up to us after we're done playing and tell us we did great. Any tips on getting more people in smaller, more intimate audiences to become more involved/interested?

Apologies for the wall of text
#2
You see, I think the problem is that people come to such places to have a chat with their friends/lovers etc., discuss something important and so on, and obviously if there's a band, even a good one, they're not very interested. Whereas in a club, for example, obviously people expect music and expect a band to play something, so they're ready for that.
for rent
#3
Pretty much what he said ^^^

If you feel like the environment is awkward like that, I'd honestly say just shut up and play. Especially in a place like a coffeeshop, most of the people there are there to talk with other people, and your job is to provide atmosphere for that. If you feel like there's a lot of people who are listening, then try to interact, but otherwise save that for a gig where you're more at the center of attention.
Ibanez AS103BM
Ibanez ART400
Samick Acoustic
#4
Yea, I've thought about that before. It's kinda hard for a band that plays our type of music to go play at bars and clubs because (I live in South Carolina) all of the drunk rednecks only want to hear songs they know, namely "Freebird," haha.
#5
I say shut the rednecks up and learn freebird.
Question not yourself. Challenge those who would deny you your true self for an independent thinker is the greatest enemy to those who seek to control you
#6
Talk less about the songs and crack more jokes. To an average audience, listening to someone talk about how a song was written and what they are about gets pretty boring, cracking jokes though is entertaining, but try to keep them current and don't use the same jokes for every gig.
Y'see 'entertainment' is the key. The aim of every gig is to entertain.
Now, with an average rock band, most of the set is just music with the odd 'thank you' and 'this song is called...' but it's also added to, entertainment wise, by having guys jumping around with wild abandon while they are playing, and lights and stage sets and stage clothes and image, and music so loud you can't hear your own voice, ect, ect. The whole thing becomes a spectacle that holds an audiences attention.
But a couple of guys playing guitars in a coffee house don't have all that to fall back on. They have themselves, a couple of guitars and a very intimate audience. So you have to make the most of what you've got.
Songs should run smoothly into other songs and if you talk, it's gotta be either extremely interesting or funny.
#7
Talk about hybrid cars, going green and getting rid of the constitutional right to bear arms and a coffee house crowd should love you.

No just joking. I agree with slackerbabath about not talking about the songs. People just want to hear music not be told about it. I would find that talk very interesting but im also a fellow musician and most of the people in hte coffee house are not. And like the above poster said they are their to chat with friends/dates. You said it yourself only a few people seem interested. I say play a good set keep the talking to a real minimum and keep the set rolling. If youd like to chat with people sit down at a table after the show and if someone wants to talk to you they will come say hi.
#8
Asitho,

Only crack jokes if your name is Dane Cook or Jerry Seinfeld. You're not as funny as you think you are. (Your PA is probably set for vocals and not direct speaking, so speaking probably sounds crappy and echoey anyway.) Keep the banter to a minimum. Let your music speak for yourself. As you finish cover songs, just say the artists name. Introduce your originals with a simple "Here's one of ours." No one really wants to hear your life story or how you were feeling when your wrote a particular song.... It's a coffee house for Christs' sake.

Keep on rockin', Brother.

Dish
#9
Quote by Helloween_rox
I say shut the rednecks up and learn freebird.

Which pretty much falls under his criteria of lighter acoustic rock stuff. Except the solo, but you know. The solo's cool, even if it is overrated.

Learn Freebird!

Yeah. Coffee places. You just want to be getting on with your songs. In England, we have pubs full of drunks who LOVE crowd interaction, but you call the bars or taverns or whatever. Play gigs there if you want to interact. Now clubs, that's a different story, but an acoustic rock band isn't going to be playing clubs a huge amount, 'specially not where you live.
#10
Quote by Dishburn
Asitho,

Only crack jokes if your name is Dane Cook or Jerry Seinfeld. You're not as funny as you think you are. (Your PA is probably set for vocals and not direct speaking, so speaking probably sounds crappy and echoey anyway.) Keep the banter to a minimum. Let your music speak for yourself. As you finish cover songs, just say the artists name. Introduce your originals with a simple "Here's one of ours." No one really wants to hear your life story or how you were feeling when your wrote a particular song.... It's a coffee house for Christs' sake.

Keep on rockin', Brother.

Dish


If your name is Dane Cook you shouldn't be cracking jokes either.