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A Memorable Performance

“I think the most important thing with live drumming is not to worry so much about the technicalities. It’s more about feeling in that moment…” – Dave Grohl.

Love him or hate him, Dave Grohl speaks sense, partially because he’s a musical god, but also because he has been around for so long. Okay, so maybe I’m not specifically talking about just drummers, but everyone, enjoy the moment!

Being in the moment doesn’t mean that you should pretend you’re on an acid trip if you’re in a prog band, or ‘windmill’ constantly (no innuendo intended) if you are in a metal band, but it means you should be showing people how much you genuinely want to give those people your best performance. Say you’re in the audience watching two bands of similar style. One band stands there, plays every note, doesn’t want to move in case they ruin their hair and just walks off at the end. The other come blasting onto the stage, acknowledges the audience and gives it every last drop of sweat that they have left before they’re going to pass out (yeah, I’ve seen it happen). Which one of them bands will you remember? Which one are you going to go home and look to see when their next gig is? It’s an easy answer. Yeah, they may have hit a few ‘bum’ notes and accidently changed the tempos of some tracks, but that’s what live music is about. I can sit at home and listen to a CD that has been done to a click track, but I’d choose a live band over a perfectly recorded album any day of the week.

The reality of it is that I see so many live bands bring the same live show, week in, week out. I’m never going to remember those bands and I’m sure most people in that room won’t either. Music has been going for so long now that, let’s be honest, most styles/genres have been done, overdone and then done some more. Live music still, and always will be, the best way to separate a fresh band from a stale band. An example. Not so long ago, the band I play in, ‘Early Mojo’, played a gig in a tiny little venue down a dirty back alley in what looked like that Dark Witch town in Harry Potter, I think Harry shouts “Diagonally” and ends up there (I’m not going to lie, I don’t like Harry Potter. Blasphemy!) . Don’t get me wrong, it was a great sound and a perfect little venue, but there was no one there. I think we counted a total of 14 people, including the other band members. But a Manchester punk band, ‘Dead Retinas’, who I’m sure you have heard about, were there. The first band on the bill, they got on stage and just blew me away. It’s hard playing in front of a small crowd but they played as if the venue was packed out. I went home, checked them out and downloaded their free EP straight away. That’s what a band should make you do.

You don’t need to try and start a circle pit if you’re a acoustic-folk band, or have people trying to start a riot if you’re an indie band, but you should give it your all at every gig. You will notice the difference in the crowd reaction afterwards. Just see how many people ask for a CD, or your bands name. People want to see you enjoying yourself and feeling that the £6 they just paid to see your band, which probably isn’t their kind of music, was totally worth it and will be worth their next £6, and their best mates £6, and then their brothers £6, etc...

I don’t know if it’s just me that thinks that live music is the most important part about the music ‘business’, but strip everything down to its bare bones, take away the CD sales, the money problem with the promoters, the little venues, the other bands and the generic “you were good” comments from your mates, and what are you left with? You, your guitar, and a handful of people who simply want to have a good time…

Mathew Hodgson (Early Mojo)

Check out Mathew's band here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Early-Mojo/116433145081974?ref=ts&fref=ts

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