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Music Today Is About Cost Cutting

DrummBumm89

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This is an interesting concept. At what point does the backing tracks overtake the value of a performance? Most "modern" large-scale bands are using some sort of backing tracks, from simple shakers/tambourines to full on vocal/drum/guitar tracks.

I applaud Ghost for doing the opposite, not trying to get into a discussion on the opinion of their art as a whole.
The first time I saw them (2010?) there was a 4/5 piece band with a mountain of tracks.
Once they got more popular, tours got bigger, he bumped up to a 9 piece band. It cut out the extra guitars/synths tracks by far. There's still some tracks for the choir stuff but it's ~20% of what it used to be. Newer interviews have him saying the only reason they used them originally was because he couldn't afford a gigantic band on tour when they were still new. The music is pretty theatrical to the point where they may have a point. It wouldn't sound anything like the album with 5 people alone.

On the opposite side, I have seen 30 Seconds to Mars a small handful of times. Once they got rid of their guitarist, it became too much mimicry for my taste to see live. The music was also going closer to a One Direction sound rather then a typical rock band, but I digress.
Each time a piece of the "live" performance seemed to get stripped away which is a bummer because as 4 piece they sounded fine.
 

Buffalo_drummer

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This is an interesting concept. At what point does the backing tracks overtake the value of a performance? Most "modern" large-scale bands are using some sort of backing tracks, from simple shakers/tambourines to full on vocal/drum/guitar tracks.

I applaud Ghost for doing the opposite, not trying to get into a discussion on the opinion of their art as a whole.
The first time I saw them (2010?) there was a 4/5 piece band with a mountain of tracks.
Once they got more popular, tours got bigger, he bumped up to a 9 piece band. It cut out the extra guitars/synths tracks by far. There's still some tracks for the choir stuff but it's ~20% of what it used to be. Newer interviews have him saying the only reason they used them originally was because he couldn't afford a gigantic band on tour when they were still new. The music is pretty theatrical to the point where they may have a point. It wouldn't sound anything like the album with 5 people alone.

On the opposite side, I have seen 30 Seconds to Mars a small handful of times. Once they got rid of their guitarist, it became too much mimicry for my taste to see live. The music was also going closer to a One Direction sound rather then a typical rock band, but I digress.
Each time a piece of the "live" performance seemed to get stripped away which is a bummer because as 4 piece they sounded fine.
I missed a chance to see Ghost at a smaller club 10-12 years ago and am still kicking myself but I think I like their image [gimmick?] more than their music.
 

DrummBumm89

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I missed a chance to see Ghost at a smaller club 10-12 years ago and am still kicking myself but I think I like their image [gimmick?] more than their music.
While I do enjoy the music, the concert is almost more for the experience. I think they are better live now then they have ever been, even though their setlist is more present-heavy.
I think the addition of female vocalists alone helped quite a bit and Hayden Scott is no slouch on drums.
 

cochlea

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Singer playing a solo gig with guitar or piano - depending on who it is, may very well be worth it. But I can't think of one singer I'd want to see on stage with no other instruments.
Many years ago when my wife and I had just started dating, I took her to see Dan Fogelberg, who was one of her favorite artists. Much to my surprise, it was just him playing solo (guitar, piano) and not his band. I was somewhat disappointed when I found this out at the last minute but he was such a good musician and his voice was crystal clear that I enjoyed this more than I did when we saw him again with a full band several years later.
 

el_37

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This is my attempt to knock Vistalite Black off his perch.
The story itself amused me. I'm a Stone Roses fan, but I don't go to live shows often. My slightly more serious view on music today is you get what you pay for and streaming pays $0.004
Quote:
'Fans of Ian Brown say they were left disappointed after the opening night of his tour featured no band, with the singer performing to backing tracks.'

I'm curious about what you mean about you get what you pay for?

Tickets were 40-45gbp each and the show was sold out- and that venue holds 2300 people. You would think for over 100K just in ticket sales- even if he only got 40%- which I highly doubt he got that little- he could have afforded to hire some sidemen.

This was no $15 all ages show at the Mercury Lounge.
 

Tornado

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I'm curious about what you mean about you get what you pay for?

Tickets were 40-45gbp each and the show was sold out- and that venue holds 2300 people. You would think for over 100K just in ticket sales- even if he only got 40%- which I highly doubt he got that little- he could have afforded to hire some sidemen.

This was no $15 all ages show at the Mercury Lounge.

True, there was a decent amount of money made that night, but I think the current climate is such that "I gotta get mine while I still can". You start looking at the final years of your working life, and that nest egg starts looking pretty important. Not like you can retire on your royalties anymore.
 

Russian Dragon

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I guess this is the logical culmination of the trend.
A band playing live doesn't cut it in the marketplace anymore, because people are used to hearing everything tuned and timed on recordings, so you give in to technology a little bit.
First you're playing subtle supplemental tracks, low in the mix, so nobody really notices. A few added harmonies that the band can't cover live, maybe a percussion track and "Hey, let's throw in that acoustic guitar track too, so we sound more like the record, and, let's be honest, the singer's acoustic guitar has never made it to the front house mix anyway".
A few sliding steps down the slippery slope later, and you've found yourself going Full Karaoke. #sad
 

Topsy Turvy

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True, there was a decent amount of money made that night, but I think the current climate is such that "I gotta get mine while I still can". You start looking at the final years of your working life, and that nest egg starts looking pretty important. Not like you can retire on your royalties anymore.
Well, by the sound of the reaction of the people in attendance, he had better get another job lined up.

I won’t even go to a band doing an “acoustic” show. I want to see and hear a full band with full instrumentation. Otherwise, I can simply stay in the comfort of my house, save my money, and listen to the record/stream/whatever.
 

Tornado

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Well, by the sound of the reaction of the people in attendance, he had better get another job lined up.

I won’t even go to a band doing an “acoustic” show. I want to see and hear a full band with full instrumentation. Otherwise, I can simply stay in the comfort of my house, save my money, and listen to the record/stream/whatever.
Agreed there. I just think everyone is looking out for numero uno right now, and sometimes that backfires.
 

Polska

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Hey, there are acoustic guitarists/singers who can absolutely capture and hold an audience without a band. Ani DiFranco for one. But you need to be more than a get up and strum some chords and sing musician. Tell good stories, have great lyrics. Be an excellent guitarist. That is certainly not the majority of the solo acoustic acts playing bars live. Now who am I to comment on some singer who gets up solo in front of backing tracks and gets $45 bucks a pop? Good for him. I most certainly wouldn't pay for that, but over 2000 apparently did.
 

varatrodder

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He just wants to be adored.
But to take that kind of backlash from the fans he must be made of stone.
I bet he thought saving money would be like breaking in to heaven, but it's more like finding fool's gold.
Maybe on his next gig when he's driving south and see's the daybreak, he can contemplate the situation and say to himself, "I am the resurrection."

Please, somebody, make me stop!!!
 

Blue Zurich

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Jesus and The Mary Chain played 15 minute sets with their backs to the audience in 1985.
I felt cheated, learned not what to do and then proceeded to a New Order show the next week and Peter Hook did it to me again. Not sure about the whole back to the audience thing in the 80's.

My next show is Branford Marsalis with Mr. Justin Faulkner on drums, now that will be be pure class. I might wear a suit!
 

varatrodder

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Jesus and The Mary Chain played 15 minute sets with their backs to the audience in 1985.
I felt cheated, learned not what to do and then proceeded to a New Order show the next week and Peter Hook did it to me again. Not sure about the whole back to the audience thing in the 80's.

My next show is Branford Marsalis with Mr. Justin Faulkner on drums, now that will be be pure class. I might wear a suit!
I remember that trend in the 80's. Maybe they wanted to be like Jim Morrison.
 

Vicey

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He just wants to be adored.
But to take that kind of backlash from the fans he must be made of stone.
I bet he thought saving money would be like breaking in to heaven, but it's more like finding fool's gold.
Maybe on his next gig when he's driving south and see's the daybreak, he can contemplate the situation and say to himself, "I am the resurrection."

Please, somebody, make me stop!!!
You'll carry on through it all
You're a waterfall.
 

Russian Dragon

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I’d pay to see Joni Mitchell solo with an acoustic guitar.
I bet if Mr. Brown had come out wearing an acoustic guitar and sang to the same tracks, there would have been much less complaining. He wouldn't even need to be plugged in. The idea that he is 'playing an instrument' might be enough to create the illusion that 'music is being performed here' in the average listener's mind.
There are plenty of 'concerts' nowadays that feature little or no live music, but most performers will place musicians on stage to maintain the illusion. It seems to be the unspoken contract with the audience. "We know that you know we're only pretending, but hey, look at those shiny instruments". Mr. Brown broke the implicit contract, and his audience was unsatisfied.
 


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