Live Music Rant – get good, sell out or gtfo of the business

Before the pandemic, mostly 2014-2019, I made it my personal mission to go to at least one out-of-state musical festival and concert. Try to see as much live music as I could without breaking the bank or being irresponsible.

I got lucky and got to see my favorite bands in a couple of years (sans Bjork, Sigur Ros and Audioslave -RIP Chris-). After the lockdowns, I started going out again and seeing my B-tier list of artist, like The Marias, Bob Moses, Ben Bohmer, etc. New artists or artists that I missed over the past years, and now I totally love them.

Ok, that’s it for context. Now, here’s the problem. Got to see one of my favorite new bands recently, and I was totally disappointed.

Look, I ain’t no expert, but I worked with a band for 7 years. I know my way around a music studio-stage, can defend myself with a guitar, singing, and even producing an arrangement.

So, when an artist plays live, I expect the minimum AT LEAST.

Not gonna say the name of the band, because this is not a takedown piece, nor I am looking to dis someone’s livelihood. But imagine performing at a festival and using A FULL VOCAL TRACK ON EVERY SONG. I’m talking about not being able to hear their real voice, just the recorded ones at a way higher volume. The only times I could identify their voice was when they went off-key or flat at louder volume.

It was bad. And the worst of all, the audience was vibing with them. I don’t know if most of the people don’t even know what’s going on at the stage or they don’t care about musical integrity-talent, just the show (which was also subpar).

Those were the voices. Now let’s talk about instrumentation.

Have you ever heard a guitarist choosing to play less and not play the jamming parts of a song? My guitarists would literally fight at rehearsals to decide who plays more, who plays ‘the longer, better parts’, who leads. Now imagine you finally have a music career, you’re on your way, playing across the country at festivals, and your guitarist prefers to play the minimum, and loop/pre-record everything else (alongside the vocal track).

Same thing for the bassist. My brethren, you have a Fender P-Bass that I’ve seen you jam out multiple times on studio sessions. Why do you choose to pre-record your bass track and “play” the MIDI on stage instead of bringing it live, make me funk out, feel something, move my hips.

Drummer… Well, he did his job. The most basic one: Keep the tempo and look ‘rockerish’. But no cuts, not flair, no technique. Just your simple full body technique all over the drums, hitting them as hard as he could, his hair swinging all around the place and non-existing cymbal play.

I could even finish the set. Maybe left halfway after I listened to how they massacred my 4 favorite songs, and couldn’t stand it anymore.


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