Julien Goodwin
How to make a concert truely excellent 
18th-Nov-2010 09:39 pm
southpark cartoon

Inspired by seeing Leonard Cohen playing at Rod Laver last Friday (and Crowded House there the week before) here's a few things that I wish more bands would do to make their concerts a more memorable experience.

  • Simplify the lighting, yes automated moving lights are now cheap, however simple colour washes and the (very) occasional static gobo logo can serve very well, a simple chase can add more then enough movement.
  • Run the sound only as loud as it actually needs to be. Here's one where rock/pop concerts will always fall down due to the more engaged audience.
  • On sound, it should be clear, try for a minimum of effects and reverb (obviously this is after anything used as an effect in the songs), EQ should only be used for aiding clarity and cleaning frequency response. People want to head the subtle nuances in the performance.
  • Finally, to the performers, if you can find great players / singers, who can get into a groove, and don't feel the need to "show off" with solo's that guarantees a memorable performance.
  • And if you're not contributing to the music get off the stage.

As you might expect, Leonard Cohen got all of these, Crowded House were too loud and had a few bits of gratuitous lighting, but otherwise hit them. That's why I was happy with both concerts.

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