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Critique my Band?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Zachthebassplyr, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. I was also wondering if anyone had some advice for taking
    better video recordings with a cheap camera?
  2. TheRatt


    Apr 24, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Could they have given you a smaller stage? You guys were pretty good, I'd pay to see you live. And I can't give any pointers on the camera work, sorry.

    What kind of axe you playing, sir?
  3. Sgt. Rock

    Sgt. Rock

    Apr 10, 2010
    I like to arrange covers based on live versions performed by the original artist. It is a REALLY helpful tool.

    That said, here's my really quick notes based on a cursory view:

    You put yourself out there and did it. Kudos. It takes courage to play in front of an audience, and to then post video on an internet forum asking for critiques...well, that speaks for itself.

    As to what I would offer up? Vocals were pitchy and not powerful enough. Your singers need to project more, and focus on singing from their diaphragms. A powerful singing voice doesn't come from the mouth or throat, it comes from the chest-generally the deeper the better. Also, it seemed like they were a little unclear on their respective parts and ended up doubling each other when harmonies would have been more appropriate.

    Dynamics are everything in a live performance. Every note and rhythm can be spot on, but if the song is played at a constant volume level from beginning to end it will end up sounding flat (not in terms of pitch, but emotion). The audience won't know exactly what is missing, but they will notice it. Generally, in a pop song the verses should be quieter and the choruses should come up in volume. Not over the top contrast, but enough to differentiate them from each other, yet subtle. When you do this right you will see a kind of swell in your audience right before the choruses because they anticipate what's coming and they want to sing along, dance, whatever. But dynamics isn't just about overall volume. There also needs to be some dynamic interplay between the performers. When the band drops out for the first verse in the beginning, right before the line "You'd better take it from me," your drummer keeps playing at the same volume. Since everyone else has dropped out at that moment, I would have him play markedly softer to provide some contrast and free your singers up to emote a little more. Also, he sounds like he's having difficulty keeping time through his fills. Whenever I have encountered this with my own drummers, the solution is to always simplify the fill in order to emphasize and keep good time. He can work on solidifying more complicated fills in practice and bring them to rehearsal, but his primary role as a drummer is to, over and above everything, to keep solid time.

    Take a look at this and see if you see what I am talking about regarding dynamics, vocal projection and harmonies.

    I hope this helps and you're able to put it to use. Keep at it! Record everything you do and always critique. No one gets better by focusing on what they did right. The only way to improve is to find weaknesses and improve upon them.
  4. Billminpa


    May 19, 2008
    Eastern PA
    Sgt. you said it all...
  5. Sgt. Rock

    Sgt. Rock

    Apr 10, 2010
    Thanks Billminpa.

    Also, there is one other missing component that I always forget to mention...

    Look at the Carrie Underwood video closely. Note that this is a VERY tightly rehearsed, top-tier band on National television and they know this material inside and out or they simply wouldn't be there. They could play their individual parts in their sleep. But...they still communicate with each other on stage as they perform. Notice how they are periodically making eye contact with each other and subtley cueing things like dynamics, timing, etc. This can make all the difference in the world in terms of tightening up a band's performance. If you are always looking only at the audience or your hands or the floor you miss out on a very simple and efficient way to communicate with your band-mates: body language. Try it!
  6. This was indeed the smallest stage I have ever been on.
    Our poor Keyboardist is wedged behind the PA Speakers lol.

    That is my 75 reissue MIA Fender Jazz!

    Thanks for the compliment!

  7. Thank You for the words of wisdom Sgt. Rock. This is a beautiful critique full of insight! :bassist:
  8. Sgt. Rock gave me lots of great food for thought, anyone else have some pointers?
    Good, Bad, Mean, or Nasty...I want to hear it.
  9. Sgt. Rock

    Sgt. Rock

    Apr 10, 2010
    Just one other quick note. I'm not sure that the mix heard on the video is an accurate representation of what you guys sound like FOH. If is is accurate, I can't hear the guitar player clearly enough and the drums tend to be a little overpowering in the mix. This could certainly be an issue of the recorded audio not representing you guys accurately. I'm not sure what your PA setup was like or who was tasked with mixing your sound, so I don't know for sure.

    I would consider going to a few high profile gigs by local artists and chatting up their soundmen (not while he's working!) if you like the mix he produces. Make it clear (up front) that you are willing to hire him if he's available for a consultation. Have him capture what is coming out FOH on whatever PA you normally use and seek his advice and input on how to get a crisp, professional mix for yourselves.
  10. About the camera. It's not too bad, it's a sony handicam.
    I think it was just too much vibration for the poor little built in mic.

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