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How many people should talk during a gig?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Felken, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. Felken


    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    I’ve always been very adamant that bands should have one frontman to talk with the crowd, because that’s how nearly every band does it as far as I know, and having more that one can easily feel like too many cooks in the kitchen.

    However, the guitarist and drummer of our band (we’re a trio) insist that we should all talk.

    I have no problem with talking in public, that was my job for a while, but I think having all three members of the band talk between songs at some point in the gig is just too much, especially for shows under an hour.

    We’re an instrumental act by the way.

    Thoughts? Am I thinking too much about this? Should I abstain from talking and let the other two do it, or insist on having one person?
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  2. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    Doesn't really matter if the ones talking can keep it relevant and interesting, as opposed to incoherent or repetitive. Short enough, too.
    TomB, dbsfgyd1, Sixgunn and 11 others like this.
  3. Gustopher


    Jul 30, 2018
    As long as it isn't multiple people just saying "how are y'all doing out there" I think its great when multiple band members talk.
    JRA, Sixgunn, Ggaa and 5 others like this.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Engaging with the audience is usually a good thing vs. navel-gazing between songs. The number of participants is fluid... there is no rule.
    JRA, TomB, nice_hat and 7 others like this.
  5. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Everyone is equal in a band. The “front man” may be the face of the band, but everyone should interact with and entertain the audience.

    Some of the best stage performances I’ve see came from bands who’s members all took part in the show outside of just playing or singing.
    Kro, jdh3000, Lit311 and 2 others like this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Anyone who is good at it can talk to the audience. There's only a problem when one or more people who are NOT good at it DON'T REALIZE they're not good at it an do it anyway.

    But if all three of you of comfortable, go.for it. You're an instrumental act. You don't really have a front man.
    Bassdirty, hbarcat, Dr. Love and 14 others like this.
  7. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I'm 30 feet from a vocal mic on the stage I'm playing this weekend (with a 15 foot cord); I won't be talking. Any of the 5 singers might, at some point say something. Usually the one leading the tune. In church, who's going to say something is something that's generally thought out beforehand.
  8. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    When I'm called on to sing lead (about 1/3 of our repertoire) I often say a very few words ... maybe an intro, maybe just to recognize a person or group in the audience, whatever. But the key is short and to the point. The other singers in the band do, too. But the "rule" is to be judicious and not kill a lively dance floor with gibberish.
  9. tshapiro

    tshapiro Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Jax Florida
    I think the more the better as long as it's entertaining. In my band we'll actually 'talk amongst the band" which can be pretty funny. Plus, the band never leaves "dead air" after asking a question. And with that a good approach is to talk or tell stories - don't ask questions. For example, "how is everybody" Or "where are all my dancers?" can really fall flat. A better approach is "The last time we played here I think our drummer had stomach problems... That was an interesting night." Or "Ladies and gentleman, give it up one time for my brother, the beast, with fingers of fire, on guitar Mr. FirstName LastName!".

    One giant key to being good at this is to write these little things out and practice them until they rolloff your tongue. Just winging it usually will not end well.
    getbent, DonaldR, JKos and 2 others like this.
  10. Exactly! Often in my trio we'll have a theme like 'Where did the drummer find that shirt? " or the guitarist was a child during the Civil War & run with that, Kind of corny good natured ribbing that crowds seem to enjoy.
    The key is to remember you are in the 'entertainment" business...
    JEDI BASS, getbent, tshapiro and 2 others like this.
  11. InhumanResource


    Dec 28, 2012
    As many as it takes for the show to be good!

    I have noticed that of you don't have anyone to do this job, quiet, clean, and BRIEF transitions between songs will do the trick too... But an engaging front person (or people) is always best!
  12. Bufalo

    Bufalo Funk in the Trunk Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Harrisburg, PA
    Of our four-man band, only I sing backup along with our lead - just two vocal mics on stage. At bar gigs we both banter with the crowd. At festival gigs or anything like that, I leave the talking to him exclusively, other than thanking the crowd.
    RustyAxe likes this.
  13. bolophonic

    bolophonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    It depends... have you ever had to take a microphone away from a drunk guitarist? Discovered after it’s too late that the charismatic vocalist turns into a rambling bore once the music stops? Sometimes the answer is zero.
    Dr. Love, mikewalker, 4dog and 3 others like this.
  14. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    I think having more than one person talking between songs can work. As said already, whoever is talking, keep it short and say something somewhat interesting. The absolute worst is for band members to drop an inside joke that maybe two people in the audience are privy to.
    tshapiro likes this.
  15. Multiple people talking worked for the Barenaked Ladies
  16. trofud


    Mar 28, 2018
    Montreal, Canada
    Bar gigs beg for crowd interaction, it's like you're making them part of the show. Festivals/corporate events, it's a different story. Sometimes less is more.
  17. I used to have a rule that if you’re going to talk on the stage it has to be done on mic. Kept the snippy snark to a minimum and made sure we all were engaging our audience in every aspect of our show. We joked around a lot and they always loved it.
    Nevada Pete, RustyAxe and SactoBass like this.
  18. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    +1 I've been guilty of this. If you are talking into the mic, it should be to address the crowd. Muttering inside jokes is not adding to the performance.
    SactoBass likes this.
  19. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    Are you guys there to talk or play?

    Any doubt, ask the person that hired you?
    walking Bass likes this.
  20. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Yep. Anyone who is good at talking to the audience can do it. Anyone who is not good at talking to the audience should not do it. This might mean that everyone in the band talks to the audience, or none.

    Personally, I do not believe that there is any *need* for a band to talk to the audience -- particularly an originals band playing sets under an hour, and assuming you avoid there being much dead air.

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