1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

What do you look at while on stage?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by John Davis, Jan 13, 2002.

  1. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    Hey all.

    I've been having a problem while performing. I never know where to look. I can play the parts without looking at the fingerboard all the time, but if I look at the crowd I get a sense that they are hate me(stage fright, yeah yeah) and I get fixated on that and lose my train of thought and end up messing up on my part.

    I don't want to just look at my fingerboard the whole time and look like I'm trying to hard. But I can't look at the audience. This is going to get to me soon, because my band is playing at the local Battle of the Bands in a few months.
  2. Freakapotamus9


    Jun 20, 2001
    i look at my drummer or watch what the guitarists do ( make sure they're doing everything as planned ). if im not doing that im keeping a steady eye on the ground.
  3. How about wearing some dark shades? You would solve your problem of eye contact with the audience ~and~ it would give you that cool/mystery image.

    If you wear dark shades, learn to smirk at just the right time. It can make you look cool/tough.
  4. I look at chicks ......
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    A technique speakers and performers with stage fright use is to look just above the heads of the last row of people/table furthest back.

    It looks like you're making eye contact.

    The part that worries me about your fear is what kind of facial expression(s) you have if you think they hate you ?!?! :eek: I can't count the number of decent musicians I've seen who don't get good audience response because the bands' faces look like they're waiting in line at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

    If you don't look like you're enjoying the music, the audience sure as hell isn't going to !
  6. John Davis

    John Davis Guest

    Mar 27, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    No no no, I don't look like I think they hate me. I just kind of think that's what they are thinking. I just have my normal face up there. Make any sense?
  7. You too? ;) :D

    I try not to laugh at people up the front dancing like foolios...but often pull faces at the rest of the band.

    Usually it's a blank-ish stare towards the centre/back of the room, or else it's directly at my rig as something fails on me... :D
  8. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    I usually look at my fretboard. Occasionally, I would look up at the audience, looking across the crowd at the tops of their heads and then going back to looking at my fretboard. Sometimes, I would fixate on a certain object in the back of the room for a bit, make eye contact with a cute chick (or my girlfriend) for a moment, look at the drummer or the guitarist, or stare at the back of our singer's bald melon. Bottom line -- you gotta do what makes you comfortable. Believe it or not, you can look like you're enjoying what you're doing without having a sh*t-eating grin on your face all night long!
  9. duff_hodges


    May 15, 2000
    Suffolk, UK
    I find that interacting with the other band members is a good way of keeping your eye contact different all the time. Once you start enjoyin yourself abit more, by intreacting with the band, then you will be less concerned on what the crowd thinks.

    So just relax and have fun.
  10. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Lots of good advice here... I wear dark shades, and like Marty, I'm looking at the ladies. The shades serve a dual purpose because a lot of times I like to close my eyes while playing. The best advice I ever got was from a lighting technician who worked with a lot of biggish names... He said to find one person in the audience who was even slightly getting into it, and play to them like they were the only person in the room... Smile, make eye contact, etc... Looking at others in the band helps too, helps tighten things up. Since I'm wireless, if we're playing a club gig, I am mostly on the dance floor... Whenever there's two gals dancing together, I'm usually off the stage in a heartbeat :D

  11. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    All of the above. You want to watch the crowd from time to time. Not only for the females, but also to try and read them. You want to get an idea of whether they really are listening to you, or even paying attention. As time goes on, you'll get more comfortable with this. I like to vary where I focus my eyes. It makes for a less monotonous stage presence.
  12. Hmmm...
    Well, if you're afraid of making eye contact with the audience but you're able to play the parts without looking at the fretboard, you could try closing your eyes and swinging your body to the rhythm. Then you'll really look like you're into it. :p

    After having done drama and a little bit of debating as well as playing bass for a while now, I find it a lot easier to pick ANY random person out of the audience and just look them in the eye, and then just move my eyes to a different person from time to time. :p

    Another thing I found interesting at the school fair was a couple of little kids jumping, bouncing and sort of "dancing" around on the dance floor (the only ones on it, too...) and they were quite amusing. I found myself smiling and giggling a little bit watching them do...whatever it was that they were doing. :p

    The "look above their heads" thing works, too, but I never really liked that one too much. Maybe it's just me, but I always felt like I was distancing myself from the audience if I didn't at least look at them directly, if not making eye contact.

    Another thing you might want to keep in mind is that most, if not all of them couldn't be up there doing what you're doing.

    Oh, right. Another thing I do is wear a sombrero on stage and bob my head to the music. That makes for an interesting sight. :p
  13. An interesting thread.

    I'm new to the performing thing so learning how to react to the audience when we're actually playing is something I've gotta do.

    I've been told I don't smile at all. Part of the reason, as we're such a "young" band, is that I'm concentrating on the playing.

    Between songs I kinda present the show. I tend to chat to the audience, tell a few funny stories, that sort of thing. It's worked great so far with both the band and the members of the audience coming over at the end and saying how good I've done. (Makes me feel 10 feet tall, it does....:D :D) We've just done small gigs so far - kinda intimate ones - but I'm sure at larger gigs that wouldn't work at all.

    I guess during the music I need to loosen up a bit and smile now and then. I'm sure it'll come with more playing to an audience....I hope :eek:

  14. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I look at my drummer, like every good bassist should.

    ...and chicks.
  15. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    To take Rockin Johns comments one step further take some 'fans' with you.

    I have a side project in which I lead sing write etc and got very nervous about the first gig. I got some freinds and family to go and asked them to make some noise. I knew they were cheering each song out of duty but it made me feel better. I started interacting with the audience.

    BTW most gigs have bright lights on the band and the audience is in the dark. Just look out where the noise is coming from.

    If theres a mosh pit look at the nutters. Its always good for a laugh.
  16. I either look at my bass, interact with band members, or make eye contact with the crowd.
    Crowd interaction makes gigs heaps more fun.
  17. Funkster

    Funkster Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    I jam with the Drummer, Actually I make sure I have eye contact with all the band members (Very Important to make a connecetion with your bandmates on stage, I also make sure I look at the crowed acknowledge people that come back to see us for another time (High Five, Whatever it takes to make the audience actualy feel like a part of the show that's what I strive for.. Also I count heads so at the end of the night when the club owner try's to say well you only brought 50 people in I can say I counted 80....
  18. All the advice given is great but, if I were you, I would work on overcoming your stage fright when you look at the audience. For me the best cure was repitition. If I hadn't gigged in awhile the fear of the audience tended to be a bigger factor but if I was doing a lot of gigs I had the opportunity to work on it. Each gig I would try to force myself to look at the audience more and more. At this point it doesn't bother me at all and I really don't even think about it even though I spend a lot of time looking out at the audience. I think any interaction you can have with the crowd your playing to is good. My advice would be to face your fear until it's a fear no more.;)
  19. Im a very nevous person when it comes to crowds. Im 23, balding, and fat! I dont look at chicks cause i think it would sicken them so..... I try my hardest to get drunk before i play, that way it dont matter who i look at. "Oh the big stupid fat bass player was drunk!!! ha ha ha" they often say. Its a good excuse for anything. If i mess up, fall down, fart, fall asleep, slober, or whatever. ANY WAY you look at it, im covered! :D
  20. fred durst is balding and fat and picks up heaps of hot chicks!

Share This Page