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The physical need for live music

Vic Smith 29 Apr 12 - 07:09 AM
Bonzo3legs 29 Apr 12 - 07:15 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Apr 12 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,DTM 29 Apr 12 - 08:21 AM
Edthefolkie 29 Apr 12 - 08:52 AM
WindhoverWeaver 29 Apr 12 - 09:10 AM
GUEST,Tony 29 Apr 12 - 10:17 AM
Will Fly 29 Apr 12 - 10:20 AM
foggers 29 Apr 12 - 12:18 PM
Ebbie 29 Apr 12 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,DTM 29 Apr 12 - 02:20 PM
Crowhugger 29 Apr 12 - 02:52 PM
frogprince 29 Apr 12 - 05:42 PM
Vic Smith 29 Apr 12 - 06:34 PM
Leadfingers 29 Apr 12 - 07:03 PM
Will Fly 30 Apr 12 - 10:11 AM
Leadfingers 30 Apr 12 - 12:08 PM
frogprince 30 Apr 12 - 12:30 PM
Marje 30 Apr 12 - 12:40 PM
Vic Smith 30 Apr 12 - 01:13 PM
Will Fly 30 Apr 12 - 03:18 PM
Leadfingers 30 Apr 12 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Lightfoot, No not that one! 30 Apr 12 - 11:36 PM
Marje 01 May 12 - 04:33 AM
banjoman 01 May 12 - 05:17 AM
Stringsinger 01 May 12 - 12:49 PM
Stringsinger 01 May 12 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Tony 01 May 12 - 11:09 PM
Ebbie 01 May 12 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,Stim 02 May 12 - 01:45 AM
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Subject: The physical need for live music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 07:09 AM

Our band plays for many, many weddings. We did another one last night and, of course, over the last ten to fifteen years there have been lots of civil ceremonies as well. I reckon I have played at and called dances for over a thousand over the decades. It is one good way of standing, week after week, in front of a fair cross section of humanity.
They are all similar and they are all different. At these events, the normal procedure is for the band to start setting up in the same hall/marquee after the meal and the speeches, so we usually have lots of people watching us as we set up and sound check. We always start by playing a punchy set of tunes and as we do so, I look round the faces trying to make an assessment of where I should be pitching the dances. Does the crowd look keen/hostile/drunk/lively/amenable etc. etc. Every time, I see quite a number of faces that look puzzled, confused - startled even. Now, I used to think that this was because these people were unused to the sort of traditional tunes that we play, but I have come to realise that it goes deeper than this. The fact is that huge mass of people out there who believe that music comes out of iPods, CD players, radios etc. and they have little or no familiarity with how to react to live music. They are being confronted with six musicians really going for it right from the off. They find that they are compelled to listen, to make an emotional response and their lack of experience means that they find this unsettling.

Yes, it has taken me a long time to work this out, but only because it is so alien to my own experience; my way of living. How can people exist without live music? I know that if I go without hearing some for a few days, I start to get twitchy; I am missing my fix. It doesn't have to be that good to satisfy me or even particularly to my taste, it just has to be an individual or a group using music to express themselves. If I am going away on a trip or a holiday, particularly if it is to somewhere I haven't been before, I have to ask myself, "Will there be any live music there?"
I just need live music.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 07:15 AM

I know the feeling only too well. We recently stayed at the Hotel Tryp Guadalmar a few km from Malaga in Spain. We discovered that the hotel had employed an entertainment company - FRAM, whose employees, appart from making a thorough nuisance of themselves all the week, had arranged some flamenco. So we thought - good some fine Spanish musicians to play for us - oh no, it was recorded music and bloody awful too.

I used to hate playing at weddings, there is always the drunk who grabs the mic and insists on singing........very very badly.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 07:21 AM

there is always the drunk who grabs the mic and insists on singing........very very badly.

Sounds a bit like a folk club


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 08:21 AM

I need a 'play a guitar' fix after a day or so away from it.
It's a drug I tell you - and before someone says it, I'm not going into rehab, ever!


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 08:52 AM

I hardly play anything myself these days, but I recognise what you're saying Vic. Even 15-20 years ago I noticed that lots of the guys I worked with couldn't cope with live music at all.

One weekend when a bunch of us were working in Liverpool we all went down to an Oirish basement pub on the Sat night, which was heaving. I found out why when an excellent band came on, obviously doing some Beatles stuff etc but also rather more left field material. I was totally into it, but to most of my mates it was just one more noise to interfere with drinking lager.

Something related confused me a few years ago. Ralph McTell did a blinding version of his own song "Red and Gold" at Cropredy festival - the audience went spare. When a few years later the very same performance popped up on an album, it seemed a lot of the air had been sucked out.

Again at Cropredy, Blue Tapestry did an unbelievable version of Carol King's "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman" - Chris While absolutely transcendent. There was an almost tangible electric cable linking the band and the audience which was quite scary. I reminded Chris of this performance a few months later, and she said she'd been on a sort of higher plane too because of this interaction.

So I do feel that a hell of a lot of people are really missing something.....


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: WindhoverWeaver
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 09:10 AM

I am British, but I spent 30-odd years living in the US. One of the things I miss most being back in the UK again is that almost all of the folk dance clubs (at least around here--South Beds) only use recorded music. In Massachussetts even very small dances would have live music, if only from a few local musicians just getting together for that purpose.

It is so sad that most peoples vision of live music these days is either gigantic professional concerts or karaoke!


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 10:17 AM

I definitely have a physical need to hear live acoustic music. If I go a long time without it, my health and mental outlook deteriorate. As you said, Vic, it doesn't have to be great music. Amateur performances satisfy that need, as long as they sing on key.

But it only works if the sound is coming from actual instruments and voices, rather than from speakers. Live music through a sound system doesn't help. There is a social aspect to live amplified music, i.e. being together with people in public and talking with them and sharing interest in the same music; but that's a different need, one which I find can also be satisfied by a coffeehouse with recorded music.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 10:20 AM

Interesting comment, Vic. Our band (not a million miles away from you) regularly does functions - mainly weddings and parties - just like you. I've never got the impression that the people in front of us were bemused or unsettled by the fact that the music was live, though I don't doubt that many, if not all, of the tunes are unknown to them.

What we watch for is the reaction to the first call for a dance (we also play a tune or two to warm up the audience before dances are called). It's more than likely that most of our audiences - particularly at weddings - have no little or no idea what will happen, or why the bride and groom have chosen a ceilidh band!

However, it's a rare function where we don't get everyone up and boogeying as they should - and I'm sure it's the same with your band, The Sussex Pistols. So, whatever the initial expectations or reactions might be, the music gets to them in the end. However, I've spent over 40 years playing live music - mainly in pubs and social clubs - and I certainly think there's less opportunity to play, and therefore hear, live music these day.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: foggers
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 12:18 PM

I tend to play mainly in folk clubs, but I have had interesting conversations with friends who have come to see us play who usually only go to "mainstream" festivals, gigs and nightclubs. The conversation usually revolves around their surprise( and enjoyment, mostly) of the participative nature of folk clubs. The fact that anyone can get up and have a go, and will be listened to, is the bit that seems revolutionary to some.

I see this as a related facet of the commercialised music industry having the effect of distancing ordinary folks from the idea that people just like them can and do make music; it is not just for the glamorous celebrity (or the next-generation wanna-bes who are now being mercilessly exploited for live prime time TV).

I think the state of live music varies around the UK. I am lucky to live in the Sheffield area, where there is live music of several genres and standards happening most nights of the week!


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Ebbie
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 12:31 PM

These years I don't go to nearly as many concerts as I used to. My criterion now is whether I will later really, really wish I had gone. But I truly think the quality of my life would be intolerable if I did not have frequent song circles and impromptu get togethers. Songs and tunes are awe inspiring- when you realize that it is basically just audible notes put in a certain order,the power of music is amazing.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: GUEST,DTM
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 02:20 PM

IMO, Karioke = the Kamikaze of real live music


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Crowhugger
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 02:52 PM

I share the physical and spiritual needs described so far. Most of my social life is spent with people who share those needs, whether centred around folk singing/jamming, singing a cappella (barbershop) or handbell ringing. Most of the performing I do is for audiences who are comfortable with live acoustic music and they embrace the give and take. I cannot imagine living in the world any other way. I, too, get "twitchy" or "off" when I don't make music with people. Listening preferably to live music (recorded is a helpful stop-gap, particularly those that remind me of previous live experiences) is important to my sanity and physical health, but making music is the foundation of both.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: frogprince
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 05:42 PM

Forgive me, Vic, but I can't help thinking, do people just look at your band like that because you're a wierd looking bunch?


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 06:34 PM

Frogprince wrote:-
do people just look at your band like that because you're a wierd looking bunch?


Well, you will have to make up your mind for yourself by clicking here to see a photo of us.

Incidently, what do you look like yourself? I mean now not after the kissing metamorphosis that you seem to be waiting for.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 07:03 PM

Just back from an EXCELLENT live music pub - The Brewery Tap in Brentford , which seems to have live music five nights in the week


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 10:11 AM

Wow - the Brewery Tap - I used to play jazz there (sit in, actually) many years ago. Great to hear it's still going strong.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 12:08 PM

I found The Tap when Steve Benbow started playing there about seventeen years ago !! The Friday bash has been my 'Mandolin Practice Night' ever since


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: frogprince
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 12:30 PM

Well, Vic, I must admit, your band would look wierder with me in it than it does as is. As to your request, it so happens that the kissing metamorphis happened quite some years ago, and a few years ago I put together documentation of the phenomenom.

(My moniker is based on the facts that my wife has a vast number of collectable frogs, and that I've felt a lot more like a prince since she added me to the collection)


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Marje
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 12:40 PM

I share the feelings expressed about the need for live music, and for me the most "live" music is when you're actually involved yourself in the making of the music. Singing or playing, whether alone or with others, connects your body and soul with the music in away that can't realy be achieved by listening.

And as Foggers remarks above, the participative nature of British folk scene is something really special as it give opportunities to so many people to become active singers and players rather than just audience. This is, of course, a bit of a two-edged sword, as there are times when we have to endure some very bad singing and music making in the name of inclusivity. But the good times far outnumber these, and when non-folky friends witness an occasional folk session or other event, they are generally amazed at the standard of music produced by amateurs in their spare time.

A couple of friends dropped in on our local pub song-and-music session and were very impressed. "When do they rehearse?" they asked my husband, who looked blankly and said, "They don't - they just come here and play." Which is not totally true, as most of us do practise on our own, but our impromptu ensemble playing often has an edge and a verve that could easily be lost if we "rehearsed".

And yes, I miss it all terribly when away from home, and can't wait to get involved again when I come back.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Vic Smith
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 01:13 PM

frogprince wrote:-
"I put together documentation of the phenomenom.


Love it! Very funny.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Will Fly
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 03:18 PM

Great morphing!


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 05:14 PM

When 'The Admiral' was running his Canal Trips we used to try and have a session every evening in a pub by the cut . We were often asked "Where is your Choir based ?" when we were in fact just a crowd of Folkies , mostly with a connection with Maidenhead Folk Club .


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: GUEST,Lightfoot, No not that one!
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 11:36 PM

I have never put it into words, but I understand the feelings expressed here about live music. If I am out in a public place and someone is "BUSKING", I am drawn to it. Have to listen. Often wish I was braver and could perform like them. So now I think I will tune my guitar and play a little something before trotting off to bed!


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Marje
Date: 01 May 12 - 04:33 AM

Just to add another thought to what I said above: I truly believe that the vibrations of music are beneficial to our physiological and psychological wellbeing.

When we listen to music, particularly when it's live, whe experience the vibrations, not just as sound waves, but also through surfaces such as floors, chairs, walls. When we play an instrument, the effect is very much enhanced because the instrument is in close contact with our body, and we feel the musical vibrations at every point of contact. And singing can be the most intense form of musical enjoyment of all, because the whole body becomes the instrument, with the sound being generated within it.

There's also something special about playing or singing in a group with others, perhaps because of the the "surround-sound" effect of the various parts of the music coming at you from every direction. I sometimes sit in a music session (not necessarily playing at the time)and think. "Now, if I could just bottle this and always have it to hand ..." It ought to be available on the NHS as therapy.

Marje


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: banjoman
Date: 01 May 12 - 05:17 AM

I agree with the views expressed about live music. I recall setting up a band with friends at a camping & caravan club meet and being told by one of the organisers after playing on the first night that we were too loud and that most people preferred to dance to CD's. There is currently a discussion about this theme going on in that venerable institution. There is no substitute for live music.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 May 12 - 12:49 PM

Marje's point is spot on. Live music will suffer when it becomes an exclusive club. When it is opened up to participation, then the acts that perform live will be supported by those who understand the process of making music themselves.

The music industry in its attempt to commercialize their "product" has done damage to the role of society by making music a spectator sport and pompously elevating recording "stars" and personalities such as Justin Bieber or otherwise innocuous talents who want to cash in.

The Companies and Promoters in the Music Biz charge exorbitant prices for their big concerts and nosebleed seats while narrowing the room for emerging talent. The radio playlists grow smaller by obedient DJ's as music becomes more corporatized.

There is a need to "Occupy" the music biz.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 May 12 - 12:56 PM

Woody Guthrie set a model for the proper behavior toward the increasing greedy spectre of
"show biz" by walking away from it and doing his own thing, finally being recognized internationally.

Pete Seeger did the same by blazing his own trail through college concerts and Folkways Records.

Trying to "catch the brass ring" of the recording contract or T.V. appearance is a bad attitude
that pervades even the local live club performer.

The local live performer has got to drop the pseudo-importance of selling a CD to get on the airwaves. It's a corrupting influence. Encourage people to learn and play music themselves and you will find a loyal audience.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 01 May 12 - 11:09 PM

quote: It ought to be available on the NHS as therapy.
The hospital where I live has been advertising for musicians to come in and play for cancer patients. They must think it has some benefit, and one they can't get from recorded music.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 May 12 - 11:45 PM

An experience that I've mentioned before was of when I lived on a hilltop street and attended a folk club presentation every week way down below. I would have one or two glasses of wine while I listened and when the evening was over I swear I floated up the hill. I could have run. I could have leaped fences. I credited it to the wine.

And then one night it was so crowded I didn't have so much as a cup of coffee- and when I went home I floated up the hill. It was the music, not the wine.


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Subject: RE: The physical need for live music
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 02 May 12 - 01:45 AM

A brilliant idea, Frank. Occupying the music business has a much better chance of getting it's message across because you can offer real, listenable alternatives. And it would be a very interesting "Which side are you on?" situation for entertainers and celebrities.


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