Monday, November 10, 2008


At most shows that I've seen or played at, the musician had a visible presence for the audience, perhaps near the stage, perhaps on it. If you're a true "performer", that's where you'll want to be. Quite often that can mean you're close enough to the players and/or the MC when they're not on stage to chat a little bit.

Something that has worked well for me lately is locating myself far off-stage, sort of in the audience. What a massive difference it's made!

Set up away from the stage, I can see the players as the audience sees them, see their facial expressions, see their physicality, catch some of the subtle things they do. It's made a big difference to every part of the music I play, whether it's emotional music behind a scene, or music matching physical movements like in a Ballet or perhaps a Song in the Style Of.

Another benefit is that I've found it easier to mix myself and get my volume right in relation to the players. Sitting to the side of the stage means you don't get the same mix the audience hears, so it's a little harder to get the mix right. When you're practically *in* the audience, it's much easier.

We perform Impro Gladiators at a stand-up comedy venue, downstairs at the Paddo Tavern in Paddington, Brisbane. There's a raised stage, and an immediate off-stage area where the players hang out, and that's where I used to be. It was great for interacting with the players. (Not so good when someone wants to push past to use the bathroom.) A few years back I shifted to a landing halfway up a set of stairs to the upper level, where there was a great view from the audience's perspective, and I love it! I've returned to the old spot a few times, and although it was nice to be able to interact with the players, I felt like I was missing the show, and I couldn't see the actors' faces so I couldn't work off of them as effectively.

In my case, this new location is within a few feet of the mixing desk, so now it takes about 30 seconds to completely set up my gear before a show. Gotta love that. :)

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