As an aspiring performing musician, I have a real passion for live rock music. As a constantly evolving medium, live rock performances show a huge range of variety, from the ‘Beatles-esque’ format of four musicians playing in formation to the ridiculous theatrics of Rammstein.
With an increase of file sharing and the drastic shrinkage of a record buying audience, large-scale tours are now becoming the more lucrative aspect for musicians with huge amounts of being money being invested in them (U2’s 2009-2011 360° Tour cost a total of £450,000,000). Many successful bands – such as KISS, ELO, Pink Floyd and more recently Muse – are now renowned for their spectacular live shows. This allows for bands to play larger venues and go on longer tours due to the economy of scale. For fans, this often gives an ample opportunity worldwide to attend a live show but can also drive ticket prices up to cover the price of the production.
Smaller bands do not have these luxuries, as they cannot attract the size of audience to cover the production cost. Hence, they will often to tour with larger bands as support acts, with multiple bands playing the same stage on the same night, with the grand theatrics reserved for the headliner. Again, this makes economic sense in terms of scale and provides the audience a better package for the ticket price.
Smaller still though, any theatrics are usually limited to basic lighting with the emphasis being solely on the music. There’s a quality to this that I very much enjoy and performances often feel a lot more intimate with a greater connection between the performer and the audience. With a smaller audience, the musicians can present themselves without the need for grand, arena-sized theatrics. It is the organisation and guaranteed market of large-scale tours that allow the investment into the non-musical elements of the performance.
For bands of my level there is seldom any visual or theatrical accompaniment and I think that’s a shame.
As someone who enjoys the use of visuals during live performances as well as regularly performs live as part of a small-scale band , it’s only logical that I combine these. I would like to experiment with an array of ‘appropriate’ visual techniques using the shell as a laboratory. This capitalises on the low – medium budget, which eliminates large-scale or cutting edge visuals that I either lack the expertise to utilise or are beyond my means.