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Performing: Which way to face?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Play Out! Performance Modulars  
Author Performing: Which way to face?
timcross
Have performed 4 times now, and have my first proper gig at the end of April and am still unsure about which way to face?

Options are:
- facing the audience so you can see them and vice versa
- back to them, so they can see you interacting with the system
- side on, so they can see you playing, and not as in-personal as back to them

So far have been side on, but just wondering what other people do, and what your thoughts are on this?
authorless
Side. Sitting on the floor or stage.
justinwzig
I've never performed live, but most of the best performances I've seen have been side-on. My thinking, however, would be to arrange the setup at a slight (acute) angle to the audience, so that (most of) the audience can still see the racks, and it's not quite as far to turn to face BOH. It'd probably also be a good idea to offset this setup so that you stand just slightly right of center so that people standing on the left don't get screwed over.

Also depends a lot on the venue and the vibe of the gig. I think pretty obsessively about the arrangement of stage items, the PA, audience, performers, etc at almost every show I go to and the space can frequently have a larger effect on audience response than the music. Consider if you want people to dance or just chill, whether your performing image is one of empathy and communication (you might want to face forward, working on racks flat on a table), or one of extreme concentration and musical immersion (you might want to face away from the audience). Tons of different options, consider the height of the racks and whether or not (as authorless points out) you want to stand or sit, etc.

Good luck!!
Navs
I like to face the audience but have also played side on and, on one occasion, with the audience milling around me (aka the awful 'boiler room' setup).

Facing seems more natural for communicating with the audience. Plus I like to be between the loudspeakers. But on smaller stages with multiple performers, side on might be the only practical setup.

I can see the idea behind the 'conductor' position but I'd rather see the person than the instrument; patching/turning knobs will never be as visually interesting as windmilling a guitar, right? hihi And how big is your synth for me to be able to see it over your back?

If you do want people to see what you're doing - if that's the point of the performance - you could lie your synth flat in front of you or, if the venue has the kit, set up a camera on the synth. For me personally as a member of the audience, tho, I find myself staring at the screen rather than listening.
NastyNachos
Depending on the size of the stage, facing your back to the crowd is an awful opportunity to show everyone your bum.

I've done lots of shows in many configurations and I am commonly asked that I face the crowd as people like to see your face when you play... like they say with youtube and instagram... stuff does better when a face is shown.

However, I want to figure out a way where people see whats going on without having to see my backside the whole time. The best, most fun I've had is playing on the floor in front of the stage. This way the subs hit me the same way they hit the crowd and we're all in it together.

I once threw an event where there was a giant mirror on the wall of the bar so I put the performers infront of the mirror so all could see the performers face as well as look at the rig... this backfired completely when one of the performers sagged his pants so far down and his boxers went with em so we all just saw his ass for 15 minutes. I eventually had to say something to him. it was awkward... I guess the moral of my story is whatever you do, just wear a belt! haha.
nklif
No experience performing but as an observer, sideways is good. I agree that back to the audience is likely going to make people feel weird at first. However, I think once they see what you're doing, they will understand why.
mt3
Always the correct answer to any question:
mirrored ceilings.
Geir
I have played a few times for an audience. I usually have a keyboard with me, allthough I am not much of a keyboardist. For my euro I have a 4 Pressure Point keyboard, and in my last gig I used my Music Easel and my Euro. I allways porition the keyboard so I face the audience when playing that, and the euro case on my left. Like in these to vids. That way I can move a bit more on the stage, something that might not be so natural to do if you, like me, mostly are a tweaker meh
I usually stand, since I both like that best, and think its more interresting for the audience. But in the last video I sit because of some reason I am more comfortable sitting with my Buchla. I will try to change that though.

pixelmechanic
timcross wrote:
Have performed 4 times now, and have my first proper gig at the end of April and am still unsure about which way to face?

Options are:
- facing the audience so you can see them and vice versa
- back to them, so they can see you interacting with the system
- side on, so they can see you playing, and not as in-personal as back to them

So far have been side on, but just wondering what other people do, and what your thoughts are on this?


Where's yr gig? Is it in Edinburgh? (Edit: after a bit of searching I found out where it is, and when - will try to come along as I enjoyed yr improv on YouTube)

I generally lay my case on it's back/lid and patch/play top down so I'm facing and audience can see...
Mattatatat
The couple of times I have performed I have been facing the audience, standing up with my synth on a podium/box. It made me feel like a newsreader at first.
R.U.Nuts
Do you know the stage you'll be playing on. And do you know wether the other acts playing that night will have set up their stuff on stage, too while you're playing? Do you know how big the setups of the other acts are? Chances are high that on a small stage you won't have a lot of choice how you position yourself anyway...
Miguel606
don't underestimate having some minimal spot lighting on your equipment, venues never have this so bring your own.
timcross
Thanks everyone for your responses, I guess ultimately I might not get much choice due to size of stage and setup. I guess facing is ideal, as long as the setup allows.

pixelmechanic wrote:

Where's yr gig? Is it in Edinburgh? (Edit: after a bit of searching I found out where it is, and when - will try to come along as I enjoyed yr improv on YouTube)


Thanks pixelmechanic! Sorry didn't read this for a while, glad you found it! Hope to see you there :-)

For anyone else in Scotland, it's at 7pm on 25th April in Whitespace, Edinburgh
corpusjonsey
Personally, I don't think there's much value in seeing what someone is doing with a rack of gear. Play in the dark and project some visuals.
c0rpse
I use the Elite side by side case so the look of the performance comes across more like a pair of cdj's.

Vertical racks are great for space savings and studio ergonomics, but I'm really not a fan of them for live unless you have so many cases you can surround yourself.
fruitsnake
authorless wrote:
Side. Sitting on the floor or stage.


+1 exactly
The Grump
Depends on the gig, and the material. Dancefloor? You face the audience. Period. Ambient? Sky's the limit. anything else... see what feels right, but unless it's a BUNCH of other synth nerds in the audience, do not turn your back to the crowd, most find it rude.

Edit: A lot of friends in Europe prefer to play on the dancefloor facing the system. This is also my preferred location, when possible. THAT puts you right in the thick of it. Of course, in the State most crowds at dance events are full of straight up fucking idiots who WILL put their drinks on your rig, so make sure that either you have a couple of friends close by preventing folks from doing that, or set up some kind of barrier between your gear and the crowd. However it is also where you will get the best idea of what your stuff really sounds like on the system you are playing through. Food for thought.
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