Rant: Live Backing/Click Tracks

EMM

I am the cat who walks by himself
#1
Here's another subject that makes my blood boil!

I fortunately live walking distance from a decent live venue which has live music on most Saturdays, so I rarely go a week without watching a live band!

I recently saw an 80s synthpop tribute band that were playing there and I decided to go and watch them to see what they were like. The thing that really annoyed me about them was that they were a 4 piece (guitar,bass,drums,vox) with no keyboard player!:facepalm:What the hell! An 80s tribute with no keyboardist is sacrilege IMHO.

The guitarist weren't playing much either! I know this is not guitar-based music they were playing but some of the songs they were playing had quite prominent guitar parts in that were on a backing track! Awful!

Why do so many bands do this? It takes the piss!

Also, as an added bonus, I can't stand drummers that INSIST on playing to a click for everything! I've also seen this so many times and if I ever meet someone like this in a band, all I'm going to say is "there is only one click track in my band, and its the drummer." Either that or "John Bonham would never have said that!!";)

I really enjoy it when performances change speed and vary from night to night, it sounds more human that way. The same with backing tracks, I prefer it when bands strip songs back to the bare essentials for live purposes, rather than using tracks and from experience, bands that have experimented using tracks that have given up on them end up sounding tighter than on the record!:D

Anyone share the same opinion as me? Or am I just a luddite when it comes to this sort of thing.
 

Chu

Well-Known Member
#2
If the band is great, it's not something that bothers me either way and entirely depends on the type of music.

I've seen The Devin Townsend Project several times, they always have playback and put on a hell of a show. They can't afford to tour with an orchestra, choir and additional musicians so it's playback, strip it right back or don't play it at all. I'd rather see the song done justice than a lacklustre version. Likewise, I saw Queen recently and they were proud they don't use a click or playback. They sounded great too, especially as they can afford to tour with additional musicians.

My band also use a little playback too, no click track but I trigger string samples to fill out the sound. I've modified the parts so they are less tempo sensitive. I guess we could look for a keyboard player but a) I play keyboard and like recording them how I like on our recordings b) it's tricky enough finding time when the three of us are available and c) keyboard players usually look silly in rock bands.
 

metromusic

Negative, I am a meat popsicle
#3
I think it's all dependant on the type of music being played, and the amount of backing tracks that are used. If it's 90% of the sound, yeah that's a bit naff, but if it's only on specific parts/sounds then that's fine. We use backing tracks for parts of our set, it's mostly synth parts in the songs and a few modified backing vocals and pads to fill out the sound. To replicate it live, we'd need a synth player and possibly another vocalist singing through some kind of effect box, which is neither realistically possible nor something we'd want.

Our drummer plays to a click just out of preference, but also plays without sometimes. For the songs with backing, he needs the click to keep the timing right. I think that's more of a personal preference thing for drummers, I don't think it's either wrong or right to play to a click or not.
 

Chu

Well-Known Member
#4
Our drummer plays to a click just out of preference, but also plays without sometimes. For the songs with backing, he needs the click to keep the timing right. I think that's more of a personal preference thing for drummers, I don't think it's either wrong or right to play to a click or not.
I was reading an interview with Brian Marshall (bassist with Alter Bridge). He stated that he and Scott Phillips (drums) have to use a click track on certain songs as Mark Tremonti (guitar) tries to force the tempo up and the best way to prevent it is to tie them all to a click.

Either way, the end result is all that matters to me. If the band is shit, they're shit and if there's playback of parts that should be played then they're super shit. If it's complementary to a great band, bring it on.
 
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