Saturday, July 10, 2010

Playing the Right Size Room

I was cruising home from work in my car today listening to music. I started thinking about some of the concerts I've been to over the years, and how the size of the room these bands are playing in directly correlates with what kind of performance they have.

Bands like Foo Fighters and Green Day are solid in an arena setting. I've seen Foo Fighters tackle the Bank Atlantic Center twice, and KILLED both times.
I've seen Green Day own both the BAC and The Triple A (American Airlines Arena).
Dave Matthews Band, Poison, and Disturbed are all fantastic bands to see on a sweaty summer night at the Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. The open-air structure sets the tone perfectly for a great night of acoustic balladry or balls-out rock.

The difference in playing certain venues becomes even more evident when it comes to local bands. I've recently seen Juke play a Beer Fest, Hollywood Bandshell, and The Poorhouse. Each performance had a different vibe. Beer Fest was high energy, Bandshell was laid back with a medium pace, and The Poorhouse was full of foot stompers, attitude, and an anything goes vibe.

My friends the Hep Cat Boo Daddies always play their best shows at The Hollywood Playhouse. There is something about that theatre that brings out the best in them as a band. All of the songs sound that much more soulful and real.

Conversely, choosing a room that your band is not suited for can provide disastrous results. I've seen multiple bands play Hard Rock Live in Hollywood with mixed success. Sometimes the sound is drowned or muffled, or the music gets lost drifting over the sea of people.

I enjoyed seeing Weezer at Sunfest earlier this year, but they're better suited to play in an arena, or even a medium-sized venue. Rivers Cuomo has been experimenting with becoming a more outgoing and impressive frontman, but I'd prefer to see him play a smaller room and stick to his traditionally awkward ways.

What are some recent shows you've been to where the band worked really well or really poorly in a particular venue?

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