BPR’s Keys to being a Successful Cover Band: THE SHOW, PART 3

3b) THE SHOW: Sequencing is NOT cheating

There. I said it. Now get over it.

Seriously, this is one of the most controversial aspects I’ve encountered among many (especially older) musicians. For those unfamiliar, sequencing is when a band incorporates a pre-recorded sound—an effect or an instrument of some kind—that they use to back up their live instrumentation. They do this either because the original song has such a sequence that can’t easily be replicated on stage live, or they simply don’t have enough band members to produce said sounds in addition to their main instruments. But their use is not without potential blowback from other musicians.

And this is sort of where I feel the more popular bands (who do use a lot of sequencing) have been disrespected and downplayed on some level. Because when you add the sequencing to a show that already features big lights, fog and sound, and then you see the crowds such a band draws, I think it’s tempting (probably in light of your own band’s lack of comparable success) to behave as if those bands are cheating. Getting away from the music and covering up their (alleged) lack of musical talent by resorting to fluff and distractions to entice the ignorant masses who have no musical tastes.

Newsflash: Those bands would still kick ass without all of that. They choose to incorporate all of those elements into their show because they know that will help set them apart and take their show to the next level.

Now here’s what I’m NOT saying: I’m NOT saying you should go out and add sequences to your entire set. Do what works for your band. Using sequences is just another tool in enhancing the overall experience and is totally at the discretion of the band. What I AM telling you to do is to drop any contempt you may have for those bands who do utilize sequences. Remember, as a cover band your job is to get people in the bar dancing and buying drinks all night. You may have noticed that’s my overall thesis. Whatever elements you can use to enhance your show will only help your success. Can sequencing be overdone? Sure. But don’t be tempted to dismiss a band’s success simply because they incorporate sequencing more than you think proper.

Next: The Relationships

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