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Is it self-indulgent to play new material only or do you respect bands for not getting stuck in the past?
I remember a particular Blur set from T in the Park in 1999. They pretty much played the whole of the "13" album in order. It was not good. They tossed off a few hits half-heartedly towards the end, but you could tell their heart wasn't in it
can be slightly annoying if their new material is self-indulgent rubbish though. Musicians always have to feel like they are still relevant and not living in the past
to bands who refuse to play the songs they know that the vast majority of their audience have paid to hear.
and the first step towards doing that is playing the songs that people want to hear.
I'm paying my money for "the band" to entertain me, not to indulge their egos.
I either go knowing theyre not going to or not knowing their recorded material at all.
I remember going to see Gang Gang Dance once, Egowar and House Jam barely raised any reaction from the crowd but all the new super housey stuff sent them crazy. It seemed wrong.
even though that seems like a really obvious statement.
i prefer to see half/half if i'm there at a gig and unless i hate their newer stuff (and i probably wouldn't go if that was a case) then i'd not begrudge them.
but it's whatever they're happy with i guess.
We've been getting an oldie every now and then though, Psykick Dancehall at Windsor recently for example.
It's great if bands do want to play old stuff. I saw Echo & The Bunnymen at the Roundhouse earlier this year and was delighted that they seemed perfectly happy to play their early stuff and left the newer songs well alone. And I don't really have much sympathy for bands that play new stuff and then complain when people react better to their old stuff - they know the risk they're taking and they (should) know what the audience wants and, whilst I respect them for playing against expectation, it's unreasonable of them to feel aggrieved when the audience wants to hear their more popular stuff (especially if it's much better than their new stuff).
But I'd hate to watch a band going through the motions and playing a load of songs they clearly don't enjoy playing and do think the best gigs tend to happen when the band are excited by what they're playing. So if they don't feel that way about their old songs it's probably best not to play them.
The one thing I have against Ryan Adams.
Ok so he's probably really pissy about playing New York New York and My Winding Wheel, but those songs put him where he is. The people who line his pockets love those songs, and while they're slightly interested to hear what he's been up to lately, they pay £30 to hear him playing them.
By all means, announce low key shows where you'll be trying out new songs. But I prefer the approach Oasis take. They tell you at the start how much you're gonna enjoy their set. They know what stirs their crowd and when you can tap into that, you're on the money.
I saw Kasabian last year do half a set worth of their new songs that no-one had heard yet. It was shit.
Play the hits.
oh and Kasabian Are Just Shit. Don't go and see them cos they are Just Shit.
Glasto 07 was HUUUUUGE but that little show they did was pretty wank.
Wanna see them outdoors again, on some boiling hot summers day. Maybe they'll do Creamfields again.
I'm guessing you were unlucky enough to catch him during his super-petulant 'Rock n Roll' period? Every time I've seen him he's been more than happy to indulge the crowd with the oldies. He's a changed man.
But often a whole gig of new material is not a fun experience. Whatever the reason, most people love to hear songs they know, it's as simple as that.
not if you were the last hooker on earth or whatever its called?
if a band wants to play whatever they want to. A nice comprimise between hits and preferred material is ideal. Sonic Youth on their current tour is a good example of this.
they should limit it to two or three, evenly spaced throughout the set, and pick the most up-beat, joyful or fastest from the bunch. And they should never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, under any circumstances, ever utter the words "This is a new song". Or even worse "We're going to play some new songs for you", then play five new songs back to back, particularly if those songs are from an up-coming album that is months away from release and hasn't been leaked yet or performed on WFMU or on video for Stereogum or something. If the audience are into the band and paying enough attention, they should spot new songs from the old ones and think "That was rather enjoyable, I can't wait for that album to come out so I can hear it properly".
and they're playing their first proper headline show and have to stretch the time out to 45/50 minutes, but the running time for those songs runs to just over 30 minutes. So what they do is play some new songs, which are half-baked and far from complete, and look confused at each other, thinking "I hope I don't fuck this up". Just rip out what you've got and say goodnight.
just improv a 15-minute vibes solo on the end.
It's rare I see a band that plays a lot of new stuff though, its not done that often is it? I think the last time it happened was with Accoustic Ladyland they played a whole set of the stuff on the latest album which hadn't come out yet and added one or two old ones. They didn't have the same line-up as they had for the other albums though so I kind of expected it. They were brilliant as well. I get a lot of pleasure from the unknown with music so if I've not heard something and I'm really feeling it when I hear it for the first time live then its just as special as if I recognise something and enjoy it again... I don't really need to recognise somethign before I can enjoy it.
I'm fairly easy either way, I like hearing loads and loads of new stuff in clubs though. Its brilliant when its super loud and you have no idea whats coming next and you just get deep into the sounds with just a glimer every now and again of something you recognise, fuckin ace!
make the non fan *feel* like s/he's seen a 'hits show' but make a fan feel like they've pulled out rare tracks, stuff they haven't done for years, maybe one song they've *never* done etc etc. very tricky to pull off. over the last few years good examples of bands who do this are REM, Manics, Depeche, The Cure and Prince. you need a good 5 albums or more back catalogue i think first.
but how "old" is automatically defined as "past hits". So there are actually three elements to the mix: new material, past hits, and old album tracks or rarities.
I second your nomination of The Cure as a band who knows how to find the right mix.
as they effortlesly manage to promote a new album's worth of material, play a good number of the big hits and pull out obscurities from the 80s/old album tracks in one amazing show.
as far as I'm concerned. That's my arbitrary rule.
whenever you see bands that have yet to release their debut album.
if bands advertise that they'll be playing a load of new stuff - have seen great gigs from British Sea Power and Wild Beasts playing most of their new albums months before they were released.
But as a general rule, there's a happy medium to be found.
and they have never played anything off there Pink Album.
Ive enjoyed every show!
but i do wish the national would play 'lit up'
as long as what they do play are good songs. Recent Brand New sets are a case in point. People moan when they don't play much of the first two albums, but the third album is just better - why wouldn't they play more from it?
I'm thinking here about when Blur wouldn't play There's No Other Way or Radiohead not playing Creep. While I accept both bands were sick of those songs I also felt there was a certain 'fuck you' about those choices. Does that make any sense?
But then if they aren't gonna play it & alot of the audience are aware of that then it's all good.
Don't like the lemonheads refuse to play mrs robinson on similar grounds? Just can't think of tons of examples but there probably are.
and Alex Turner has already been talking about what they definitely WON'T be playing again in future:
If you’re going to Reading or Leeds next weekend then you’re unlikely to hear classics Mardy Bum, Teddy Picker or Fake Tales of San Francisco- according to the band. In an exclusive interview for MTV Two Alex Turner and Jamie Cook were asked about the live shows. Of those three tracks they both said: “Done” or “dead.”
Singer Alex added: “You’ve got to move on.”
But rest assured the Sheffield four-piece will still play some big hits. Turner told us: “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor for instance… Its fun to play like, I buzz off playing that every night. That’s not done.”
Placebo have been playing mainly songs from their last 2 albums at all the festivals this year (with the odd Black Market Music track thrown in). I was hoping for a load of material from the first couple of albums, which I didn't get. However they were really good despite that! In fact I wouldn't have bothered getting hold of their more recent albums if I hadn't seen them.
Could easily suck though, if their newer stuff isn't up to scratch.
is as good then, to an extent, no probs. But i went to see A-ha (it was for someone else!!!!) and they didn't play Take On Me. Frankly thats unforgiveable ;-)