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Show-stoppers vs. no-shows

By Jacob Parrett
On March 7, 2018

Lil Uzi Vert performs live in Middlebury. Photo by Jacob Parrett. 

Seeing one of your favorite artists live can be one of the best ways to experience music. The atmosphere at a good concert can be unlike anything else.

A musician’s ability to perform their songs in front of an audience can have a huge impact on the way that their craft is appreciated.

Take an artist like Prince for example.

Prince, whose massive number of accolades and platinum records speak for themselves, was also considered to be one of the best live performers of all time.

He has multiple legendary performances; from his halftime show in the pouring rain of Super Bowl XLI, to his guitar solo in a rendition of the song While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions.

Prince’s ability to put on spectacular live shows has greatly added to his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.

Pop-punk group Green Day is another band known for putting on very exciting and true-to-sound live performances. One of Green Day’s most well-known performances, from Woodstock in 1994, is coveted for the antics and stage presence the band held.

The fast paced, aggressive songs, lead singer Billie-Joe Armstrong’s vulgar interactions with the crowd and the venue’s poor condition due to rainy weather all led to a borderline riot accented by a mud fight between the performers and the audience.

Woodstock 1994 became a highlight in the long career of one the most successful punk-rock groups of all time.

On the other hand, having a reputation as a poor live performer can be detrimental to various aspects of an artist’s career.

Poor live performances are particularly prominent among the new “SoundCloud rappers.”

SoundCloud rap is a term applied to rappers with a similar sound who gained popularity via the online streaming service SoundCloud.

The songs in this genre are typically very short (less than two minutes or even 60 seconds.) They’re intentionally mixed poorly or atonally and have redundant, watered-down lyrics.

Many SoundCloud rappers are notorious for showing up late to their shows (sometimes not showing up at all,) playing only a handful of songs and not even rapping most of their lyrics.

Long-term, this can affect an artist’s reputation, leading to less fans. Also, fans will not want to go see an artist who has a history of lackluster performances, which can lead to the rappers making far less money.

Performing a good live show is not necessarily a requirement to be a good artist, but it is necessary to be considered a great one.

For fans, live music can be one of the best ways to support and connect with their favorite artists.

Riley Cartwright, a junior at Castleton university said he enjoys seeing live shows because it gives a new perspective on the music.

“You can appreciate the music more when you see it performed live, if the artist is good,” Cartwright said. “But seeing a bad show has kind of changed how I feel about certain artists.”

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