Labor Day Weekend – Two Shows, Two Different Animals

With the long weekend on the calendar, many families look to their final vacation, trips to the lake, camping, or local events.  Here, we had a music bonanza, known as Thumbfest, as well as the Arts, Beats and Eats festival, and our State Fair.  Amongst all this business, a small local cafe played host to a magical night of music that only  a relative few enjoyed.  A few dozen people filled seats, shared tables, and gathered around the Plymouth Coffee Bean to hear some live music, up close and personal, as only the small cafe scene can provide.

With a hectic and emotionally as well as physically draining week behind me, performing was as much a release and outlet as anything else, and it must have showed.  Cheers were loud, praise plentiful, and the online followup still flows forth.  With no big escape plans, and a fair number of people who couldn’t attend, I felt that I should try the online concert option, and so began my task of preparing for a home concert.

Clearing space in the basement, shifting equipment, testing audio levels and video settings, both for local and broadcast quality took some time.  I added a trellis backdrop at the last minute, when I noticed Home Depot had them on sale while shopping for spot light bulbs.  I’m relatively new to the live streamed concert movement. I’ve played on my back deck with my cell phone recording while I played tunes for myself over tea, and I streamed a farmer’s market show in the early summer.  I hadn’t done an actual online-only concert, with no physical audience, but with real intent towards entertaining some intangible people.

With that experience now safely tucked into my back pocket for later reflection, I’ll be seriously pondering what I can do differently and better.  The one thing I definitely learned is that live-streamed isn’t live.  My energy levels were lower, I couldn’t feed off the crowd and vice versa, and with a limited field of view on the camera, where I set up, I couldn’t move around, or even realistically stand without panning out and including extranious stuff in the shot.  On a stage, I can really cut loose, but it was harder to do at home.  It lacked the relaxed feel of just sitting and playing, but didn’t make up for that with energy, so it seemed like an awkward hybrid.  That may change with more experience performing for a red light and a comment board, rather than myself or a crowd.  Time will tell.  I definitely need to find a way to run a LAN cable to either outside, or upstairs though, so I’m not restricted to a 7′ ceiling and a limited open space.

Maybe next time, I’ll try a house concert that is also live streamed, so I have a group of people to interact with live locally as well as online.  Someting to think about anyway.  Anyway, live is live, home is home, live streamed may be an interesting compromize, and I think I’ll keep working on perfecting that option, given the distance between me and interested viewers, but I don’t think the self broadcast, single camera home live stream will ever truly surpass the live option.

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