Mistakes will happen inevitably during live performances, but they don’t have to be the end of the world. So how can you turn your mistakes into part of the performance? Check out four excellent tips from The Life Electric below and forever be a “mistake-free” musician.
Do not acknowledge your mistakes.
I have seen many different reactions occur when mistakes are made on stage. Some people make a visual cue to divert attention from a mistake that most people may not have noticed, but are now left confused after the awkward moment. Some people like to laugh out loud….into the microphone! Some people stop playing altogether. Some people even talk into the mic during the song casually to acknowledge their mistake.
These are all big DON’Ts! The best thing you can do is nothing and keep playing the song. Most people in the audience will NOT notice your mistake. The people that DO notice your mistake are actually listening to you! Do not break their concentration by talking or laughing over the song.
If you make a mistake, make the same mistake again.
If you are playing a guitar solo or perhaps some specific palm muting rhythms and you hit a note or rhythm that doesn’t fit the song in a nice way, sometimes repeating the mistake will dilute the bad note’s first impression. How? By repeating the mistake the second time around in a more colorful way gives the illusion of “intention”. The people listening in the audience that think they heard a mistake will give that a second thought when they hear you do it again.
You will find this all over the place if you study live performance. You may even convince your own band you did nothing wrong, while others will think you were playing some jazz fusion riffs for a second which will actually give you some extra cred in some circles. Profit!
Always look like you know what you are doing.
If you are having a visibly great time on stage and the band is playing moderately well, you could literally do anything you want on stage and the audience will love it. A bad musician on stage with great energy will most likely prevail over the deer-in-the-headlights music major who plays perfectly.
Roll with the punches.
One time during a jam I hit this weird note. It wasn’t a bad note necessarily, but it wasn’t planned. The note began to sustain and feedback into this glorious noise. I rode that note into this 5 minute noise-fest of feedback. I was feeling my heart and my heart told me to explode on stage! I fell back onto the floor and basically ended up under the drummer’s seat by the time it was done. It ended up being the highlight of the set.
Another thing that can happen is broken strings. The best course of action is to play through the song and NOT acknowledge you broke a string. When people see that you played through a whole song while missing a string and not miss a beat, you get all this extra respect that you didn’t even deserve! Profit!
The Life Electric came together in 2011 when former Action Verbs frontman Joey Chehade (vocals) met up with three-fifths of indie rock band Gold Star Morning, and the musical chemistry was undeniable. The band, also consisting of Ben Leang (guitar), Cory Bean (bass), Joel Silloway (drums), and Duey Ducharme (guitar/keys) brings a sound that’s been uniquely described as a combination of modern disco, The Flaming Lips, and pure fucking rock.
The Life Electric released their self-titled debut album in May of 2012, garnering attention from local press and building an organic buzz around the band. They followed it up with the Calico EP in early 2013, and have since opened for national acts like Neon Trees, Cracker, and Marcy Playground, as well as had the honor of playing Boston’s Rock and Roll Rumble.
To hear more from the band, you can purchase a CD here.