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Thread: Can a laptop rock

  1. #1
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    Default Can a laptop rock

    Strange title, I know. But the industry has changed so much for solo musicians these days that pretty much all you need to put on a stellar performance at a club is a guitar and your laptop.

    With midi and / or pre-recorded tracks that you put together in your studio at home it is possible for you to put together a full band sound that you can carry around in your little briefcase.

    Most laptops have a huge hard drive and ram to match, phenomenal screens and a sound card that will truly rock the house when run through a main FOH system like you find in most clubs these days. When you add on op of the ability to control the lighting of your show via software and DMX through a USB dongle you are actually capable of throwing together a performance that is capable of rivaling the best Pink Floyd sound and visuals. So to answer the question, yes, a laptop can rock.

    However, keep in mind that it is still a tool and it is only a tool. It can be sonically and timing wise much better than using a real human or humans to do the job. But, and that is a big but, a good portion of what makes a live music show so great is the human factor. It is the slightly off pitch bass, the drummer being off a millisecond on the crash after the roll the lead player making a slight miscalculation on the solo.

    It is the little things like that, which actually IMPROVE a performance in the eyes of the audience even though it is technically a worse show. People have come to associate live performances with spontaneity and that is not something that, as of yet, can be programmed effectively into your laptop.

    This type of system is absolutely great for the smaller venues and Holiday Inn circuit where businessmen come in and suck down Martini’s after a hard day selling products out in a strange town. And you can even say that the laptop can assist in some things in a live band, like lighting and programming the keyboard. Or keeping track of the contracts and the stats of the tour and making sure everything is kept up as far as taxes.

    But for the most part the laptop has no viable reason to be on a rock and roll stage with the band. Not even if it does “technically” rock!

  2. #2
    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    I think the laptop would be great for controlling lights and quickly changing synth patches and so forth, but I would have a lot more fun watching an entire band moving around and grooving off the audience and each other than one person and a laptop. I embrace technology, but not if it makes a show more boring. I figure the interactions of band members and audience is like an act of love. With just a laptop - well, you're playing with yourself.

    I'm not entirely condemning the practice, mind you. It probably should be considered a different genre altogether.

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