The Difference between Recorded and Live Music is the Dose

The Civil Wars Live SLC

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Have you ever listened to a band’s album and been totally blown away only to be disappointed during their live performance? What about going to a show and seeing a band you’ve never heard of only to be caught off guard due to the heart and soul translated through the PA system into your ears? There’s a not only slight, but GIANT difference when it comes to live and recorded music.

For starters, live music is one take whereas recorded music has no limit of takes. When producing and creating music in a studio, the atmosphere of accuracy/perfection is thick and angst filled. As a guitar player, you’ve played your songs countless times. You’ve played a hundred plus shows. Drop into the studio though, and things suddenly change. Producers expect you to play everything perfect, and will cut up a thousand of your takes to turn them into one perfect performance that in my opinion lacks what makes music good: SOUL.

Live music is a completely different story. It may be rehearsed, but it’s different every time. It’s never perfect, but that’s what gives it its’ human-esque quality which most modern records are beginning to lose sight of. I’ll go to any live concert because I know what live music can do for the mind and soul. Bands in a genre I’m not a giant fan of can change my mind in four measures because hearing a live act click and work together is awe-inspiring.

Live bands work for years to get that chemistry going. You might hear it on a record, but go and watch them play on a stage in front of an audience and that’s where the real magic happens. You can throw five random dudes together and give them a great producer…sure, they’ll record an album. It might even sell. They will never have the longevity and live presence that a real band that’s been together for years has, and never will.

Maybe some people see it differently. They might not even enjoy concerts. I couldn’t understand why, but there’s a few out there. They don’t enjoy the noise but can’t get enough metal (hard to believe).

All I can say is this: if you want to know if a band is actually the real deal, go see them. Whether they’re a national act on tour, or a local up and comer willing to do anything for your ear, it’s always worth the trip. Sure, you may be disappointed, despite your (and the bands’) hardest efforts to change what’s happening, what you’re hearing sounds nothing like the album. That’s just how it is sometimes. Though, when live music is good, it’s really, really good, and you won’t regret spending those couple dollars (or lots of dollars) to have an experience you may never forget. Just my .02 cents.

Steve Krantz is a music enthusiast that resides in St. Clair Shores, MI and plays guitar in the progressive punk quartet Day In Day Out.


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