Motivation – keep on working!

The inspiration to play comes from many places, the inherent need to express and communicate ideas through such a powerful medium being the foremost but as an aside all musicians are music fans. Fervently consuming obsessive music fans, we listen so much more intently and can derive heights of pleasure from a well-executed line or on the money timed groove. To maintain my motivation I watch a lot of footage of the artists whose work I enjoy and admire to see how they translate this into the live arena. Recently John Mayer played out a show under the corporate sponsorship of Bud Light called the ‘Dive Bar’ tour, a one off intimate show in LA, streamed live via FB and re run accessible via YouTube. John is in a light mood compared to the arena shows for current album ‘The Search for Everything’, he is jammier than usual with extensions applied to most solos. The band works arrangements and grooves differently, it’s played easy and very enthused, and simply put they’re having fun and it shows. His own motivational moment pre-stage is shown in the band huddle call ‘Give em a buzz!’ The opening pomp stomp of ‘Helpless’ and its accentuated rhythm drive that could be owed in part to the Stones swaggers effortlessly. ‘Belief’ reminds all and sundry that he can cut up a contemporary blues like nobody’s business, lots of grind and drag on his lines on this version. ‘Moving On and Getting Over’ has a different feel, switching up into a soul jam David Ryan Harris being used to full effect. John warms to this setting evidenced in his slight tendency to waffle but in fairness he does connect with those present and enjoys the ‘shouting out/on-side heckling’, (#thathitthespot) interacting with his audience throughout. This band line up is stellar, ‘Love on the Weekend’ sounds effortless, a group in their stride which he then reduces down to the trio vibe, raw and gritty, this sound suits the room. An Erykah laden jam-out feat Alessia Cara followed up with ‘Stay’, a surprising twist on the overly produced pop/dance hit, the set concludes with a track often reserved for this pinnacle ‘Gravity’ in which Alessia remains and adds a nice new vocal flavour to a more modest version of this anthem. Watching shows and seeing what is effective in an analytical sense is a great way of staying motivated, hints and ideas of what can be incorporated into your own performance technique can increase desire to work on the craft and keep rehearsing. In many respects engaging with the performance of others at a show or in a recorded format is like research and therefore an essential part of our practice, well that’s my reasoning anyway. Shout and share if you’ve been watching any great live performance footage recently and do take a look at the ‘Dive Bar tour’.

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