Photo courtesy Antigone Rising and Lava Records
"It's your job to go out there and win the crowd over ... have to deliver every time."
The greatest commercial for a band is an amazing show. As a performer, that is the pay off. No one gets into music to flyer, or do interviews or tediously record the same instrument track over and over again for an album. Musicians start out with a desire to make music. So for all the hard work and sacrifice, the show is the reward. But playing 250 shows a year can be draining. To add to this, the law of averages states that the band is not always going to have a good night. Technical difficulties are a reality of the job. So how does Antigone Rising deal with technical problems and bad shows?
If you make a connection with the audience, as best you can, and you look like you're having a good time, as long as the band looks like they're having a good time -- it's almost like the visual can overcome anything else.
Another element fans rarely take the time to think of is that their favorite rock stars are people, too. They have fatigue, bills, headaches, foot cramps, and bad hair days and other personal problems like anyone else. As you see them on stage, while it may feel like they came to play for you, remember this is another show in a string of shows that they have been doing for weeks. They have spent all day in a cramped van, they have been eating bad food, moving heavy equipment, they're getting very little sleep and they are about to play the same songs they have been playing for years -- again. But despite all of that, each night, no matter what has happened that day, Antigone Rising, like all working bands, must carve a smile on their faces, suck it up and go out there and rock. Kristen explains their approach to this challenge:
It doesn't matter how tired you are. It's your job, you know. It is. It's your job to go out there and win the crowd over. It's what you do for a living. It's like an EMT. What happens when you're tired one night and somebody's having a heart attack
? Well, you know, you got to be on. You don't have a choice. It's like life or death when you're in a band that's trying to grow market by market. If you go out there in front of a crowd that sees you for the first time and you're lame, you're done. You have to deliver every time.
But after the show is over, it's back to that van. Some of the greatest drama in the music business doesn't occur on stage or in the recording studio. It takes place in the tour van, arguing over who gets to ride shotgun or "Why is this person late again?" This all plays into one of the most challenging aspects of band life: band dynamics