An Inquiring Musician Wants To Know: i.e Local Bands & Audiences

Steve Patterson

Musician and friend to Barefoot Music Group Steve Patterson is a gifted finger pickin’ guitarist whose own music is like a soothing salve that heals open wounds on the heart. Steve’s chops come through the spirit of who he is right down through his fingers transposing all that soulful emoting right on to his fretboard.

As a writer whose focus is often music I am fascinated with the ways other musicians think and find ways to use social media as a tool to suss out questions in the music industry, especially the Independent music scene.

So Steve asked…….

” What qualities should a local band have to keep an audience happy, in a club situation? And, what is your biggest complaint about live music in the same situation…..”

……and so they answered.

Marvin ~ Play more upbeat songs…i hate to hear nothing but slow sad ballads.


Lynette ~ More Mustang Sally & Free Bird……
Mike NAlways to loud for me.
Windell ~ Excellent question..
Robert H ~ Audience participation. We have seen a local to Grand Prairie TX band (Jurassic Rock) and they would have a group of the lovely ladies from the crowd come on stage to play tambourine, the triangle and maracas during Mustang Sally or some other song. It was lots of fun.

Ruth WI would love it if local bands would choose a club where the audience goes to listen to music and not drink all the beer on the planet. And if those local bands could play original music, it would be heaven.


Madalyn ~My one complaint is musicians playing so loud that you cannot hear vocalist. When it’s all instrumental cut loose. I really love nuanced pieces showcasing different instruments. 

Robert H ~And sing-along songs (John Prine – Dear Abby, etc

Gayle ~ Play different songs…Hearing the same songs week after week gets old…


Sue B  ~ My biggest complaint is the loudness issue; drums mic’ed in small rooms; instruments too loud for the vocals–and don’t turn the vocals up, turn the instruments *down*. I do not want to have to lean over to yell in a friend/companion’s ear to be heard or vice versa! Loud does not equal better.

Steve Patterson: ~ Could you who liked this post give feedback please…

Windell ~  I for one think the bands should be payed more, that would have a huge impact on presentation, performance, and new material…

But it’ll still be 100 bucks a gig for time immemorial.

 Charley B ~Variety.
 Steve Patterson Absolutely!!!
Terry GYou said a mouthful Charley!
Gerado ~ A good quality is that the band should be able to make people sing and move. When people get happy they consume more.

A big complain is when there is no connection between musicians. The audience perceives it and is not good. I’m in a band where we talk at each other just by looking at the other. And we make the craziest arrangements on the fly, when someone makes a mistake we all manage to cover and make it look like it’s part of the trip. Musicians need to have fun on stage so that the audience will have fun too.

 Amanda S ~ As a member of a touring band.. We try very hard to keep the balance of relevant music, classic favorites, and our own originals. I love a good original, but too many times you see bands playing originals that aren’t really that good, nor is it fun, ear catching, or indicative of the music the band’s style reflects. I also think it is important for a band to have a “look” one that isn’t just a group of people who randomly come together by happenstance. You don’t have to be a size 6, as s female, to be attractive on stage, nor do you have to be in a suit or khakis to be pleasing to the eye. I also try to make sure that we tell a joke or have good rapport with the other guys in the band. I like to see the banter when I am seeing another band. There should always be a show, within the show. Just my two cents, and yes venues should pay more.

Ann S ~ Your groups are the only bands i have ever went into a club to listen to and it isn’t visual, but more good music and connecting to the audience, such as making them forget they are in a club, but hanging out with friends instead. also, most club bands are underpaid, and really need the support of those enjoying their music.
Tony G ~ More crowd participation. I think it makes it more fun for everybody. The more fun(participation) the crowd has the more likelihood of coming to the shows. Biggest complaint would be repetitive shows. Same songs same set list. Granted that with a new cd, the new songs need to be played but not every one every time. AND for the record you KNOW I love local live shows
Toni ~ Mixing under covered tunes with originals
I wish folks who turn out for live music would listen to the music and save their chatting for another time.

Steve PYes!

 Heidi S ~  Atmosphere is key! Too many loud drunk people take away from those who really enjoy listening to the music. As long as the atmosphere/vibe is right, live music is the best form of entertainment and we have too little of it in Jackson!

Steve G ~ I have been playing for the public since the early 70’s and it didn’t take long to figure out that MOST people don’t care if you perform great guitar solos or if your song selection is made up from super hard songs. MOST people don’t really come for the music. They want to hear familiar songs at a reasonable volume.
All the songs that musicians hate to play.
They notice if the vocals sound good but MOST could not tell if you made a mistake or nailed it.
Being TOO loud is the biggest complaint. People want to be entertained, have interaction with the band, and be made to feel special..

Colin H ~ Sound balance between voice and instruments… put the drums behind sound shields if the venue is small and check the balance as the crowd fluctuates throughout the evening.
Toni ~ Bam! 

Todd K ~ To be sure to know the genres of music the crowd enjoys. If you play covers, I assume that would be especially important. And I think it would be equally as important if you play your own stuff

Peter D ~ VARIETY! VARIETY! VARIETY! The band member that usually does the “TALKING” etc. needs to be very interactive with the crowd but also don’t forget the other hand members…and the biggest pet peeve of mine would be….transition time between songs…lag time loses people’s interest….that’s my 2 cents worth! 😄😆😝😜😀

Angel F ~ Mix up the tempo. Play some originals but also play covers so people can hear some songs they know. Don’t talk between every song. Always use a set list. I like to dance, so dance-able songs make me happy. And my pet peeve is when the bass is mixed in too loudly. It drowns everything else out.


Brenda D ~  In some cases drums screens.

Tonette W ~ No more free bird…even the old tired covers were done by bands that had more than one song. Originals. No muddy vocals…ego maniacal guitar players don’t have to be the loudest. Drowned out vocals… And when you get offstage for a to folks. Make sure your genre fits the bar. And remember it’s a bar…people may listen..may get drunk..may not. And look as if you are having a good time.
Jeff S ~ Good singing trumps good playing. Great comment.
Tonette W ~ I owned three bars. Reel to reel aka fuel. Scratch monkey… Lots of great bands played at cotton bowl.
Jeff W ~ I love the real B3 and swelling of a Leslie tone cabinet live.
And a guy that can sing like Gregg Allman.

 Not to forget ,sweetest of a good Sultan of swing lead guitar sound.
Tommy C ~Guh
Jeff S ~ Play happy songs that people have heard before


Johnnie H ~ MORE COWBELL !!!

Lorraine R ~ When you can’t hear the person singing because of other instruments. Then of course people talking while you are playing.


JD Talor ~ Costumes ….would be great ….maybe each gig could have a theme… Lol

Steve P ~ We’ve tried that….lol

JD Taylor Steve Patterson lol

Dianne J ~Too loud. And that’s not my age. I hated it too loud when I was young.
Tony R ~ I surely agree

Dianne J – Tony R     I hate when you can’t even talk to people.

 Doug M ~ Easy…. A band with such a ridiculous amount of fun playing together it is contagious along with the desire to grow as music
 Kevin A ~ Honestly, involve the audience. Guy that wrote Delta Dawn was at the center downtown and the entire crowd sang the song with him. can’t remember his name but remember his comment how great it was to play a song that everyone knew the words to.
Jeff L ~ Absolutely . . . involvement is the key . . . be it sing-a-long, dance, cowbell, kazoo, any way you can get the audience involved . . . they’ll love it & you will too. 🤓
 Kevin A ~ As far as a complaint, don’t just play the “can”, Express yourself, expand the music with your own interpretations, rifts, etc...
JR Parsons ~ Just keep playing “Rawhide” and everything will be fine! :-
Dena S ~  I’m like the rest… if you’re enjoying yourselves, having fun playing together, and talking/involving the audience it’ll keep their attention. 🙂

Arlene TUsually the same set, maybe have different playlists or something new your working on. You can see how a live room reacts. You might get more new faces in to expand your following.


  Hello lovely Music Tribe ~ 

Excellent shares! Thank you so much to everyone for expanding your thoughts that became this fabulous dialogue. Loved this thread and saw great merit in the comments and posed topics as incredibly valuable sharing for the world of independent music and artists for which Barefoot Music is a steadfast advocate for.
A shout out of massive love and gratitude to musician and superb human Steve Patterson, from who this piece was inspired by

Stay Peacefully in tune ~Barefoot Music Group




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