One of the weird experiences of playing loud rock music is that of not being able to hear. No, I don’t mean the dulled hearing that many of us ex-musicians are experiencing later in our lives. What I’m talking about is standing 5 feet away from someone who is singing their lungs out and watching their lips move without hearing any of it. Watch how most bands set up – the amplifiers are behind the musicians but the PA system speakers – the ones from which the vocals emanate – are in front of the band, closer to the audience. This is why there are also usually monitors of some sort.
You’ve seen them, maybe without knowing what they were: the boxes in front of the band that face backwards. Today, of course, those might be prompters that show the singers the lyrics (at one point I would have attributed that need to drugs and alcohol; now it’s usually age) since most musicians seem to wear ear monitors that let the singer hear whatever mix helps them stay on time and in tune. Good business lesson too! Continue reading