I just came across a post on the Umphrey’s blog about some new events they are planning called “Stew Art Series”.
Here is the description of the events from the website:
An (S2) event is an experiment in crowd-sourced improvisation. One hundred percent of the music performed at a (S2) event will be improvised, and you are the ones who will serve as directors. Using several communication mediums – which could range from text messaging to prewritten cue cards to chalk boards – you will kick out ideas, descriptive words, phrases, pop culture references . . . pretty much whatever comes to mind. These will be presented to the band who will compose jams on the fly based around those ideas, and ideas will be added to, changed, and deleted as the event progresses. For instance, a fan might toss out the phrase “frightened rabbit,” causing the band the play a frantic, nimble jam and after a period of time, the word “rabbit” might get changed to “brontosaurus” which would take the jam in a heavy, slower direction (though the word “frightened” is still in play). Then perhaps the word “skydiving” morphs the “frightened brontosaurus” jam into a soaring, powerful piece of music that evokes the feeling of being airborne . . . until the phrase “without a parachute” gets tacked on which changes the jam into something else entirely. And so on. No one will have any idea where the music is headed, well, and that’s all part of the fun. The event will also include a Q&A session to provide an opportunity to ask about what you’re witnessing (or ask anything else for that matter). Fans will become a part of the music like never before.
To me this is a GREAT idea that I wish more bands and artists took part in. Obviously, UM is an incredibly forward thinking band that really looks to push the envelope in order to give their fans the best and most unique experience possible.
Do you think this type of event could apply to different genres of music?
Can you imagine a jazz group using the audience as a source for raw material for their improvisations? I think this would make the audiences feel more involved and make the live music experience more personable. If bands want to get people to their performances in this day and age of so many distractions, they need to offer something new.
Well done Umphrey’s. I look forward to seeing where you go from here.