This past weekend my latest live band, Bonne Nuit, performed a live online concert. First of all let me tell you a little bit about Bonne Nuit. It’s a band that features myself, Matt Rushton, on lead guitar and vocals. I’m also playing with my 3 oldest sons, Erik on guitar and vocals, Austin on Bass Guitar and Skyler on drums. Their ages are 18, 15 and 14 respectively. So as you can see, we don’t play in any bars.
Bonne Nuit plays primarily current rock hits such as Kings Of Leon -Sex On Fire. We also do a couple classic rock numbers and a couple of originals. We’ve been learning songs and rehearsing for about 3 months now and we finally have enough material to do about a 1.5 hour show. So we decided we’d follow my own advice given earlier on Live Musician Central and broadcast a live online concert.
The great thing about doing a live online concert is the fact that you don’t have to haul any equipment out of your practice studio provided you have a good Internet connection in your practice studio. We do have a good Internet connection so we set up a computer running a Shoutcast server in tandem with Winamp. Then we marketed the gig using social networking. We primarily used Facebook for marketing by setting up an event and inviting all our friends. Feel free to check out the Bonne Nuit Facebook page and become a fan.
Everything felt like a normal gig in terms of prepartion and pre-show jitters. We didn’t have to do a lot of setup other than making sure we had an audio feed from the board going to the computer that was broadcasting our Shoutcast stream. We started broadcasting the stream an hour before the show by playing music on a Zune HD intermixed with promo’s we had recorded earlier announcing the name of the stream channel, the band and showtime. We also used Live Musician Central Chat to allow our audience to logon and interact with the band while we were doing the show.
It was really cool to see people start to hook up to our Shoutcast stream and join the chat room! When the showtime came, we unplugged the Zune and plugged in our board and we were live. I have been a radio D.J. and doing the live online concert was quite similar to being a D.J. in the sense that you have to keep talking if you’re not playing. Having dead air while you tune or fix problems is a no-no when people can’t see what you’re doing. So we did a lot of talking along with a lot of playing.
We only had enough bandwidth on our connection to support 40 connections to our server and we ended up getting 12 external computers connected at one time. There were multiple people listening on some of the connections so we figure we played to about 20-25 people. Not a huge gig but not bad for an inaugural show. It was really fun to interact with everyone that signed on. Having the live chat room going at the same time was really a great thing.
The listeners were asking questions about the band, making requests and giving us some pretty good praise on the quality of our show. It was so cool to be a part of a new medium for live music! We played very well, the mix sounded excellent and the band performed without any problems at all. There were some technical problems with the Shoutcast mini-player.
If you go to shoutcast.com you can listen to stations with the built-in mini-player. Some of our listeners reported problems with freezing and browser crashes using the mini-player. The listeners that were using Winamp or iTunes had no problems at all. When we broadcast again we will most likely write a good tutorial or two about using Winamp or iTunes to listen to the show.
Overall, it was a total blast to play the live online concert. The interaction with our audience was really fun in a cyberspace sort of way. It was a little strange not being able to hear cheering or jeering at the end of each song. We did miss having the audience in the same room with us but it was still a fascinating and fun experience. We are going to put on another live online concert soon and we hope it will get an even bigger response.