Local Current Blog

Who has the best stage banter?

Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR

As most showgoers know, a good concert goes way beyond hearing note-perfect renditions of our favorite songs. I’ve always been curious what goes through a performer’s head as they put on a show, and how much time is actually put into all of those non-musical things like dance moves, energy, and between-song banter.

The stage banter part of the equation is especially intriguing to me; some people nail it, while others seem to give it little to no thought. But how do artists handle those awkward silences between songs? What happens if someone breaks a string and there’s suddenly a long pause in the action? And what effect can something as simple as telling a joke have on the audience?

These are just a few of the questions I’ll be discussing this Sunday night on the Current Presents, when I take a close-up look at stage presence and mid-performance pleasantries. I’ll talk to Brenden Green of the Goondas about his wild stage show, Channy Leaneagh of Poliça about her growing confidence on stage, and a roundtable of funny folks—Holly Hansen of Zoo Animal, Jeremy Ylvisaker of Alpha Consumer and the Cloak Ox, and Dave King of the Bad Plus and Happy Apple—about their thoughts on stage banter.

All of this has gotten me thinking about things on a larger scale, too, so I’m curious to know: Who are your favorite live performers? Who are the best storytellers, joke tellers, and entertainers? And what do you think they can bring to a concert experience?

Share your picks in the comments—and bonus points if you have audio or YouTube clips to back up your selection. And I hope you’ll tune in Sunday night at 10 p.m. (after Wits) to hear the latest installment of the Current Presents.