What is feel?

I’m trying to wrap my head around what worked last night. We were playing to a nearly empty room for the first two sets and then part of the third set, but then something changed. The vibe changed. The feel changed. Why?

There are a number of elements that I can definitely say contributed; song selection, crowd interaction, the band having fun on stage, a hands-on manager etc., but sometimes those same elements are in place yet they don’t yield the same results. What did we do right?

The best way to describe the experience is that we created a vibe in the room that was palpable. It’s the feeling of magic that inspires me and countless other musicians to keep playing. But how do you create it? Can feel be manufactured?

I’m asking myself this question because the issue was recently brought up at a different band’s meeting. We need to have better feel. So how do we go about securing better feel?

My answer would be to first have all of basic fundamentals in place (know the song well, ensure your instrument sounds good, be comfortable playing with the other members) to at least provide the template for something as intangible as feel to manifest. But that’s just the basics.

There was a point last night where the room was empty and I stood right beside my drummer, closed my eyes and just dug into how good my bass sounded and how much I was enjoying playing the song. I pictured a packed room with my eyes shut and most importantly – felt the joy of playing and the thrill of a large, appreciative crowd, even though there was nobody in the club. That’s some law of attraction shit for ya.

So maybe overall feel comes from individual feel coalescing. Or maybe it can just start with one person and become so overflowing that the others players can’t help but notice. I’ll see if I can explore this further tonight.

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