Featured image reads Band Stage Layouts of all the best-loved genres

Today, we are looking at band stage layouts for different genres of music. The genres we focus on hear are rock and pop, jazz and blues, classical and orchestra, electronic and DJ sets, hip-hop and country. Anyone who knows me knows that my music is all electronic. However, I don’t want to be biased here so I won’t be. If you are a DJ looking for music for a set, I would appreciate your interest in playing our music. You can learn more about our music here, but it’s your choice. Maybe our music just doesn’t suit your thing – and that’s fine, but you’re welcome to add any of our tracks to your sets as we need all the DJ exposure there is.

Key Takeaways

By the time you have finished reading this post, you will…

  • Understand the typical stage layouts for rock and pop, jazz and blues, classical and orchestra, electronic and DJ sets, hip-hop or country
  • Understand how music is performed live.
  • Discover what musical instruments are used in this genre.

1. Rock and Pop Band Stage Layouts

Band Stage Layouts at the Front and Centre

Lead vocals, often with a microphone stand, front and centre. The singer has to be about the most visible member of the band because all of the focus is on the singer. They are the main performer.

For instance, when you think of Queen, you think of Freddie Mercury. When you think of Dire Straits, you think of Chris Rea. When you think of Genesis, you think of Phil Collins because he is the lead singer.

Band Stage Layout of the Backline

The drum kit is set up at the back of the stage. The drummer is almost invisible and hiding away from the limelight. You hear the beat and the drums, but your focus is not on the drummer. The exception is in drum solos such as those you might hear from Phil Collins and the effects of Land of Confusion with the heavy reverbed snare.

Flanking the Singer

The guitarists and bassist, often roam the stage. The guitarist is always the main focus when they are playing a solo. When the likes of Kirk Hammet, Slash or Richie Sambora are playing their guitar solos, the crowd go wild, but it is for the guitarist and not any other member of the crowd. In the video below, I am sharing my favourite all time rock solo. This was Richie Sambora on Dry County – a fantastic example of true genius…

The Keyboards and Additional Percussion

Keyboards and any additional percussionists are positioned towards the sides or slightly back from the lead vocalist. Again, the keyboardist typical isn’t the main focus unless your name’s Elton John.

Band Stage Layouts Often Use Visuals

Many band stage layouts include large LED screens, lighting rigs, and sometimes pyrotechnics. This helps to make the experience memorable for the crowd. I will always remember the props used by Roxette when I saw them in 1994. However, I am going to go back to our Genesis example with Land of Confusion. This used some fantastic lighting that made you want to go to a Genesis concert.

Jazz and Blues Band Stage Layouts

Although jazz wouldn’t really go down on my list of favourite genres, I have purchased some blues albums in the past. These genres are generally appreciated by older people and not really by my mid-40s generation. I was brought up with rock and house music. However, jazz does deserve a mention on my list of band stage layouts. It has a rich and respectable history that you can’t help but admire. Therefore, I have included it in this list.

Central Focus

Yes, I have had to research for this one, but the whole post is researched so I can bring you the right information. In a jazz or blue band stage layout, the band will often have a more intimate setup with the band members closer together.

Band Stage Layouts of the Rhythm Section

The drum kit and bass guitarist are typically positioned slightly towards the back of the stage. One example of a jazz band layout is in Dave Brubeck’s Take Five. I found this video on YouTube and you can listen to that live in this video.

Lead Instruments

Instruments that are typical in jazz music includes saxophones and trumpets. However, blues in particular, uses solo guitarists who are prominently placed. The saxophones, trumpets and guitarists often taking turns for solos near the front of the stage. Below, you can see an example of a blues guitarist. This is one genre that I have maximum respect for. I have more time for blues than I have for jazz.

Band Stage Layouts of the Piano

Pianists appear frequently in both jazz and blues. They are prominently placed and they do hold a significant amount of crowd exposure, sometimes at the side of the stage. The video below showcases ten of the most prominent jazz pianists.

Classical and Orchestra

I have as much admiration for classical music now as I do for rock. If anything, I probably prefer classical to rock music. I see how EDM has evolved from its classical roots and I really appreciate classical music and its history. One example of a crossover is Ferry Corsten and William Orbit’s version of Samuel Barber’s Adagio For Strings. This was a tune that was made big in the film, Platoon – a film about the Vietnam War with Tom Cruise.

Going back to older classical music, I think my all-time favourite classical composer was Ralph Vaughan Williams. His music is some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.

I have heard ignorant younger people consider classical music enthusiasts to be pompous, homosexual snobs. However, that’s an unfair and ignorant position to take. Classical music enthusiasts who think that popular music is only for young and foolish adolescents, are wrong too. All music has its place and nobody should be putting anyone down for whatever their musical tastes are. It takes skill to create all genres of music to professional standards.

Conductor’s Podium

The conductor’s podium is located at the front and centre of the orchestra. However, they doesn’t face the audience. His focus has to be on getting the instrumentalists to play at the right time, volume and parts. The classical conductor is probably the only part of the musical performance who has no focus from the crowd.

In classical music, the focus is purely 100% on the sound of the music.

Strings

The strings in the classical orchestra include the violins, violas, cellos, and also the basses. These are arranged in sections, usually with violins closest to the audience. The strings are the pads of the orchestra. Sorry to explain it in that way, but when you consider the pads in electronic music, you can hear why I have described the strings with such a term.

Woodwinds and Brass

Woodwinds are typically located behind the strings. They include instruments such as the bassoon, ositioned behind the strings or slightly to the sides.

Percussion and Harp

The percussionists and the harp are often found at the back of the orchestra. Originally, this would have been so that the volume of the percussion wasn’t too boomy above the sound of the other instruments. You have to remember that in centuries gone by, there would have been no microphones and they would have had to perform so that the entire room could hear them. This is probably one reason why there are so many performers involve4d in a classical orchestra.

Soloists

A soloist isn’t always featured. However, when one is featured, it is always at the front near to the conductor. The soloist will naturally attract a lot of the focus from the crowd. This is because a soloist is the only one playing that particular instrument.

It should be noted that classical music can involve a lot of different kinds of set-ups. Classical music can mean quartets, chamber music or baroque. Therefore, the term classical has wide a range of subgenres as electronic music.

Electronic Music and DJ Sets

Electronic music is among my favourite music genres along with classical music. However, it contains a multitude of subgenres. These range from house music to techno, trance, drum’n’base, breakbeat, synthwave, synthpop and so many that it would probably fill up this entire post. I could also keep you here for hours watching example videos.

As electronic music artists ourselves, we are always looking for DJs who want to play our music in their DJ sets. So, we don’t travel. We stay at home and make music on our computers and midi keyboards. There are five instruments that I can actually play. I know that Everhald can play both keys and guitar, but I’m not sure what else.

The instruments that I can play keys, guitar, harmonica, bodhran and tin whistle. My first instrument and probably the instrument I can play most competently is the guitar. However, my favourite instrument to play is the keys. I just love all of the different sounds I can get from it and that I can play both bass and treble concurrently.

DJ Booth

DJ’s typically perform at nightclubs rather than traditional concert venues. For instance, you wouldn’t find the DJ at the Wembley Arena, but you would find them at the Ministry of Sound. An example is Paul Oakenfold. Paul had a show at Gatecrasher – a club in central Birmingham, UK. However, you wouldn’t find Paul Oakenfold at the NEC or the Symphony Hall. This is probably because people are expected to dance. Therefore, they need space to move around on the dancefloor.

The DJ booth is normally central and elevated. They would use turntables, mixers, and other electronic equipment. to perform something very special.

The video below shows a British comedy duo Kevin and Perry who find their way into the world of being Superstar DJs.

Visual Displays

Visual displays including elaborate light shows, LED screens and visual synchronisation are used better for electronic music than in any other type of music. You may find lasers and even fireworks at such an event. The dance music scene had a big influence from 1970s disco music which used the glitterball and many other stage props.

When I was at boarding school, we would have discos every couple of weeks and these would all have the different lighting used by DJs of the late 80s/early 90s. We would have lights such as those used by police cars. Sometimes, sound frequencies would trigger the pattern that the lights made.

Audience Interaction

Layout designed to maximize interaction with the audience, often with less emphasis on live instrumentation. Again, just like with classical music, electronic music focuses on the sound rather than the person making it. The producer who wrote the song is the one who makes the music. Well, that’s the way it is with radio DJ’s in any case. They just happen to have the records so they give it a go on the turntables. However, there is more technology in club DJing and I think that club DJs have to have more skill in lining up the end of one track to go into another.

Hip-Hop Band Stage Layouts

Hip-hop music is all about the vocalist. They are the ones with the true skill in this genre and they are the centre of attention. A Tribe Called Quest is an example of a band that I remember with pride. The early 90s were the time for hip-hop. The video below shows A Tribe Called Quest perform their song, Can I Kick It, live.

DJ or Backing Tracks

The DJ or backing track would be positioned at the back or side of the stage. The DJ or backing track really gets no focus. All the focus belongs to the more prominent vocalists and that is the way it is in most music. Whenever there is a vocalist, they command attention. You can’t study with a vocalist singing away in the background. It’s one reason why Krannaken don’t typically use a vocalist.

Perhaps Run DMC were one of the first hip-hop acts. They intermingled heavy hitting hip-hop and rock together. In Walk This Way they teamed up with Aerosmith so they had the entire group on stage. I bet that was a great experience for the crowd. Two legendary bands on one stage, can’t beat that.

Vocalists

Just as I mentioned a little while ago, the vocalist is the centre of attention in hip-hop. However, it takes more skill to rap well and perform hip-hop vocals than it does to do the vocals on other genres. Hip-hop is one of those genres that gets a lot of unfair and unjustified press. There is a lot of skill and it takes years of rapping to get it right.

As the vocalist is the centre of attention in a hip-hop song, they are front and centre of the stage. .

Hype Man

Run DMC are an act with two vocalists who support each other. Are they both hype men? I don’t know, but they’re both very talented.

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Country Band Stage Layouts

Country is one genre that is always fun to watch live in concert. The heyday of country was throughout the 1970s. With acts like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and more. A school friend was a mad Dolly Parton fan. You can hear why from the video below.

Central Vocalist:

Just as with rock music, the vocalist is very often at the front, centre of the stage. They are the main focus of the crowd. Very often, the vocalist will also play guitar. However, in the video below you see that Kenny Rogers is not playing the guitar. However, I bet it still a great night for the crowd. All of the acts featured in this entire post know how to get a crowd going. That is what makes them so popular.

Traditional Instruments

Although the guitar is the most notable country instrument, banjos and fiddles also feature in many acts. The Chicks are a band that use a banjo, fiddle and guitar. As you can hear in the video below, The Chicks are all about a fusion with rock, folk and country and again, I reckon they’d be a fantastic experience to see live. These ladies are at the front of the stage and would all pick up a lot of focus from the crowd. However, the singer is in the middle and I think they probably gets more focus than the others.

Rhythm Section

Just as in most other genres, the drummer and percussion is not the main focus of a country band. As you can see from the video above, the three ladies, The Chicks, are the prominent members of the band. The backing instrumentalists are all men – so you couldn’t call them a part of The Chicks because they don’t look like women. Anyway, the drums and percussion in this setup are at the back of the stage.

Conclusion – Band Stage Layouts

All of these band stage layouts work to drive crowds wild. The vocalists are normally always at the centre and front of the stage where they pick up most of the focus of the crowd.

Drums and percussionist often get no attention and are the unsung heroes of the music world. Drummers will often be at the back of the stage.

Guitars and keys get an equal amount of focus, often appearing at the side of the stage or flanking the lead singer. The only time that a guitarist will get more focus will be during a guitar solo such as the example of Richie Sambora in his Dry County solo. It was probably the best solo I have ever seen or heard.

People will always have different tastes in music. However, I believe all of these genres have talented and skilled performers. Therefore, nobody should look negatively at any genre. The only reason that people think negatively about any genre is because they don’t understand it. They might think there’s a lot of drugs and crime around hip-hop. However, if you look closely at every genre, they all have their connections with drugs and crime. There are plenty of country artists who have hit the bottle. There are connections of drug abuse with psychedelic rock and electronic music. Therefore, please think next time you put a genre down as a crime trap. You’re not doing anyone any favours at all.

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