Powerbooks on stage

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by bumfilter, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. bumfilter macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2004
    Not sure if this is the right forum or if it has been posted before, feel free to punish me if so.

    Anyway, long before the days of garageband I used to see bands on stage, usually the dance type ones with a Powerbook stacked on top of their keyboards.

    I'd like to know what they used them for, i.e what software package allowed them to play their music and samples live on stage. Or are they just there for show? I only thought of it when I saw Duran Duran with one at the Brits but I've seen them out and about for a good while.

  2. azdude macrumors 6502

    Sep 27, 2003
    I saw Seal give a concert on TV once... his keyboardist was peeking out over the top of a 23" cinema display sitting in front of his keyboard.

    I'm not sure what they'd be using... but there is a lot to choose from. :D Logic, Reason, ProTools....

    Who knows? (Not rhetorical)
  3. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Venus Hum use them. They unplug them and carry them off stage at the end of the concert, which I thought was neat. I've read what software they use but forgot--it's on their website.
  4. vollspacken macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2002
    Boogie-Down Berlintown
    I guess that some use it for virtual/VST instruments

    others for sequencing with logic

    and yet others for deejaying via Traktor

    oh, I forgot live animations

  5. acidrock macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2004
    The Evergreen State College
    I saw an electronica Dj in Seattle at bummbershoot (sp) but anyway he was mixing live on a mac! -n
  6. JamesDPS macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2004
    Irvine, CA
    I'd say most likely virtual instruments and sample players, since running a full-blown sequencer in a live concert setting might be a bit dodgy (and would involve all kinds of complicated and time-consuming switching of active documents, whereas instruments or samplers could be played and managed via a MIDI controller). Doubtful that it would be used for any kind of effects processing since for most functions, hardware would almost certainly be preferable, especially live, but I suppose it's possible... maybe they use the Mac to synch up the lighting, lasers, pyrotechnics, and video with the music, while talking on ICQ and posting on forums? (Running Folding@home and serving their website the whole time, of course) ;)
  7. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Nov 20, 2002
    I've seen Radiohead and Bjork running Macs live.
  8. GovornorPhatt macrumors regular

    Dec 19, 2003
    Where do YOU live?
    I've seen Wilco use Powerbooks for some of their loops and noise.
  9. f-matic macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2003
    as far as radiohead goes...

    i think they are using a product called max/msp, available at http://www.cycling74.com. it's used by a lot of experimental people for live laptop stuff -- you basically build your own instruments and create whatever kind of live sound processing patch you want.

    other people who use it, if anyone is experimentally inclined (most have releases available on the mego label at www.mego.at)


    for OS X people there's an interesting application called supercollider which basically runs a client-server architecture in which you code your instruments using the SC programming language, based on smalltalk. i think that's available at sourceforge IIRC. and it's free! so is PD, a max/msp-like open source package (in fact max/msp is built open parts of PD).

  10. adamjay macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2004
    I do a techno live act at clubs , parties, raves, etc.
    running 2 powerbooks. 1 867mhz G4 12" and 1 400mhz G4 15"

    on the 867mhz, i run Ableton Live 3.0 and multiple VST effects, i put this on the 12" because A) Ableton doesnt have an extremely graphical interface so it looks okay on the 12", and B) Ableton isn't yet optimized for Altivec (weak!) so i have to run it on the fastest machine.

    and i run PropellerHeads Reason 2.5 on the 400mhz, because A) It DOES have an extremely graphical interface so the larger screen helps alot, and B) Reason IS optimized for the G4's Altivec so its okay to run on the weaker machine, and free up the 12" for Ableton. In reason i am running FX and lots of ReCycled REX sounds and some realtime synth work.

    synced through Midi with an Edirol UM-1 usb midi interface, and both Mac's are controlled with the Evolution UC-33 Midi controller (33 knobs and sliders)

    not a very good indicator of the use of Macs onstage, but this short VIDEO** clip was from the last "live act" i did. It was in Bremen, Germany a few weekends ago.

    and here's a more detailed picture from my little home 'live preparation setup' to give you more of an idea.. http://www.subterror.com/azurerecords/Mac-Centric.jpg , i obviously don't lug the 17" CRT to europe
  11. adamjay macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2004
    oh yea and one side note... the visuals on the screen behind the stage in that video were ran by a couple local guys in Bremen. on Two 500mhz Titanium Powerbooks =)

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