As i do every Saturday morning when the BBC2 music tv show "Later with Jools Holland" is on, i settled down this morning and watched my recording of last nights show.
Whilst watching i thought, "I know, i'll write a blog post about how much i enjoy the show and why". But, something else struck me whilst watching Kings Of Leon playing their final song.
Anyone who knows anything about Kings Of Leon will probably know that the band is made up of four members of the Followill family. Three brothers and a cousin.
But, how many people also knew that, when onstage, they are joined by a fifth member?
You could be forgiven for not knowing the latter fact. Especially if you've only seen the band perform live in the kind of huge arenas and stadiums that they tend to play these days.
The reason for this potential lack of knowledge, is that the fifth"member' is hidden behind the band. Behind the amplifiers and to the side of the drummers mini-stage.
During the course of the three songs that Kings Of Leon played on "Later.....", i saw this fifth member playing percussion, guitar and, i think, keyboards. I do believe he also helped out on backing vocals. But, because he was virtually out of sight and out of the light, this is not easy to prove.
Now, this is not the first time that i've noticed this little deception and Kings Of Leon are by no means the only band who do this, when playing live.
Many other bands also do this. Some more discreetly than others.
So, is this right?
Personally, i feel that any musician who is contributing to the live sound of the band, should be visible. And, by visible, i mean actually on the main stage and in front of those amplifiers and drum risers.
Not behind them.
After all, isn't this mini deception just as bad as auto-tuning a voice, or miming because of the vigorous dance routine that you're doing?
This is not a new phenomenon either. I have heard stories of hidden guitarists, hiding in the wings and playing a band members guitar parts for them. But, that doesn't make it right for this to happen now.
These days, music and especially live music, is a huge money spinner and ticket prices often reflect this. If i pay decent money to see my favourite band, I expect the members of that band to be playing the music that i'm hearing. If they need help, fair enough. But, i also want to see those helpers.
I fully accept that it's not always easy to reproduce what was recorded in the studio. But, at least be upfront about it.
Some bands do this properly and well done to them for that.
The band Keane, for example, now have an un-official fourth member, Jesse Quin. He was brought in to add bass guitar, guitar and percussion to the bands live act and has been touring with Keane since 2008. He always perfoms on the stage beside the other band members.
So, if Keane can do this openly, why not some other bands?
I guess, that in these days of backing tracks and miming, we should just be grateful that bands actually bother to play live in the first place? I'm certainly grateful for that.
But, just look out for those extra personnel, lurking in the shadows.