The S2 Concept: Fan Guided Improvisation
A user’s guide for the uninitiated, for UM’s “Stew Art Series” concept, (AKA the S2).
At one point or another, every music fan has desired to affect the outcome of a live concert. From holding up a poster with your favorite song scribbled in sharpie, the “request” is as old performance art itself. Given the tools available to us today, we’ve entered a whole new realm of what’s possible in the field of crowd participation. And why limit yourself to just requesting songs? Enter the S2.
Fans conceive of ideas they’d like realized in musical form (ex. “skydiving without a parachute”) and text those to the band. Those ideas are filtered by the event’s producer and curated selections are displayed to both fans and band in real-time via projection screens, LED panels and TVs scattered throughout the venue. The band quickly devises a strategy (+/-10 seconds) to improvise on the selected theme through a series of hand signals, visual cues, & talk back microphones (audible only to the band members). And moments later, UM is executing your musical vision.
Hundreds of themes have been tackled over dozens of events and have run the gamut from “Heavy Metal Dance Party” to “Barry White Love Letter” and everything in between. Ideas range from primarily comical to technically ambitious to uplifting and emotionally stirring. No genre is off limits.
The following clip features a few ideas from this year’s UMBowl event which regularly features the S2 concept.
“Barn Yard Stomp,” “Fear and Loathing,” and “Flamenco Metal”
What idea of yours would you most like turned into a song? Because you may just be the inspiration for the next UM song.