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Gig report - Lessons learned


EddiePlaysBass

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Let me start of by saying this was a very valuable night for us as a band. I have taken from it many a lesson which will prove valuable in the future ...

 

We were scheduled to be the "surprise afterparty" to a 3 band bill this night. This means that we were mentioned nowhere on the flyers or advertisements. The reason was mainly because the other bands played original music and the organiser did not want to pay royalties to SABAM.

 

Lesson one: check out which other bands are playing and whether you fit in even remotely.

 

The first band was our guitarist's other band. They call their music "country trash". I would say it is more alternative guitar rock. Second band was a band we played with before but they underwent a serious change of direction, as they focused on really heavy punk music. Third band was a screamo metalcore band.

 

Lesson two: insist on a backstage area.

 

This metalcore band had people moshing and pogoing and generally getting really effed up. In itself okay, but it almost looked as if the moshers were deliberately trying to dive into the instruments of the previous and my own band. They were positioned on stage right side of the hall, for lack of space. Not a good idea.

 

Lesson three: learn to read your audience ...

 

After the metalcore guys stopped playing, the crowd was riled up. They had brought a good deal of their own fans and they were still in a moshing mood. About 30 minutes passed while they broke down and we set up but in hindsight (always 20/20) we should have waited longer. We began our set and people were still ... energized and not in the mood for rockabilly covers.

 

Lesson four: ... and respond in kind.

 

Somewhere during the sixth or seventh song in the set, all of a sudden I saw a beer bottle flying towards our singer. He continued singing and we continued playing. In hindsight (again, 20/20) we should have stopped the song right there and then and called out the a-hole who did this. Instead we said: "Okay, this will be our last song for the evening. You can thank the guy who threw that bottle." Perhaps too little too late?

 

Funnily enough, by this time people were actually digging our set. We continued playing, dropped a few of the planned songs and repeated a few we had played before. Normally I would be against it, but I was totally not having fun and frankly I did not care one bit.

 

Lesson five: Make agreements with the band and stick to them.

 

Keeping in mind the actual meaning of "dapper dan" and the tip from a forum member whose name eludes me for the moment, I dressed up for this gig: nice pair of pants, black shirt white tie and even a nice jacket. I forgot to tell the others I would be doing this, so fashion wise we were a mixed bunch. The bassist of the metalcore band told me that he really respected me dressing up like that and said I had balls for "being in a place like this, dressed like that" :confused: Pictures will follow :)

 

Our guitarist once again started riffing "Highway To Hell" and people got excited and were into it. Only downside? Neither myself nor the singer know that song. Other than the chorus I don't know the words. It's AC/DC so I guess it is in A? Either way, I did not like him doing this. He then started doing some Iron Maiden riff followed by the intro riff to Ace Of Spades. Again, riled the crowd but then they realised that the band would not actually play these songs and we collectively looked like schmucks.

 

I fully intend to talk to him about this and tell him that either he suggests a few of those songs, we learn them and if the mood is right we throw them out there OR he sticks to the set list and stops making us look bad. Next gig we have is a decent paid gig and I will tell him if he does it then, he can forget his cut. If he can stick to the set list with his other band then he owes it to us to do the same here.

 

Lesson six: learn from your mistakes.

 

In the future, if we are invited to share the bill with any band, I will screen them up front and if we do not fit in one way or another I will politely decline.

 

I will never book a gig at this particular venue again. Not because of the beer bottle throwing incident, that was due to certain fans of another band. But the acoustics sucked, it was the dirtiest floor we ever had to play, they tried to stiff us with drinking coupons and ... hey, I carry a grudge now. Sue me.

 

One thing I forgot to mention is we were playing for the door. I won't disclose how much we made from this night but let us just say that it was not worth our time and trouble, given the circumstances. I am not in it for the money, I am in it for the fun. And tonight I did not have fun. So from now on, either we play a venue we have played before and know well enough to at least kind of know what to expect, or we play for a decent amount of money. Or both, of course :)

 

To end on a positive note: I played an upright walking bass solo during "Stray Cat Strut" tonight (more or less similar to the original) and somewhat to my surprise it worked out really well. I just listened back to the recording (too boomy to be of any use) and it fits in nicely. Could use a bit more work but I guess it will progress :) If anyone wants to hear it I will post it later tomorrow. Right now all I want is to get some sleep.

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Sounds like a real mess and I don't really have a comment for any of it, except:

 

 

One thing I forgot to mention is we were playing for the door. I won't disclose how much we made from this night but let us just say that it was not worth our time and trouble, given the circumstances. I am not in it for the money, I am in it for the fun. And tonight I did not have fun.

I would never do a gig under these circumstances. And I'm sure that we all play "for the fun" of it or we wouldn't play. But I demand compensation for playing in a "for profit" establishement - NOT "the door," but a predetermined, agreed upon, and documented fee. Otherwise I'll play "for fun" in a different environment.

 

I don't know what my price (if any) would be for playing under the circumstances that you described, but "the door" ain't it. With all due respect (because I don't know you), what in the world are you thinking?

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Time you & the band parted company - and take the name with you.

 

Guitarist is an A-hole - he knew what he was doing.

 

G.

+1.

 

There's a not-very-nice joke that goes like this:

 

Q: What do you say to a woman with two black eyes?

A: Nothing. You've already told her twice.

 

How many times do you have to be told, Dave?

 

 

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In this case I am not sure I agree. Yeah the guitarist can be a tool and I will talk to him about it. I am not sure whether to do it by phone or confront him in person, since I only ever see him at rehearsals. This would imply calling him out in front of the band which could get awkward for him.

 

Fact of the matter is, as a band we are getting tighter live. Which means it is getting to be more fun. Ironically we rehearse less than ever so perhaps there is a correlation? Anyway I told the lads, we have a few rehearsals in December. Let's work on new material instead of playing the same old songs.

 

I think part of the guitarists whole idiotic riffing stems from the lack of new material too. We will see.

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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I used to play with a Guitarist who did this. We just told him to stop doing it. He also did the old "6 string solo" between every song. I think the guys you are playing with are not confident of the band's ability. Instead of mugging for the crowd he should have been ready for the next song so that you play one tune straight after the next. That way you don't give anyone in the audience a chance to come back at you.

 

Ultimately you need a setlist of songs you play strongly and that please the crowd. Initially its not about what you enjoy playing, its about what the crowd respond well to. Analyse your set list and be brutal - keep the tunes that people get up and enjoy. Stuff like Stray Cat Strutt and Johny B. Goode are great crowd pleasers. Get rid of tunes that don't get them going and add more material that you know people will like.

 

If the crowd are enjoying it you will too and so it continues and you build up confidence. Once you have that experience and confidence in yourselves and each other, then you can start picking and choosing tunes that you know will suit the band and will go down well with audiences.

 

It doesn't come overnight and one gig is worth a 1000 practices.

Feel the groove internally within your own creativity. - fingertalkin

 

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Tim, good call on all points. The thing is, we have weeded out the weaker material. We have a set list consisting of about an hours worth of material which really goes over well. Tried and true.

 

The funny thing is, depending on where we play, people react differently to the covers we play. This last gig everyone went wild over our two Stray Cat covers. The gig before, it was "Johnny B Goode" and "Ghost Riders In The Sky" that nailed it.

 

I told the guys it is time to start working on new material. I want to add a version of "Ace Of Spades" since it is more or less a standard in rockabilly (yes, the Motörhead tune) but perhaps we will do the half speed version that was posted on the forum a while ago.

 

Drummer wants to do Rory Gallagher's "Bullfrog Blues". Sounds like a potential crowd pleaser to me, although I did not know it. He has sent me a version without the bass solo. I just ordered a cd which has a version with a bass and drum solo :evil:

 

The main reason why I keep clinging to this band (fyi, Chad) is that we go over incredibly well live. This has not always been the case but recent gigs were incredible. There is potential here, and the sum is definitely larger than the parts.

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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I'm hoping that I don't make this sound personal (we have enough people on the forum that gladly do this; I don't need to pile on), but this has been going on for a while. The singer and the songlist, the a$$hat guitarist, picking up horrible, cost-negative gigs (I'm figuring the guitar was gunning for two cut of the door - one from each band).

 

... but, we practice less, have a good hour of songlist, I'm having fun and we're tight! Four observeations:

 

- any band that plays together any length of time gets tight.

- "tight" doesn't automatically mean "good"

- pain is only fun for the masochist

- inflicting pain is only fun for the sadist

 

This has been going on for quite a while. You need to take what you can and get the hell out of that band.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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I told the guys it is time to start working on new material. I want to add a version of "Ace Of Spades" since it is more or less a standard in rockabilly (yes, the Motörhead tune) but perhaps we will do the half speed version that was posted on the forum a while ago.

 

One can rockabilly damned near any tune - you could really increase your overall recognizability at shows if you started doing wacky rockabilly versions of stuff like that - kinda like the Hayseed Dixies became notorious for their schtick of re-arranging all sorts of weird songs (Kiss, Queen, many others) to bluegrass.

 

I'd lobby to have the band spend some effort doing a bunch of these style covers - the WOW factor would increase many-fold - and it would probably make your metal guitarist happier too.

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- any band that plays together any length of time gets tight.

- "tight" doesn't automatically mean "good"

 

 

This has been going on for quite a while. You need to take what you can and get the hell out of that band.

 

Good points. I used to claim my band was "tight" (we are). But we are not good.... They are only partly related things....

 

I have been tempted to keep complaining about my band but I know the answer. You know the answer about yours too.... Is it possible for you to find a better situation? Yes. Maybe hard work but it is possible....

 

 

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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I have been tempted to keep complaining about my band but I know the answer. You know the answer about yours too.... Is it possible for you to find a better situation? Yes. Maybe hard work but it is possible....

 

It is always possible to find a different, better situation. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open. But with all the hard work I have put in this one, and despite my laments, I simply refuse to walk away now. I still believe I can steer it in the proper direction. I am working on it, and hard. If it turns out it is all in vain, then the band will dissolve. So no matter how badly I have always said I wanted out, I am ready to give it one more go, and see where it ends up.

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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One can rockabilly damned near any tune - you could really increase your overall recognizability at shows if you started doing wacky rockabilly versions of stuff like that - kinda like the Hayseed Dixies became notorious for their schtick of re-arranging all sorts of weird songs (Kiss, Queen, many others) to bluegrass.

 

I never heard T Rex's version of "20th Century Boy" till after I heard the Big Sx's version they used in the "Truman Show" movie soundtrack. I think that song supports your point very well.

 

Also, I thought David Lee Roth's bluegrass covers of Van Halen tunes was hysterical.

 

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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One can rockabilly damned near any tune - you could really increase your overall recognizability at shows if you started doing wacky rockabilly versions of stuff like that - kinda like the Hayseed Dixies became notorious for their schtick of re-arranging all sorts of weird songs (Kiss, Queen, many others) to bluegrass.

 

I never heard T Rex's version of "20th Century Boy" till after I heard the Big Sx's version they used in the "Truman Show" movie soundtrack. I think that song supports your point very well.

 

Also, I thought David Lee Roth's bluegrass covers of Van Halen tunes was hysterical.

 

Anyone with an imagination and some skill at reading and translating comp information can take music from any genre and adapt it to a different genre, particularly if one is well-versed in the cliches of the chosen destination genre.

 

My metal schtick is a pretty good example of this, although with metal being a predominantly minor-chord-based deal, it can be a challenge working with simple I-IV-V type stuff.

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