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Venting- Tonight's gig


NewImprov

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...and I'm not talking leslie simulators..

 

So I'm really frustrated about tonight's gig, and can't really talk abut it anywhere, so you guys are my sounding board.

 

Background: I play in a Bob Marley tribute band, we've played around the NW for about 8 years, 5 with me, and we do pretty well. We have a horn section, backing singers, and a full band, and it's a really fun band. A few months ago, a semi0famous Reggae singer, she had some hits in Jamaica in the '60's, knew Marley, Tosh, all those guys, contacted us about doing some shows as her backing band. We rehearsed with her a few times, she's great, things clicked, and we've done one show together, and have a few more over the next few months, it's been great so far.

 

One of the shows we booked was at a larger new venue in Eugene, it would have been on a Thursday night, and we would have done one set as the Marley tribute, and one set with the singer, with the full band. Feels like it would have been a good show. About a month ago, the venue asks us to move the gig to a Saturday, which is tonight. Unfortunately, a bunch of the band are not available, we wouldn't have our horns, our backup singers, or our bass player. The club is adamant about us changing the date, and it turns out they want to add a famous African musician and his band to the bill. This guy is great, but has a reputation of being difficult to work with, I know a bunch of people who have toured with him, and they have some stories.

 

So, our lead singer is actually a very good reggae bass player, so we take the gig just as a 4-piece band, since we're just doing one set with the Reggae singer. Oiginally, we're headlining, and the African band asks us about backlining our gear for them. Then, it changes, we are opening, we figure this is better, we'll have a shorter set. THe African band still wants us to backline, but we refuse, since most of us live about an hour away and don't want to stay the full night.

 

The show gets some really good publicity, a write-up in the local alternative weekly, etc.

 

So, today, we find out that the African musician has withdrawn from the show, the venue is offering refunds to any advance buyers who want them, and we're going to have to fill the full night. We have about 90 minutes of material with the Reggae singer. Our normal singer isn't really prepared to sing and play bass on the Marley material, he says he could have done it with a few days advance notice, but not wiithout some practice.

 

We have no idea why the African musician cancelled, I contacted one of his band members I know, and he didn't even know about the cancellation earlier today. We know it's not a health issue, and suspect he was just disappointed with advance sales for tonight's show.

 

So now it feels like what could have been an awesome gig last thursday, with the full band, is turning into us desperately trying to stretch too little material into a full night. We'd like to get back into this venue in the future, but we're afraid that even at best, we'll be kind of half-assed tonight and won't get another chance.

 

I'm just packing up to head out in a few minutes, if anyone is interested, I'll update when I get home.

 

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

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Stretch out on the solos, more banter with the crowd, do an intimate duo number, play a solo piano piece, take slightly longer breaks if you can swing it. Knock 'em dead.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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I know which venue you speak (pretty sure at least). We've played there, and we are booked for a December date. Were (are?) you playing the lounge or main room? It seems like once you're in...and perform well, and better yet, bring some people, they're pretty receptive to working with you. Owners are good guys, and the booking folks seem to be real, so if you do them right, they'll probably reciprocate.

 

Yea...just kill it. Pull out the stops and do what you have to and fill the time. Crowds are usually pretty cool If you don't bring your own....the built in's don't show up till late.

 

Good luck!

"May you stay...forever young."

 

 

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Show confidence that you've got this to the owners, and don't apologize to the room for being shorthanded. Insecurities can be contagious.

 

Remind the bass player/lead singer that sparse bass lines are a plus in reggae ;) and when unsure just keep a basic beat.

 

If you have any solo piano pieces in your repertoire, now's the time. But if you guys have been together 8 years I have a feeling you'll cobble together a setlist to cover the night.

 

Absolutely let us know how it goes!

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Crowds are usually pretty cool If you don't bring your own....the built in's don't show up till late.

 

If it's a late crowd you can fearlessly repeat some of your first set and not worry about it.

 

And if it's slow, it's not your fault. The last weekend of August is often a dog for clubs, with clubgoers worn out (and broke) from festivals and fairs the entire month, and Labor Day Weekend coming right up.

 

And I'm off to my DJ gig...

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Daddyg3042, yeah, it's the place you're thinking, and we're in the lounge. But the African band is playing after all, so we'll do our expected 90 minute set. I'd just come to terms with playing the whole night, so now I'm a little disappointed.

 

A drummer I played with for years has a saying, "Gigs are like magical snowflakes." So it goes.

 

Thanks for the support everybody, I think we'll kill it tonight.

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

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Looks like it got straightened out, but I would've suggested stretching it out, doing a lot of 'drum & bass' filler, and of course repeating some of your earlier songs later in the gig "by special request from some of you lovely ladies out there".
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Well, as often happens, my anxiety over the gig was completely unfounded, when we showed up at the venue, the African musician and the club had worked out whatever their issue was, and we were back to our 90 minute opening set. Felt like we played pretty well, the singer had a really great night, it's really fun to be playing behind someone who is not only a great singer, but also really knows how to work a crowd. Had a trombone player who knew her material sit in, he was great. Good crowd, good sound, and we got paid decently. I didn't stick around for the headliner set because logistics kind of dictated that I load my gear into the car after our set, and I didn't feel comfortable leaving it unattended, but I heard he did well also.

 

The only downside is I didn't get to play the solo piano mashup I had worked out of No Woman No Cry and Free Bird. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.

 

Thanks for the support and advice!

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

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