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Famine to Feast - Gig Schedule


vonnor
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With the past 2 years behind us now, and the associated social events that restricted public gathering and saw a great decrease in live music, I find myself somewhat overwhelmed by how many gigs are already on the books for this year. I guess I got used to NOT gigging all that time, or maybe I'm just too fricking old at this point. At the pace that offers are coming in, I'll be lucky to have ANY weekends off this year from the whole "Gear-schlep, Car-Loading, Long-Drive, More-Gear-schlep, Set-up, Have-fun, Tear-down, Car-loading, Long-drive, Still-More-Gear-Schlep" routine.

 

Are you folks seeing a ridiculous up-tick in booked gigs after that long drought? If so, how are you all handling it?

 

~ Bill "I'm Tired, Boss" Costigan

Gear:

Hardware: Kurzweil Forte7, Korg Kronos 2, Novation Summit

Software: Cantabile 3, Halion Sonic 3 and assorted VST plug-ins.

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30 minutes ago, vonnor said:

With the past 2 years behind us now, and the associated social events that restricted public gathering and saw a great decrease in live music, I find myself somewhat overwhelmed by how many gigs are already on the books for this year. I guess I got used to NOT gigging all that time, or maybe I'm just too fricking old at this point. At the pace that offers are coming in, I'll be lucky to have ANY weekends off this year from the whole "Gear-schlep, Car-Loading, Long-Drive, More-Gear-schlep, Set-up, Have-fun, Tear-down, Car-loading, Long-drive, Still-More-Gear-Schlep" routine.

 

Are you folks seeing a ridiculous up-tick in booked gigs after that long drought? If so, how are you all handling it?

 

~ Bill "I'm Tired, Boss" Costigan

 

The "Have Fun" portion looks so small when you put it that way!

 

Yes, lots more gigs rolling in.  I'm involved with several groups, all of which gigged sporadically the past two years but are now ready to resume full tilt.  A good problem to have but keeping a close eye on the calendar so things don't get out of control.

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Yeah, things are definitely coming back for the bands I play in. I had 70 gigs each in 2018 and 2019, 22 in 2020, 43 in 2021, and so far there are 57 on the books for for this year.

 

The number of gigs hasn't bothered me so much, though, as has the return to pre-Covid show times. In 2020 and 2021, our shows were early in the evening due to restrictions on how late venues were allowed to be open. This year we're seeing scheduled start times of 9:00 and 10:00, which was when many of our shows for the past two years ended!

 

Five-Hour Energy drinks, do your stuff!

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Live: Roland Jupiter-80; Yamaha S70XS (#1); Mackie 1202VLZ4, IEMs or Traynor K4

Home: Hammond SK Pro 73; Yamaha S70XS (#2); Wurlitzer 200A

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First gig 'back' after the old virus - I was so so tired - and very apprehensive (possibly scared?!). Had a week to prepare and wasn't really on it at all. In fact, I was s***. 

It was 'good enough' in the end but being out again after a proper Dubai lockdown straight into an arena was nerve-wracking. Not at my best at all.
Was a real lockdown - like having to SMS the Police to be allowed to go to a shop for bread. Didn't see anyone for a year.

December kicked off for me and did around 40 gigs! Steady since then.

Had a few nice corporate ones come thru in 2022 so far, including a very nice week in Oman for an American company.
It's great to see. They flew maybe 3000 guys and girls in, all five-star and free everything. Band was paid well, and so great to see people dancing being part of something again 🙂 

Most gigs are in nice hotels here, so lucky enough the staff are usually ok to move it (not when you tell them a Kronos in a hard case is heavy and they don't believe you and drop it 😞 ) and I have a couple of regular taxi drivers who will always help get my stuff to and from home. Got some soft cases for lightness and size (moved town and the taxis here are too small for an 88 in a hard case!) - but not sure if they're doing my back any good? Seem to spend twice as long manoeuvring stuff!


Now Ramadan's arriving here in the UAE, and a couple of the Emirates have allowed live music in public for the first time properly - ever.
Maybe I'll pick a few solo piano gigs up. No band stuff allowed as far as I can see.

So, have a month to play with MainStage a bit more, and must fix some stuff - Numa Organ was ruined thru humidity - tracks being eaten away (with salt??) on the circuit boards and pots need replacing - I WILL finish my Kronos Rack, also - and make a pedal board for the new Arturias - and record my musical. I obviously won't do any of this.

As usual - ups and downs! Nature of the beast!

Sorry for the essay, and thanks if you made it this far reading my ramblings!

 

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I formed a new local band in October 2021 from the best local talent I could find.  It clicked, we did a few gigs and now we are booking for Nov 2022.  How that came to be is a fascinating story, but OT here.  It's great stuff to my ears.

 

I had to come back to the band members and ask an honest question -- how much of this do we really want to do?  It turned out that doing a gig for a gig's sake wasn't what everyone really wanted.  There was a strong preference for gigs with the right vibe, acoustics, logistics, don't play too often, etc.  We came up with a set of criteria to evaluate incoming opportunities and only discuss the ones that looked potentially interesting.  For example, 90 minute drives are not anyone's thing.  Nor are drunk and rowdy patrons.

 

The result is 1-2 per month, and they are all the kind of gigs we like to play.  So that part seems OK.

 

Since I was BL, I hired a sound guy and a band tech.  Both were wise investments.  I bought the gear, the packaging and the know-how how to use it all.  I now am left with moving my two modest keyboards, a stand and seat, and a stereo DI to reach the stage snake.  That's about it.  So, for me personally, the fun-to-schlep ratio is about as good as it gets: every gig is a local gig I want to play with people I want to play with, and I have minimal personal schlep.

 

Myself and our two wonderful vocalists have formed a trio of the same name for next season, playing mostly the same music.  We are getting "private events" as we are now known to many of the venues who host such things.  The trio is a very minimal schlep (Bose L1 Model 1S, Nord Piano 4, mics, some battery lights, etc.).  Those are fun gigs, but in a different way.  Those too have great fun-to-schlep ratios as well.

 

It took a while to get there, though :)

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Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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I'm no gig monster like some of you. But I'm in 4 bands, upcoming gigs are about 1 a week for next few weeks. I keep saying that I'm grateful that I get to play lots of music at what I call my advanced age. At the same time, I'm also saying maybe I'm getting too old for this shot. It's the load-in and then the load-out, when all the gear you loaded in somehow got so much heavier at load-out.

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These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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Yes significant uptick in gig offers.

 

But I'm turning down probably 50% - 60% of the gigs I'm offered.

 

If the pandemic did anything, it nudged me into reconsidering where I invest my discretionary time, and I was playing too many gigs before that offered very little durable satisfaction. My day job exploded into much more opportunity, responsibility, commitments. With less time for music, I want to make the time count for something.

 

So I turn down a lot of the "networking" and "yet another dance band" gigs. I'm loyal to a few projects that pay well and I serve as MD - mostly because the project leaders are great friends and they treat me well.

 

And I joined a brand new project that won't make any money - we're all experienced side men who want to play some more interesting instrumental music, have some fun and stretch out. First gig is Friday. 

 

Life is short, and time is precious. I guess it's been sort of my version of the great resignation.

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The drought ended for us last year and we wound up doing 45 gigs, which was a bit much for us weekend warrior types since the bulk was compacted between May and the first week of October. 

 

We had agreed to keep things close to 30 gigs in 2022 which was the maximum amount requested by two of the members - but then after we were "full" we got asked to do a bunch of really cool events and venues, and everyone was on-board to do them, so we are now at 43 for 2022 and will likely add 3-5 more before end of year.  So much for cutting back, but at least the gigs are somewhat more spread out than last year, which will help.

 

An unexpected benefit is that we are now able to put in a good word and connect friends' bands to venues and events when we are not available, just like others did for us when we started out in 2018.  Attendance is up for bars and bands in general, and it's good to see the owners who host live music getting rewarded with full houses.  

 

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Nord Stage 3 HA88, Nord Stage 3 Compact, Casio CT-S1, Radial Key Largo, Westone AM Pro 30, Rolls PM55P, K&M 18880 + 18881, Bose S1 Pro, JBL 305p MKII, Zoom Q2n-4K

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2 hours ago, timwat said:

And I joined a brand new project that won't make any money - we're all experienced side men who want to play some more interesting instrumental music, have some fun and stretch out. First gig is Friday. 

Yeah, no money in jazz. :)  Enjoy the music. I joined a rehearsal jazz group which may never gig. That's ok by me. I'm stretching and playing from charts for the first time ever.

These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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I still check out bands at times, and based on that plus my own club work as DJ / karaoke I'd say that business has backed off from the insane highs when things reopened last year, but it's still better than pre-pandemic times. We're currently in the yearly tax refund bump, but even considering that things are better than 2019. 

 

After taking 2020 off I'm scaling this back to just one or two nights a week in a local room 15 minutes away where I can store most of my gear. I'm retired, but don't want to give it completely up because I enjoy the social interaction. I'm at a point where several of you guy are - it just jacks my body around too much to be staying out late and moving gear. The sleep shift hangovers the next morning are now as bad as the alcohol hangovers of my youth. It took a year off from gigging to make me realize that. 

 

Congrats to all for what looks to be a fantastic 2022!

 

 

 

 

 

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I hear you on this topic! I also got a little bit "comfortable" during the pandemic when I basically never left home other than a careful weekly trip to the grocery store a mile from home. Though that got a little bit mundane after a bit, once we were all vaccinated around spring 2021 and people started doing things, it was interesting to find that my (non-band) social life ticked up a bit, since I was actually available to do stuff with my wife and neighborhood friends, vs. the typical, "Where's Eric? Oh he has a gig, right." Which has been the story of most of my life - missing out on a lot of various things due to my gigging schedule.

 

Anyways, band gigs have been full steam ahead since Summer 2021. My regular band is fully booked for our usual 2-3 gigs per month through the end of 2022 with requests for 2023. I joined a Clash tribute band last fall that plays more selective, yet really cool gigs and those are irregular, yet on average probably two per quarter. And my old touring band did a big reunion around Christmas and is tossing around several dates for this year. I also sat in with a local singer/songwriter for some really cool shows last year. In some cases I was going to 2-3 rehearsals a week, in addition to regular gigs. WHEW.

 

So I've been really busy - so much that I rarely find time to work on new sounds, integrating new gear (cough - that Roland JX-08 I've now had for 3-4 months), and I do get a little bit weary from weekend after weekend of gigs. First world problems, for sure.

 

My regular band had a series of weird calendar events this year where we had back to back weekends of gigs that grew tiring! I am thankful that this coming weekend is my first gig-free weekend in a bit, so I can do some normal things like yard work and watching March Madness games.

 

All of this to say, I am REALLY THANKFUL to have the opportunities that I have to play with great bands, great friends, great musicians, in cool venues to fans that dig the music. I am starting to be more picky about how much I want to prioritize rehearsals, particularly with no goal in mind such as learning new material or discussing band business. The Clash tribute is awesome, but our next gig may be a few months from now. As fun as it is to hang out, stay tight, have a drink...it's not something I am hip on doing weekly.

 

Fun times to be back in the music business!

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Yes, but then things get cancelled. Last Saturday's gig our singer had Covid. I'm here now because tonite's gig has just been cancelled due to staff at the venue having Covid. Still crazy times.

Gig keys: Hammond SKpro, Korg Vox Continental, Crumar Mojo 61, Crumar Mojo Pedals, Nord Lead A1

 

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14 hours ago, eric said:

I am thankful that this coming weekend is my first gig-free weekend in a bit, so I can do some normal things like yard work and watching March Madness games.

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! You need to drive up 95 to Woodbridge and come see my band tonight!! 😎😄😉🙃🤪

 

~ vonnor

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Gear:

Hardware: Kurzweil Forte7, Korg Kronos 2, Novation Summit

Software: Cantabile 3, Halion Sonic 3 and assorted VST plug-ins.

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7 hours ago, niacin said:

Yes, but then things get cancelled. Last Saturday's gig our singer had Covid. I'm here now because tonite's gig has just been cancelled due to staff at the venue having Covid. Still crazy times.


Yep, unfortunately we may not be out of the covid woods just yet, much as I'd love to not hear the word ever again or ever touch a mask again...

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I never lost too much momentum other than my own band breaking up last year in August.  I had 4 gigs in 2020 and probably 15 last year.  This summer I have some bookings with the Buffalo band I play for.  I also have 5 gigs east of here with the Dinah Jacobs band which is 9 people in Syracuse.  Most band members really want the best pay and larger gigs but it will take awhile to get there again.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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