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A Little bit Down

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by lazyi, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. lazyi


    Feb 14, 2005
    Hong Kong
    Hey there Just wondering what others make of this.

    To give you some background, I am in a 3 peice original band in Hong Kong. It's a tough place to play, since most bars only like cover bands. Anyway the scene here is picking up slowly. I am the bass player and Lead vocalist. no easy task, especially since I am no expert in either department. So anyway we entered "the world battle of the bands" and had a slot on the first night of the comp. We were all excited to play the venue, because it has some of the best equipment in town. Anyway, as things kicked off the first band did a 5 to 10 minute sound check. The second band dropped out after hearing the first bands sound check. Then the organizers started to scramble and stall for time. The told us we could play longer if we wanted. So we did a sound check and played a 4.5 minute song to get the levels right. During which the came up to the stage and asked if we were finished with the sound check. So we put down our gear and waited for them to introduce the band and what not.

    We got on and played our set, which from where I stood sounded the best we have ever played. Although, I started having issues with cotten mouth. We also had several television cameras on us which was nerve racking. I think I get nervous at certain places we play, especially if it is the first time we played there and don't know the equipment or the sound of the place. Anyway, we finished up and the crowd was cheering, more then for the first band, who I thought were good. But anyway the judges preferred the first band, and that is cool with us. Anyway I asked one of the organizers, "somewhat of a friend" for Honest comments on our performance.

    So she told me the judges said
    It wasn't professional to take such a long sound check
    I was wearing an Iron Maiden Tee-shirt and it didn't match our Music style.
    Vocals were weak in some areas - This I would agree
    She also said her opinion is that we were a Jam band

    Anyway I know this is typical competition stuff, other then the vocals not being perfect. I don't know what to make of the other stuff.

    Anyway, we were asked to waste time and had a sound check just as long as the other band.
    And what the hell does an iron maiden T-shirt have to do with anything.

    Anyway this was the feedback I got so. Questions for you are

    How to prevent cotton mouth?
    and what to make of the other stuff?

  2. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    These contests are absolute BS to fill no one's pockets but the promoter's. Also they're degrading for us as musicians. Don't do the battle of the bands kinda gig! No good at all, in any sense!

  3. +1 for what andruca said. Unfortunately Battle of the Bands competitions mainly serve the purposes of the person(s) promoting the night, they don't really care who the best band is (IME anyway).

    My old band took part in one years ago, it was in a place about 90 mins away. The bands were actually scored on how many people they brought with them, I think it was about 20% of the overall score. We got through one round (the bands took similar numbers of people along), but in the next round we just couldn't take as many people as two of the other bands, so these bands went through. If you deducted the scores that each band received for the amount of people they brought with them, we actually scored the same amount of points as the two winning bands, and the band who finished in last place overall that night would have actually won. I did feel sorry particularly for this band, they travelled all the way up from London only to be told that although they were the band band on merit, they don't go through because they didn't bring enough people in on the door. That's the way these things work I guess!

    As for your experience, sorry to hear that you didn't get through, but it sounds like there were positives you can take from it, i.e. you played really well, the sound was good and the crowd really enjoyed you set.

    Regarding the judges feedback, I would be as confused as you are with some of their comments. The soundcheck comment sounds odd to say the least, especially since you say your soundcheck was no different to the other band's soundcheck in terms of length. It seems harsh to get punished for this, since it's not even part of the performance, plus if they didn't want you to take too long soundchecking they should have said so beforehand, whereas from the sounds of it they did the exact opposite.

    The Maiden t-shirt thing seems petty as well. If anything you should have received bonus points for wearing it! :)

    Not too sure about the solution for cotton mouth myself, do you mean a really dry mouth/throat? I don't really get it myself, apart from a couple of gigs ago where I had a little case of it. I just put it down to a bit of dehydration and got some water down me, seemed to do the trick. Not sure if that's really helpful or not. It's maybe linked to being nervous about the gig and might disappear in time as you play more gigs.

    Anyway, try not to think on it too much mate, these competitions are not the best judge of a band's quality or ability, and from the sounds of it you guys and also the crowd seemed to think you played a rocking set.
  4. Like the others said, I wouldn't worry about those comments too much. You said yourself, some of them didn't even make much sense. It kind of sounds like your friend was reaching for excuses.

    Our band only did one battle of the bands ever, and it ended up being a bit of a joke because the person promoting it didn't do any of, well, exactly that...PROMOTING! I think maybe 20 people showed up the whole night, mainly friends of band members who were performing. It's not the band's job to get people there, it's the promoter's job. "Scoring" bands on how many people they get to show up is asinine, in my opinion. All it means is they managed to bribe or nag all their friends into coming to the show, anyway. I've heard of very few battle of the bands events where the best band actually ended up winning, so I frankly wouldn't put much stock in them.

    The best thing you can do at this point is keep doing what you're doing. Work on your vocals, and keep practicing and playing with your band. That's the best thing to do. As far as the Iron Maiden shirt...I doubt it will make or break your band, but I think it is important to "fit the image" of your band and music. I mean, would you wear a shirt and tie to a heavy metal gig? Probably not.
  5. lazyi


    Feb 14, 2005
    Hong Kong
    Thanks I thought I was going crazy. Yeah We entered the battle thing to just get a chance to play. In Hong Kong most bars want cover songs and there are only a few venues that let you do you own thing, but the are far and few in between.

    I do get nervous, because I am lead vocals and the Bass player and one suffers and always worry that I might play a jazz note at the wrong time or forget words or something. I usually have 2 pints of beer before I get on, which might cause the cotten mouth. I have tried drinking water, before and on stage, but seems I just have to push through it, but fear the vocals are not as strong because of it. But it only seems to happen when there's something new in the equation. New bar, new song, etc..

  6. Diggler


    Mar 3, 2005
    Western PA
    Read this article:

    Rx For Stage Fright

    Written by Mark Baxter, who's vocally coached famous people such as Scott Weiland, Steven Tyler and a lot of others. Good stuff on that site.
  7. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH

    Sorry, I disagree. My band plays EVERY Friday and Saturday, and sometimes Thursdays as well. If we played the club and didn't have a rush of people come there specifically to see us, we wouldn't be hired back, at ANY of the venues. That's why we're hired in the first place.

    I understand a battle of the bands is a different animal, but those, as you have just learned, have NOTHING to do with bands, and everything to do with the venue making money. IMO, stay away from them in the future.
  8. VellaBass


    Aug 29, 2003
    London, UK
    As an originals band in any part of the world (we play in London) you have to bring your own followers. There is no other way - the most extreme example is The Darkness who got signed because their live fans pestered the record companies.

    All the comments about BoB's are spot on, the best phrase I heard is "if you have to enter a competition, you've lost already".

    If, objectively, you don't feel like a strong vocal performer then get a lead singer. The thing about vocals is, you either love to be in the spotlight showing off, and literally love the sound of your own voice, or don't do it at all. It's not a job for sensitive shrinking violets.

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