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Anyone play straight through, no breaks?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by FuturePrimitive, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Our band is looking to eliminate breaks between sets. We feel we'll keep people longer if they don't have that window to call it a night. Obviously we need to find a way for individual band members to take a quick 5 minutes get to the bathroom or whatever and we've come up with some ideas. (Acoustic songs, another band member sings lead for a few songs, etc.)

    So I guess I have 2 questions.

    1. Does anyone else do this? And if so, do you find you keep a crowd a little longer?

    2. What are some other tricks to "take a break" without taking a break?
  2. VitalSigns


    May 8, 2011
    Central NY
    Maybe throwing a couple slower songs to just "chill" on.
    Maybe a little acoustic set with stools.
    Switch singers for a bit.

    A good example I can think of is Kiss doing a high energy show, and then Peter Criss comes out from behind the drums and does "Beth" this gives the lead vocals a break and himself a break from drumming too.
  3. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Downtown Nashville no breaks is the rule, for exactly the reason you describe. Band takes a break everybody leaves and goes next door (there are about 40 bands playing on broadway every night). Typically you do 4 hour shifts.

    Anyway, you just have to find stuff you can do one person short. Maybe the singer does a couple of songs just acoustic and vocals, then when the band gets back he/she takes a break and someone else sings a few. Sometimes you get lucky and you have a friend (that doesn't suck) who wants to sit in.

    Anytime I go downtown strictly to socialize I ALWAYS get asked to sit in, because usually somebody wants to take a break.
  4. willyrep


    Mar 4, 2008
    New Orleans
    Are you playing for bar sales/tips? Or do you have guaranteed money? One of the groups I play with has notoriously long sets, especially when the gig is packed. We have sit-ins, long solos, breakdowns, and I'm especially lucky to have a keyboardist that flies on left-hand bass.
  5. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I'm in Syracuse, and here's how most bands around here do it: on a typical 10-2 gig, if we use an opener, they play for 45-60 minutes - then when we go on, we'll go straight thru... When we play a full night, we'll take around a 10 minute break, but take it around 12:30, and that seems to work OK for us...

    - georgestrings
  6. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I think 4 hours straight would kill me :eek: I need some breaks. I have played 2 hours straight though.

    I also think it helps to give the dancers a break.
  7. onda'bass

    onda'bass Supporting Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Buffalo Ny
    my longest set was 3:45 mins....felt that in the morning...
  8. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    I don't think I could play 4 hours without needing to take a leak - although I've done 3 hours fairly often...

    - georgestrings
  9. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    Another approach I've seen used sucessfully is to use a DJ during a middle of the night break - that'll usually fill a dance floor...

    - georgestrings
  10. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    we attempted to do this at saturday's gig . . . it was supposed to be, after the first set our keys/guit player grabs a chair and plays two acoustic solo tunes, then the lead guitar player and his girlfriend do "landslide" and we ramp it up gradually until we're back to rocking out for set 2.
    In reality it was a ten minute break after set 1 -- followed by a five minute break around 12:30 as the lead guitar player screwed up his back and needed to unstrap for a bit.
  11. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    Depends on the gig and audience.
    We've done it before(about 4 hours and 15 minutes or so was the longest straight through).
    Normal now is play 7~9:30, 10 minute break, play 9:40~11:00 at our "regular" gig.

    With this band, whenever you first walk on the stage you KNOW:
    1) There is no songlist. You MUST be ready to play ANY of almost 350 songs
    2) You might not get to stop until the gig is over.
  12. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Can I ask why such an asymmetrical split? Why not split the two sets more evenly? Or is it just "this works for us"?
  13. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    My singer would probably pass out. He can't do more than like 2 hours without needing a break.

    The drummer and I would prefer to just keep playing though.
  14. We do this. The guitarist and I can usually go three hours without a break, and that's as long as any of our gigs have been. We do a first set lasting about an hour and 15 minutes, then the lead vocalist and drummer both chill while the guitarist and I do, say, two songs where he sings - then the drummer comes back up and we do maybe three more. By then the lead singer has rested up (and gone to the bathroom) and we go back to full strength until the end of the night.
  15. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005
    I played a "reunion show" with an old band of mine last weekend, and the singer wanted to go straight thru because he was worried about losing the full house we had... We played from 10:20 to 2:10... I managed to take a quick leak a little before 12 while he gave out some hats and shirts - but it made for a long night... Everyone had a great time - myself included, but I don't think I'd want to do that on a regular basis... After nearly 4 hours straight of playing high energy rock, I was pretty spent at the end...

    - georgestrings
  16. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    When I was in my thirties and early forties I used to do these marathon gigs. At age fifty-three, after having a couple of strokes in my late forties I can't, don't, won't push myself that long or that hard.

    Last year I did a straight through two and a half hour "happy hour" gig. As we were tearing down the gig for the night show showed up and their drummer had bailed. I set my hand percussion rig back up and did two more two hour sets. I was torn up up for two days after.

    When you are young though, those long gigs can be a blast. (IMO)

    One last thing. I've seen bands use a second singer to keep the crowd backfire because the second singer shouldn't be singing...
  17. hey drummer - fair point. luckily, our guitarist is kind of a rock star in his own right (or at least his own mind) and can handle singing lead pretty well. It sure ain't me doing that. (Although I can sing harmony OK.)
  18. Breaks give people chance to chat without having to talk over band. Have to feel out crowd.
  19. Keithwah


    Jan 7, 2011
    Milwaukee WI
    I've been playing for over forty years live. In that time I've done some brilliant things, and I've done some stupid things. I've been paid mega bucks and I've been paid sh*t. I've been paid as much as $3,500 a night income very good years and made a comfortable living at it while on the road for months at a crack.

    My rule of thumb is this, if you are being paid for a 1 to 2 hour show, play through, which is probably what the contract is asking for. If you are to perform from say 8 to 12 or similar, take a break religiously every 45-50 minutes, gauge the length of the break according to the length of the contracted time. 20-30 minutes including getting your drunk azz back on stage and tuned.

    What are you guys playing these marathon gigs getting paid? $50? $100? $150? $200? $250? $300 for the night? I still haven't seen a number that would give me any reason or incentive to play straight through. My Dumbazz drummer last Saturday night wanted to run the last two sets together in order to "just finish it off". So now I'm being taken for more money than I was willing to be taken for. I was only pulling down $50 per set. I now have to play an additional 7-10 songs ( damn country music...needs some Rock Bottom length solos) for no additional money. We're a great band, the crowd would hang all night, the (and listen up good here) THE BAR ISN'T SELLING ANY F'N BEER BECAUSE YOU'VE GOT THEM ON THE DANCE FLOOR!!!!!! Why are you there? To help the damn festival/bar bring in and hold people who will buy tons of beer! Plain and simple, You are a complete failure to the success of the talent buyer.

  20. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    I wouldn't recommend it though... What I could suggest (something I've seen other bands do too) is about half way the gig, hold a break for about 10 minutes to get some air, re-tune all the instruments, buy some drinks or go to the bathroom. It works pretty well.

    You have some minutes to do things (like mentioned above) and you don't have to wait so long to get back on stage again, so your energy won't decrease or so :p