Bad gig, or: Things NOT to do at a show

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by SuperDuck, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Now, I'm not the kind of person who holds personal grudges- people make mistakes, life goes on, etc. On a professional level, however, there are some things people just shouldn't do. I'm not going to go into any specifics (yeah, right), rather, I will just list a few things I have gleaned within the past few days that I believe everybody can benefit from.

    1.) Do not drink before a show.

    2.) When the promoter/booking agent that set up the show (with you as the headlining band, no less!) is introducing you, do not be rude to them, take the microphone away from them, or demand that beer must be served to you before you might serve whatever function you do in that particular band.

    3.) If a band member screws up during a show, just keep going. Do not glower, glare, give the evil eye, or stare at the person with the hate of a thousand sums if they miss a drum fill. This is highly unprofessional. Doing something even MORE stupid, like repremanding that person over the microphone, is so utterly un-professional, one would think I wouldn't have to warn others about it.

    4.) Do not drink before the show. Not even one.

    5.) Never deprecate the band or apologize for the performance. Saying things like "Sorry we suck tonight" or "wow, we really bleeped up that song" or "our drummer is playing everything too fast" is unacceptable. (Neither is slurring it.)

    6.) Do not drink before the show. You might fall into the drum kit.

    Now, I'm not saying this in a bitter rant against any one in my band, but here's a few things that might happen as a result of these things: You will be embarassed in front of your fans, friends, peers, and professional contacts. You could get cut off in the middle of your set. You could very well impact the amount of money that you get paid.

    Moral of the story? Do not get loaded before playing a show, especially if you plan on taking your band seriously. Consider that there are others in your band, and that a stupid mistake can be costly for all parties involved.
  2. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Amen brother!!

    99.999% of the time the audience hasnt even noticed the mistake so there's no point drawing attention to it anyway.
  3. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    another one is DON'T ARGUE ON STAGE!!!!! i really hate that.
  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Moderation is key, as with anything in life. My bandmates and I enjoy a pre-show toast, bonds us. Doesn't have to be alcohol, but doesn't hurt.

    That being said, if anyone in the band got so drunk that their performance suffered, they would be warned, attempts would be made to help them, and if all else failed, they would be shown the door.
  5. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Also, don't promote another show at another bar. An example would be playing at club X and then say, "We'll be playing at club y next Saturday, so c'mon down". Instead, if you are booked for more shows at a bar, promote those gigs at the end of the night. i.e. "Be sure to catch us here again, next month on the 17th". It may sound like insignificant, but it's something that I always thought was important.
  6. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Know what else you shouldn't do?

    This is a true story, told to me by the dept. chair. A local university sponsored an emo/punk show at a huge indoor sports complex nearby. They rented a big PA, w/ the condition that student volunteers would help break it down at the end. During the show, one of the performers took a crap (!) on top of the speaker column. No student workers stuck around to break down the gear or clean up. I wonder why. The sound company will not work with this university anymore.
  7. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    Do not ask the audience for beer. "we are poor musicians we will take beer if you buy us one?"
  8. mr e

    mr e

    Nov 17, 2003
    please stop saying: 'the more you drink, the better we sound.'
  9. lildrgn


    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Some other don'ts:

    Don't crack jokes. You're not funny.

    If you're gonna talk, speak clearly and into the mic.

    Play your music. No one's there to hear you tell a story about how this song was written.


    dead air.

    Get on, get off, get out.

    And try smiling when you play. Too many angry young men and women on stage these days. :D
  10. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Adding to what has already been said:

    - Don't talk to friends in the audience through the PA. Unless everybody in the place knows them, it excludes the rest of your audience.

    - Don't tell inside jokes onstage

    - Don't take too much time in between songs. Avoid dead air. 30 seconds is enough time to take a drink, change an axe, etc.

    - Don't let an audience member talk to you for more than a few seconds while you are performing, or in between songs.

    - Don't mumble into the microphone, and don't pull away from the microphone until you have completed whatever it is you want to say.

    - Don't tell long jokes or stories. Don't tell stupid jokes or stories. Just play your music. Unless you are a solo acoustic singer/songwriter, long patter is a waste of time.

    - Don't make excuses

    - Don't talk to band members through the PA. If you want to talk to the band, do it away from the microphone.

    - Don't diss the venue or soundman on stage
  11. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
  12. Don´t let any member of your band enter the stage without the setlist. That "What´s next, what´s next? What key?" routine after every song is incredibly annoying.

    Don´t let any technical detail delay the show. It´s really frustrating to stand and wait while the guit*rist tries to get his stompbox working or the keyboardist searches for some mysterious patch. Just tell them to plug straight into the amp or play with whatever sound. No song should rely solely on a technical gimmick.

    Don´t play in your everyday clothes. YMMV on this, but I don´t much care for bands that look like they came to the gig straight from their living room sofa. Putting on some fancy clothes is like putting on a different personality. It releases the showman in me and helps me to be more relaxed on stage.

    Don´t be preoccupied with the sound. Don´t expect to have studio-like monitoring conditions in small clubs with cheap PA and don´t think you can tell the soundman how to run the FOH from the stage. If you can (even barely) hear yourself, fine, concentrate on playing and let the soundman worry about the rest.
  13. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    - Don't noodle. No note should be played unless it's the first of the song.

    - Don't play inbetween songs.

    - Be on time.

    - Be back on time from breaks.

    - Never acknowledge mistakes.

    - Never talk to band members between songs.

    - No dead time between songs. 5 second max. 30 seconds is WAY too long.

    - Do not disrespect the people that pay you.

    - Don't suck.

    - Dress the part.

    - Make setup quick. There's no excuse for anything over 7 minutes.

    - No jokes.

    - No drinking on stage.

    - No drinks on amps.

    - No fights.

    - Never stop playing. Ever.

    - Don't look disinterested.

    - Don't read lyrics.

    - Don't put sheepheads on sticks and crawl around in sheep's blood, or any blood for that matter.

    - Don't get caught without spares, (e.g. batteries, strings, drum heads, etc.)

    - Louder is not better.

    - Vocals belong on top.

    Some repeats here, but you get the idea.
  14. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Goddogitt!!!! What Jive says is the #1 killer I find happening WAY TOO OFTEN!!!

    - The worst song I know of is an old Chinese tune called, "Tew Ning."
    Know how to use your tuner quickly, efficiently, and silently (some makes call it "BYPASS" mode or just make you click it if it's a foot pedal), and get on with it.
    If you can't retune quickly, strap on up your backup bass and keep the flow of the gig moving.
    Also, know your amp and bass controls thouroughly. Don't create long gaps between songs because you have to readjust your tone/volume. Most people won't care/notice if you adjust it once you've started the next song.

    - When there is a lull, someone needs to keep the chatter flowing with the audience, as long as that person doesn't tell assinine jokes.
    Otherwise, the crowd feels awkward, just standing there in utter silence, staring at each other. Then they leave the floor and go to hang at the bar or the tables.
    Once you got `em out there, keep `em out there!!!

    - Repeating, "Don't forget to tip your bartender/waitperson" too often is just an annoyance. If you're playing a dive full of cheapasses with "Skoal" ball caps and beards, whatever you say isn't going to help anyway.
  15. 1) Eliminate feedback during soundcheck, not during the set.

    2) If you fail to do #1, make sure each bandmember knows what to do (which pot/slider to dump) if you have a 'feedback runaway'... with the multi-thousand watt PA systems of today, you can really hurt people.
  16. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    You're right on this one, 30 seconds feels like 3 minutes when it comes to dead air. It should feel like 30 seconds, so in reality it is less.
  17. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000

    I just wrote this thread to get some bad things that happened off of my chest- but there are some other great things that have been added.

    The above is one of my biggest pet peeves. Looking angry all the time is a little old, but at least there's some emotion there. The blase, jaded, i'm-too-cool-for-the-scene attidtude/demeanor is just not cool. I usually have a big silly grin when I'm playing, and it makes my little tail wag when I see someone else in the "scene" having a good time, and not trying to look pretentious.

    (If I have to read charts, however, my emotion turns to something between constipated and being in the throes of a stroke. So I've been told.)
  18. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    1.Dont try to remember the tune as your on stage while the guitarist starts playing it, tell them not to do that song.

    2.Do not shake you beer and spray ths stage with it (seen it done)

    3.Do not hit a cymbal with a mic(seen it done the same show as #2) not sit down on the stage while playing

    5.I never allow people on the stage to trip over my stuff

    6.never let a drunken bar idiot talk in your mic

    7.keep you pants on at all times

    8.keep your underwear on at all times

    9.dont slur because your so hammered

    10. never put a beer or cocktail on your amp or head

    11. never announce that a band member is single and needs to get some because he will stay single, not get any, and your band will look stupid

    any more I will get back to you!
  19. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    You, sir, go too far. :mad:

  20. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Actually, before I joined the band, my singer/guitar player, I am told, played the entire last set in his underwear once, nut hanging out and all. :) I'm told it went over well, but I discourage it from happening again.

    As far as drinks go, I agree, and then again I don't. Depends on the gig really. In a rock/club gig, it in a way seems as if you are part of the party. My band likes to have drinks, usually in moderation, sometimes not. I personally think a few drinks is not a problem. I don't notice a difference in playing, but even if there is, being able to loosen up is worth the tradeoff, no one else will notice. According to MD recordings, some of our best stuff was dune in very blurry last sets.