Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Battle of the bands auditon tips...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by PurplePurple, Mar 15, 2006.


  1. I'm in a band that is going to try and play battle of the bands at our highschool. There are 6-slots available with about 2-3 already filled due to bands already being popular and known about. There are about 30 bands or so auditioning. 99% of them suck. My band has a real shot of getting in but here comes the hard part...

    Me and the singer have literally been in the band for about 6 hours. The rest of the people already played together and bassically we got together and worked on the song we are going to do for the audition and worked it out good enough for almost all to have one of those "They are soo awsome" moments that people can have.

    The audition is tomarow.

    Basically improve will be on our side even though some of the changes are a lil difficult. All of us have the song basically down but because we've officially been a band for so short a time I worry that we will do something odd.

    Tips or storys would be nice.

    I already know that if someone messes up that if we keep playing no one will notice, but if someone stops then we will get stares. We where playing for one of the guitarist's moms and his chord got steped on and it fell out and everyone stoped except me and then he pluged back in and the drummer came in and the singer started up again and the mom told me she liked the bass solo.:p


    :help:
     
  2. Preparation is your best weapon. Make sure you have the song 100% down when you get ready to play. That will remove all doubt and will give you more confidence. Keep it simple - when in doubt just stay on time and in key. You will do much better mastering a simple song than dropping notes on a complicated one.

    Also, give yourself enough time to pack up and get your gear in order. You can avoid a lot of stress by having your technical act together. Make a checklist of the gear you need so you don't forget anything. As stupid as it sounds, you might even want to practice setting up your gear. Tune the guitars and bring an extra guitar if possible in case your guitar player breaks a string. Don't let a technical problem torpedo your performance.

    Remember, this all about having a good time - despite that it is a battle of the bands, your only competition is your own performance. Do the best you can and don't worry about the other bands.
     
  3. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    In my experience, most "battle of the bands" are BS. Not worth the time or effort.

    Relax, be as prepared as you can and don't expect too much.
     
  4. need4mospd

    need4mospd

    Dec 22, 2005
    Houston
    I agree. Alot of times it's just a popularity contest.
     
  5. Dkerwood

    Dkerwood

    Aug 5, 2005
    Midwest
    True...

    I was part of planning a BotB event a couple of years ago, and I think we were able to defeat a lot of the problems with a typical BotB.

    First, we picked 3 impartial judges who came from varying musical styles and backgrounds. We had one musician (acoustic/roots/folk style), one studio tech (his studio does mainly rock), and one guy who was a pastor from a local church - so a non-musician, but a music lover. None had heard of any of the bands. We designed a rubric that the judges had to use to score the bands on things like crowd interaction, technical accuracy, and even an "X factor", in which the judge could score higher for bands that they enjoyed, even if they didn't know why they enjoyed them.

    We also implemented a "People's Choice" Award to take care of the popularity contest part of the battle. The big prizes were handed out by the judges' decisions, but the PC award got a nice trophy and some other prizes.

    We had a ton of door prizes donated, and a DJ from a local radio station came down to MC the event.

    We did charge a little bit for the bands, more to ensure their commitment than anything else. $50. We gave out exact technical specs more than a week in advance, and received the same from each band. We let the bands check out and even play on the stage before the battle got started. We taped off sections of backstage for each band's gear, and set down strict time rules - I think 30 minutes, which included set up, playing, and tear down, and we even had one person at the front of the stage keeping the band appraised of their time. Most bands only took 25 minutes or so.

    FWIW, it went off with only a couple of hitches. The pastor judge had to cancel at the last minute, so the studio guy brought his house producer along to judge. We had one band cancel, but another was right there to take their place, and we even got to keep the first band's $50. The judges had a hard time selecting a winner... and I credit that a lot to our amazing soundtech. She made every band sound pro. I was in awe.

    After it was all over, we even got the winners of the battle on TV - a local talk show interviewed all of us as the folks that made the battle happen, and also showed a live performance of the winning band.

    My biggest concern in planning this event was making it musician-friendly, and avoiding all the things that I would hate as a musician trying to play in the situation. I think we were able to address every single concern I could come up with, and many of the bands told us that ours was the best BotB experience they'd ever had.

    Sorry for getting off topic. As far as the audition goes, just have fun. Most folks are more impressed with a band that can engage the audience than a band that can play songs flawlessly. Aim to do both, but try not to just stand around and pluck strings. Have fun and force the crowd (or judges, or whatever) to do the same!
     
  6. True, Battle of the Bands things don't usually lead to much, but they are often some of the first chances for young bands to play out, and if you recall, your first gigs were all pretty big deals at the time.
     
  7. Hey, playing in front of a crowd is experience, whether it is a 'battle' or a 'concert' - Treat is like it is the most important thing you are doing. Most of all, look like you really are into it! Enjoy yourselves and try to be infectious with your energy - eye contact, lots of motion, smile - look like you are having the best time of your life. And actually TRY to have the best time of your life! If your music does not suck, then the crowd will be really into your energy.

    All things being equal... Meaning you and all the other bands being about the same caliber and having similar sounding styles - the thing that will differentiate you from the rest is your energy and stage show! Perform, damnit! Perform and LOVE IT! That is why people go to SEE a show... they wanna live vicariously through the magic they feel from your energy!

    You will find after a multi-band show, the bands that people remember the most are the ones who did something visually, physically, energy-wise that connected - only the musicians in the crowd are the ones paying attention to how you play. And they are in the battle too, so they don't count! It is not all that often that a 'layman' can really tell the difference between a really cool solo and one that was just ok... They all sound like a loud guitar playing a lotta notes, so if one had 10 more notes then the other, who can tell? LOL

    Or not. ;)

    --tz
     
  8. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you never get it wrong.

    Run your instrument cable through your strap to avoid pulling it out.

    Tune up using a quality tuner. Everyone using a stringed instrument should tune right before you play using the same tuner. DO NOT TUNE ON STAGE!

    Have fun. Remember that, in the grand scheme of things, this means nothing.
     
  9. So, the moral of the story is: prepare for the gig, have a good time and show it when you play.
     
  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Today's the daaaaaaay!

    Joe
     
  11. Do it man!Make sure you guys are all in tune.An just bring it!
    Get those cables through the straps too.Man,I would give anything to be in high school again!!Break a leg Bro'!
     
  12. Yeah! Break a leg! That'll make your performance memorable! Break a leg on stage! ;)

    NO, no, no... I really do understand the 'break a leg' thing... just couldn't resist!

    But seriously... if for some reason the show is falling apart, think about it! LOL

    --tz
     
  13. Just to be clear - you don't have to break your own leg, but breaking a leg on stage will rate right up with the biting the head off the bat. You might not win, but they will remember you. Oh yeah, stay on key and on time when you actually break that leg. As for candidates to donate the leg, you might want to find someone who does gigs for free - they ruin the market for everyone (heavy sarcasim referring to another thread).
     
  14. Hey, did you see the post with the kindey stone? Holy crap! Instead of the leg-breaking, try passing one of those! Man, talk about something that will get the crowd talking...

    yeeechhhh.....
     
  15. Tried that once, but the moment it passed, the ricochet almost took an eye out...
     
  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Back on-topic, here!!

    The show, the show!

    Where IS he?

    How'dit go, Man?

    Joe
     
  17. FriscoBassAce

    FriscoBassAce

    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    So how did it go? Did you guys kick ass?

    Here's a funny story about a battle of the bands I played in one time. It was my senior year in high school and we were determined to win. That afternoon, about two hours before the show was to start, my amp crapped out. I was playing guitar back then, and I didn't have any kind of backup. I played in the school's jazz band, so I asked the band director if I could use the Peavey amp that the band had for keyboards and bass. At first he said "NO WAY!" very emphatically (I guess he thought I would blow it up or something). But then I reminded him that I had let the jazz band borrow my pa system several times for contests and performances. So he let me use it.

    Now...we're on stage, ready to go. The curtain opens so fast that my guitar cable gets caught up in it and it pulls my one pedal that I was using, an Ibanez distortion pedal, clear off the stage onto the floor of the auditorium. It broke into about 40 pieces. I freakin' panicked because there was NO gain on that keyboard amp!

    Luckily, another guitarist in a competing band was kind enough to quickly loan me his Boss DS-1 and then we took off. We got laughed at a little bit for our slow start, but then we kicked their asses. We even had columns of flame shooting up from behind us!

    We didn't win though. This was 1984. We came in 2nd place behind a guy who danced and lip-synched to a Michael Jackson song. So much for Battle of The Bands....! If only we had done the moon-walk during the guitar solo!
     
  18. Well i just got back and well it went something like this.

    2:45 I get back too school and met up with my band
    I got my gear put away
    2:55 The drummer says "so did you here what happend?"
    and then explains too me they told another bass player
    a few days prior too pop up and improve it and that they
    forgot too tell him not too come
    3:15 said bass player pops up and turns out too be a person
    who has a leasson after me every wensday. He accepts
    it and we agree that we'll both audition latter and i'll
    play with them today
    3:17 other bass player who is a muscle head leaves
    3:18 we sit and wait, listening to other auditions
    3:45 we get tuned up and prepared
    4:20 we take the stage, i nail everything we get a standing
    ovation from the judges and we're told we are definetly
    in

    5:00 I leave







    I was only able too read the first sujestion, thanks for all the other advice. Most of the bands didn't show up. Most were bad. Most were typical highschool bands. Next mounth I should be playing again on that stage infront of about 500 instead of about 50. Unless the meat head bass player steals my spot but that's unlikely. He is better then me at solo chops and slapping but I get into the music more and blend into the sound better.




    :bassist:




    edit: I also got the respect of everyone in the audience, not something that usually happens. I am known as a bass player now.
     
  19. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Congratulations.

    You have learned something at a young age that many never figure out: playing the groove isn't about the chops and the solos, it's about filling out the music and providing stability and flow.