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cover band song arrangement question

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mcapote, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. mcapote


    Sep 9, 2009
    Miami Florida
    ok setting up my songs for my first cover band. when giging how do you determine when to play what songs? would you start out with a rocking song to get peoples attention or a dancing song to get the girls on the floor? when playing various covers from GnR, AC/DC, Metallica, to Gavin Degraw, Kings of Leon, 3 doors down, etc which is the best way to lay out a multi set list? rock em first set. get em dancing 2nd set, rock em again 3rd set, dancing 4th set, or mix it up?
  2. Well, what type of gig are you doing? Is this a Jazz band? Country Western? Surf? Rock?

    If you mean like a "9 to 1" at the local watering hole, then you should only have songs to get the girls to the floor :)

    And yes, you start by something that rocks out and gets people's attention.
  3. It depends on the style of music you play. My band plays mostly classic rock, so here is what we typically do. In general, you should setup 3 song groups. People like to dance, but need a break between so you can't run a bunch of dance songs all in a row. For the opener, we usually do a 3 song medley that gives a flavor of the different types of music we are going to play. Start with a good attention-getter, then a faster rocking song, and then transition into a danceable song. That will get their attention and then take a short break to talk to the crowd. We always have a setlist which has way more songs than we plan to play so you can be flexible and adapt to the mood of the crowd. If they are dancing, play more dance songs. If they are more into sitting back and listening, skip the dance stuff and do more rock. The key is to have a lot of different types of songs in your setlist so you can flow with the crowd.
  4. mcapote


    Sep 9, 2009
    Miami Florida
    its local bars, couple biker bars, sports bars. Most will be 9-1 10-2 gigs friday and saturday nights. Music is like the examples I gave 80s metal, 90-current hardrock, alternative. some of our songs are
    Guns N Roses - Sweet Child O Mine
    Bush - Machinehead
    Gavin Degraw - I Dont wanna be
    Blur - Song 2
    Bowling for soup - Girls all the bad guys want
    AC/DC - Hells Bells
    Foo Fighters - Everlong
    3 Doors Down - Kryptonite
    Kings Of Leon - Use Somebody
    Nirvana - In Bloom
    Metallica - For Whom the Bells Toll
    so its pretty diverse for the genre we play. Im also trying to get them to agree to a country song and 70s classic rock song or 2, but thats not a definite.
  5. DiabolicLow B

    DiabolicLow B Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    Ontario, Canada
    Just make sure you begin and end each set with your strongest and best songs, that is what most people will remember.
  6. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
    IMO, setlist order doesn't really matter too much. The skill comes in when going away from the setlist when called for either because of a request or based on the crowd reaction and or dancefloor. Don't think it's something you are excellent at on the first gig. Comes with experience, but you'll get there.
  7. mcapote


    Sep 9, 2009
    Miami Florida
  8. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Sometimes I'll start a set with something soft. The key is that, if you're going to build up to a high energy level, you have to leave some room to grow!. If you start a set hard & strong, you pretty much have to drop it down in the middle, so that you can grow to a climax again. I always like to finish a set strong.

    Put a few extra songs in your set list that you can drop if you decide on the fly that they aren't going to fit with what's going on. It's a lot easier to drop something than to fumble around adding or switching songs. Not to mention, while you're doing that, whatever groove/vibe you've got going on with the crowd will quickly fade away while you're scratching your heads, figuring out what to do next.
  9. Start and end each set with a song that at least one member of the band says "I hate that song; it's been done to death by everybody". :)

    I'm only half-joking. There's a reason some songs are done to death (by the successful cover bands).
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