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

Cover Bands - how long do you play?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Marley's Ghost, Nov 27, 2004.


  1. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    My band is readying our set list to play out and I was wondering how long your sets are and how many sets you play per nights in a typical bar gig, assuming you are the only act. We have 3 sets which run about 50 minutes each right now.


    *edited for fat fingers*
     
  2. 9 - 9:45
    15 min break

    10 - 10:45
    15 min break

    11 - 11:45
    15 min break

    12 - 12:45
    15 min break

    1 - 1:30
     
  3. I think it might be diff in australia, but we do 3 sets of 45, sometimes 50's.the gig is spread out over 4 hours.
     
  4. Jeb

    Jeb

    Jul 22, 2001
    USA
    You need to be able to play three hours of music, minimum. When you add in breaks, this will cover the typically contracted four hours of entertainment.

    bimplizkit's example is typical (except for that last -5th- set). If you are booked for new year's eave, that last set is probably necessary to justify the extra payout.
     
  5. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Three one-hour sets. Half hour breaks.
     
  6. trog

    trog

    Nov 8, 2003
    Scotland
    Normally 4 sets at 45 minutes each. I think small breaks and short(er) sets are the best way to do things.
     
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    We usually play three sets of 45 minutes, then a one-hour set. If I had my way, we'd put the hour-long set second.
     
  8. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Yeah, I think we are still 1/2 hour short. :meh: We just picked 10 more songs to add to the play list, so that should do it. :)
     
  9. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    it depends
    most bands ive been in start at 930 and go till 130 with a couple of short breaks
    this friday we played two very long sets with a 10 min break in between (the crowd was really into it, and it was one of those situations where you suspect that there might be a mass exodus if you stop playing).
    the best thing is to have more songs ready than you could possibly play in a night.
     
  10. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Four sets using the simple formula of 45 - 15.
     
  11. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    We usually play two sets:

    1st set - 9:30 to 12:00

    (half-hour break)

    2nd set - 12:30 to 2:00

    We do this every Friday and Saturday night.

    I don't get much done on Sundays ;) .
     
  12. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    2 1/2 hours straight! :eek: That's gotta hurt!
     
  13. BennyMetal

    BennyMetal

    Nov 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Your best bet might be to ask the club what they want. I have been gigging pretty steady for the past couple of years and have played a variety of different sets (2, 3, 4). Usually we talk to the booking agent to find out when they want. Some of the clubs had pretty rigid requirements and wanted us to start, end & break at certains times while others didn't care. Most typical in my experience has been 3 sets, 20 minute breaks, with the second set being the longest. So figure about an hour for the first & third & about an hour and a half for the second.
     
  14. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i personally don't like to take long breaks, 10-15 min is usually good enough. I have the mindset that we are being paid to play, it's not our housse or private party. We're there to do a job and we do it.
     
  15. cb56

    cb56

    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    That way you would be on break the last 15 min of a 4 hour gig. :meh:
    45 on 20 off for a 4 hour gig has been the standard for decades.
     
  16. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    First set 10:00 to 11:15
    Second set 11:30 to 12:45
    Last set 1:00 to 2:00

    We usually walk into a gig with a 40 song setlist, and may play 35 of them.
     
  17. 90 minutes is about right. more or less depending on the crowd ect... :D
     
  18. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    NJ
    That sounds about right. Now get some extras in there so you can start rotating songs in/out to keep it fresh from night to night.
     
  19. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    It actually makes the night go by a lot faster. We all love to play and don't mind the long sets at all. :bassist:

    Our format just kind of evolved. We play in a small bar, and it's not easy to escape from the patrons. Then when we would take a break, some drunk would seek us out and chew our ear for 15 minutes about something trivial :rolleyes: . So, to avoid this, we just stopped taking regular breaks.

    The long sets usually impress the hell out of people that have never seen us before :) .
     
  20. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I've never felt like I personally needed a break. The crowd does, sure, but I could go all night. On bass too.

    Anyway, I can't see how there could be a hard and fast rule. I've done:

    - four sets at 50 minutes each
    - four sets at 45 minutes each
    - three sets at 50 minutes each
    - three sets at 45 minutes each
    - two sets at 60 minutes each
    - two sets at 50 minutes each
    - two sets at 45 minutes each
    - one set of 90 minutes
    - one set of 75 minutes
    - one set of 60 minutes
    - one set of 50 minutes
    - one set of 45 minutes
    - I'm sure a hundred things in between.

    Every good cover band should have many different set lists, accounting for one set shows, two set shows, three or four set shows, and anything else that comes up. I've revised cover lists more times than I can count.