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Do You Stop On Time?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by wulf, Apr 27, 2003.

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  1. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    My band, Lovesjones, did its second gig at WKD, Camden Town, London on Friday evening and it was a mixed night.

    On the plus side, we played really well, and my recording (MD in my pocket, with mic clipped to the waistcoat I was wearing) came out really well. Also, knowing the stage area, we'd rethought our layout and put our singers on the platform with me and the brass section on the floor in front of them (bass front and centre... just the way I like it :bassist: ).

    However, we had much less time than we expected. When I got there I was told that the club owners had changed their arrangement with the gig promoters and we now had to be off by 10:45 instead of 10:55, so we marked a couple of songs as probable cuts and moved on. However, the band before us overran significantly - I'm sure their last number was four or five separate tunes without a gap in between, leaving us with a mere half hour to strut our stuff as the headlining band :mad:

    It was tempting to try the same trick ourselves and end with a fifteen minute long composite of three or four songs but we were 'professional' enough to just play the closing song with utmost passion and then exuent with a smile.

    What are your thoughts and experiences on:

    - Dealing with finding out that your playing time is less than expected?

    - Finishing on time?

    - Coping when the previous band overruns?

  2. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    The same thing happened to my band a couple weeks ago at a bar gig. The band before us went over, and then their drummer literally took half an hour to get his stuff off the stage. We ended up going on 40 minutes later than we were supposed to at 11:55. The original plan was to be finished by 12 midnight. Luckily the bar owner wasn't a hardass and let us play a little longer, but we still only played for about 20 minutes, when originally we were told we would be playing for 45 minutes when we agreed to the gig.

    IMO it's the responsibility of whoever is organizing the event to make sure the bands go on and get off at the right time. It's also the responsibility of bands to not play a 20 minute tune when told that they have time for one more song.
  3. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    1.Roll with it,IME at these kinds of gigs the squeaky wheel DOES NOT get the grease.
    2.Judgement call,if you've played there before and think it'll go by,do it.If you're new...ahhhh...use your best sense of the place/boss.
    3.Nothing you can do about,nobody likes bands that whine.
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    As long as the patrons don't get the idea that the band is responsible for somehow shortchanging them, I don't see an issue. You tell them, sorry folks, we have to wrap it up, see you next time.

    If this was a paying gig it means you got paid to do less than you expected. Less work for the same money is usually a good thing. Kick butt in the time you have (play only your strognest songs) and move on.

    Sounds like a win-win to me. Sweet.
  5. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Don't you love when that happens?It's like getting free gear..."You guys goin' back on,no we're done man,talk to the owner".:D
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Yes, yes I do:D
  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
    I think you done good. Professional act.
  8. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Payment for this gig depends on how many people come through the door and say they came for Lovesjones and not one of the other acts. Therefore, it's incumbent on us (as a fairly new band without a widespread following) to invite lots of friends and family... but anyone who came to see us ended up paying £5 for a half hour show. A new twist on 'pay to play'... we're not paying for it directly, but it's going to discourage our root audience.

    There's also the fact that whether we play for 30 minutes or 90 minutes, we still have to turn up early enough for a soundcheck... I'd rather spend more time on stage making music than hanging around waiting (missed the first couple of bands cos we went out for some food - the one that overran was quite good but not something I would have gone out of my way to see). I'm looking at the total time from leaving home to getting back in as the 'work' - not just the stage time.

    We've got another gig at the same place at the end of June but suspect we might do some negotiation on that one, particularly if the bands before us on the bill are going to be playing very different musical styles.

    If we might get a few more 'fans' outside of the 'friends and family' group, that would be worth it, but if the only people who are particularly interested are the ones we've dragged along to pay £5 (plus whatever they were charging for drinks at the bar) then we might as well look at holding a private party instead!

  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I realy hate this as well - it's happened loads of times over the last couple of years to the big Latin band as we often get booked for wedding receptions in big country houses in Sussex or marquees etc.

    So they always want you to turn up early and set up, so as not to "inconvenience the guests" - then everything over-runs, the speeches drag on forever and then when you finally get on after hours of waiting, you end up shortening the set as they booked a DJ to come on after midnight!!

    On the other hand they can occasionally be very enjoyable - you often get free food and drink or a very high standard! :) And there can be good audiences who do appreciate the music and usually they are pretty "happy" and will dance a lot.....
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Half full, half empty... I still look at it as a win-win.

    I play weddings... lots of them. If anything runs long, we play less. That means less time on stage and more time to spend with the band members, who I only see on gigs. The stop time is usually the same and if we are asked to play past the contracted time...

    more money:D

    Whenever that band is in that situation, to a man or woman, nobody is the least bit bothered by it. We were going to be there anyway, it shortens the time we have to perform meaning we work LESS for the same or sometimes even more money. Wah!

    While I can understand that enraging Bruce, for anyone else that I know who's been in the same situation, the consensus is...


    BTW I can understand if you feel your fans got shortchanged, what I don't get is what anyone thinks getting angry about it will accomplish. IMO move forward, stuff happens. It's usually the people who don't sweat the stuff that's completely out of their control, that take care of what they can actually take care of, that get ahead IMO.

    A band ran long... now what?
  11. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    coughSNOBcough :D
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't feel this is about being a snob at all - I've done my fair share of menial jobs in the past - but I don't like the attitude of people who feel like they can look down their nose at you just because they have a big house in the country and are paying you to play music.

    I have said in the past that I don't think I'm temperamentally suited to being a professional musician!! ;)
  13. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    It's useful for all concerned when you have clear expectations of what you're going to do and those also match the expectations of the people organising the event.

    The most frustrating thing on Friday was that we were under the impression that the last band on was the 'headlining' act, with at least 3/4 hour on stage... and then that was reduced. Had we known, we would have spent much less of our rehearsal time honing a well-balanced 45 - 50 minute set.

    Hopefully the next 'outing' (two consecutive nights at Jazz After Dark) will give us more room to stretch out. My expectation there is three 45 minute sets a night, between 10:30pm and 2:30am... we'll see how that turns out ;)

  14. yoshi


    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    I've never experienced the overunning during the show, but at one gig we all had an hour to sound check between 3 bands. The first band went on, taking about 10 minutes then moved on. The second band then went on, complained that the vocals wernt right and ended up doing it for around 40 mins, leaving us with about 10. 'Thats ok, the first band took 10' you may be thiking, but right at this point the dorrs open, and people start to flow in.

    Fortunatly, it was our first gig, so sound levels weren't a major concern for us at the time, so we bodged up a setting that sounded good to us and started shortly after.

    After the show, people commented how the bass was too quiet and the vocals were too loud, but it was a good first set overall from where we were stood! :D
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Edit by tj: No personal attacks please
  16. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Depending on the venue and the level of professionalism of those involved (other bands, soundman, club/bar owner, etc.), things can run perfectly on time or the whole schedule can be thrown out the window. My band, while not a typical "jam band", has jam tendencies...we like to stretch things out. However, on a Friday or Saturday night in Chicago, bands don't start until 10:00, and if there are 3 or more groups on the bill, you will usually only get a 45 minutes slot. On a normal night, this may be a mere three songs in my situation. Sometimes you have to be prepared, assume that things will take longer than they will, and will probably have to change your normal modus operandi to fit the situation. On these nights, we tend to organize a setlist with shorter songs and frontload the set....put the best stuff up front and earmark songs to drop if time runs short.
    The way to counterbalance these types of gigs are to book gigs where you're the only band on the venue (you may have to accept A- or B list venues to do this). This way you can play as long as you want without being subject to a time limit or at the mercy of how quickly the other band(s) in front of you set up, play, and get off the stage. Unfortunately, my experience is that you should assume that other bands will not be as professional (and timely) as you are and that things will usually run late. That said, you should still plan accordingly and come prepared for a range of scenarios. Good luck! :)
  17. Things are different in the UK. Licensing laws are crap and gigs end quite early.

    I've done plenty of shows where a band has taken too long to soundcheck or play. Thing is, they're usually the same kind of band - total ****e with a prima-donna singer.

    You can tell when a band are going to seriously over-run. You can see it as soon as they start their soundcheck.

    If it really bugs you, quickly find te promoter or soundman and say that the band are over-running, can you make up a few minutes at the end. If he says yes, then great, if not, then apologise to the crowd before the end - say you've run out of time.

    Those in the know in audience will know exactly what you're alluding to.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I think you're making lots of assumptions based on you own experience while not knowing anything about my own experiences or taking these into account.

    Basically all I'm saying is that it's pretty boring sitting in somebody's kitchens for 5 hours, being told to be constantly ready with no room to do anything worthwhile and nowhere else to go.

    Edit by tj: Play nice please.
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I didn't assume anything. It's been edited out but you did say your time could be better spent elsewhere. That makes no sense unless you took the gig under duress. That's what my question was based on... how could you spend time better elsewhere if you've committed to a gig, whether you're on stage or sitting on your hands?

    Yes it can be boring to sit around. I don't think anyone would debate that. OTOH saying you could better spend your time outside at a football match just shows a lack of understanding of the simple mechanics of a gig.

    If you were outside at a match, you couldn't take the gig... period.
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I would debate that - if you asked anybody on TalkBass about their view of what a gig consists of, I doubt they would "expect" to be sitting around for 5 hours in a kitchen as part of "the simple mechanics of a gig!! :rolleyes:

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