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Does anyone even GO OUT for LIVE (cover) music anymore?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by AZJim, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. AZJim

    AZJim Guest

    May 24, 2010
    Ok, rhetorical topic, probably been covered to death already, but as an old guy, going to clubs since mid 70s, playing in them from early 80s...most local live music “scenes” have done nothing but shrink since, well maybe at least since the early 90s. (At least for covers. Originals are a different thing, but even then it's you and 15 other bands on the bill...) Exact time frame of the decline is debatable, but still the truth, in most cities anyway.

    I have a buddy who plays in a cover band fronted by two good female singers (sisters), who are around 30. All the band are guys in their 50s (including the girls’ dad on bass). They cover the current female singer stuff...Beyonce, Adele, Katy Perry, etc. (and throw in a token Aretha tune here and there...). They do pretty well in clubs, BUT that’s even the exception in my area. And in order to do it, they HAVE to do c. 98% current material. (Or they want to...not sure...)

    So generally speaking...do people (of ANY age/demographic) even CARE about real human beings standing on a stage and playing real instruments? And if so, what kinds of venues does it happen at? What’s your experience, your area, [​IMG]etc.?
  2. OOD


    Jul 29, 2009
    I really don't care to hear a band play someone else's songs. I have an iPhone that will get me a much better quality faster than I can yell " Free Bird!!! Frrreee Biiirrrd!!!!!!". I do love to hear a local band play original songs because they care enough about music to create it and that means something to me.
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Same here, I go out often, at least once a month but only to support original bands.
    I'm way past my student years and don't enjoy dancing, I prefer beer in a quiet café where I can talk rather than a crowded place and I'm not really a fan of popular entertainment music.
    FergusonRJ, gebass6, 10cc and 3 others like this.
  4. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I go out and see a lot of cover bands.
    I would rather see and hear a good band playing good music in a packed bar than a original band playing so so music in a empty place.
  5. OOD


    Jul 29, 2009
    I'm into weird stuff and I don't like being in large crowds. You just reminded me of both those things.
  6. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    What hasn't changed is that on-trend music still largely drives the club scene.

    A lot of rock cover bands want to avoid playing current material and are then surprised when they can't draw. But clubs in the 80s and 90s weren't packed with kids dancing the Lindy, rocking to some Gershwin covers, or singing along to Guy Lombardo tribute bands.
  7. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    There are other issues besides the music:

    1 drinking age going up
    2 stricter enforcement of DWI
    3 no smoking in public
    4 economy still sucks

    As a result, even "inexpensive" places are charging $6 for a beer.

    Add in the fact that with the internet age, people are just going out less to socialize. My son is 16. He got his driver's license since he works, but I saw that getting a license is not the "must do" for many teens like it used to be.
  8. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    My family attends a live performance, roughly once a month. Mostly "classical" stuff, i.e., symphony, chamber, opera, etc. These are all quite popular in my locale. Last week's "opera in the park" drew thousands.

    In general we prefer hearing acoustic instruments. How loud do you play? Most bar gigs are way too loud, and bars tend to be unpleasant, especially when the kids are along.
    FergusonRJ and OOD like this.
  9. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    This sums it up. I'll just add that I teach at a university (and I have three kids of roughly that age). I talk with these young people a lot about music and realize that when they do go out, they are just as happy with, or might even prefer, a DJ over any live band. Probably many factors contribute to that.
    tonemachine and Mike Sorr like this.
  10. FronTowardEnemy

    FronTowardEnemy It is better to go unnoticed, than to suck Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    Plainfield Illinois
    Me too. I am in a Foo Fighters tribute band here in Chicago. We get great gigs at awesome places for really good coin and play with top notch musicians in other cover/tribute bands. Places are usually jam packed with ages ranging from teens to over 70!

    The Networking had been great as well. 2 of us are over 50 years old, 2 of us in our mid 40s and our baby drummer is only 35!

    Did the original stuff for 20 years and it failed miserably. Tribute acts are where it is at, at least here. We are headlining a Hous of Blues show next month. Can't say that about my originals band.
  11. fretter


    May 24, 2012
    I just went to a classic car show, and they have a cover band every year. They played mostly covers from the 60s. I was amazed at their musicianship. Nevertheless, the songs always came first. There were guys and women in the the band. Here in Pennsylvania, all-day events like car shows and community fairs often end with people sitting around in chairs watching a cover band. It's a great way to spend a summer evening.
  12. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    schenectady, ny
    I see my friend's cover band doing well. I just heard the local orchestral venue say their attendence went up significanty with the Recession, due to so many people having stay-cations.

    I'll take a quaity original act any day over a beer band, but a mediocre original band doesn't interest me. I go to hear beer bands only for the dancing, could care less what they play as long as it gets the ladies movin'.

    I also go out for jazz.
    ejmy likes this.
  13. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2007
    Lexington, SC
    My group does both, we can fill a 45 minute original set of pop-rock tunes (think All American Rejects, Jimmy Eat World, Fall out Boy) and pull 50-60 pretty regularly, but we can only do that once every 2-3 months in town to maintain that pull. Out of town, it varies depending on what bands we play with.

    We can also do a full blown 4 hour+ cover gig of 99% modern tunes (Foo Fighters, Walk the Moon, Fall Out Boy, current top 40) and keep a crowd all night. This crowd depends on the venue, but we haven't played any dead rooms yet as a cover act. Doing the cover gigs pretty much funds the originals act.
  14. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    The bar owners can make just as much money without us for the most part. The factors listed above caused it.

    Another factor is that bars aren't consistent anyore. They will have a great band on Friday and a crap band on Saturday. Patrons can't count on good music any more.

    Plus, people have becone more genre specific these days. (Pretty much everyone in the US has to have a label for every aspect of heir lives.) So variety bands don't fly for the most part. You may have them at Taylor Swift but they will hate you during Brick House. And if you play anything they hate these days, game over. The worst is rock. Geeeeez. If you only listen to metal (or whatever "core" is cool this week) and somebody plays a classic rock song then vomiting occurs.

    Music fans only want exactly what they want and have no desire to stray from their comfort zones any more. This is mainly due to music streaming which provides easy access to all of their favorites.
  15. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    I regularly gig in a Classic Rock cover band and we always draw a good crowd. It seems to me people want to hear songs that are somehow part of their lives, that remind them of when they were in high school, college, whatever, in essence, cover songs. Most show no interest in originals, as these songs have no connection to people in the crowd whatsoever, no matter how catchy or well-written.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
    kodiakblair, eriky4003 and Epidrake like this.
  16. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I do go out to support original bands that I know people in. I've sat through shows that I didn't care one bit for the music but wanted to support a friend. When I want to take my lady out for a good time we go and see some great cover/tribute bands.
    If you are not going out to see live local music you have no right to complain that the music scene is dieing.
    Winoman, hintz, timmo97 and 4 others like this.
  17. lastnotleast


    Nov 12, 2012
    My band plays mostly modern country covers (it's alright, really) along with a handful of originals.
    We are late 40s-early 60s (me) except for lead singer who is 35.
    People love, I mean really love us everywhere we play.
    Even folks who do not identify themselves as 'country' music fans enjoy listening because it is well executed.
    We are very tight & polished and obviously enjoy what we do which is infectious.
    People sit and listen with a smile on their faces and applaud at the end of every song, even the originals.
    togril likes this.
  18. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    My area have dozens of bands that play all the time. I'm in 4 and I'm booked months in advance.
  19. Gougedeye

    Gougedeye Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Central Washington
    20 years ago I was in a 70s cover band that gigged regularly and always played to packed houses! Always! In the last few years, around my neck of the woods, a lot of the things mentioned above have happened...stricter DWI laws, the expense, the interweb. But also, BMI and ASCAP have been putting a lot of pressure on club owners and the fees seem to be rising. The result...less clubs to play in. Now I'm in a Rock/Blues/Funk trio playing mostly original music. We stay pretty busy and play to full houses. That being said, my bandmates and I and our wives try to support the local music scene as much as possible. We go out to hear bands, cover and original, whenever we can. Some are great and others not so much, but it is live and that beats a recording every time, in my book.
    smogg likes this.
  20. hsp-sandiego


    Oct 22, 2014
    San Diego
    Well Said!
    Killer Of Giants likes this.

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