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Doing All-Nighters with No Break?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jive1, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    I think the break time drink buying is likely a volume thing. Hard to order drinks when you can't hear yourself talking. For quieter bands likely a non issue. My band is on the quiet side(no drummer) so i don't think anything happens on break that wouldn't happen during the set.

    jive, you may had still lost folks due to the 30 minute break. that's a long break imo.
    smogg likes this.
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    5 pages in I'm sure all basses have been covered already, but I'll chime in anyhow. I didn't read all the responses so apologies in advance for anything that's already been talked through.

    I've played single set gigs, but only 2 to 3 hours, and I'm pretty sure only with a tribute band.

    I wouldn't want to play an entire evening at a bar doing mixed covers, for many reasons. First, well... I don't want to :). I prefer taking breaks. 2nd, I'm not too sure how much everyone in a bar would want that happening. I think THEY too want breaks, to talk, to rest if they're dancing, to drink more, and just get a general band break. Most importantly however, I would hate to be the guys to set a new standard. 10 years down the line when all bars are requiring bands to play all night long, for the same pay, someone is going to ask, "How the hell did this happen?" I remember when we used to only play 3 sets, 30 songs, and get breaks! Now we have to play 5 hours straight, have 60 songs. W-the-F, who's great idea was it to start doing this?????!!!!

    And if that does happen, I'm going to tell.
  3. Terrible idea.

    When the band stops the people leave the dance floor and go get drinks. When the bar is flooded with people getting drinks it pushed folks who are on bar stools but not really drinking out the door.

    Breaks are an organic way for bars to turn out people who aren't drinking and make more on sales.

    We must never forget, we aren't there for the sake of art, for ourselves or our accomplishments....were there to sell drinks. Once we stop doing that we are of no use to the venue.
    smogg, bassbully and Ryan L. like this.
  4. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I agree with this 100%.
  5. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'm not sure how much better they can talk with 'It's Getting Hot In Here' blasting through the house system during breaks. In 99% percent of the bars I've performed at, there was music played during the break whether it's provided by the band or the house. Often it was just as loud as the band, if not louder. And people do dance to the break music. If anything, us doing 'Someone Like You' by Adele as a duo with singer and piano will give people's ears more of a break and give folks time to chill than what most music played during breaks would. The other advantage is that we get to control the mood of the night.

    Buying drinks and getting drinks don't even fit into the equation. If bars relied on the break times for people to get drinks, they would go out of business. Go to a sold out concert or sporting event, and you will always see people in the beer line or someone in the stands having a beer. If a playoff game or major act won't stop them from getting a drink, there's no reason why they wouldn't stop to pee or order another round because some local cover band is playing.
    pwhalen likes this.
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Yeah... I realize that's often the case. I gotta still fight you though cuz I don't want you starting this crap :).

    Having breaks also gives the band time to connect with the crowd. It sometimes also keeps people there longer. How many times have friends waited till the end of the set before leaving? If it's an all nighter some of those people might wind up leaving even earlier cuz it doesn't matter. I'll add to that the fact that despite how good a band might be, maybe half the people in the place are there for the music in between the sets. If people are put off in any way by the band, it's a done deal.

    Now quit it!

    But wait, another thought.... don't forget the youngens.... while we're both happily married, there are still peeps who get into this music game for the "action" (Wish there was a rollin around laughing guy in the emojiis cuz that would work well right here). Howz the band going to get any of that action if playing all night?

    We gotta keep this thing fun.
    Stumbo and buldog5151bass like this.
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Gonna add one more thing.

    My current band is booked solid with weddings and parties. We have to turn events away. This coming weekend is one of two weekends I get off all year, and I'm playing 3 nights a week more often than 2 (during the wedding and holiday seasons). Not complaining, I love it - but this is why I'm posting this. We hire horns and keys from a big agency. Every time those guys come on board with us they smile, laugh, and tell me how much they love playing with us because they have fun. The agency booked weddings requires them to play the entire events, from start to finish. We, on the other hand do the first dances, a short set, and then two more regular length sets. We get to eat all we want at the cocktail hours, and get served dinner (that's all in our contracts). There is music all night because we have a DJ in between, and the DJ handles all the requests we can't. I swear this is gig heaven, and customers are always happy with what we do See Almost Easy Entertainment, LLC on WeddingWire.

    If all of a sudden my BL decided he wanted to do what you want to do, I would hate my job (and him :)) like any other. And I don't think we'd be doing as well as we are for many reasons. None of us would be happy, we'd have to know TONS more material, we wouldn't be able to play the material we DO know as tightly as we do (nor like the recordings, which is something people often commend us on), we'd have to do lots of material off of charts, take lots of requests, get people pissed when we don't do the requests, when any of us are sick it would be a lot tougher too either getting subs, or without taking any breaks while playing under the weather....

    AND - we'd be making the same, or less money. I get paid more than these agency guys do. My band (owned and operated by 3 of the members) are all buying houses, and have no issues with paying me, splitting tips, covering all my expenses, and even giving me a Christmas bonus the other night - which was a really nice surprise.
    Bassed in NZ and bassbully like this.
  8. The problem is that you're not a sold-out concert or sporting event. And during those events when there are breaks in the action, say between an opener and the headliner or halftime, there IS a rush to concessions. That it when the majority of sales happen.

    Yes, there will always be people who are willing to hedge their bets or willing to miss something for the sake of getting a drink, but for the most part the majority are not. Ask folks who work concessions when things get busy.

    Those breaks are a vital aspect of the business of selling drinks. You tinker with this equation at not only you and your bands own risk.

    Better yet, talk to the bar owner or manager and get their perspective. They might not care. They might embrace trying something new. Heck, they may be doing so well that they're just happy to have a good band in there. But in places I have played the understanding is they want multiple sets, with breaks, in order to keep the bar busy and those who aren't drinking that are at the bar out the door.
  9. I brought up something similar and was blasted for it, but I've seen people do it up to about three hours around here (two plus is totally common).
  10. Actually, no. I was looking for a couple of suggestions for songs without drums that weren't going to cause setlist whiplash. I believe I asked for uptempo as opposed to "super high energy"
  11. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    The problem isn't that we're not some sold out concert, not at all. What I am saying is that if there are folks who have no problem grabbing a drink when they have shelled out hard earned cash for a concert or sporting event, they sure won't have an issue with it when it's some local band who isn't charging a cover.
    A band break is not necessary for someone to get a drink at a bar. It really isn't. Some bars even have cocktail waitresses just for that reason. There's no law that says you can't get a drink while the band is playing. One of the reasons why it pays not to play too loud, so that the bartenders can get drink orders.
  12. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    IMO playing straight through for 4 hrs is a really bad idea. It sets a bad precedent and is too grueling on a standard 4 piece band. I also feel a cover band taking 30 minute breaks is a really bad idea. IMO breaks should never run more than 15 minutes max. As stated in my previous post IME long sets with a couple well timed (short) breaks keeps all happy.
  13. LUpton

    LUpton Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2012
    Tampa, FL
    Probably too old for this sh--
    Have fun. None for me, thanks. I'm too old for that s__t...
  14. I would ask you to re-read what I posted. There's a rhythm and Physics inherent in taking breaks that helps the bar sell drinks. It's something that was taught to me when I started playing bars in the 90's from guys that learned it when they started playing in the 70's and so on.

    But like I said, talk to the bar owner or manager. It's their venue and they should be the last word on what does and does not fly in their place of business.
    Passinwind likes this.
  15. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Talk to your venue management. Places I've mixed in have generally stated a strong preference for breaks, often even long-ish ones. Wear 'em out, fuel 'em back up, rinse and repeat.

    FWIW, as an infrequent patron of live music events these days, socializing with friends during the breaks is at least as motivating as going to see a local band play.
  16. KentClarkOnBass

    KentClarkOnBass Supporting Member

    TL;DR Karaoke at the break!

    I was at a (large, swanky) private party last weekend, with a really pro cover band. They did two long sets with 30-40 minutes in between, but lost almost nobody. First, they went straight from one song to the next, literally no break at all between songs, so it almost had the flow of a continuous DJ for dancing. And during the break, their sound tech came out with a signup sheet and karaoke setup!

    I know, I know, this is hell on earth for some, but in a private party context, everyone stayed glued to the stage during the break as a string of drunken fools got up to butcher various 80s songs (not me... I butchered a 90s song, LOL). People kept dancing the whole way through, and when the band came back, we all had a newfound appreciation for in-tune singing (and to say it again, nobody took that extended band break as a time to sneak out).
    Stumbo likes this.
  17. Probably nobody here remembers it, but there was a thing BITD called the Musicians Union. It was created for a number of reasons, but a key one was to establish guidelines on what is to be expected from performers by venues. A trumpet player can't play for hours, her lip will split; a vocalist cannot sing for hours without strain; a sweaty R&B bassman cannot funkify the house all night without a break, &etc. The MU is where the 45/15 (or something close to it) originated.

    A performer can store a maximum amount of energy and no more, you can pour it out or dribble it out, but at some point it must be replenished. You figure out your equations, but my advice is to avoid chemistry - it's not sustainable in the longer run.
    Stumbo and PaulPriest76 like this.
  18. mgs2277


    Nov 5, 2011
    We do it at some bars, if we can play 3 hours straight thru and be done 1/2 hour early. When bars used to also hire DJ's, they'd keep teh party going on break. Not so much anymore.
  19. Bill G.

    Bill G.

    Dec 2, 2005
    Baton Rouge
    One of my bands plays at a particular venue for all 4 hours straight. I see the reason for doing it, but I do enjoy breaks. The other bands who play at the venue hate us for playing straight through! :laugh:
  20. Steve Dallman

    Steve Dallman Supporting Member

    We do 4 hour gigs, usually starting 15-20 minutes early, two 10 minute breaks and play over about 1/2 hour. If we didn't need to pee, we might skip the breaks. We come to play. We play for free, )but we get paid for travel, load in and out, set up and tear down.) Playing is the fun part.

    We did a biker gig this summer. We were booked to play 6 hours. We did, but with two 15 minute breaks.

    We geezers show the younger bands around here how it's done.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017

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