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Follow along as I prepare for Saturday's gig

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by sb69coupe, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    My band Shacktown Road has it's first local bar gig on Saturday. I thought I'd post along the way outlining what we're doing to prepare, to hopefully get tips on what we could do to be better prepared.

    Background, we're a 4 piece classic rock / blues band in our late 30's. All have full time day jobs and are in this for fun.

    So we had our last rehearsal today prior to the gig. I made up the setlists and grouped songs together. There are some breaks where I switch basses, or the guitarist switches from electric to acoustic, etc. We wrote notes on the setlist for who is responsible for talking to the audience during these breaks. We ran through the setlists at rehearsal and made a few small changes, but overall the lists are good to go. It's a 4 hour gig, and we'll play 3 sets for a total of about 40 songs. We may have to repeat a few if we run short on time. The second set is longer than the first or third to span from around 11:00 to 12:30, to hopefully keep the crowd past midnight.

    Then we wrote up a "game plan" for how to load in the gear and get up and running for soundcheck. Drummer to set up the drums and mic them while the other guys set up the PA. Dial in the room EQ while drummer is setting up. Then soundcheck drums, bass, guitars, keys, and vocals in that order. Run through a couple songs with the board out in front, then move it onto the stage where it will stay at gig time.

    Now it's just a matter of packing up the PA and gear logically. We labeled some cables and racked our poweramps and processor in one rack, with the board and effects in another. The speaker cables are stored in the poweramp rack. The snake is pre-connected and routed to all the channels on the board, and the stage box and snake cable are coiled in the bottom of the rack with the board. For setup, we'll cable the board sends into the processor, then run speaker cables to the cabinets, and we're fully cabled up.

    We've each got a backup instrument "just in case" and bring along extra batteries, cables, and such. This is pretty much all that we've done to prepare. If you see anything that I've missed, please point it out. Hopefully this info can be helpful to others getting ready for that first gig. I'll post more once we get things set up Saturday, prior to the gig. Then post more about how the gig went once it's over.

  2. If you racked the poweramps in the same rack, maybe make sure there's space between them for ventilation. Some say you don't need it, but noone ever had too much ventilation.

    Otherwise you sound like you've got more thought into it than most.

    Don't be afraid to change up the set list on the spot depending on what the crowd likes too, there's no such thing as the perfect set list, every night is different.

  3. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Wow you guys sound really organized!

    I'm also playing a gig on saturday. We have a setlist and a PA. Don't know how big the PA is or if I will be using it....

    Unlike saturday, most of my gigs are of the "house band" type. Once the fear wears off ;) there is something liberating about just showing up not knowing what you will be playing.

    Anyway, good luck on saturday :bassist:
  4. Holy Crap! I'm impressed!

    Sounds like you've got just about everything covered!

    Have a good gig! :bassist:
  5. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Tell that to Sonny Corleone...
  6. chris4001asat


    Dec 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Warehouse Manager : Reverend Guitars
    I just started a thread on something you may have missed. The time change... At 2am, it becomes 1 am. You might have to play an extra hour...
  7. Marc H.

    Marc H. Supporting Member

    Jan 31, 2003
    Bucks County, PA
    You forgot the part about having fun...

    Seriously, it sounds like you are more prepared than most professional bands!
  8. seanlava


    Apr 14, 2005
    I'll be thinking about you at my next gig, as the guy with the PA arrives 20 minutes before we start, and the singer calls off each song 5 seconds beforehand. Seriously, you guys are more prepared than Lewis and Clark!!
  9. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    Nah, we're gonna have a blast! We just wanted to make sure that we weren't running around the bar 30 minutes before showtime like chickens with our heads cut off.

    The bar where we are playing has a small crowd of regulars that mostly just hang out playing pool and barely pay attention to the music. Since this is our first club gig locally, we've got quite a few friends, neighbors, and coworkers who are planning to come out. It'll feel more like a private party, so at least the audience will be receptive and supportive. Hopefully they won't notice all the small mistakes that are inevitably going to happen.

    I'll post more tomorrow after we get in there to setup and soundcheck.

  10. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane what goes here?

    Feb 23, 2003
    Denton, Texas
    When you load in, set everything other than the drums out in front of the stage. Then pick and set each item into place. Yes, you will move each item twice. If you carry in and try to set everything in place, you'll end up moving each item five or six times.

    Set up and tear down will become smoother with more gigs. If you don't have much experience getting the overall sound balanced and mixed, set up early. You might need the extra time. If not, take a break and relax.

    Break a leg.
  11. kjones


    Dec 4, 2004
    Spare fuses, instrument cables, tubes? Gaffer tape? Pens (to make set changes and to sign autographs)?
  12. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    Hmmm, hadn't thought about fuses. Very good point. Got plenty of spare cables. Much to my chagrin, there's not a single tube present in the whole rig. Both guitarists use Line6 POD's direct into the PA. I run from a Sadowsky preamp/DI into the board, and use an ancient GK MB200 as a stage monitor. Another good point about pens. We should bring a couple sharpies to mark up the set lists as we decide to change 'em up.

    Now if work wasn't kicking my tail so badly, maybe I could rest and get ready for tomorrow. Looks like another late night......
  13. ...pre-rolls :cool:
  14. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    Sorry I didn't have time to post yesterday afternoon, things were busy to say the least. I wanted to first post the details of the load in and sound check at the bar, then I'll post the gig details.

    Load in started at 2pm. We met at the lead guitarists house to drag all the gear down from the 3rd floor practice space into the trucks and vans. We pulled into the bar parking lot at 3pm and quickly loaded in, following the plan we laid out earllier. Then things got SLOW. We got the speakers, amps, mixer rack, and snake in place as the drummer was setting up. we auto-EQ-d the room using the dbx DriverackPA unit, and were pretty pleased with the results so far. During all this, the drummer got fully set up. At this point, the guitarist decided that the drum kit needed to move slightly (which it really did). The drummer is a low-key guy, but he got more than a little flustered at having to move everything.

    So 10 minutes later the drums are in place and we started sound checking the drum mics. We progressed through the drums, bass, guitars, and vocals. Then we played a couple songs to check everything out, and declared things ready. We pulled out of there at 5pm.

    Two hours from load-in to sound check complete seems way too long, and I am sure that we can get better at this with practice. Alot of this came from having never run the PA in this configuration in a large room. We had to do lots of tweaking on the board and amps to get everything sounding good in the room. The drum fiasco set us back, and we also were not really pushing too hard to make things happen fast. If we were to have a gig where you load in and play immediately following, we'd be pressed for time.

    Now off to the gig itself.....
  15. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    Gig time. We pulled in around 8:40 and loaded in the guitars. We brought along a spare guitar and bass as backups, which we never had to use. We tuned all the instruments and set them on their stands, then relaxed and talked with folks until about 9:20. We took the stage and promptly realized that everyone needed to re-tune since the instruments were cold when first tuned, and had now warmed up and gone sharp.

    We introduced ourselves and kicked into the first song at 9:25. I promptly flubbed the lyrics in the second verse. I'm not going to detail all the minor screw-ups that happened through the night. Each guy had a few minor clams here and there, but there were no train wrecks, and by and large the crowd didn't notice. The first set ended at about 10:15. We started the second set at 10:45 and went to about 12:05am. The plan was for set two to last until 12:15 or so, but we ripped through the songs a little more quickly than planned. Set three started around 12:35 and we finished up at 1:30. We had to repeat two songs at the end to make the full 4 hours, but by then we just asked for requests and played whatever the crowd wanted to hear. Overall we were very well received, and we got complements from the bar owner about the sound and the great crowd we drew.

    Tear down and load-out was uneventful and could have been done in 30 minutes. Instead it took 45. Tip #1 that we learned from this is that duct tape should not be used on indoor-outdoor carpet. It took 15 minutes to get all the duct tape pulled up from the stage riser without totally mauling the carpet and ruining it.

    Anyway, that's how it ended up. We had the oblligitory bar gig experiences of a guy falling onto the stage, a few shouts for Skynyrd, and some well-lubed guys and gals dancing down front and becoming "best friends" with the band. We got paid at the end of the night and the bartender was talking about "when you guys play here again.....". I told him that I wasn't sure if we'd get offered another gig, and he was certain that they'd want us back. Seems like this a great start for us getting established in their rotation of bands. I know that all the guys in the band had a total blast, and we're eager to book our next gig. If you read this far, thanks for following along.
  16. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Sound like you had a great time. :bassist:

    The setup time will go down, especially if you keep playing the same room.

    Next time, try gaffers tape rather than duct tape. It is less sticky and is designed to be removed.
  17. One tip I can give is that each member of the band has
    certain responsibilities, then set up/tear down goes faster.

    For example:
    Lead singer/rhythm guitar player sets up PA board etc.
    Bass Player sets up lights, fog, strobes, etc.
    Keyboard player sets up props (wigs, hats, etc.)
    Drummer sets up drum lights, black lights
    Lead guitarist sets up band sign and sign light

    Tear down responsibilities are the same, only everybody
    pitches in when they can to help get it done ASAP.

    In addition each member sets up their own gear.
    When everyone knows exactly what to do, they get used to
    doing it faster and everything gets done more efficiently.

    Hope this helps.
  18. If you hear the Matre' D say "Donner! Party of 10! RUN!

  19. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    I usually try to allow 3 hours for setup if we're using our PA and 1.5 hours if we're using the house PA. That's assuming that we'll stop soundcheck 45 min to an hour before we actually are supposed to start playing.

    I'm lucky, of course, if I'm playing with the same group of musicians long enough to have other folks help set up PA. Most of the time, everyone helps load in, but I have to setup the whole thing, lights included, in addition to all my guitar gear.

    Of course, it doesn't help that my GAS keeps making my guitar rig bigger and bigger... lol...