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Help me put together my cover band set lists

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Marley's Ghost, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL

    My band just completed our lineup with the addition of a new drummer :hyper: and we figure we are about 4 weeks from being ready to play out. We are now trying to figure out our first set lists, and can't seem to agree on song order. Here is our song list. We will need to build 3 sets from this list:

    Maroon 5 This Love
    Maroon 5 Harder to Breathe
    Nickelback How you remind me -
    Grand Funk American Band –
    Black Crowes Hard to Handle-
    Fuel Shimmer -
    Incubus Drive -
    Goo Goo Dolls Slide
    Clapton Wonderful Tonight
    Tom Petty Mary Jane’s Last Dance
    Smashmouth Walking on the Sun
    Santana Smooth
    Beatles Back in the USSR -
    Lit Own worst enemy –
    Weezer Hash Pipe –
    Audioslave Like a Stone –
    Velvet Revolver Slither
    Tommy Tutone 8675309
    Foo Fighters Learning to Fly
    Ramones I Wanna Be Sedated
    Led Zeppelin All My Love
    U2 Vertigo
    U2 New Year's Day
    The Cure Just Like Heaven
    Tom Petty I need to know
    Wild Cherry Play That Funky Music –
    Sly and the Family Stone Thank you for letting me be myself
    KC Get down Tonite –
    Kool and the Gang Jungle Boogie –
    Rick James Superfreak
    Jet Are you gonna be my girl –
    Jet Cold hard bitch –
    Loverboy Working for the weekend
    Van Morrison Brown Eyed Gril
    Jimmy Eat World The Middle –
    Eve 6 Inside Out –
  2. I'm not going to go through the whole list...I'll just give you some advice...

    Try to make each of your sets like a nice undulating roller coaster (like a kiddy coaster, not the Magic Mountain puke fests). What I mean is, you want to start big and end big, but transition through a range of energies and era's smoothly. You don't want to go from a hard rocker to a 70's funker to a ballad. You need to cater the list to the audience and make it a seamless experience that will keep people on the dance floor.

    You don't want to load any set with all modern pop or all disco/70's, but you don't want the set to be schizophrenic either.

    My last suggestion is to put all these songs on 3-4 cd's, put them in a 5 disc changer, hit random, and write it down. Because, hey...you're not trying to pull off Metallica's "Battery" into Barry Manilow's "Mandy" or anything. You've got a pretty even grouping of songs.
  3. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    I agree with Mo'Phat also.

    I notice several of those tunes require vocal harmonies. If your band cannot do them justice, I suggest not doing those specific tunes. It can make or break the cover tune IMHO.

    For what it is worth, try and not do a setlist and just read the crowd(to elaborate on Mo's point) and keep them dancing(or at least happy).

    In my cover band, we(sometimes) do something called a block.
    Basically it is three tunes back to back that we feel flow together. If it is a stoner crowd, we don't bother playing INXS or Rick Springfield stuff and if its a dancy girly crowd we don't bother with Into the Void by Sabbath.

    Hope this helps,
  4. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Alos consider tuning if it applies. Try not to tune between songs, group all your drop D, or standard stuff together to avoid dead air.
  5. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    Thanks for your suggestions. What do you recommend for a set starter? Fast? Medium tempo?
  6. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Something upbeat but save the best for last. Also I like my first few tunes on the easy side, muscially and vocally so the band can get warmed up, the sound guy get things dialed in, get any gitters or problems worked out. We try to start strong but get stronger as the gig goes.
  7. You must also remember the cardinal of playing covers...if you're doing it, you're doing it for the audience and the venue. It's your job to entertain and get people to buy drinks...NOT to impress people with your musical prowess. A dancing crowd is a drinking crowd, and vice versa. That said, it's a pretty OK set for doing just that.

    If you're playing to the end of the night (last call), you really want to chill out your last 8 songs or so. If people have stayed that long, you know they don't want to leave, want to keep drinking, and are hanging on to that thin thread of hope that they'll find some skank to hook up with. It's your job to facilitate that collaboration of drunk-drink-skank. :D seriously, though...that's why you were hired.
  8. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Open with something easy to play, with no wierd timing (starts and stops and timing changes) issues...it will help you get your stage legs. Maybe Hard to Handle.

    Cool setlist, btw...our band plays 6 or 7 of those.
  9. It also depends on where you are playing.
    We have a regular gig at a beachside club where the crowd can get fairly rowdy, so our sets are more rocking at that one. We also play at an inner city pub where the crowd are more Friday night after work drinks types, so we play more laidback early and ramp it up as the night goes on.

    I think you should always have 5 or 6 extra songs hanging around so you can replace songs if the feel isn't right. Sometimes we even write the sets just before we go on, so we can tailor them to the mood.

    Some good choices there, btw.
  10. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    I'll tell how I do it.

    I used to be a DJ. for years. So I definitely have a sense of "pacing"

    I figured out all the BPMs for each song (beats per minute - eg, the speed). We try and group our songs in sets by slowing building the tempo. A 106 song into a 110 song into a 115 song and so on.

    Other than that, we definitely group our "throwaway" songs or non-dance songs early - and put our BEST songs into our second set.
  11. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Hey we do a few of those songs! Well we do Warning from incubas. Might sudgest from that set list that you do greenday boulavard of broken dreams! Went over real well for a set starter! Good crowd responce. easy tune to start on for good sence!