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High Pressure Gig?

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by redwingxix, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. redwingxix


    Oct 21, 2015
    Some of the responses in the trainwreck thread got me wondering, what the most high- pressure gig you can remember? Either leading up to or you found out once it was in progress?

    Personally, I haven't had anything that I'd consider a high pressure gig (no I'm not that cool, just all low key gigs to this point) but I'd be interested to hear some examples from members more seasoned than I.

  2. High pressure?

    I'm pretty low key as well so to me the high pressure gigs would be first time at a new venue, the time we subbed for a wedding after the original band backed out the night before, stuff like that.

    But in my corner of the stage, doing sound and lights while playing and singing is high pressure every gig.
  3. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Meh. :meh:

    I've played for 20 people. I've played for 20,000 people. They are all high-pressure gigs if you make them that way.

    If you are well-prepared, well-rested, know your parts, arrive early, have all your gear in order (spares, backups), etc, there's no reason to put any pressure on yourself. Just go have fun entertaining the masses.

    The only time I feel any "pressure" at all is if/when something goes wrong. Ex: the monitor mix goes wacky, the lights are blinding me, etc. Then I just have to remember to smile and have fun anyway.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  4. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    @BassCliff that's totally the way to go.

    I'll say that I had one. I've mentioned it in another thread.
    Reggae band I was in had a monthly gig at the Red Onion in West Covina. At that time the Red Onion was a pretty popular SoCal chain - don't know if they're still around.
    We'd had the gig for 6 months and regional management was coming to decide whether to renew our contract and book us in some of their other locations.
    And our drummer no-showed.
    Bless his heart, he went to an entirely different Red Onion 30 miles away, one where we had never played. This was 1988, can't blame his GPS...
    I was definitely feeling pressure...

    We had 2 keyboard players, and one of them put drum patches on his keyboard and played "drums" on the keys.
    We kept the dance floor full, and as it turned out the regional guys were really impressed that we kept things going, folks dancing, and drinks flowing despite the drum snafu. So we kept the gig and got some others out of it. But man...
  5. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Once, I got a call at about 9:30pm from a friend of a friend asking if I could fill-in for a no-show bass player. The venue was nearby, so I reluctantly agreed. I zipped over, set up, and we were playing by just after 10:00pm. I had never even met any of these guys before. Luckily, most of their stuff was typical bar band covers, so I was good to go for those. For the other songs, I just kept my ears and eyes open and faked my way through. Even though it wasn’t my band and I didn’t really owe these guys anything, I was feeling the pressure all night.

    At the end of the night, all four of the other band members told me I was better than the guy that no-showed and asked me to join the band. I was flattered, but I told them that I already had a gig, and that they were lucky they caught me on a night off. They fired the no-show guy (sorry, not the drummer), and I subbed for them for a few gigs until the found a new bass player (a friend that I recommended).

    Long story longer - You really feel the pressure when it seems like you’re wingin’ it all night. :nailbiting:
    Mr_Moo, Alik, Nashrakh and 2 others like this.
  6. I think most pressure is self-inflicted.
  7. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    High pressure? Probably the first one I ever played on bass back in '81. After that, it was all good. Played in front of a security guard all night, played in front of 100,000+, it all felt the same. Preparation is the key.

    I played a gig once down on Fremont Street in Vegas, the wife of the artist going around harping to the rest of us band how important the gig was, what high pressure it was to play Fremont Street (she was new in town) for the owner of some casino down there. I'd finally heard more than enough from her over and over and requested she please go somewhere else and allow me to keep setting up. I hate to be arrogant to her in the heat of the moment, but the band should be bringing it all regardless of the "level" of the gig.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    the notion of a "high-pressure gig" is definitely in the mind of the beholder. when i was younger: i had more "high-pressure" gigs because they were "more famous in my mind!" then i got old(er) and realized that on the most important level(s) = they're all the same. pretty cool, and way more fun! :D

    i still like the 'excitement' before the first count-off/playdown, though, no matter the gig "status."
  9. Jamvan

    Jamvan The Bassist Formerly Known As Meh Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2014
    Most pressure is self-inflicted but I can pour it on when I have to! ;) I was in the process of joining a band, learning 50+ songs, and they moved my start date up by a month with the first two dates (back to back) being on the biggest stage and in front of the most people I've ever played. Fortunately, day 1 was a 45 minute set so I could focus on the 12 songs I needed to make it through but day 2 was 5 one hour sets during a festival and needed to know around 35 songs. I was told I did ok but I don't remember much about either gig if not for the pictures. I've calmed down a bit since then. :woot:

    Kicking off the Lakes Jam festival on the main stage.
    IMG_1734 2.

    Playing Country Jam as a "filler" band on a side stage playing between the main stage acts. (my view)
    Sore Thumb and BassCliff like this.
  10. smartinson


    Dec 15, 2005
    Longmont, CO
    As others have said I also tend to put pressure on myself to be perfect for each show. That said, my highest pressure gig was when I joined a band that had just lost their bass player. They had a show 2 weeks after I joined and it was a four hour, four set show. Learning that many songs in that short of a period was pretty pressure packed.

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