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How do you beat the heat at a gig?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by JGbassman, Jun 3, 2017.


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  1. Summer is upon us, and that means for a lot of us outdoor shows, or gigs without climate control.

    We deal with many obsticals not encountered in the climate controlled clubs and venues, and I thought I'd see what little tips and tricks we have to turn the conditions in our favor. This can cover everything from how to keep your fingers from sticking on humid bass strings, to not swallowing a bug when singing. Maybe give someone some ideas on how to make a miserable gig tolerable.

    I have performed many outdoor gigs over the years, and have found some pretty inventive ways to make a good gig even better without our creature comforts, or a nice tour bus directly to stage left, lol.

    I always bring water in a cooled container. Yes most gigs will provide water, but if setting up or waiting on a multi band bill, I like to keep some handy. Staying hydrated makes a big difference.

    Hand sanitizer. After moving a backline or handling cables, my hands get dirty if not wearing gloves. Before I touch my basses, I use some waterless cleaner to keep the funk on my hands off the strings.

    A can of finger ease. I play a fretless on stage and a liberal coating of the neck and strings will keep the flatwounds from sticking to your fingers, and allows you to pull off the vibrato and subtle nuances we love the fretless for. I use it on my round wound basses too, but it seems to be a necessary for the fretless when it's humid out.

    Two fans and a towel.
    One fan goes to my side blowing across the stage, the other is a small clip on I put on my amp or effects rack to move a little air through the rig. This is a must if setting up without cover in the hot afternoon. Keeping the amp cool takes the worry out of overheating. The fan at stage left helps move a little air, and will keep hovering bugs out of your face at night. Swallowing bugs sucks when singing and I try to keep them away. It will also help with condensation on a stage when the dew point hits.

    An umbrella to keep the sun off an amp, or off my basses. Basses sitting in the hot sun is a no go, and wreaks havok with tuning. I like to keep them shaded.

    A folding chair. Useful for downtime.

    A change of clothes. Keep stage clothes fresh and be comfortable before and after the show.

    There are probably more things I do, but these are the ones that come to mind. I'd love to hear what everyone else is doing as well.

    Peace
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
  2. Belt with suspenders kind of guy, I see. :)

    I've put myself through some gruelling conditions in other parts of my life so even on the hottest most humid day, playing a 45 minute set while holding a 9 pound bass barely registers on my Discomfort-O-Meter. Nothing a clean t-shirt and a cold beer can't fix anyways. That said, I can always find a shady and breezy spot to hang out before or after.
     
    nixdad and JGbassman like this.
  3. I like to be prepared, and make my time more comfy if I can. Lots was learned when touring when younger, and figuring out how to combat less than desirable situations. I just thought some of these ideas might help others that are enduring some hot and sticky shows as well. I did an "indoor" show last night that was a stage put in a big open building lol. The fan and towel came in handy last night, as it was 97 degrees and close to 100% humidity when we took the stage.
     
    DirtDog likes this.
  4. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    +1 to Finger ease for rounds and water.
    Can't believe how sticky rounds gets .
     
    JGbassman likes this.
  5. madbanjoman

    madbanjoman

    Feb 23, 2011
    Pittsburgh
    Does anyone know what to do about the back of the neck getting sticky during the heat?
     
  6. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Fans. I keep a couple in the back of my vehicle during the summer. I have used a regular fan (small "Vornado) and a larger squirrel cage (and no, when it's hot I don't care one bit how loud the dam is).

    For several reasons, I tend that a fan blowing from behind me works best. First off, it doesn't make my fretboard sticky by constantly changing how wet or dry it is. Second, it helps with the bug deal without drying out my throat for singing. So it's blowing the back of my head keeping the bugs away but not shooting to.much moving air right into my mouth. Also, it's just a large surface area for the fan to hit. When it's blowing up your legs and back it cools a lot of your body all at once.

    I also will turn that squirrel cage fan toward the crowd during breaks. They love it.
     
    skwee and JGbassman like this.
  7. This. This is the best for sticky necks and strings I've ever found. This will fix an issue of sticky strings and neck due to a humid outdoor night. I never leave for a gig without it. As an added bonus it's not oily and won't damage the strings or the finish on poly or lacquered basses.

    image.jpeg
     
    nixdad, madbanjoman and Rattman like this.
  8. skwee

    skwee

    Apr 2, 2010
    Minneapolis
    Bring a simple washcloth or bandana. Soak it through and wring it out. Place on the back of your neck/under your strap. Rinse, repeat.
     
    JGbassman likes this.
  9. Building on that, if you have access to ice, wrap a little in the bandana and then wrap around your neck. Instant air conditioning.
     
  10. Ox Boris

    Ox Boris Inactive

    Nov 23, 2015
    Australia
    Endure.
    ...and a spare pair of trolleys.
     
    StyleOverShow and DirtDog like this.
  11. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I have something like this, I don't know if it is the same brand, but it sure works for me.
    Cooling Towel | Arctic Cool

    Natural fiber (cotton, linen, silk) clothing.
    A hat that allows good airflow.
    A towel handy to wipe sweat off me and my bass.
     
    Jhengsman and JGbassman like this.
  12. I get you. If I have to be in those conditions for a sustained period, for sure I'll look for some amenities to improve comfort. It's rare that I'll go out on a multi-day mission without baby wipes, for instance. I sweat like a sombitch even during an indoor show in the winter, so I've learned to embrace the suck for a couple of hours.
     
    JGbassman likes this.
  13. I've done my fair share of enduring (2003-04 in Iraq with full battle dress and temps in the 140's) and I'd rather make it look like we are having fun on stage rather than just enduring. Toughing it out seems silly when you can do a few things to make it more comfortable
     
  14. Ox Boris

    Ox Boris Inactive

    Nov 23, 2015
    Australia
    Indeed. As they say, "Any idiot can be uncomfortable in the field."
     
    JGbassman and DirtDog like this.
  15. jamro217

    jamro217 Supporting Member

    Cargo shorts! :roflmao:
     
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  16. Dec1975

    Dec1975

    Aug 30, 2006
    Cedar Park, TX
    JGbassman likes this.
  17. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    We agreed last year, no more outdoor gigs. Well, one of the guys booked us for July 3rd at a campground we played at last year. It was nearly 100F when we played. I'm praying (literally) that it's cooler this year. I actually considered letting them do it with a sub, but the keys player (also a singer, lead and harmony) has a family commitment that weekend, and the band wouldn't be very good with 40% of its key personnel missing. I'll just have to do what I did last year; set up an oscillating fan behind me and the drummer, and keep a of lot water and Gatorade on ice. The others can fend for themselves.
     
    JGbassman likes this.
  18. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I pour bottled water over my hands and towel them to keep them dry & mobile on the neck after every set. It helps. For the heat, if I remember, I bring a fan.
     
    JGbassman likes this.
  19. Funky Ghost

    Funky Ghost Translucently Groovy

    Like an athlete, hydrate the day BEFORE you're in the heat. loading up on water during said gig is "o.k." but isn't nearly as effective. The cooling towels mentioned are amazing. Not a particularly good look, but they really do bring the temps down, if needed. I like to wear super light, breathable shoes. I have two pair of Sketchers that really make the summer heat bearable ( today, inside my warehouse we expect temps over 100 ). If you're a shorts guy, it helps. Shorts and shows, however, is something of a hot topic, pardon the pun :p
     
    Jhengsman and JGbassman like this.
  20. GoLeafsGo

    GoLeafsGo Not Quite Right!

    Oct 25, 2013
    Ajax Ontario
    And sandals. With socks of course.
     
    jamro217 likes this.

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