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How do you rise above the other bands?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Depth_Charge, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. Pretty simple. What do you or your band do that help you stand out from similar acts in your area (the band I'm in play covers but open to all).

    I thought of "nail the songs" and "crowd participation"

    Feel free to expand :)
  2. Having tight arrangements that are well rehearsed has helped us.
  3. Thats "nailing the songs" in Aussie! :D

    But thanks :)
  4. These may seem obvious, but when I go out and watch other bands, it's apparent that it's not so obvious.

    IMO, there are 3 main things: 1) give them something good to listen to, 2) something enjoyable to watch and 3) something they can participate in.

    This means:

    • Play songs people want to hear.
    • Rehearse and play them well.
    • Be reasonably professional; on time, not drunk, not obnoxious, etc..
    • Have good sound and good lights ("good" is a minimum).
    • Engage the crowd while you're playing and while you're not playing. (people like to hang around bands - they especially love it when you remember their names)
    • Play mostly danceable songs with no more than 2 slow ones each set.
    • Songs that are not danceable should be "performance" songs that showcase one or more members of the band. In other words, there should be a reason for doing each song - not just that you know it.
    • For God's sake, HAVE FUN!!! And show the crowd that you are having fun. They'll have fun too.

    One other thing, most local bands are guitar and sausage-fests; all-male power trio, all-male power trio with a lead singer, all-male 4-piece w/ 2 guitars. My band intentionally set out to have a male lead singer, a female lead singer and keyboards. It opens up an almost infinite range of material. Patrons stay longer because they don't get tired of looking at the same dude on stage. Guys like seeing the girl on stage and so do women. The downside to this is that individually we make less money than a 3 or 4 piece. However, we're more concerned with the quality of the product than the money we take home.

    (Now if we could just afford to hire a horn section.)
  5. Sarbecue Boss

    Sarbecue Boss

    Jul 9, 2006
    We have more musicianship than other bands. We involve ourselves heavily in other kinds of music to improve our understanding of what we write.We also have aquired a drummer that can play exactly what needs to be in the song.
    Alot of great local drummers can't play what our songs need.
  6. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Besides talent and good music (obviously)? Hard work. Throw yourself at every opportunity you get, and over-saturate yourself all the time. Make sure no one in town hasn't heard of you playing somewhere, and play EVERYWHERE.

    Just use your head and be smart. It's basically the same formula to succeed anywhere.
  7. Jeffrey A-Bomb

    Jeffrey A-Bomb Drink Coffee & Destroy

    Oct 14, 2000
    Silver Spring, MD
    It never hurts to look 'cool' on stage either ;) Rockstar clothes, props, tattoos (if the genre supports that sorta thing), and a cocky confidence.
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    In cover bands I've learned that how tight and how good you are have a lot less to do with how well you'll go over than the following:

    • Having good looking members in the band.
    • Having really friendly sociable people in the band.
    • Having a front person.
    • Having a front person who can engage the crowd.
    • Playing what people want to hear (including bon jovi, fallout boy, and whatever band it is you hate most).
    • Having a laid back attitude about everything
    • Having fun.
    • Having a large repetoir and being able to bang out anything from Beatles to Korn. Taking requests goes a long way.
    • Being able to play at low volumes and still have fun.
    • Having a lot of friends who'll come and see your show.
    • Having a lot of friends who'll come see your show and that like to drink a lot.
    • Having a lot of hot girlfriends who'll come see your show and that like to drink a lot.
    Unfortunately, how good you are and all other gimmicks such as costumes, banners, etc. all come after the above. This has been my experience.
  9. Relic

    Relic Cow are you?

    Sep 12, 2006
    Robbinsville, NJ
    So true that it's scary.
    Not all are as equally important, but ALL play a role IMHO
  10. sb69coupe


    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    I agree with all the above. They work for our band of 40 year old dudes playing blues/classic rock/pop. A couple other things that I can think of that make a band more appealing to watch.

    - tonal variety. Having a guitarist that uses one crunchy distorted sound for each and every song gets repetitive after a while. We have 2 guitarists, one switches between acoustic and electric. The other uses a Line6 POD and has alot of different tones ranging from clean to dirty and everything in between.

    - multiple lead vocalists. If you have two or more folks who can sing lead and cover different material in different ranges, you'll end up with more variety in your sound and keep each song from sounding the same.
  11. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    And people ask why I would play in a 14 piece band......

    Many of the things you guys have said are why my band consistently sells out shows. We have 5 singers (3 female 1 male) a female percusionist, 2 asians, I double on bass and synth bass, and the list goes on. Variety goes a long way.
  12. 30hrz


    May 13, 2007
    I agree with what has been suggested already. Alternatively you could put "Free Beer" on your band advertisement posters.

    BTW anyone know of any attractive female A/R reps that are "easily moved"? :p
  13. I agree with all most of the stuff that has been said but will add...

    Give Stuff Away

    Stuff like stickers, mini CDs and things with your name/logo.

    People need to remember who you are and to remember your music. If even a handful of fans know your songs and respond when you start to play a tune it makes a big impression on the folks who do the hiring and an other fans too. If people see your name around town enough they may decide to drop in in and check you out.

    Edited: oops I didn't catch the covers part first time around...

  14. I'm with you on this one! There was a band around here that sounded EXACTLY the same on every song. It was hard for me to tell when one song ended and the next one started. Needless to say, I didn't stay very long.
  15. Don't be so "similar" to the other acts. Be different:

    Don't play the same songs they do - there's still plenty of other good ones.

    Be friendly with the other bands and venue people. Don't be a musical elitist with a "rockstar" attitude or talk about how "they all suck" (even if they do.) Lend a hand, try to arrange gigs with the other bands. This will make you different than 90% of the bands out there who think they are God's gift to music, and might one day lead to you getting a good gig or making important friends.

    Don't play songs your singer can't sing, even if the songs are great and you love them a lot.

    Don't play songs your band can't play well, even if the songs are great and you love them a lot.

    Engage the audience. Look at them, talk to them. Don't just play your stuff with your heads down.

    Publicize your events. Bring people to the venue, even if they are just your friends. Business people want customers - you are *one* of the things they use to get customers.
  16. PSPookie

    PSPookie Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Lubbock, TX
    Jet Packs -- duh!
  17. How does a cover band stand out? Sorry, dont mean to be patronising but all cover bands that i have watched have played covers(duh), and when your drunk they all sound the same. I think you just have to be good as a band, ultra tight, well rehearsed, make people dance, as there is only so far you can go by playing other people's music. You can do handstands and cartwheels etc, but nobody will really care, they just want to hear there favourite tune. Good luck with it all, I heard cover-bands are very well payed. Sorry, if my post seemed harsh.
  18. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    My band sucks. We are surpassed by all!
  19. Not harsh, but I disagree to an extent (quite possibly from a self-serving perspective). In my experience, most cover bands are not that good, however some are. My band is currently in a Battle of the Bands that started with about 40 other bands. It's now down to 10 bands and we're in first place. We're the only cover band left, everyone else is original. You can stand out as a cover band, but it's not easy and the vast majority do not. But, I guess that's the point.
  20. id agree that a coverband can stand out, if theyre good etc. most of the time when i see or hear one i just think oh, covers, they wont play me any king diamond, then i go about my business.

    my band stands out by being pirates. and not sounding like most of the other metal bands around here.
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