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How to time sets for New Years Eve gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by sb69coupe, Dec 1, 2005.


  1. sb69coupe

    sb69coupe

    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    I have a question about how to design our sets for an upcoming New Years Eve gig. Background: we are a classic rock and blues cover band, late 30's, playing at a local pub on New Years Eve. We've played there before and had a great gig, so we know that our material works for this crowd. However, we've begun to think about the more unique aspects of playing on New Years Eve, and I'd like to draw on any prior experience you folks may have.

    Basically, how to lay out the sets both before and after midnight? I know that there will be a break at midnight to do the countdown, watch the ball drop, etc. Do you time your sets such that the band is on a break between sets at midnight, or do you stop midway through a set to do the countdown, then resume once the festivities have run their course? We've bounced around a few ideas, but I'd like to hear your thoughts before I put our proposed idea out there. Thanks!
     
  2. GSPLBASSDC

    GSPLBASSDC

    Jan 25, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    The last time we played on NYE, we had the sets spaced so that 3-5 minutes after the ball dropped, we were onstage with some of our more danceable songs.

    The crowd energy is pretty high then and a lot of people are on the dance floor, which makes for a great time. Also a good time to get some crowd pics and/or video so you can show the other club owners how you can work a crowd (always think marketing).

    have fun !
     
  3. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    I push a formula of 45 minute sets with 15 minute breaks in between. Except, when the crowd is jumping. My rule of thumb is to keep people on the dance floor as long as possible. That means rapid-fire transitions into the next song. When the crowd takes a breather, you can too. For New Years, I would plan an hour set with your strongest dance material right after the countdown.
     
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Come back on about 15 minutes before the ball drops, stop whatever you're doing 30 seconds before the ball drops (even if you're in the middle of a song), you guys welcome in the new year with the crowd, play a few bars of Auld Lang Syne, then kick ass for the next half hour!
     
  5. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    We don't plan sets. We measure the crowd and see what they respond to. It's an adjustment coming bands that preplanned sets. Not hard to do, keeps you on your toes and gives you more flexibility. Also, if the dance floor is full, keep the song going. Repeat verses. The people on the floor don't care cuz they love the music.

    We shoot for 45 minute sets with a 15 minute break. NYE we coordinate with organizers what they want us to do.

    Generally, we're just wallpaper for the first set. People start moving at the back end of the first set. After that, they're up and moving. Keep the danceable stuff for later.
     

  6. That's sorta what we do. We play what we call the "3 and a half" set show.

    1st set - 9.00 - 9.50
    slower, groovy set to get the crowd warmed up

    2nd set - 10.15-11.10
    uptempo, funky and danceable

    3rd set - 11.35 - 11.55
    pumpin, energetic and popular

    *break for the countdown, lots of patter and :hyper: *
    play Auld Lang Syne, maybe go into "Celebration" (we don't, but it does work)

    3 &1/2 set - 12.05 - 01.00
    full bore party set, singalongs, crowd participation etc

    It may sound like formula, but hey, we are already booked for NYE 2006 and 2007.
     
  7. sb69coupe

    sb69coupe

    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    Thanks guys, this confirms our thoughts on the timing as well. We usually play from 9:30 until 1:30 at this bar, a set from 9:30 to 10:30, second set from 10:50 to 12:20, then third set from 12:35 to 1:30 or so. We didn't want to use the normal timing, because we feared losing the crowd at the 12:20 break.

    So we've decided to do two marathon sets. First set from 9:30 until 11:00, start the second set around 11:30 and play right up to the last minute or so. Stop there to do the countdown, as this place has lots of TV's and I'm sure they'll be watching the Times Square action. After all the toasts and such are finished, fire back up with some up tempo stuff to keep folks on the dance floor, then play through to around 1:30 or so.

    It's going to make for a long night, but I think it will keep the energy level up and keep folks around longer.
     
  8. SB69 - sounds like a good show, mate.

    One word though - make sure your singer is ready for the marathon sets, its a long time without rest for the vocal cords...
     
  9. sb69coupe

    sb69coupe

    Aug 9, 2004
    Raleigh NC
    Pete, good point, and we have taken that into consideration. We're a bit lucky in that regard, since both the guitarist sing lead, and so do I. When I put together the setlists, I made sure that there were no more than 2 songs back-to-back that any one of us were singing lead on. Hopefully that will help each of us from tiring out our vocal cords too badly.
     
  10. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    My god I can't believe you guys take this length of a break between sets I see some one here who does three sets taking breaks in between. My band plays for solid two hours straight through start to finish for most gigs. If its a smaller gig in a small bar which isn't very important we might take 5 mins for a cigarette half way through.

    I can imagine taking 15 mins break would completely kill the momentum that band has been working towards. The crowd gets off the dance floor people loose interest because theres no one playing. Plus I find taking breaks relaxes you and kills your own energy as well.

    My own band try to get songs going quickly and smoothly running into each other with little to no stops in between songs. We're not quite at that stage yet but thats what we strive towards.

    Sorry for the derailment. My advice would be try and get the band to finish a song seconds before the count down. Do the the count down then kick back in with a high energy song. Put a song with a solo that you can extend or shorten on the fly before the count down so that you can time the ending to just before the count down
     
  11. I'm pretty sure he's talking about 4 hour gigs though...you HAVE to take a couple 15 minute breaks (at least) for those type of gigs or your set will suffer I think by the end of the night. Plus it won't kill the momentum as long as you have a decent DJ/CD playing tunes during the breaks--esp. if you pick good dancing songs that your band doesn't play (Usher's "Yeah" for example.) It also gives you a good chance to mingle with the crowd, gives them a chance for a potty break, call their friends (this awesome band is playing, you have to come out!"), talk to girls, etc. etc.
     
  12. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    I suppose your right in that case, but to spread out a two hour show over the course of three hours taking a couple of breaks seems a bit lazy to me.I suppose I just prefer to keep it pumpin for the gig.
     
  13. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Yes, these are four-hour gigs, and the breaks are absolutely necessary. I have to have a break as standing/grooving in one small area plays hell on my back and feet. We have also found that most of our patrons are in their 30s and 40s, so 45 minutes of steady music is about right for that crowd. You may call it "lazy," but we call it "tailored time management." Besides, we make it very clear to all of the venues that we play what our system is. None have complained. If they did, we wouldn't play there.
     
  14. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    yes I can understand a 4 hour set requires some breaks I don't mean to start a fight here but I was more refering more to pete squires time management system there seems to be almost as much breaks as there is playing. However I apologise for using the word lazy. But I do disagree with his bands method for laying out the sets.

    That said it seems to be the way for doing things there. I've seen numerous TB'ers talking about their first second third sets etc. Over here its slightly different. In that bands usually play from a certain time until closing straight through.I suppose its a sort of culture difference. You guys say "color" I say "colour" samething just a little different.

    Im just digging my way out of a hole here really.

    I do find that taking a brake stops the adrenaline flowing and the tiredness can hit you more. I've never felt wrecked in the middle of a gig only after. But again thats just my experience YMMV
     
  15. bmc

    bmc

    Nov 15, 2003
    Switzerland
    The two guys I play with came to Europe from the states in 1990 touring with a band that would play one set a night: from 9:30 until 2:30 nonstop. It wasn't a requirement, but more of their trademark. They played 7 nights a week. The longest nonstop stretch they did was 84 consecutive nights. Imagine what their chops were like back then.

    I've been doing this for over thirty years and that was the first I ever heard of anyone doing such a marathon. We shoot for 45 minute sets with a 15 minute break. There are times when you need to be flexible and do a 1 hour or a 1.5 hour set. They are the exception and not the norm.
     
  16. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    Now that is impressive but it goes to show that it can be done. If thats the way things are done with the whole set break set break etc doing such marathons could be a great gimmick for a band over there.
     
  17. kansas666

    kansas666

    Sep 20, 2004
    We are always onstage at midnight. Nobody seems to know exactly when it is or really cares. We do the countdown (make it up), play old lang sine (or what ever you call it) and then do a belly rubber. The women want a good kiss from their man before we break into the fast danceable stuff.