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Old timers, were the bar bands 15-20 years ago better than the bar bands today?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by glocke1, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    I think this probably goes back the that thread a few weeks back about standards being pretty low for bands these days.

    I look at videos that people post of their live performances and Im like "gee, I'd be embarrassed to post that", and its actually a recurring theme..bands out playing music that is just largely sub-par. I'm not talking random missed notes here and there, but completely missed changes, tunes that are way off in terms of groove, feel, etc..It's obvious no rehearsal is really taking place in a lot of instances.

    Even the main band I play in is guilty of this. We never rehearse, and while there are handful of tunes we play well, by and large a lot of the tunes we play we butcher to a certain extant. Not complete train wrecks, but just a performance that is not what it could/should be due to a lack of rehearsal and people not knowing the tunes as well as they should/could.

    It makes me think back to 20 years or so ago when the guys I was learning from were out playing. It could just be the years muddying my memory, but I seem to recall bands back than sounding tighter and better than a lot of bands that are out there today are sounding.
  2. Twenty to thirty years ago , I remember good ones and bad ones. Today , I hear good ones and bad ones also. Thirty some years ago , I put a band together with some friends that were all pretty good musicians. We did it because we all just wanted a weekend diversion to play music. Although we did play out from time to time the real reason for the band was just to get together on weekends to play music. We all had the same goals for the band and got together almost every Saturday night for three to four hours. This became one of the tightest and clean sounding bands I have ever been in. Too bad we didn't get more gigs but no one in the band was particularly well connected to the music scene of the day. My recent bands have all been gigging bands and rehearsals are few and far between with most of them. Most were tight and sounded good but none reached the level of tightness of the old band. This is just my experience and may not be indicative of the local scene.
    All that being said , recently , I have heard some of the worst bands I have ever heard. I often wonder how these guys have the nerve to play a public gig but the crowds seem to love them anyway. I have also heard some of the best bands I have ever heard. Most of these are well established bands that have been together a long time.
    I don't think it's era related really.
  3. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    i was wondering about that as the bands Im talking about that are really putting on sub-par performances have crowds that seem to love them. Even my band, when we sound bad we still get a good reception.

    I can't help but wonder if it's booze making everything sound great to the crowd, or they are just happy to hear live music.

    Also, I hear good bands as well. most of these are ones that have been together forever, the rest are ones that obviously rehearse. Sadly though the majority of what I hear sounds like guys that don't rehearse enough.

    Heck, the drummer of the band Im in was talking about this challenging tune we were doing for the first time with me in the lineup, and both he and the BL were like "well we've done it before". They have, and have the video to prove it, but it sounds horrible...The intro is botched, the timing is wrong, the vocals are poor (in one instance it is clear the guy is having problems and is just mutter something unintelligible thats in the right ket), but they both thought it was a solid performance. The quality of the recording itself is very good, but its really like putting lipstick on a pig
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
    Julian G, Mili and sharkbait130 like this.
  4. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    I was in D.C./Baltimore in the '90s, the heyday of Hammerjacks, 9:30 Club, etc. and there were lots more working bands making it pretty competitive. You just wouldn't last if you stunk.
  5. It seems to me that the bar crowds want to drink , dance , and just have a good time with some friends. The quality of music is really un-important to them. If they can dance to it and at least recognize the song , they are happy.
    ptooner, danesdad, filmtex and 8 others like this.

  6. Agreed , but these places and places like The Bayou were a good cut above most bar scenes.
  7. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    If - and I will qualify this with an "if" - there's a generational shift at work here, I'd pin it on the "self esteem" movement, in which everyone is told how wonderful they are, often as they are handed a participation trophy. There's a demographic prevalent in the world now for whom being told they're not good at something is a soul-crushing defeat. The same demographic has also been taught, by example in media, and decree from their peers, that the only "correct" response for an audience to any kind of effort is unbridled adulation and applause, regardless of the quality of what they've been offered. Anything less is considered heartless cruelty, and damaging to the poor dears' well-being.

    Several recent acts I've seen would have, at one time, been told "no" outright, or "get some more practice, and come back when you're better." I wonder if that trend has been shifting as the automatic-praise generation has aged into positions of management and leadership.

    .02, and I'll go yell at that cloud now. :wacky:
  8. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    short answer = no
    danesdad, Dogbertday and gln1955 like this.
  9. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    Yeah, I should have put in that disclaimer, but even the lower-tier bars in the area back then were competitive by proxy. The short of it was that you really had to look to find a crummy band.
    dcbluesbass, ahc and JMarkD like this.
  10. pbassjbass


    Jun 21, 2013
    I don't think there's much difference the quality of bar bands. The only issue I think might make a difference, is that around the DC area there were more places to play, and so bands played more. That always helps tighten things up.
  11. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Do y’all think it has anything to do with how low some bands will charge to play a venue? Why pay a good band good money when a train wreck will charge less and sell just as much beer? It’s super disheartening. I almost completely gave up on the scene last year.
    Wisebass, Mili, dBChad and 5 others like this.
  12. I agree. In the eighties local bands really fought it out and if they got a gig at Coast to Coast or the Marble Bar they felt like they had arrived. More bands, more venues, good times for local musicians. I remember local bands at Hammerjacks and 9:30 as well but not so much at The Bayou.
  13. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    No difference. Sound quality these days is better, volume slightly lower, which is nice.
    TomB and klyph like this.
  14. shastaband

    shastaband Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    Working bar bands back in the day (1970s and 1980s) were often better because they played more often. I was on the hotel/motel circuit and worked 6 nights a week, 5 sets a night for about 40 weeks a year. Took "vacations" in June and December to play lucrative weddings and Christmas parties. One time we came off the road after 38 straight weeks of six night a week gigs. We were REALLY tight. Plus you only had to move your gear once every 4 to 6 weeks. Those were the glory days.
  15. 20-30 years ago there was no YouTube so mediocre performances were forgotten quickly.
    Now they're available to watch and critique until the end of days.
    danesdad, Wisebass, uusak and 7 others like this.
  16. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    No. But the venues were better.
    bobyoung53, Keger Jupit and kobass like this.
  17. As a working beer salesman with a bass, you better hope that the booze is doing it's job or you're out of yours.
    Too bad they just cannot like music without being loaded.

    gebass6 likes this.
  18. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    ^^^THIS! :thumbsup:

    To quote Talking Heads: "same as it ever was!" :D
  19. hotrodjohn

    hotrodjohn Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2009
    Yes they were. Bands like Zebra and Twisted Sister and Rat Race Choir ruled the metropolitan area in legendary rock clubs.
  20. RCH


    May 24, 2015
    The main difference I see in classic rock bands is that now the guys need to take a break to use the restroom every hour. Musically, some are good, some are not so good, like always. Plus, who you know often wins out over what you can do, just like in the rest of life.

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