People are so weird...asked to fill in..than gig is cancelled after asking for a setlist.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by glocke1, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    On Friday I was asked to fill in for someone for a gig this coming Saturday.

    Band plays many of the same tunes I play with other bands but I asked for a list regardless because I like to be prepared and am really not down with tunes being called out in a spur of the moment fashion on stage and people calling out changes as they happen. I see lots of people do this in the bands i go to see and people do it in some of the bands I play in and overall i think it's lame.

    I ask for a set list, and in response get a photo of a handwritten list of roughly 100 tunes. I knew probably 2/3 of the list pretty well, the other 1/3 not so well and those tunes would have required some time put in by me to review them, so I sent back the names of the 2/3's of the songs I knew well with a note saying it would be helpful to me to narrow that down to the tunes we'd play in the 2.5 hour slot we were scheduled to play.

    Next thing I knew I get a text back saying the gig was cancelled, and I suspect it's because of the request for a defined set real proof of that but I played with these guys once before and if memory serves part of their thing is randomly calling out and playing tunes. Even than some of the tunes they were calling out on that gig they were slightly sketchy on themselves...

    oh well...
  2. sgtpepper


    Jan 22, 2010
    Mexico City
    If that's the way this guys like playing their gigs, calling out random tunes (I'm guessing depending on crowd's petitions or the mood of the moment) and you like playing gigs with a setlist with no modifications without pleasing the crowd's petitions or because of the mood of the moment. Then you don't fit well in the band, even for a fill in. You like yellow, they like green. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just different ways of working.
    fig, Charlzm, Andre678 and 7 others like this.
  3. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Sounds like you dodged a bullet.
    I'd say there are plenty of players who would have taken that gig and got through it just fine, but if that's not how you roll then that's absolutely your right.
    fig, smogg, Aqualung60 and 3 others like this.
  4. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Spoiler alert!….

    …Musicians are flaky. :D
  5. Stevorebob

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

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Wow, you got a list? I usually get a text with a couple examples. What’s with people?
    daddymactx and Aqualung60 like this.
  6. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002

    oh chances are I would have gotten through it without major issues, and I briefly thought about not saying/asking anything about a setlist, but than realized I'd probably end up stressing about it.

    At the end of the day I really like to be prepared, and Im also getting wary of being seen in video with groups of people hacking their way through a song that isn't known by all the members that well. When everyone walks into the gig on the same page (or as much as possible on the same page), it makes everything so much better sounding and in general leaves a much better impression on people.
    gazzatriumph, smogg, cchorney and 3 others like this.
  7. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Yeah, if you want me to sub, I’m going to need a set list and keys noted.
  8. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Pretty weird that you were too much trouble for asking questions.

    Gig cancelled...worth it to show up at the gig and laugh/glare?
    smogg, Andre678, BooDoggie and 2 others like this.
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I've been working for a while with a band that ignores the setlists. Lists are sent out in advance, I review those tunes. Sometimes texts show up a day or two before the gig with new tunes we've never played before. On the gig the list has been forgotten as early as the third tune of the night. When we followed the list for the entire first set on our last gig I was astounded.

    The second set we jumped around a bit but at least this time the vocalist didn't say "Hey, let's play this new song I just wrote" :roflmao:

    Disclaimer: I don't mind that the band is so loosey goosey because everyone can improvise well and knows how to generate danceable grooves. Gigs are plentiful, audience response is positive, the hang and money are good, but I'll be quitting when something better comes along.
    pappabass likes this.
  10. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    To be fair, he never said he needed a set list that was immutable and can't be modified to fit the mood of the audience. He simply asked for a list of 100 songs to be whittled down to likely candidates from the 60-70 he was familiar with or to be told which songs he DIDN'T know so he could prepare those without spending a week learning 30 songs (for free) and then playing two of them.

    It's not difficult to give someone a list of 40-50 songs that are the usual songs played. It's 2 1/2 hours. Not 6. Sounds like a lazy band to me. I wouldn't want to sub for them either. And I often sub 4 hour gigs with zero rehearsal. It's just helpful and professional to not expect me to learn 100 songs on my own time to only play 20 of them.
    DirtDog, Alik, Renaissance and 5 others like this.
  11. coreyfyfe

    coreyfyfe Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2007
    boston, ma
    If you were in my area I'd wonder if we'd been asked to do the same gig.

    Had a request to fill in this weekend. I did one with this group in the past, seems like it's always a rotating cast. Been asked back a few times but mostly nights where I'm already booked or just too last minute to make it work. Was asked last week about this weekend, I agree and asked for the set list and details to be emailed - it's mostly cover stuff, a fair percentage I knew already, but also some originals and the group recently released a new album so I knew I'd have some brushing up to do. Didn't hear back so I sent my email address again in case it was needed. Radio silence. Works for me, I'd like to have my Saturday free since I'm gigging the next three in a row, but some form of a response would have been nice.

    On the set list thing, I've played with a few guys in multiple bar band type groups. The first is much more of the "call em out" type, the more recent group the membership prefers to have a list planned out with substitutions as needed. The blending of members between the two groups can make for some interesting nights. Some guys are cool with calling it as we go, some guys are easily flustered.
    EddiePlaysBass likes this.
  12. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    I'm convinced a good band knows their music and the venues well enough to tailor a setlist to the crowd.
    The only time a dance floor should be cleared is when the band planned it to slam the bar.

    I've seen too many dance floors cleared by bands that were busy trying to communicate a change in the setlist.
  13. I have a theory about certain older musicians, and by older I would say 55 and up. I am 50 myself. They all know the same 100 or so classic rock songs all of which were made before 1980. I don't mean that they know them well, but they know all of them well enough to slog through a bar gig without train wrecking. They have played these same 100 or so songs in every band they have ever been in for the last 30-40 years. They will act completely dumbfounded when you tell them you don't know how to play one of these 100 or so songs. If you ask them to learn one song that is not on their list or worse yet made after 1980, They will give you 800 reasons why the band shouldn't do that song. Does this sound like anyone you know?
  14. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    I think that describes these guys pretty well. I think they’ve been playing these same songs for awhile but it’s safe to say they don’t know all of them deeply.
  15. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Depends on the band. Some are just sloppy and clueless. With others it’s part of their overall product strategy.

    I know a a few cover bands (mostly wedding and event) that only go in with a very general idea of a set list. They know a lot of songs and change up the sequence on the fly depending on the audience response. Some crowds want 80s pop while others really take off when you throw in some 50s doo-wop and rockabilly. You can just never tell. It’s one reason why DJs got so popular. They come in with a full disk library and have several hundred or more songs on tap they can switch up on a moments notice. Even Van Halen built their early reputation as a band that could play anything. They were known for their ability to play entire gigs just taking request calls from the crowd.

    My feeling is, if you’re going to be working in a crowd pleasing cover band, why not? Even with blues bands, the “set list” is often little more than whatever the singer or lead instrumentalist feels most moved to do next. Half the time it’s not even called. The artist just starts and the band falls in about three beats later.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
  16. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I don't understand why you're so sure that your request for a setlist was the reason the gig was canceled. Isn't it possible that it was canceled for other reasons?
    zubrycky likes this.
  17. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    This is how it goes as a fill in.

    You will get the calls based on your ability to roll with whatever gets thrown at you. If you really know 60 plus of their tunes (2/3 of the 100 song list) you should have just said "Cool, see ya at the gig!"

    The approach to this kind of fill-in spot should be close to jam-nite mentality. Close enough for Rock & Roll... If you are really uncomfortable with a tune they call out, just shake it off. If they insist on playing something you don't know, they deserve what they get!

    You apparently knew more than enough of their material to support the gig and it sounds like you're aware of their habit of having a loose program.

    If they cancelled the gig because of you, it wasn't because you were being difficult asking for a list but rather that you must have given them the impression you would not be prepared. I think it's more likely that other forces were involved though.
  18. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    Oh it’s just a suspicion that’s all. It’s just strange it went from something that sounded like a sure thing to something that was canceled after I asked for a list of tunes, but yes it’s possible other forces were involved.
  19. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    My bet is that the timing is just a coincidence. Gigs get canceled unexpectedly for all sorts of reasons. It just doesn't make any sense that they would ditch a gig just because the fill-in bass player asked for a song list -- especially since you already know two-thirds of their full list, which is probably twice as many songs as will be needed for a 2.5-hour gig.
    Nashrakh likes this.
  20. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    The gig was probably just cancelled and had nothing to do with your list request.

    I get asked a lot to fill in or if I'd be available, and only a few actually happen, most end up cancelling their gig.
    Passinwind likes this.