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Rate Your Set Lists

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bluewine, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I noticed at our gig Friday Night our first and second set moved nicely. Great flow in fact.

    However at around 12:30 we started our 3rd set, for me it didn't groove like the first 2.

    I'm thinking if we get rid of some of the old stuff and add a few tested "crowd pleasers" we can bring some new life into our last set.

    I have a one song that I would like to bring to the band that I think will help.

    Is that 3rd set problematical for anyone else?

    Share your view on that 3rd or 4th set.


  2. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    IMHO, it really depends on the night/crowd. One song/set might bomb in one club and kill in another. And, that enthusiasm, or lack thereof, usually affects us and our opinions of what grooves and what doesnt. YMMV.
  3. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Good point, the club or bar and the crowd definitely come into play.

    I also think a 12:00 end is different than playing till 1:30am.

  4. Usually this is a fouth set kind of thing for me (not that we get into a fouth set too often). And that's likely becasue the crowd/band is beginning to get a bit worn out.

    If you are play 3 or 4 sets on a regular basis, then do your third set first and then follow up with the others. See if the problem tracks with the set or with the time slot.
  5. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    That's a good idea.

  6. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I believe all four of our sets are of equal value. They all open with a very strong song, and end with a very strong song. In between the strong opener and strong closer, we believe in having nothing but very strong songs.

    There is no place for dead weight in a set list. Any song that doesn't "do it" HAS TO GO.

    Here's what we played at our last gig:

    Set 1
    R-O-C-K in the USA - Mellencamp
    Always on the Run – Lenny Kravitz
    Train Kept a' Rollin' - Aerosmith
    Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young
    Yer Blues - Beatles
    Give me One Reason - Tracy Chapman
    I Hate Myself for Lovin' You - Joan Jett
    Peach - Prince
    Don't Let me Down - Beatles
    Stealin' - Uriah Heep

    Set 2
    Piece of my Heart - Janis
    Beast of Burden - Bette Midler version (Stones)
    Turn the Page - Bob Seger
    Ten Inch Record - Aerosmith
    Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith
    Train, Train - Blackfoot
    Knockin on Heaven’s Door – GNR version (Dylan)
    Rocky Mountain Way - Joe Walsh

    Set 3
    Tie Your Mother Down - Queen
    Authority Song - Mellencamp
    Revolution - Beatles
    While my Guitar Gently Weeps - Beatles
    I Hate my Life – Theory of a Deadman
    Midnight Special - CCR
    Kiss - Prince
    Voodoo Child (slight return) - Jimi Hendrix

    Set 4
    Money - Pink Floyd
    Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd
    Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi
    Use Me - Bill Withers
    I'm the Only One - Melissa Etheridge
    Long Tall Sally - Little Richard
    Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
    Freebird - Lynyrd Skynyrd

    The only thing we will change is, we are dropping R-O-C-K in the USA because Arthur doesn't like singing it, and we already have Authority Song, and one Mellencamp is quite enough for this band. We will probably go back to opening with "Ain't that a Shame," now that we have a drummer who can really own it.

    Our "Midnight Special" is not exactly like Creedance; more like the Oak Ridge Boys or the Statler Brothers. We do some a capella harmony vocals with me on the ridiculously low vocal, and the crowd goes berserk.

    We split up the heavy dance numbers a bit, so the crowd isn't always on the floor. That works for us; it may not be best for you. We like to tire them out a bit, and then let them sit, drink, and enjoy a concert. We put a ton of energy into the "concert" songs, and many times, the dance floor fills back up. Not with dancers; with gawkers.

    It's a lot of fun!
  7. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Nice sets!

    We need at least 3 strong songs in that last set. We don't want to see people leaving and not spending money at the bar.

  8. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    This is generally our motto too. If we play a song that doesnt go over at a few gigs, its out. Whats great about my current band is that we do things like continually update our setlist. In my previous band, we played the same setlist for almost 2 years straight and it sucked.

    I will say that "usually", our 2nd and 3rd sets are more "successful". I think its generally because the crowd has settled in and has a good buzz going and gets into more.
  9. Zoa


    Dec 28, 2009
    I am in a (mostly) originals band, so this may not apply, but, fwiw-

    We usually play 2 sets. Our first set starts off moderately energetic and finishes hard. We generally throw in a cover around song 2/3, to grab the walk-ins' and the people who aren't there to see us's attention. Our second set also starts off at medium energy, but in the middle of the set, we slow it down and sing our sad songs, our slow-dance lighter-waving songs. We often throw in a well-known, dance-with-your-partner-and-sing-along cover in here.

    The trick is, though, is we have multiple endings to the second set. If the place is still buzzing, we bring the energy back up and rock out for a while, then finish by inviting people on stage to sing or play the last couple songs with us, which are often covers. (Zep's Hey Hey What Can I Do (rocked up) and yes, Mustang Sally often make appearances here.)

    Alternatively, if the place is winding down (often when we're playing later) we bring the energy back up a bit and then just gradually get slower and sadder until we finish.
  10. dtripoli

    dtripoli SUSPENDED

    Wow, my hats off to you. I didn't think any bands still closed the evening with Freebird.
    Never, ever say "Never" I swore up and down I'd never play "Tush", Mustang Sally" or "Freebird"
    Saturday I sub'ed a gig and played those 3 + "Sunshine of your Love" and the crowd loved it. So, what the heck do I know.
  11. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    We like a good set with interesting songs to hook them in. We ad our slower material in the second and kick it up in the third to keep em happy till they go home.

    Sometimes its the crowd and how they feel ...how much they drink etc. I don't feel one song will change or jump start a slow set it takes several songs.To me anymore allot of people wind down and head out at the start of the late sets to beat the cops etc.
  12. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    We don't just close with "Freebird." We practice the crap out of that song. EVERY single practice we go through that one. We play that like we're the last band on Earth, and it's the last song. It is an absolute JOY to play, and I don't get why anyone doesn't think so.

    We do every single change, exactly like the record, but instead of the fade, we switch to the live ending. My wife nails that bass part, and I just chug along on acoustic, while Arthur is playing the parts of two lead players, on one Les Paul. Our last three drummers have all played it pretty well, but this guy we have now is one step up. All I can say is, people go out of their minds when we do it, except there's one place that has a "no Freebird" rule.

    They WILL unplug you.
  13. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I am going to disagree on this one. The biggest problem I see is that most cover bands play the same songs. Please don't try to convince me that they are just playing what people want. Until you survey your audience, you have no idea what they want.

    Here's what I have done when playing in cover bands and have had great success with it

    Instead of playing "Walk This Way" or "Sweet Emotion" we played "Walkin' The Dog" and "Rats In The Cellar"
    Instead of playing "Tush", We played "Thunderbird"
    Instead or playing "Rock and Roll All Night" we played "Deuce"

    You get the idea. The truth is that the reason clubs and bands do not draw the way they used to is because everyone is playing the same songs.
  14. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I disagree. The reason clubs and bands do not draw the way they used to is more complex than that.

    • The economy is in tough shape
    • Tastes have changed
    • People are a lot more worried about getting DUI's
    • There are too many bands, and many of them are simply not that good
    There are even more reasons than that, but that last one is a big one for me. I try very hard to support local music, and I am so often disappointed by the performance of some of these bands. No stage show. They don't know how to mix, or are using a sound guy who doesn't know how to mix. They strip the songs down to the basics, and then don't do anything to make the songs their own. And the biggest, and most obvious band killer: POOR VOCALS.

    I am shocked how often I go to hear people I genuinely like, only to feel like I can't even tell them what I thought of their band. "You guys made me ashamed to be a musician" isn't a very good ticket to being popular on the local scene.

    Sure, I do hear some of the same songs, but I can tell the audience is pretty happy to hear some of those familiar songs, even when they aren't played that well. But when a band really NAILS one of those big-time classics, well, it's just amazing.

    I don't think playing B-Sides and album cuts is the ticket to putting butts in seats. There's nothing wrong with doing some of that, but if that's all you did, you'd be done gigging pretty soon, unless you just really do something special with those songs.

    Unless you get lucky, and find your audience. When that happens, you can pretty much play anything.
  15. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

    I read the above. I would have to say , it doesn't seem like you have seen many "A" list cover bands recently. I have, and would say they more than defy all the negatives you listed.

    Is it that you just don't like cover bands, to me.

  16. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Isn't that a sweeping generalization, I think it's regional and depands on the market your in.

    While it's not easy, the small bar market in Milwaukee can be good if you have a good marketing plan in place.

    We played to a packed house last Friday night, you couldn't fit another person in the place. Granted it wouldn't hold more than 80, but it's stil packed.

    Vocals, our female lead has a voice like an angel in my opinion.

  17. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    Blue what do you mean by "A list" coverband, a band that plays A side hits or a band that has A list talent?

    I must admit that while I play in two cover bands and one original band I really don't like cover bands. I won't go out of my way to go see a cover band unless I have a good friend in the band.

    Even worse for me than the music is the typical audience at a cover show. At an original show you likely will have to deal with a few hipster scenester types that can be annoying but it pales in camparison to the slack-jawed yokels that a cover band brings out. If one more joker comes up to me after a show bragging about how they just saw Kansas or Cheap Trick or some other collection of geriatric hasbeens at the local casino and wow what a great show it was I think I might just barf on them.
  18. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hi Bert,

    Sorry, I meant "A" list talent or really top notch cover band.

    As an older cat, I love all audiences and consider myself lucky when I'm approached by someone in the audience who wants to share with me what shows they have been to and what bands they have seen. I would never judge them.

    Btw, I was in college in the early 70s not far from Rockford, so I'm a huge Cheap Trick fan.

    I'm no music eletist or snob. I was a snob and judgmental when I was 17 at 60 not so much. I'm cool with just about anything.

  19. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY

    You're a good man Blue! You have way more patience than me. I won't show it to their face but the last thing in the world I want to do is have a discussion about music with some guy who's had his radio permanently set on the local classic rock channel for the last 40 years.

    You ever feel cheezy up on stage when you realize you are 60 years old and playing some song written 40 years ago by a 20 year old with a bad drug habit? I'm only 47 and I feel that sometimes. I have a hard time taking compliments in the cover bands because I feel what we do is not that hard.
  20. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

    I don't take myself that seriously.

    I never feel cheezy.I feel extremely lucky to still be actively gigging and playing rock & roll at 60. The biker bar circuit has been really good for me and the band.

    There are some things that are easy about being in a cover band and some things that are challenging, like adding fresh new material to our shows and staying on top of marketing so we can stay busy.



    BTW, you play in 2 cover bands, how do you handle double bookings?