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Reflecting on last night's gig...

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by brumshine, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    Hello fellow bassist-

    My all-original rock band has been playing bar gigs off and on in Kansas City for about 6 months now, about 10 gigs total so far. We played a small show at a venue we've never played at last night and I have some mixed feelings about how it went overall.

    Cover was 5 bucks @ the door, maybe 25 people showed up for a Thurs night gig. We headlined @ 8:30 after a few so-so "bands" (1 kid with an acoutic played half of Nirvana's been a son then forgot the words and stopped!) I was a tad nervous coming into the show, we haven't played a show in about a month and we're debuting 2 brand new songs.

    I had 4 or 5 drinks before we went on, looking back now I probably shouldn't have done that, and then we pounded through our 1 hour set.

    Tunning issues...
    Everyone tuned up before the first song but when playing something just sounded really out of tune. So everyone stopped to tune after fumbling through the 1st song and we were back off again. 2nd song, same frickin problem, a few measures in I noticed that if I transposed the song 1/2 step down it was right. Which is a real challenge when you're half drunk and nervous as hell in a new venue. After song 2 I gave our rhythm player my tuner and sure as hell he was playing 1/2 step down the whole time. I'm sure the crowd didn't enjoy that we had to stop 3 times to tune in 3 songs!

    Once that was solved, the rest of the set went pretty OK. Singer forgot some words, didn't do a real good job of counting but hey he has a tough frickin job. The crowd went wild after our last song and called for an encore, the only thing we had left was a slower rock ballad so we brought that out and went pretty well. Got a bunch of "good jobs" and "you guys rock" after from the crowd too :D

    Looking back my bass playing was pretty piss poor in my opinion. In a few spots I was trying to play too hard and overdrived my pedal on accident. To my ear, alot of string noise was going on when I was playing and my fretting was just plain sloppy. Guess it's time to google "how to improve bass technique".

    I play an OLP 5 string through eden wtdi into an acoustic B200.

    I would be interesting to hear what goes through other bassists thoughts about playing live shows.

  2. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    He doesn't have his own tuner?!


    Problem solved for less than $10.
  3. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    For some f'ed up reason his tuner was either running out of batteries or calibrated incorrectly. It said he was in tune and really he was 1/2 step down.
  4. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
  5. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    I forgot to mention a low-light of the night. my band walked out of there with a whopping $12.50. Split 4 ways, we made 3 bucks a piece...
  6. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    Your going to have bad shows. I hope it p!$$#$ you off enough to correct the problems you had. From what you said, your biggest problem was confidence. You are going to have equipment malfunctions from time to time. How you deal with them is the key. Have someone at the mic talking to the crowd while you get it sorted. It would not hurt to discuss this at your next rehersal. Have a back up plan and back up gear if you can.

    I would bet the alchohol did not help either. I have a rule of no more then two drinks for myself before I play and only one per set after that. If someone buys a drink for me, I thank them for it, then find a way to get rid of it.

    Don't get down about it. Use it as a learning experience.

    Good luck!
  7. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    I assure you that you're advice has not fallen on deaf ears, thank you.
  8. Not yet

    Not yet

    Mar 26, 2012
    No offense intended....sounds about right for the product delivered.

    And I'm sure we all been there, then learned and moved on. For me it's all about delivering a professional product, building an audience and having your venues make money offya.

    Of course if you gots your act together you don't work for that kinda money ever again
  9. cbrophy


    Nov 11, 2009
    Central MA.
    "I had 4 or 5 drinks before we went on, looking back now I probably shouldn't have done that"

    Hmmmmm....ya think!
  10. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    I LOL'd at that first sentence, I'm supposed to be working so no more funny stuff!

    You're right, but it's kinda a slap in the face when you've rehersed 3x a week for the last few months. We we're all pretty optimistic that this was going to be a great gig and it just turned out so-so.
  11. Brumshine,
    Not sure if you practice standing up, but if not, you may want to do so every opportunity you get. The string noise and sloppy fretting may just be from transferring from rehearsing (with or without band) seated to playing standing up. Unless your bass is sitting in the middle of your chest while practicing, your hands and arms are likely positioned differently when you're playing live.
    Chalk this one gig up to experience so the band and you are better next time.
  12. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Be thankful you even got 25 people at $5 cover on a Thursday night.

    Around here, any cover at all on a weeknight is the kiss of death for attendance.

    Agreed that you might want to scale back the pre-gig alcohol as well. Nothing wrong with one before you go on to settle the nerves (in fact I do it pretty regularly myself), but 4 or 5 is too much.
  13. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    When you get more gigs and are seeing the same audience members, this will be more of an issue. I've played gigs where I was nursing a pint, and then next thing I know there are 5 full pints sitting there. It's never a good idea to imbibe that much while playing for money. We had this problem with our female singer where every guy would buy her drinks all night. I had enough of her getting wasted, so I implemented a rule of 1 per set. We eventually ended up with a scheme to hide the drink that was given, then covertly move it away to where the server would come grab them. You don't want to offend you crowd either.

    As far as tuning, his pedal was losing power, therefore not giving him a good read. Pedals using batteries are a no-no for a band that wants to constantly gig. Heck, when we are gigging at least 2 times a week, my drummer tunes his heads, just to make sure they are always right. If you're performing live in public you have to make sure you are 110% prepared, regardless if you are being paid or not. Rep is everything.
  14. Not yet

    Not yet

    Mar 26, 2012
    and it over.

    What I always tell my band after an off nite is the Clapton quote about the Wheels of Fire Crossroads cut (which we do and is a very surprising crowd killer) which was THE holy grail for my generation of like minded musicians growing up

    He said "it was ok, about in the middle. Some nites we played it much better, some worse"....or somethin like that

    even the super pros have good and bad nites
  15. dgshooter


    Jun 28, 2012
    I would think the band should get a higher percent of the cover.

    What is the name of the club so I can avoid it when I come to KC.
  16. brumshine


    Apr 27, 2012
    Czarbar, had to split it between 4 bands and give the sound guy 50 so in all honetly it was pretty failry distributed.
  17. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Get a decent tuner that has a mute and a power supply. Enough things can go wrong without adding easily remedied issues to the mix.

    It sounds like you know what you need to do "Woodshed" wise.

    As far as the money, I guess since you have only done a grand total of 10 gigs you shouldn't expect to be making top dollar, but my band has never played any gig for less than $350. The trick is to have all your **** down long before you ever subject a bar full of people to it. Our very first gig we had 50 songs down cold and tight. Then you need to consider what songs you are playing and what your target audience is and market yourselves accordingly. Personally, if I were in your position I would be getting the band together 2 nights a week for 4-5 hours a pop until everything was tight. You're going to get better as you continue gigging, but people ( and especially club owners) remember how good you were and consider that before deciding to hire you back or come to see another one of your shows. Get your band right first, then gig.
  18. dgshooter


    Jun 28, 2012
    Floyd, I have to agree with you. Get to the point where you are worth getting paid, then gig.

    By being willing to play for peanuts you enable club owners to take advantage of musicians.
  19. RedMoses


    Jul 4, 2012
    ^This! A drink or two will calm the nerves, any more will mess with your reaction times and you need to be on top of things, save the partying for AFTER the set.

    Get the best gear you can afford, new tuning machines are $100 if you cant afford a better guitar. EVERY string player should have a tuner and tune between each song while the singer speaks to the crowd.

    The expereince should motivate your band to correct its issues, not every gig is going to be perfect and growing pains are part of the process.

    Money? Do you play for money?
  20. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Good points.

    I am a guy who likes to drink beer. We almost named our band "30 Pack", because we go through one every time we practice. lol

    That said, I learned early in life and in my band we have some " Suggested guidelines" as far as alcohol intake at a gig. A drink or two before the show is great. A drink between sets is fine. Water is better on stage. Nothing sucks worse than being drunk on stage.

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