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Set Breaks

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by iriegnome, Oct 30, 2006.


  1. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    As I read through bunches of threads, I realize that my band is pretty unique about our sets. We play only 1. If the show is 1 hour, 2 hours, or 4 hours, we only play 1 set. No breaks. We rarely end a tune and we never talk. Nothing but a full on musical experience. I have not talked with many other "Jam Band" bassists or musicians, but what do you all do? Breaks for us, stop the flow and interrupt what could be. They allow people to leave the venue and give the band members time to belly up to the bar. While a 4 hour set can be physically challanging, it offers a mind and body experience for the band as well as the audience.
     
  2. QORC

    QORC

    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    *Shrugs*. Good for you??

    I don't know why you WOULD play 4 hours if you're paid the same to have a couple breaks MYSELF, but to each his own!!
     
  3. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Cincinnati
    We play 3 one hour sets with a half hour break. Personally I think the breaks are a little long, but I'm not the leader. Breaks do give you time to use the plumbing and get a drink. They also give the audience a break from the sound. We play some CD's on break, quietly and that's a nice down time for the dancers. In the end you have to please the club owner.
     
  4. VanillaO

    VanillaO Poop?

    Oct 14, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    When jamming with buddies we will stop on occasion if we find something that we absolutely love, or if someone is having troubles in the creativity department... Also, playing a 4-hour show just seems tiring. In numerous shows my one guitarist has had to leave the stage because he gets too overheated or something and doesn't want to faint with his guitar below him... it doesn't help that he sleeps like 3 hours a night but still... a break to take a leak would be good :p
     
  5. yeah Chuck I think that is a little long for a break...we usually do about an hour and break for 10 minutes or 15 minutes...If it's a longer gig than 4 hours we take a half hour break somewhere near the middle. 10 or 15 minutes is ample for a drink and a bathroom break the longer break would allow time to eat. We have been known on occasion to play a set straight through (2 hours) withoult a break but that's a rare occasion
     
  6. QORC

    QORC

    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    Personally, I need a break after 50-60 minutes of playing. I want to get the bass off my shoulders, I want a drink, I may need to hit the head, and frankly just sit down! Plus, breaks have been the time for the band to fan out and "work the crowd" and interact with the people there, which has brought us repeat customers. Without breaks, there are people that would come see us and be gone before the last song is done and we'd have no chance for the 'personal touch.'
     
  7. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I'm not in a "jam band", does my opinion still count? ;)

    My band play approximately 3-4 hours per gig with 2-15 minute breaks. We even stop between songs. We don't have problems with losing the audience.
     
  8. Now that's unique. What do you mean you rarely end a tune? Do you always segue from one song to the next without dropping the beat? I can't imagine that -- seems like it would get tiresome for your audience, and of course for the band members. Also seems a bit pretentious to not talk at all, sorry just my humble opinion.
     
  9. QORC

    QORC

    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    I would tend to agree. Crowd interaction during the sets is as important as in between. I think it's what separates us from some of the other bands. We're not untouchable nor are we posing. We try to give them good music AND a show as well, and make them feel they are part of it.
     
  10. chaosMK

    chaosMK

    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    Depends how intense your set is. My whole body is exhausted after a 40 min of our "hard" set.

    I've done 2 hour sets a few times. We usually break for 5-10 min in the middle of it, or chill it out with a guitar/vocals only song, or bass/vocals. Never had people leave. I am not sure many people could sit through 4 hours of my band, or just about any band for that matter. Well, maybe if they were on a ton of LSD.
     
  11. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Ohio

    MMM>...just MHO, but I'd lose interest in a band pretty quickly if they played and played and played with no break between songs/sets. Seems like overload to me.
     
  12. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN

    I agree. A band that drones on and on loses my attention quickly. Iriegnome- what types of crowds do you play to? What types of venues?
     
  13. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    Firstly, I value opinion either way. With that said, When a band is playing "standard" music 3 -4 minute songs with definate starts and stops, audience interaction is important. We don't play songs like that. We have played 25 minutes and only gotten to the first chorus of a song. It is a different audience we play for. The experience is a world within itself. It is a mind, body and soul experience. Talking to someone on a trip is usually bad, enjoy the ride. The train keeps rolling - interaction, for us, is the music. We have people selling our merchandise and our cd's. Our Sound and Lighting people take care of band related questions during a show. Our Promotions manager deals with owners and other artists working with us.
    Ours is a completely different relm. I played "standard" music for 20 years and I completely understand the set break and that importance. That is why I was wondering if there were other "Jam" band people in here.

    PS-Segue's are our hills and valleys in each song.
     
  14. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    We play for mostly Hippie Types of people. "Free your mind" crowds. We have gone to playing our own shows the last year. We rent a hall or club and put on our own experience. Sometimes we have opening bands, but mostly it is just us. Venues range from gym's to halls.
     
  15. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    That makes sense. My crowds are the more typical bar/dancing crowds. They expect bands to take breaks.
     
  16. We are about 30% jam band, so we too play extended jams over the course of several songs without stopping. Depending on how the music/crowd interaction is going we'll also skip breaks to keep the magic going. Nothing worse than stopping at midnight and seeing people check their watches and head out the door.
     
  17. Bayou_Brawler

    Bayou_Brawler The most hurtful thing ever realized

    Oct 23, 2003
    Ann Arbor, MI
    We're a "jam band" though i never really liked the label...lot's of bands and genres "jam"...should we call all the jazz bands jam bands?? and i've seen a lot of "jam bands" that don't jam...anyway...

    personelly i think taking a break is a good thing. people like 10 mins of silence to talk about the set before...or what they are going to do later... get recharged for the next set...give the dancers feet a break..or go talk tot he cute chick at the end of the bar...plus i can piss, get a drink, and maybe talk to the cute chick at the end of the bar..

    plus seeing a band is not just about the music it's also a social event where like minded people can hang out..

    but hey if it's working then why change it? do you often notice people leaving during your set? if not then why change it?

    but then again if you're following the music and letting what happens happen....does non stop music ALWAYS happen...don't you have times when the jam should end and you can take a break? :)
     
  18. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    We take breaks. We create our set lists so that with each set, the music takes people up, down, and up again.

    Not only we, but our audience, needs a break. We get to visit with our fans, talk to people who are seeing us for the first time...this makes them feel welcome, and brings them back the next time we play. We get time to discuss any changes in the next set we may want to make, according to what kind of crowd we have. We get to go to the bathroom, or grab a quick smoke (our drummer needs his ciggies).

    Cherie
     
  19. txbasschik

    txbasschik

    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    I think more than 15 minutes or so is too long. 20 minutes, max. But, like you...it ain't up to me.

    Cherie
     
  20. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    We never use a set list either. The music plays the band as it were. It rolls from the audience. There is a vibe that is gotten from the audience that keeps it moving. The magic is in the moment. By not going into a show with preconceived notions of where the night will go, we can move an audience in several directions over the course of an hour. Either thundering highs and volumes, to 1 note vamps that can be just audible through the PA and allow the people to breath and refresh until the next wave.
    Set breaks do just that, they put a break into the living breathing movement of a show.
     

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