1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Set Killers?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jaseds, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. jaseds


    Dec 17, 2007
    The band I'm in plays classic rock covers and we'll be gigging soon. I saw the phrase "set killers" in another thread and hoped you experienced players could start a list that could be used by inexperienced bands.
  2. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    About anything the musicians think will be 'cool', 'fun to play' and 'never expected', but 90% of the crowd hasn't heard in years.
  3. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Correct. Also, don't try to go over the crowd's head. Don't play originals. They empty a dance floor like nothing else.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  5. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Any tune that I picked.
  6. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    You'll now a dog when you get done playing it.
  7. Originals are the definition of a "set killer"
  8. aquamentus


    Apr 15, 2005
    Keokuk, IA
    Originals for sure kill the crowd. The last country/rock band I was in had the single best set list I've ever seen. Everywhere we played we'd always get "Man, you guys play the perfect mix of country and rock". We might not have been the best band, but we had good taste in music. Anyway, a few of the guys started talking about playing originals and I had to put a stop to it quick. Like someone else said, it empties the dance floor fast. You might get a random applause out of kindness, but overall NO ONE CARES!!!
  9. As soon as someone in the band says "I hate that song, everyone does it, it been done to death" you KNOW that tune is a guaranteed crowd pleaser...
  10. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Now that is certainly one of those universal truths! It's certainly true on this side of the globe as well!
  11. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Ha! Exactly, but I just suggested a couple of possible set killers in my cover band lol. We have a fairly new singer who is great, and she is a great front person, but she wants to add some country-pop songs. We actually do them well, but its not my cup of tea (and the rest of the songs are classic rock stuff, though a good mix and not mustang sally and freebird lol)

    So, to counteract that stuff, I suggested we do YYZ. The lead guitarist, me and the drummer are huge Rush fans. Most people wont care but the one guy that does will be totally into it! :bassist:
  12. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    Set killers for classic rock cover bands include:

    "Stairway to Heaven"
    "Hotel California"
    "Dust in the Wind"
    Most anything by Donovan
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I can't go along with gasman on this one. Hotel California KILLS in my market (meaning the crowd loves it). And I'm just barely north of him!
  14. LOL! No kidding! At our last gig we went into an "all request hour" and played as much we knew of whatever tunes people requested. People loved it because they got to hear songs they love and dance or sing along to! Even if we hated the song or only played a verse or just a chorus of it. They were digging it!

    After that gig I told each band member to pick 2 songs they absolutely HATE playing and that would guarantee us 10 surefire crowd pleasing songs for the set! lol!
  15. mpm32


    Jan 23, 2009
    I find that if we play indulgent tunes we put them either at the very front of Set 1 or at the end of set 3.

    If they go over well, we move them into the meatier part of the sets.

    Or play them in sound check.
  16. A set killer is pretty much decided on the mood of the crowd.. What works tonight, or an hour ago depends on reading the crowd.

    A great song works when the timing is right. Timing is everthing.. Loose touch with your crowd.. kill the set. Ive seen weird, or songs no one would give a chance go over big. And old standards flop.

    Now there are songs that just wont work reguardless, I think thats what you are looking for.. Go around YOUR area, and listen to what the bands play where YOU will be playing.. Take notes. Since youll be giging soon, I suppose you know where you'll be giging at.. Its a start.
  17. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Whole Lotta Love...

    Was requested LOADS of times, we worked something out (working around the silly midle but), did it once - never again. Sounds like a great idea, cause everyone remembers the riff. You start playing it, everyone jumps up and down and goes nuts for about 8 bars, and then remembers that it's BORING.

    On the flip side we do Heaven and Hell - I was SURE it would bomb, but went along with it as an "indulge some of the band members" song. I was wrong. It always rocks, even in the most unlikely places. Go figure?

    Current set killer is "Only you can rock me" by UFO. I agreed to do it to get out of doing some REALLY obscure UFO track that even I hadn't heard of. It's a good track, we do it pretty well - totally kills the set every time. Trouble is the singer LOVES it, and refuses to believe that it bombs, because someone once told him they liked it.
  18. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Biggest set killers in my experience:

    1) Tuning (or any other tech stuff that causes a lot of dead air)

    2) Too much talking by the frontman

    These aren't songs but they will kill the momentum of a rocking set like you wouldn't believe.
  19. botching or rearranging the stuff that's permanently engrained in us.
  20. b_carville


    Jun 26, 2008
    Well the number one all time set killer for my main band was:
    (drum roll,please)

    Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues by Danny O'Keefe.

    Ok,were a "party"band.We have a drummer who's also a good singer.He also has the hots for any tune that was played on 70's AM radio.In the late 80's/early 90's he insisted that we do this tune.He's a bit of a tyrant & can be a complete pain in the butt if he doesn't get his own way.

    Now I have nothing against this song but it does not fit a party band format.It isn't exactly a happy tune & even though it's slow it's not exactly a romantic dance with your women tune.For a solid year our drumtard would INSIST on having this in the set list.It had to be in there sometime in the course of the evening or there would be hell to pay.This song affected the audience/dancefloor like a giant stink bomb. It never failed to completely clear the floor.The audience,no matter how great we were going over,reacted like it was the biggest let down. Every time it was played it tanked bigtime.Sometimes the audience would give a collective groan when they heard it coming.We would have to work ten times as hard to get them back afterwards.

    Despite that it had to be played.

    What put an end to it ,finally, was a night at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster,PA.We were kicking butt to a packed house & out it came.The entire audience booed while giving the thumbs down sign.The dance floor all sat down booing with the thumbs down.The boos were louder then the band & we are pretty loud! That finally ended it!

    That was some years ago.Every now & then our drummer still suggests we do it again. No Way!

Share This Page