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Show tonight--harder songs just sucked.. and the crowd did not like them--setlist

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Blah114, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. Blah114


    Feb 7, 2008
    I had a show tonight.. it went well.. different thing , though.. I had learned 30 songs.. in 4 weeks.. some of the songs I had never heard before.. I was proven right about a lot.. Fuel sucks live.. if you want to see a dance floor clear.. do some Fuel songs..

    anyway, It was a mad rush learning 30 or so songs.. from Crazy Bitch.. to Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand.. it was interesting to see what went over well.. and what did not..

    I cannot really get the guys to understand people want to hear The Commodores and stuff like that.. might be the breaking point.. I would rather people dance than listen to Rage against the machine.. which went over to crickets chirping tonight..
  2. Blah114


    Feb 7, 2008
    I don't understand why cover bands.. put their egos ahead of what the crowd wants to hear.. I am tired of playing with idiots that do not understand.. we're all there to play what people want to hear.. it is that simple.. I am not sure why this is so difficult.. you don't have to do Brown Eyed Girl.. but there is some common sense needed.. We did like 40+ songs.. 1/2 went over well.. the harder stuff.. people just did not like..
  3. I guess cover bands are there for that sole purpose of playing the songs people wanna hear, not what they wanna play for the poeple...

    Which is one of the reasons why I cannot see myself playing in a cover band unless it is a just-for-fun band that doesn't gig.
  4. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    It could be worse. I have to play Summer Song.
  5. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Cover bands get payed to be human juke-boxes. However, there are thousands of recognizable cover tunes out there to choose from that people 'like' vs doing the same 40 songs that so many other bands do.

    There is a middle ground.
  6. etoncrow

    etoncrow (aka Greg Harman, the curmudgeon with a conundrum)

    The well is too deep not to be able to draw songs that the band likes and that the people will relate to and dance to as well. One thing that most bands also lack is an understanding of set dynamics. Set dynamics is the art and science of arranging your set to create rising and falling energy curves with well placed individual song dynamics, If you understand set dynamics and select your song list to fill any voids you find in that dynamic you can take an audience any place you wish.
  7. Etoncrow is right on the money. A set list is all about creating the kind of energy you want. Interestingly, many musicians (even experienced ones) are just horrible in this - they tend to focus on what they feel when they play rather than what the audience feels when they hear.

    My favorite event is what I call the "Set Killer". The Set Killer is the song which derails the entire flow of the set. It is usually the part where one or more people in the band want to show their virtuosity or play something they think is really "important" for some reason. I can tell a Set Killer a mile away and it ain't pretty in most cases.
  8. Blah114


    Feb 7, 2008
    Fuel's Bittersweet is guaranteed to clear a dance floor in under 10 seconds.. seriously.. I saw that that song was up next.. a full dance floor. I knew it was going to clear.. it was like a bomb went off.. the song sucks.. the people hated it.. was pretty funny. Doing a setlist is easy.. the problem is if a band has 1-2 guys that do not listen to the other members.. or the crowd.. that is the biggest problem.

    Being in a cover band is a fun challenge because you have to play different people.. like a real-life story..
  9. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    :meh: Yeah, but the quarters are going into MY pockets. Friday and Saturday night I want to have fun, let and audience have fun, and get paid ... and do it every week.
    I get creative on Saturdays mornings.
  10. phall2112


    Dec 31, 2008
    If you want to get paid you play songs you may not like. I would rather drink a cup of spit than play "old time rock and roll" but guess what.....it packs the floor.
  11. Blah114


    Feb 7, 2008
    but once you are there.. and people ARE dancing.. I can never argue.. get them dancing--at all costs.
  12. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    Big +1. Certain songs should be laid to rest. But it's hard to get agreement on which songs those are.

    Good news! We managed to get through the gig last night without playing Old Time Rock 'n' Roll!
  13. jtrow


    Mar 1, 2009
    Mid America
    You should also think about having more songs than you need to play each night. It will give you the ability to pack the dance floor to more than just one type of crowd. There will be some nights when you need some more of those hard rockers, and some nights when you won't need any.

    We try to have a group of songs in all styles of music. This way we can cater to more people on any given night, and to any crowd.
  14. dbassman59


    Dec 19, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Dudes ... learn songs that pack the dance floor ... AND ... play songs that people like to listen to. Sometimes they are not the same. I played a two nighter in a bar. The Friday night saw the dance floor packed. The Saturday night were people just listening. You could tell they liked the music because they were watching and bobbing heads and tapping feet. Just weren't into dancing. You are still playing to entertain. We then pulled out tunes that weren't traditional dance tunes and played some fun tunes we like that the crowd also dug.

    Play music the dance floor likes when appropriate ... and play songs you like... for those times when there just aren't dancers in the audience. If the fun shines through you the crowd will be happy.
  15. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    I still can't understand why 99% of folks out there do not get we're not in the music business.. we're selling beer, deserts, tickets and tShirts.. '

    Unless you have someone with god given talent that's down to earth.. skip the Bsides and the nutty virutuoso music.

  16. Blah114


    Feb 7, 2008
    my philosophies:
    1) know 70 songs minimum. change the setlist based on where you are playing and for whom.. even during the show.. 40 songs usually does for 1 evening.. having 30 extras.. allows flexilibility.. I know.. I think 170 songs now.. I lost track.

    2) get the people dancing means tapping their feet.. or physically dancing period.

    3) play what people want to hear.. but don't let a bossy guy or girl keep screaming a song out that no one will like.. keep it within reason. I was once asked, "CAn you guys play a song from Secret Chiefs 3..." even if we did, the answer would be "no.." and I like that band too..

    4) throughout the night, if you trust certain bartenders, etc.. ask how things are going in their opinion.. you might not like their answer.. again, you have to TRUST these people in the first place.. some have no clue.. but if they are good at their job.. that means they have an objective vantage point of how the night is going.. especially since they field complaints and compliments.

    5) never be surprised what people will dance to... I have seen women dance to Metallica, Judas Priest.. even Rush.. this means it's "cool" to play some uncool stuff people might not want to hear.. (see point about knowing, as a band, 70 songs..).. so "playing it safe" does not usually work entirely. there are rules, but not breaking a few rules leads to stagnation.

    6) if you're a singer or player, don't drink beer onstage.. .at least openly.. it's unprofessional.. having 8 empty beer bottles around your gear or selves.. just makes you look like idiots.. this is my opinion.. I will stick to it.

    7) you work for the bar.. it's that simple. that means if the owner tells you to stop smoking, taking "so many" breaks (within reason).. to turn down.. anything.. you do it.. within reason.. I have seen more bands banned from bars b/c of not turning down.. despite having massive crowds.. never piss off the manager , owner, or his staff (especially when related).

    Once played with a guitarist who turned UP after the owner told him to turn down.. guess what? We never played there again.. ever.. and it was a guaranteed monthly show.. that idiot cost us a once-a month job.. and I am STILL, to this day, associated with that guitarist.. in the bar owner's eyes (different band now, does not matter).

    8) never hook up with employees of the bar.. leads to huge messes, hurt feelings... unless "relationships" spring out of it. drummer from another band single handedly got us banned from one club.. slept with the owner's niece, etc.. went badly..

    9) smile, have fun, and convey the music..

    10) Never, and I mean EVER.. play Fuel (any of their songs). If Fuel had a new release for a cover band, it would be called "Set Killers.."
  17. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005

    Astute observation.
  18. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    It's not hard to track which songs clear the floor at different kinds of gigs.
  19. idoru


    Dec 18, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    I just realised I've been sigged. Lazylion - we were a kinder, gentler kind of post-hardcore band :)

  20. Excellent point. That's intensely common, and one of the reasons that there's a ton of terrible bands out there that go nowhere.

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