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Songs to keep an audience engaged …… without drums?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by pwhalen, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. The band I’m in is looking to be able to play straight through multiple sets if necessary. That means figuring out how to sneak a short break or two for each player in there. We have 2 guitars, so it’s easy to find songs that only need one and that takes care of their breaks. Also have multiple singing options so that isn’t an issue, and there are enough options of songs with no bass (White Stripes, Black Keys, etc.).

    Where I’m having issues is coming up with songs that are still high energy / dance-able that don’t involve drums. One of the guitarists runs a midi setup in addition to straight electric so he can emulate acoustic (and other options) if needed. Any thoughts of rockers or dance-able songs that work without drums? In a worst case scenario one of the guitarist can probably cover the drums as long as the beat remains basic, but I’d like that to be more of a last resort.

    Any suggestions?
  2. Oddly

    Oddly Unofficial TalkBass Cartographer! Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Just a thought, but do you really think people want high-energy, danceable stuff ALL night?
    A few slow, quiet, even romantic numbers work nicely to add dynamics to a show, gives couples a chance for a slow dance, etc. and then sets you up for a big finish.
  3. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Drum machine....

    ...just try to get your mind past the horror!
    jmone and n1as like this.
  4. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    Just do some throwback to late 80’s early 90’s hip hop stuff that used cheesy drum synths to great effect like tricky.

    Or Chromeo who sound awesome with two guys but have tons of analog synths. Seriously some great bass work in there.

    Or upbeat bluegrass type chicken picking stuff.

    “Stomp and clap crap” as my colleague calls it like Mumford and sons. Get enough people stompin and clappin and crappin and you don’t need drums. The trick is to get the audience to be in time
    M0ses and pwhalen like this.
  5. Interesting idea, probably some arena rock type songs that this might work for, and it adds some audience participation. Guess I should search "beginner drum songs". Thanks.
  6. Interesting idea. Or make the one guitarist emulate the drums through the GR-55 (I assume there are some drum options)
  7. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    Here you go!

    Eugene.thomas87, Oddly and pwhalen like this.
  8. 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
    40Hz, Smoove-Groove and aprod like this.
  9. stigbeve


    Sep 24, 2014
    I think because this way the band members all get a break but the music won't have to stop.
    When I drummed in a cover band we had few slow songs where I would play acoustic guitar instead of drums.
    Kind of gave me a break because I wasn't playing drums for a couple songs.
  10. Member8675309

    Member8675309 Banned

    Aug 19, 2017
    Nashville, TN
    Bluegrass, there is so much good, upbeat stuff out there. Convert it however you wish. You don’t necessarily NEED a fiddle player. OCMS is just an example, but I saw them at the Ryman on New Years Eve, and I don’t think I saw a person sit the entire show.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
  11. Why would you do multiple sets without a break for the entire band? That's very unusual.
    Lvjoebass likes this.
  12. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    is just 1 song enough of a break .. ?? not for me

    i think you could play WAV files on USB from the GR55 ... lots of us have lots of drum files , or can make them from our keyboards ... pick a tempo , get an interest 4-8 measure beat ... play something .. !!
  13. shodan


    Mar 23, 2005
    Central Midwest
    I'm in the camp that the audience doesn't want/need to be on the dance floor all the time. I'd just showcase each of the guitar players doing solo things. Electric or acoustic, but just them. Some slow, solo ballads would give some belt buckle polishing time anyway. That gives the whole band some break and each of the guitarists a bit shorter break, but a chance to show off a bit. Then let each guitarist take a turn off while the other plays with the band so it evens out.
    Tbone76, Stumbo, M0ses and 3 others like this.
  14. Not super danceable but they do rock imo

    pwhalen likes this.
  15. You have heard of these things called DJ's haven't you? They tend to play high energy dance music for over 6 hours straight. I hear that some places that use them can be quite popular.... ;)
    Blind Lemon Sam, pwhalen and M0ses like this.
  16. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Yup, back in the day we always had a few contingencies for situations where someone had to leave the stage or broke a string or whatever. Our guitarist could do a solo thing on nylon or steel string, or the pianist would play a medley of tv themes or something similarly cheesy that the audience found entertaining.
    pwhalen and btmpancake like this.
  17. fretter


    May 24, 2012
    break out the acoustics?

    Tbone76 and pwhalen like this.
  18. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I like the drum machine idea.

    Do some Eliminator era ZZ Top
    Or AC/DC could be programmed easily.

    Plenty of tunes out there that would benefit from the canned drums sound.
  19. aprod


    Mar 11, 2008
    I would never play in a band that did what you are suggesting. I see no benefit.
  20. el_Bajo_Verde


    May 18, 2016
    This one doesn't seem to have any drums throughout, other than Ed Sheeran tapping his guitar from time to time. Over a billion views on Youtube so plenty of people must have been engaged!


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