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Stage Craft

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Obesus, Dec 7, 2018.


  1. Obesus

    Obesus

    Dec 27, 2017
    I play in a covers band and we gig fairly regularly. Last night we played in a great venue for about 300 people and the place was really rocking. I think as a band it is important that we always work to improve. We usually play three sets and by the end of the first set or midway through the second the dance floor is full and the joint is pumping. My question is...... How do we get to that point earlier? Obviously, it depends to a large degree on stage performance, your setlist and your audience, but I've seen some bands that seem to nail it early in the evening consistently. I would really appreciate some feedback as to how different bands work on it because if there is a secret I'm sure I wouldn't be the only member that would love to know it :) Cheers
     
  2. Free drinks before the first set??

    Or start playing your first set later.
     
    larryatravis and Ekulati like this.
  3. Play two sets - not three. More live music - more shakin booty.
     
    Paulabass and THUNDERGODX like this.
  4. Ekulati

    Ekulati Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2016
    Richmond, VA
    You can do some things to tweak your set lists but ime over the years this has more to do with the natural "flow" of the event, even if the event is only a night at the neighborhood bar. It just takes a while for various factors to click and get folks up.
     
  5. What this really means is “it takes people awhile to get drunk” :roflmao:
     
  6. TWolf

    TWolf

    Jan 20, 2011
    Georgia
    At least you've got good crowds and they get into it eventually. Much better than playing for the bartender like some of the dives we've played lately.
     
    EddiePlaysBass likes this.
  7. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    popularity and familiarity may also figure in: if the band is 'known' to be a party band = folks may get into the music more quickly in their quest to have a 'memorable' experience. ethanol fuel notwithstanding.
     
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  8. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I don't know if there's any way to guarantee it. A lot depends on the venue and the crowd. Things I've noticed:

    People are more willing to dance if they've had a couple of drinks.

    People are more willing to dance if the lights are dim.

    People are more willing to dance if other people are also dancing.

    People are more willing to dance if you invite them to.

    And obviously, people are more willing to dance if you're playing dance music.

    On that second point - there's a venue my band plays in often, that has built-in stage lighting (yay, we don't have to bring ours!) but over the floor right in front of the stage there is also a track of bright white lights. Every single time I go in there I ask the staff before the gig to dim those lights so that people will feel more comfortable dancing. They NEVER do, even if I resort to calling from the stage for them to do it.

    Last time I got there extra early, collared a bartender and asked her to show me where the switch for those lights is. She didn't know. I said, "But you must turn them off when you close at the end of the night." She led me to a wall behind the server's station where there were a dozen light switches that controlled the entire room. None of them were labeled. You couldn't tell what any of them did. Since it was already dinner hour, she wouldn't experiment with me to figure out which controlled the lights we needed to dim. Before our next gig there I may stop by during the afternoon lull to figure it out.

    Surprise surprise, though people there really like us, no one dances unless there's, like, that one diehard drunk chick.
     
    mike o and Mr_Moo like this.
  9. Exactly!! :laugh:
     
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  10. I think the biggest factors are: lighting, banter/presentation from the frontman, set list.

    Reputation/marketing is part of it too. Some bands come to be known as “dance bands” and then people are ready to start dancing as soon as they walk in. Without that reputation, then you have to warm them up first.
     
  11. Mo'Phat

    Mo'Phat Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Put your absolutely 100% most-danceable tune at #3, and jam it out while your singer is working the crowd and getting girls onto the floor. DON'T WAIT and don't 'save it for later'. Girls want to dance. They don't need to be drunk to do it. Guys need the liquid courage to start, but will friggen fight you sober if you grab their girl and try to take them to the floor. Once the girls are up, the guys will get up.
     
    SpruceApple likes this.
  12. Obesus

    Obesus

    Dec 27, 2017
    Yeah, thanks. All good feedback, much of which we have meddled with. Last weekend we decided to play with a more flexible set list (about 20 per set) and just play 12 or 13 from each list depending on how we see it headed. It worked better across all three sets. I'm not complaining as we get good crowds and the dance floor is pretty full when it is rockin', but I'll keep looking for that little edge. Cheers and thanks again for all the feedback.
     
  13. bearfoot

    bearfoot SUSPENDED

    Jan 27, 2005
    schenectady, ny
    Ok, here is my take. If no one has started dancing before the "drunk chick" archetype appears, you have officially failed as a dance band. She is your harbinger of doom. You do not want to see her appear before any other dancers. That is unfunky.

    Dancers will start dancing much earlier, and without drinks, if your groove is good. Some study of how more dance-associated bands warm up a space can help, but I think it really is about the beats.

    master class:

     
  14. lat

    lat

    Dec 30, 2014
    Canada
    Free drinks to the first couple to dance?
     
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  15. Play your second set first.
     
  16. What music are you playing thru the PA in the 30-45 mins before the band starts?

    Put together a playlist of floor-fillers and play it in the lead up to the band starting. Make it loud enough for people to wanna dance to.
     

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