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The bar for playing out is set way to low

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by lfmn16, Apr 20, 2019.

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  1. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    The drummer for my Rockabilly trio plays with another band, a "pick-up" band where the BL books gigs and then whoever is available shows. He was playing six blocks from my house, so I thought I'd go see them.

    It was awful, amateur hour in the worst possible way. Their setlist consisted of every tired, overplayed song you've ever heard; Sweet Home Alabama, Taking Care of Business, Fire (Springsteen). The equipment was cheap; the PA was distorted even though they played at a low volume, the "lead" guitarist was playing with an old solid state head and some kind of cheap PA cabinet and using the reedy, buzzy, fuzzy tone on every lead.

    They didn't play a single song within spitting distance of right. It was really clear that they were playing off memory, blatantly reading lyrics on music stands right in front of them, eyes glued to the page. They were just going through the motions, just lifeless, generic readings of these tunes. The BL kept turning his back to the audience shouting out instructions as they were playing.

    The BL wasn't a bad singer, but he just read the words and didn't know a lot of the melodies very well. The "lead" guitarist was just an awful singer, monotone, almost whispering, reading the lyrics, didn't know the melodies of the tunes he was singing, just embarrassing to watch.

    The BL didn't bother to tune his guitar before he started and it was really badly out of tune the entire set. The last song of the set was "I can't help falling in love with you" and when he hit the opening out of tune chord, I just cringed. How do you not hear that???? :rollno:

    If this is the best effort your band can put out, please stay home and stop giving live music a bad name. The saddest part of this story is that they work 5 or 6 times a month. The bar needs to be raised and clubs need to stop hiring "bands" like this.

    The one bright spot, besides the drummer, was the bass player. Except for an ill-advised solo, he played really solid lines and he and the drummer kept things from being a train wreck.

    OK, rant over.
  2. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I'm right there with you. Be prepared.

    We are about to get smacked down with all kinds of self righteous speeches telling us that is it "My right to gig whenever I want, even if my band sucks".

    We will also here from the crowd that says "If your band was so amazing hack bands wouldn't be dragging your price down".

    Most of the bands in my market are just what you described. I have ranted about it here until I'm blue in the face.

    It's a way for hacks to blow off steam. Their jobs suck, family lives suck, etc. They don't care that they suck. They don't care what you or I think. They want to get under the lights and play in public. Everything else can suck it.
  3. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I'm ready!

    superman bullets.jpg
  4. BargeOn

    BargeOn Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2004
    And the audience reaction? I'm guessing most didn't care or didn't notice, which is just as sad.
  5. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Perhaps the Bar ought to be razed, too.
    GreyEagle, Haji, OmattmanO and 59 others like this.
  6. RyanOh

    RyanOh Gold Supporting Member

    I've seen a couple bands like that, but then I look at all the drunk people dancing and happy bar owner pouring drinks.

    Maybe you can implement a local musician certification process, similar to how ServSafe provides training for food/alcohol handing.

  7. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    I’ve seen the same....very amateurish bands that seem to work steadily. But than again these are the same places that won’t pay an acceptable rate either. Often in these groups, there seems to be someone who is connected and for whatever reason can get gigs.
    GreyEagle, Billy C., The Owl and 10 others like this.
  8. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Most people sat at the bar ignoring the band, there were about 8 people sitting at the tables in front of the band.
    gebass6 and jfh2112 like this.
  9. Well, at least they're actually out playing somewhere. Much better, in my opinion, than spending time "preparing" to play live and never actually leaving your living room.
  10. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    This is true....and I think it’s great if they are new players or a new group trying to get it together and are honest about flaws. New musicians and more amateur groups should have opportunities to perform, sharpen skills, etc. However, I take issue when they pass themselves off as something they are not and/or low ball other professional groups out of gigs.
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Thank you :roflmao:

    The bar is only too low if the people booking these bands are losing money doing so.
  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Booking gigs is a skill, and something few people like to do. Just a thought. Invite the BL to one of your rehearsals or gigs and have a talk. Perhaps he can learn the errors of his musical ways, and you can get more gigs as a foursome (if he can up his game), or he can hand over some gigs to you for a cut.
    But I feel your pain.
    CereBassum likes this.
  13. BassUrges


    Mar 14, 2016
    But how will I ever get to play out?
  14. Live local music seems to be in a somewhat downward spiral. The good guys and gals are playing casino gigs, festivals and acoustic shows because they need to get paid.
    The bars here are paying less and less and the that pulls a lower caliber band, which attracts less people, which lowers the pay and the cycle continues.
    Also keep in mind that there is a value to people’s time. So your guy/gal that’s taking that $3-500 a man gig on Friday night at a casino probably isn’t going to want to haul his stuff out to play that $50-$100 a man show at the local watering hole on Saturday.
  15. Yep. There's a world of difference between what's out there on stages now and what was out there on stages 40 years ago. That's all I'm going to say.
  16. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    This is a good observation, clubs pay less and less over the years and subsequently attract amateur acts that will play for nearly free(and sound that way). More professional acts have moved to casinos, festivals and small acoustic type gigs....same in my area.
  17. That's the exact opposite of the OP's rant.

    If you suck, it's better you stay in your living room.
  18. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    If those were the only two choices I would agree with you, but they aren't. You can actually learn songs and then play them live. We're not talking about Rush, King Crimson, Yes; we're talking about classic rock with three chords.
  19. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    And if you forget the whole "professional pride" thing and not embarrassing yourself. ;)
  20. Yep. The number of venues holding the bar up for professional-level live music has dwindled. They're not paying anything so who cares? If the band can bring their friends and family in to drink a couple of beers, that's all that matters now.
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