The first four gigs...

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Gruff, Jul 3, 2022.

  1. Gruff

    Gruff Supporting Member

    May 19, 2021
    Wales, UK
    I've only recently (in my 50s) started gigging with a band. Gig #1 was great - a small venue with their own PA and sound guy, an enthusiastic crowd, all was good. Gig #2 a live appearance on a local radio station. Went well I think, though I didn't get to hear the show as it went out live. Gig #3, a small outdoor festival, it absolutely poured down, we had two people in the field with umbrellas. We had a decent-sized temporary outdoor stage, but although there was a roof, rain got into the XLR snake box taking out half the channels. Gig #4 last night was a wedding. Perhaps there was some mis-communication between BL and wedding organisers, but the crowd was expecting a fast paced ceilidh band, not a laid back folk and 'old time' acoustic string band and if we wouldn't play upbeat then they wanted the DJ back on. We got paid, but told there was no need to do our second set. Brutal, but I guess it's a learning experience.
  2. Gruff

    Gruff Supporting Member

    May 19, 2021
    Wales, UK
    I meant to conclude with... I'm wondering what the next couple of gigs will be like, we have a couple more booked in 4-6 weeks.
    DJ Bebop, Ggaa and HolmeBass like this.
  3. First off, welcome to the world of the gigging musician! Certainly quite a mix for your first 4 gigs.

    Fun, well attended shows, rained out shows...all part of the performing musician's experience.

    Concerning gig 4 (and I'm sure you're already painfully aware of this), if your band mainly plays a specific style or genre I would whole heartedly encourage your BL to communicate that to prospective clients.

    Have fun out there!
  4. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    At least they paid you for the wedding. Might be worth having a band discussion to see what went on, so it doesn't happen again - seems odd that they would book an acoustic string band for a wedding - likely crossed wires somewhere.
    ConfoundedBridg likes this.
  5. Koog

    Koog Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Central Iowa USA
    This kind of thing happens frequently in the early days of playing out, particularly for bands that cater to a specific niche. It will get better as your experience grows, your genre is clearly communicated when booking, and you build a following.

    Maintain your enthusiasm. You'll get there.

    Have fun!

    George Dennis and Jayne M-B like this.
  6. What I'm hearing from gig #4 is all the money with half the work - sounds good to me lol. Did you get a meal too? I'd be frustrated but count that as a win.
    Jayne M-B and Low Down Brown like this.
  7. I for one would be relieved to hear a wedding band that played laid-back acoustic folk string band music at a wedding, instead of hearing a DJ playing “All the Single Ladies” for the umpteenth time. ‘Course, I play in a laid-back acoustic folk string band….
  8. You and your band have done the rounds already! I've played that downpour gig where the band outnumbered the soggy fun.

    Sounds like your first gig was ideal. Talk with the band and look for those type of gigs. It's not too early to talk about online/social media presence and finding a way to keep up with audience members if you want to build a following.

    I'll just say this about that: You may think you're just ok, some of your audience may think you're awesome. Maybe it's a particular song you do, maybe they identify with you in some way. Make it easy for them to find out where you are playing next.
    George Dennis and Jayne M-B like this.
  9. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
  10. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    3 of the 4 gigs sound great- even with the technical problems of the rain gig. When I was gigging regularly, and provided sound, rain provisions were always discussed well before the gig. Sometimes it came down to “if it’s raining, we don’t set up unless the customer is willing to pay for any water damaged gear.
    Those gigs usually provided top notch tents with sides (not a $100 home store tarp).
    Wedding gigs- you better be sure you can deliver the goods. It’s what the crowd wants, not just the couple.
    Jayne M-B likes this.
  11. Lowandfat


    Jan 1, 2019
    Central NY
    Endorsed Artist Karl Hoyt Basses
    How does someone book a band for a wedding having no idea what they play?
  12. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    I didn't read everything so maybe this was answered, but my first thought would be to ask who is booking these shows?

    Sometimes inexperience leads to a huge mismatch when the booking person is doing the "quantity over quality" philosopy and not making sure the venue/event is well-matched to the music. This can lead quickly to a loss of morale due to poor audience response, when the real problem is that you're not playing for the right audience.

    I'd have a talk with whoever that was and find out their justification for putting you in front of that wedding crowd. The rainy day can't be helped but I think there's a huge risk when equipment is getting wet. I would have stopped playing the moment it was clear that gear was not staying dry.
    Jason Stock likes this.
  13. ebo


    Jul 15, 2012
    Bay Area, Ca
    I agree with LBS-bass and mister fabulous, it’s important to know what lane you occupy and get gigs that line up with that. You want to play to people looking forward to YOUR music. Nothing like having an opening band that is way better than you, or looking out at an audience that is just not going to be won over. You do your best, chock it up to experience and grow from it. Welcome to the crazy world of gigging!
    Jayne M-B and HardNHeavy like this.
  14. HardNHeavy


    Apr 17, 2014
    it happens..just play tight, it will appease someone somewhere...the last gig seems like a complete communications breakdown, atleast ya got paid for half of it.
    Jayne M-B likes this.
  15. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    You can’t control the weather or the chance that you’ll get a gig that your band isn’t suited to. Just do your part and be positive. Enjoy the good and make your fun and success where you can. Honestly that’s probably better than my first 4 gigs. Spinal Tap is real. All of it. Just stay positive and the good gigs will outweigh the rough ones.
    You got this.
    instrumentalist and Jayne M-B like this.
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Your guess is better than mine. However, it appears that your band leader needs to do a better job of communicating with the booking parties, especially for events like weddings. That is a pretty bad mismatch.

    One thing you can guarantee is that each gig will be "a learning experience." I hope they are kind experiences.
  17. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    There are two sides to any negotiation. The question you ask is valid, but there is another question that's equally valid:

    How does a band that doesn't play wedding band music accept a wedding gig without specifically saying "we don't do the same kind of music usually done at weddings"?

    My college band did one wedding - when asked, it was right after one of our gigs. We specifically said "what we do is what you just saw and heard, we're not really a "wedding band" - is that OK"? They said it'd be just fine, then they offered more money that we usually made in 5 gigs, and we said yes, but we did ask first. As it turned out, what we did worked just fine - for that wedding, but we didn't go out and start billing ourselves as a wedding band.
  18. Gruff

    Gruff Supporting Member

    May 19, 2021
    Wales, UK
    I have to admit I left this all to the BL, but I think that was said. Maybe an assumption by the customer that because our front man is Irish and we play folk.

    Some great other comments, thanks guys.
  19. Gruff

    Gruff Supporting Member

    May 19, 2021
    Wales, UK
    Great response, thanks.
  20. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    Choose your gig's wisely Vs Gig Whore. Your choice...

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