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Were not following the set list!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by wcnewby, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    My prior cover band always had a set list, but we'd diverge from it if called for. One of the worst mistakes we made on a gig was from sticking to the setlist. For a reason I don't remember, we'd gone off the list and get the crowd dancing doing so. Then we got back on the list, and the next song up was a non-dance tune for which the guitarist changed guitars. In the pause (aka dead space....) a girl in the crowd came up to me and specifically asked us to keep up the dance music. I said, "Let's skip this tune, they want to keep dancing," and the guitarist said, "no, we're playing this one now." Five minutes later we were playing to an empty room.
  2. glocke1


    Apr 30, 2002
    I am a big advocate of setting of distributing set lists at least a week before a gig so people can brush up on songs at homeĀ…

    Basically, 25-30 songs get put on a list with expectation that we will only play about 20 (we play some long songs), and than at the gig we gauge the crowd and make changes.
  3. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    But at least he kept his musical integrity. :rollno:
  4. Flyingfrets


    Dec 25, 2011
  5. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    We do mini set lists. Blocks of 3 to 5. That way we have blocks to segue from slow to fast, fast to slow, genre jumping, etc. Call the first song in the block and segue through all.
  6. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    "...plans are useless but planning is indispensable."

    -- Dwight D. Eisenhower
  7. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008

    We always create a list, rehearse it, and then play it live. Sometimes we'll deviate from the set if we think something is going to fail or if we think something is going to be a knockout, but, for the most part, we stick to our list. That in mind, we write a different set list for every gig.
  8. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    I've familiar with that happening, too :p I think good 'crowd sense' is a trait not every musician possesses.
  9. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I like having set lists that we follow, yet it rarely happens... Unless it's my band and my music. Which I'm happy to say is finally in the works again.

    As for the singer picking the songs, the coolest thing I ever had going was with a dude who came up with charade like gestures for all our songs. He'd cue us near the end of the previous song and nobody would know what was going on but us. Although sometimes we didn't know either. :)
  10. Wedding bands - have to cover quiet background music, toe tapping songs, old people dancing songs, & younger people's dancing songs.

    We list our songs in those 4 categories, and sub-group them into similar feels (medium swing, latin, 9/8 feel, etc).
    We have a basic set list and might change about 20% of them (if required).

    It's the dancing bracket that will change the most, but also requires constant energy. 16bars drum intro is great, or 8 bars electric guitar intro works a treat. Or get someone up on stage.... all their friends swoon around & video it. :)
  11. Bassman1971


    Nov 4, 2013
    In my opinion it's key to be "tight", the only way to really do that is to play the set list and not deviate from it. You may disappoint your fans at first, however by altering the set list the next time hopefully you can accommodate the crowd as well as sounding hella tight
  12. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    I've known several people who thought they were some sort of "master" at "reading the crowd". Most, if not all, were experts in their mind only.
  13. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    We do a custom setlist for every single gig we play. We can deviate from the setlist by moving blocks of songs, and in extreme cases, just throw out a song. I hate when we move songs around, because I might be playing the 440 tuned four string bass; the downtuned five string; the 12 string acoustic, with various frets capoed; the keyboard, or harp.

    It drives me NUTS, but hey, anything to please the audience, right?
  14. We don't play that frequently so we slap a set list together about a month before we play and rehearse it looking for songs to opportunities to join and/or reduce dead air. There can be some discussion about what songs to play but we've seen what our set list songs typically can do so once the dancing starts in a set, it should end with the dancers on the floor if the songs are picked accordingly and reduce dead air. Generally we try to use dead air constructively - gtr change and/or reduce the tuning changes in the set (tuning changed songs back-to-back).
  15. Lemoore-on


    May 11, 2008
    We have a set list that always has extra songs on it. Some times we stick to the original, sometimes we make adjustments using the extra songs depending on what the crowd seems to want. The more we play a venue and get to know the type of crowd they get the less adjustments we need to make because we are writing the setlists to the crowd/venue.
  16. Runnerman

    Runnerman Registered Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2011
    We come up with a setlist for each gig and stick to it. We'll agree ahead of time if there is an encore song or which song we will drop if we are cut short. We have all songs posted on the wall in the practice room with the song duration and tuning beside them. We pull from the list and make up whatever we need to fill the agreed set time(s). I type it up and make copies and bring to the gig.

    We do have a few sets structured that we all like and will pull out and reuse them.

    Sometimes it's necessary to change on the fly if the set is shortened or lengthened. We had a show last winter that two out of 3 bands didn't make due to weather. We had to fill the whole time which was pretty fun actually. We pulled stuff out that we hadn't played in 2 years totally on the fly.
  17. originals.

    we take into account what the typical crowd for the venue we're about to play goes for.
    we take into account what would compliment the other bands on the bill well.
    we make some contingencies.
    it normally goes pretty well.
  18. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I used to use a set list, carved in stone. With my current project (classic country dance band) I just maintain a repertoire list of all the songs we can do ... numbers in the hundreds! I use an iPad with Songbook (a very nice app, btw!), and keep the list sorted by title. I have the lyrics in Songbook with chord progressions and "notes to self". Works so well that I maintain lists for each of the various projects I play in.

    I like a solid set list for concert gigs, though, and follow it exactly.
  19. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    We have a basic list that we use as a guide. Songs frequently get swapped around based on the crowd and anybody calling out requests.
  20. Our band leader ALWAYS makes set lists for gigs and we stick to them. She alternates between acoustic and electric guitars; her husband, the lead guitarist, switches between guitars with different tunings; I switch off between 4 and 5 string bass. We usually save audibles for the end of the sets. This past Saturday we audibled "Johnny B. Goode" for a loud bar audience that was 80% women, well-oiled and wanting to dance. Had my wife not been in the audience, I'm certain I'd have had company going home. Getting laid wasn't an issue, however... ;)

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