Wierd stage setup....

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by B-NoteCowboy, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. B-NoteCowboy

    B-NoteCowboy Guest

    Apr 19, 2002
    Tulsa, OK USA
    Last month, my KISS trib band played a 12 night (3 sets per) gig at a big local Halloween festival.

    It went great. We had fantastic crowds, a lot of fun, and couldn't keep any merchandise in stock it sold out so fast.

    There was one HUGE challange, and we overcame it for the most part, but it's one thing I'm going to be firm about never having to deal with again, and that was our set-up.

    For the record, the venue was an outdoor amphitheater designed for daytime plays and stunt shows. It wasn't wired for light, sound or power. And there was no place for the drums, as it was a long but fairly shallow stage.

    So, we convinced the venue to build a drum riser while they were setting it up with power etc. They did, but they didn't exactly set it up like I had originally requested. Instead of setting up the drum riser at a moderate elevation behind the main stage, they set it up 12 feet in the air ABOVE center stage!

    I have to admit it looked pretty cool from an audience perspective and gave us plenty of room to run around, blow fire, spit blood and rock out with our c**ks out (metaphorically speaking, of course), but it was hell on our drummer.

    Poor guy was so removed from the stage he couldn't even SEE the crowd some nights. And he played totally by monitor. No visual signals no "feel" for what was going on below. It was like he was in another room or on another stage.

    To make matters worse, due to the distance from the sound booth, we had to run some VERY long speaker cables to get to monitors 16 feet off the ground. This caused the monitor head to overheat at times and shut down. So, the guy was left hearing no vocals, no guitars. This was the condition a good 20% of the time I would guess. And during these times, he was left with one lifeline and that was a 100watt combo amp I ran a line to from my main bass rig downstairs - seperate from the mixer board.

    Talk about locking in with the drums and bass! Well, it worked out pretty good. There were only a few times where we were noticeably "not tight" all month, but man that was a complicating factor that in retrospect we should not have accepted at all!

    Anyone else ever have to deal with absolutely bizzare stage setup problems?

    *see pics below and you see what I mean*



    PS... yes, he did actually fall off of it once. I have no idea how he survived without breaking his ankle, but he did. Freakin drummers and cock roaches will surivive nuclear bombs.
  2. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    That's hilarious. It looks like some type of cruel joke by the venue. They must have though "We'll show them... asking for all kinds of special fixin's"
  3. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    wow dude, that rocks! Seriously, props to your drummer!
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Judas Priest used to use a riser like that.

    You guys could solve that problem by bringing your own riser.
  5. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    That does look pretty cool from an audience perspective.

    Did you see them build the riser? I bet it was left over from some other show.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Let me guess. You asked for it twelve inches above the stage, and somebody wrote it down 12' instead of 12" on the layout plan.
  7. bassbully43

    bassbully43 Guest

    Jul 1, 2005
    Cool...looks like the old 80's stages...fits the KISS image well....you guys look good ...thanks for the pics. Maybe next time you guys could use 2 way radios to talk between songs etc :)
  8. B-NoteCowboy

    B-NoteCowboy Guest

    Apr 19, 2002
    Tulsa, OK USA
    Well that certainly would have fit in with some of the Spinal Tap moments (like the aforementioned near death experience of our drummer), but no...

    The problem is the stage itself. If you look closely, you'll see the structure behind stage right is in fact a full scale pirate ship. There is literally a MOAT around the stage, front and back.

    Yes.... a MOAT, filled with water.

    Again, it did look very cool, especially with the lighting system our sponsor provided... but this moat created two significant problems. First, the area where you would ideally want to build a drum riser is actually open water behind the narrow stage. The original request was to build a platform over it, but this proved to costly and time consuming evidently and the drum tower over center stage became the new plan. In retrospect, not the best idea...

    The second problem the moat created was the constant danger of falling into it.

    Consider the stage itself is narrow. Probably only about 8 feet deep, though plenty wide. It has water on both sides and there is no hand rail on the 7' wide center stage mic area which in reality is simply a bridge from the stage to the audience area. *see pic below*

    This in and of itself was dangerous enough, but when you add in two roadies who are in charge of pyrotechnics and smoke machines, and you have what ya would call POOR visibility in a pretty dangerous work environment.

    Now, I concede fully that this situation was ripe for unintentional comedy, such as me falling face first into the moat when my world disappears because I was standing too close to a smoke machine on a narrow stage with water on both sides, wearing 6 inch platform boots on not entirely even planking. Fortunately, I only fell once and I did remain dry.

    These pics show the center stage area. There is about a three foot drop on either side of it into the moat which is about four feet deep. Behind the KISS sign (visible behind me in the first pic) is about a 12 x 20 expanse of water right were I originally wanted the drum riser about 2' off the ground on a lower platform!

    This is our "Ace" who's doin his smokin guitar bit. This angle provides another view of the bridge of death that was our center stage extension.

    A side shot to give you an idea of the narrowness of the stage, and the nearness of the moat.

    One time in the middle of a set, I hear a loud *THUMP* up on top. The drums are still going, so I know our guy hasn't fallen backwards into the moat (I later found out the cast of this halloween festival had an office pool on when he would fall backwards off the riser), but I glanced up and saw that one of our roadies had tripped over a support beam on his way back from setting up some pyro charges up on the stucture behind stage left. The rest of the set, I couldn't shake the idea that if he had tripped going the other way, he would have dived right into the moat in front of us. :meh:

    I later decided that if he had survived the fall, it would have been really funny. As it was, nobody was seriously injured in the production of this show, which was a bloody miracle.

  9. bassbully43

    bassbully43 Guest

    Jul 1, 2005
    B note...cool pics...that gig might had been an accident waiting to happen but it looks like you guys rocked and had a good time...maybe you should include hazzard pay in the next gig like this...might help pay an hospital bill :D Really looks cool you guys have a great looking Kiss trib band.
  10. B-NoteCowboy

    B-NoteCowboy Guest

    Apr 19, 2002
    Tulsa, OK USA
    Thanks dude! If you get bored and want to check out the rest of the pics, the site is Dressed To Kill (oklahoma) I'm a photographer, so while it was kind of frustrating not being able to shoot us myself, I did have access to my pro photog equipment and set up a girl who turned out to have a pretty good eye for photography with my stuff. She did a great job. Probably a couple hundred pics on the gallery page and throughout the site.

    It was a BLAST. Long story about how we got this band started, but it's just taken on a life of it's own and is really becoming a high-end trib group in this region now. All of us had other "real" bands when we started, but I think this has become a regular gig for us, which is actually fine with me. I've never had more fun as a musician or actor, and you gotta be both for this stuff.

    Of trib bands, I would say you have a limited ceiling as you are bascially fulfilling fans' desires to see iconic bands at affordable rates and accessible venues. But...... if you do it right, look right, sound right and act right... you have a ready built fan base and good drawing power. There is nothing quite like seeing people buy into the illusion you are creating. Not many things get me more satisfaction than reading our guestbook comments by KISS fans who say we made them believe in what they were seeing and hearing. I'll have audio and video up soon.

    Anyway, I'm sure we aren't the only ones who've had bizzare stage setups or odd venues. There's gotta be some good stories out there!

    My falling down story isn't as funny as the others, but in my case I was right out on stage in front of everyone. Tripped over the lip of an uneven plank... it couldn't have been more than a quarter of an inch, but once you get the leverage of those freakin boots rolling away from you, it might as well be stuck in superglue. Fell flat on my face but saved my bass! It did go out of tune a little, but fortunately it happened during a transitionary piece into the guitar solo of Shock Me, so I had plenty of time to tune digitally. The crowd gave me a nice hand after that one. :bag:
  11. fatbassjazzer


    Feb 27, 2004
    That is rock n roll right there. Those are really cool pics. The drums do look really cool up high. Sounds like you have a good band going for you.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    You're using a 5'er in a KISS tribute band? Shame on you!
  13. bassbully43

    bassbully43 Guest

    Jul 1, 2005
    Too cool B Note loved the site ...you guys have the best looking Kiss trib band i have seen judging form the pics...We have one somewhere around here but the dude who is Paul goes about 250 :p
  14. bassbully43

    bassbully43 Guest

    Jul 1, 2005
    Yea really....cuz everybody knows Gene could never play a 5er.
  15. B-NoteCowboy

    B-NoteCowboy Guest

    Apr 19, 2002
    Tulsa, OK USA

    Thanks man! We put a lot of work into the look, as well as the stage presence.

    And no... I know the 5 string is not accurate, but I'm more comfortable on it. I don't have to tune down, and I like having some flexibility on where to play some of the parts. Plus, being able to go down from Eb, really adds some nice heavy countour to some of the bass lines IMO.
  16. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    Hahaha. Man, when you said 12 foot, I thought you were joking.

    That's awesome.
  17. bonscottvocals

    bonscottvocals Guest

    Feb 10, 2005
    Upstate NY
    Dude, that's gotta be the best story you'll have for your grand-kids who want to be rock stars. You guys looked great, and you can see the follies that the pros had when trying to look cool. Remember the guy with the exploding crotch in WASP? He finally told his band, "If we wrote better songs, I wouldn't have to do this." after it exploded and nearly turned him into a eunich.

    Great pics. Thanks for a laugh.
  18. Michael Vee

    Michael Vee Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    B-note, enjoyed reading your blog at http://dtkdemon.blogeasy.com/

    I was a big Kiss fan back in the 70's, saw the "Destroyer" tour. Best rock show I ever saw, by far.

    If I ever get a chance to see DTK live, I'll be there. Glad you guys are doing it, and it looks pretty successful for you, too.