Working Without a Net...

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by ArtechnikA, Sep 17, 2021.


  1. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    ( Preview - followup with actual gig report tomorrow... )

    Saw a post in a FB local musicians' group - piano trio needs a bassist for "oldies, Americana, stuff like that." OKfine - I can do that... Far enough away that everyone agrees there will be no rehearsals - just play cold...

    Get the setlist. Turns out the "Oldies" are really classic rock (still fine, I've done that a bunch), I don't see any Americana, and about half the setlist (40 songs!) is stuff I've never heard, never heard of, from artists I can vaguely recognize. But there's time, if I'm diligent. Two days later comes another request: can I do another show, a week earlier?

    Eeek! Now I really hafta woodshed... Build my YouTube setlist so I have references for the songs. Bite the bullet and buy the 'Pro' level at Ultimate Guitar so I can direct download chart PDF's, bypassing the useless print-and-scan steps. Load all the PDF's into MobileSheetsPro so I can break in my new tablet -- goodbye floppy looseleaf notebook...

    Start learning the songs and it turns out most of them are pretty easy. There's still a *lot* of them for a 2-hour show, because they're mostly 3-minute AM radio songs. About 5 are definitely tricky and will get the bulk of my practice today.

    I'm told the Saturday afternoon shows (like tomorrow) don't draw much, so it will be more like a paid rehearsal although of course we won't be stopping if there are issues - just roll with it and make notes. The Saturday evening shows (next week) fill the space with maybe 300 so there will be more pressure.

    this whole thing is a bit outside my normal gig-seeking radius, but holiday party booking season is upon us and the more connections I can make, the better my chances of salvaging something from this year.

    Pix and gig report tomorrow night...
     
    oddeotek, erratick, ELG60 and 37 others like this.
  2. mrcbass

    mrcbass

    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    I enjoy these types of challenges.

    I'm going to guess that the fact that you accepted these conditions means you'll be able to manage just fine.

    Sounds like a typical classic rock thing - mostly simple, a few to work out. Good thing is its a trio - fewer people to negotiate, so just follow the KB if you get out of sync.

    You'll got this.
     
  3. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    The only thing that made it challenging was the sheer number of songs I've never heard. Poppy contemporary top-40 AM whiney teenage angst songs. It turns out that they're mostly the same 4 chords over and over. -Maybe- a bridge. -Maybe- a change in the chorus. Some dynamics changes to be sure, but not even much in the way of stops. I think the most challenging of the songs I have not played before is "Rich Girl" because I haven't quite internalized the quirky rhythm yet.

    I'm apprehensive "enough." Not taking it lightly, I know I'll have to pay attention all day. But I have no real worries. This is what I do...
     
  4. mrcbass

    mrcbass

    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Which is why you'll do fine.

    I agree songs; I've never heard are the scariest because they are just not buried in my ear yet. Sometimes it's even hard to remember how each one goes before they start when you have a lot of these even if they are simple.
     
  5. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Sounds like my idea of hell on earth.
     
    db59, OldSchoolFlats, Lo-E and 2 others like this.
  6. For a long time, I'd groan and roll my eyes at gigs I had to do that just didn't seem cool music-wise, until I got it through my head that a) I was making more money than sitting at home waiting on the phone to ring, and b) those BS gigs paid the same folding green as the cool ones.

    I learned to moan and groan a bit less.
     
  7. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Just curious: Who is the target audience for this song list? Honestly, I'm scratching my head here and got nuthin. :confused:
     
    OldSchoolFlats likes this.
  8. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    Not my cup of tea, personally, but it's a paying gig and I'm a professional.
    There's stuff I won't play because I'm not good at it. But I can do this for 2 hours at a time, collect my check, and go home.
    Actually, only about half the setlist is like that; the other half is mostly fun.
     
  9. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    Well - I didn't post a list...
    I think we'd call it 'variety' or 'something for everyone.'
    Short answer is: I don't know yet, and don't much care.
    I'll find out more tomorrow, and even more next week for the 'big' evening show.
    It's about 2 blocks from a big college, which I suppose accounts for the 'contemporary' portion.
    I think there's more stuff on the list than we will actually do, depending on audience response.
     
    BassToGoGo and Lobster11 like this.
  10. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Well, you did mention "Rich Girl" and "poppy contemporary top-40 AM whiney teenage angst songs"....

    Seriously, my question wasn't meant to sound derogatory or critical; I certainly understand that as a pro you have to play what pays. I'm just curious where this kind of "variety" song list actually pays. Let us know when you find out!
     
    CryingBass, Basselink and ArtechnikA like this.
  11. Ellery

    Ellery

    Mar 25, 2015
    Wow, good luck bro.
     
    DWBass and ArtechnikA like this.
  12. Lo-E

    Lo-E

    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Any gig can be (mostly) fun if you look for its redeeming qualities. Even if it’s just “How can I get into the headspace of the people who like these lame songs and make them enjoyable for myself?” or “What’s unique about this drummer’s feel that I can play off of and/or have fun with?”

    Even the worst gig is only as bad as you make it. It beats digging ditches!

    …but the OP’s a pro and he knows all of this already!
     
  13. mrjim123

    mrjim123 Supporting Member

    May 17, 2008
    Indy
    RougHouse
    I wouldn't consider doing a gig if I didn't at least know the names of the songs/artists ahead of time. I can get them down at home and I'm fine without rehearsing but I have to know what's gonna be played. Sounds like this gig was handled very unprofessionally.
     
  14. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    I got a full setlist 27 August, fully 3 weeks before the first scheduled gig, which was fine. Then a request for another show the week before that one. Still 2 weeks to learn 20 songs and practice the 20 I already knew. I could have said no to that show, but I was on track to having the songs down, so I'm getting paid twice for the work of having learned everything instead of only once.

    Not sure where you got the idea I didn't have a setlist ahead of time...
     
  15. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I think the point is that you agreed to the gig before seeing the setlist, which turned out to be rather different from the way they had characterized it.
     
  16. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    No, actually I didn't say that, and I didn't agree before...

    The sequence was more like :
    I Need a Bass Player - our stuff's like this...
    "OK, I'm interested."
    Here's our setlist - are you in?
    "Sure."

    I didn't itemize all the initial back-and-forth in the original post; didn't really consider it relevant.
    But there it is...
     
  17. mrjim123

    mrjim123 Supporting Member

    May 17, 2008
    Indy
    RougHouse
    Oops. Yeah, I read your post a little too fast and misunderstood. Sorry about that. You're good.
     
    ArtechnikA likes this.
  18. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    Like @mrjim123 and @ArtechnikA I (mis)interpreted your OP to say that you didn't get the set list until after you'd agreed to the gig. After re-reading your OP I see that it was ambiguous about the sequence of events, so apologies for assuming something you didn't actually say.
     
    ArtechnikA likes this.
  19. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    SEPA
    Sorry about the ambiguity; I wasn't trying to mislead for dramatic effect. All the behind-the-scenes negotiation phase didn't seem relevant to what I thought was the point: lots of new material and a no-rehearsal show with people I don't know.

    For clarity - No, I wouldn't have taken this job without the setlist and what I considered adequate time for individual practice.
    Especially considering I could be considered superfluous in a piano trio ;-)

    I would probably take a blues show without a set list, although I'd strongly prefer at least knowing the singer's preferred keys. But I'm something of a journeyman blues jam attendee, and 'Blues is my Business' (E. James).

    And now - off to the shed!
     
    Lobster11 likes this.
  20. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    I wish someone would call me for gigs like that
    Good for you
    Rock on!
    Duke
     
    Quinn Roberts likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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