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Would You Honor This Gig?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bassist4Eris, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    I'm kind of old school. I feel that if I agree to take a gig, I should honor that commitment. But you know, there's an exception to every rule.

    A few weeks ago, our sax player emailed us to see if we were free to play on November 2. I said sure. There was a detail omitted though. We found out last week that the gig is outdoors. This is upstate NY. There is a very good chance the weather will be below the freezing point. It certainly won't be warm.

    We did an outdoor gig today. It was about 50 F (10 C). This was cold enough that everything kept going out of tune, and by the end of the gig my fingers were sticking to the strings. And this was only two hours. This is funk-influenced music, often played at fast tempos, with a lot of 16th notes. It's hard enough to play it well under ideal conditions.

    The guy who hired us for the November gig was at our gig today. Our BL spoke to him about our concerns, and I frankly found his response dismissive and disrespectful. It was sort of this incredulous “why?!” Like we were being complete wimps or something.

    I feel that this November gig is unreasonable, and therefore cancelable. I find it hugely disrespectful to musicians in general that anyone would even consider hiring a band to play outdoors at this time of year, and doubly disrespectful that they weren't up front about it. I also think it's dangerous to our health, and possibly our gear. I'm in my mid-40s, and my hands are starting to hurt in the cold weather. I also try not to expose my instrument to extreme changes of temperature, for fear of warping the neck.

  2. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Rent an outdoor heater. I've done this when I was back east. You agreed to do the job, you do it.
    Atshen, cchorney, bozric and 51 others like this.
  3. mwbassace


    Jul 26, 2010
    N.W. Ohio
    Is there a way they (or y'all) could provide a tent/canopy with 3 of the sides closed & some heaters to knock the chill down? I've done gigs like this before & they were tolerable, probably cause they were lots of fun lol. But I understand your concerns being where I live isn't a hot spot this time of year.
  4. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    I think you gotta stay "old school" and do the gig. Then afterwards, you can run down to the banks of the Hudson, chip a big piece off an ice floe, and whack the sax player upside the head with it.
  5. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Even if you feel key details were withheld? I suppose one could put it on us that we didn't ask whether the gig was outdoors, but to me it's so ludicrous to have a band outdoors at this time of year that I wouldn't have even imagined I'd need to ask.
  6. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    When your sax player booked the gig, did he/she know it was outdoors? If so, you do the gig. Bring your cheapest bass (rent one if you have to), wear a hoodie with front pockets, and keep hand warmers in there (I did an outdoors gig today, and that's how I did it).

    If this was not disclosed when the gig was booked, you could cancel if it isn't moved inside, but likely will never play there again.

    Silly question. What venue owner expects his patrons to stay outside in this kind of weather (especially if this is a night gig)? I would think if it gets anywhere as cold as you expect it to be, you will be playing for the bartender, and asked to pack up after the first set. What am I missing?
    Deitz, barrenelly, DJ Bebop and 19 others like this.
  7. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    It's a party.
    DJ Bebop, murphy and HolmeBass like this.
  8. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    So everyone will go inside.

    Again, if it wasn't disclosed when the gig was booked, you have a reason to turn it down, but if the person has any pull among venue owners,the only thing that will get disclosed is you pulled out of the gig.
  9. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    And the fact that key questions weren't asked? What about that? Look, I did a gig on Halloween back east and we all dressed in wool costumes and rented a heater. I was pissed about it because I hate being cold. But it was all fine. You are worrying too much. Just do the show and chalk it up to experience.
    Deitz, packhowitzer, jfh2112 and 9 others like this.
  10. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    You must live near me and I say no freakin way id play in any of the upcoming weather
  11. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Don't you guys have a contract that specifies these issues?
    matthewbrown, marcwhy and bass4more like this.
  12. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    True. You will have no audience. But backing out always carries a risk :(
  13. flojob

    flojob Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2011
    Unless that guy is going to make some kind of accomodations for y'all, I wouldn't do the gig.
    That guy or your BL isn't responsible for your health. No gigs is worth that. Folks that tell you there's some kind of honor in risking your health and safety for any show are giving you bad advice.
    Playing outside in freezing weather is one heck of an ask. Leave it for these folks that are so desperate for any gig that they would risk it.
  14. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I'm old school too, but I'm not going to risk harming myself for any gig. When a BL I work with asks about outside gigs, I always tell him the same thing. If my fingers go numb, I don't play, no discussion. I'm not risking frostbite, I don't care how much you're paying me.

    I did play one gig with temps in the 40's and I gloves and there were industrial heaters provided by the venue. I was cold, but it worked out. This whole, "The show must go on at all costs" is BS. If you put your health at risk for a couple hundred dollars, you're just not too bright. If you get sick and miss work, how much is that going to cost you?
    TH63, Clark Dark, Burrito Ma and 16 others like this.
  15. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Let me ask you a question. Unless you are playing for five grand or more, when was the last time you had a contract with any venue that actually went to and held up in a court?
  16. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    We did this once undercover on a terrace but the back wall was about three feet short of touching the ground.
    The temperature got down to minus 6C and our lead singer realising that the band had turned purple pulled the plug and explained to the audience what was happening.
    Had the cover been complete we would probably have been OK, we explained it to the venue management and they were apologetic, they never used the terrace in winter again.
    BooDoggie likes this.
  17. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    This is a good point. November in Washington DC is way different than November in other locations. But I'd say 50 degrees F is a reasonable temperature if some heaters are rented. Maybe ask the venue to do that.
    packhowitzer and Bassist30 like this.
  18. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Unlikely that a November night where he is will be in the 50s, or the 40s.
    HolmeBass, BooDoggie and bassista6 like this.
  19. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I'd expect a heated tent. But even then, mid forties is about as cold as I ever remember doing a gig in back when I lived in VT.
    Atshen, DJ Bebop, dkelley and 3 others like this.
  20. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    I might have misread about the expected temperatures. You definitely want to do a couple of things. One is to make sure the venue understands that no one is standing around outside to hear music if the temperatures are really low. The other is to find out what it would cost to rent enough heaters to keep you comfortable, and make sure the venue knows what the cost is. You shouldn't be on the hook for this if it's going to cost you.

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