You know the train is crashing, but no one wants off

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by PennyroyalWe, Jun 23, 2023.

  1. PennyroyalWe


    Sep 2, 2018
    How much notice is too little to cancel a gig? Thinking about backing out of one that’s a little over a month away.

    Long story short, my band has a cover show gig in a little over a month, and we are utterly unprepared, and trying to get everyone together to rehearse is nearly impossible due to everyone’s schedules (some work days, others nights, inconsistent shifts, kids, etc.).

    The gig is 2 45min sets, $100/person. I’m thinking it’d be best to just call the whole thing off and save face, rather than sound like dookie, and look like buttheads.

    The drummer is convinced that it doesn’t matter if we don’t sound all that good, and we should trudge forward with it. His parents are the ones booking this show, so I think he feels a false sense of security about it because he doesn’t have much to lose, but I’d rather not play a show I know I’m not going to feel good about afterwards.

    What’s worse is that it seems to have fallen solely on me to make this whole thing happen. Arranging the rehearsals, picking the songs, deciding who’s singing what, etc. We still don’t know if we need to provide a PA…we don’t even have a PA to bring if we do.

    It feels like we’re on a train car headed for an obvious wreck, and when I ask my bandmates for assistance avoiding that crash I’m just getting shrugs and blank stares.
  2. basseux


    Jan 10, 2010
    Personnaly I jumped ship of last band with the same scenario.

    Doing garbage with people not carring wasn't what I signed up for.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2023
  3. Bail now - it's not fair to take the venues money if you're this unprepared for it.....
  4. basseux


    Jan 10, 2010
    Question is how much less drinks they will sell if you play or don't play.
    They will certainly prefer you play even if it's poopie.
    HolmeBass likes this.
  5. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    If you have a band that's together, why can't you get 2 short sets together in a month?

    If you can't, you have no business even THINKING about booking gigs.

    I would bow out now.
    denton57, EdO., Andre678 and 39 others like this.
  6. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    If these are covers, pick an exact version of each on YouTube, favor simpler songs, preferably where the original key works,

    everyone practice the crap out of the on their own,

    Discuss some very-simple intros and extros,

    and maybe y'all can pull it off at the gig. :)
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2023
    SoCal80s, Cleezmo, Bass Momma and 8 others like this.
  7. I just re read the original post...It's at the drummers parents bar???? You probably have a bit more leeway with it then. They're unlikely to throw the kids band out after 3 songs.

    But looking at your description of the band demographic i would leave anyway. It looks like you're trying to do everything and no one else seems to care about it. You're on a hiding whichever way it goes.....Go find yourself a more worthy bunch to play with.
  8. But it sounds like nobody else in the band can be bothered to contribute
    smogg likes this.
  9. jimmydean


    Mar 14, 2009
    Put a weight on the throttle and jump off !
  10. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Actually more details would be helpful.

    The OP's situation may not be as dire as he suggests, as nobody else seems to be so concerned. :)
  11. rogerb


    Aug 31, 2010
    My bands have the same problem, getting everyone together means we never get together.

    We’ve started using an app that splits up mp3’s into separate tracks. Guitar player no show, up with the guitar, vocalist not coming, up with the vocals.

    It takes some practice and you need to have the click on it seems, but it is positive so far. I’ve only tried it a few times.

    Another bonus is everyone on the same page, less stopping and starting as you tend to just keep on going.

    Time will tell if it helps in the long run… I think it will.
    mcnach and TN WOODMAN like this.
  12. Astronaut


    Jul 21, 2013
    Do nothing; wear a mask at the show.
    icefly, Gruff, Slinger and 1 other person like this.
  13. HHudson


    May 28, 2023
    > wear a mask at the show


    Unless the other members really cannot be bothered...

    YMMV: what we do when we haven't gigged for a while and start to panic before an upcoming gig:

    Put someone in charge of the pre gig practice sessions... remarkably, our lead guitarist is our "whip"
    Have all prepare before the first & have at least two practice sessions, figure out at the first one, what can stay on the set list, or can be fixed before the second session.
    Have people with any issue have smaller separate sessions in between - much easier to organize (e.g. we had a couple of metal songs on the list, which I could not get my head around timing wise, I had a separate weekend session with the drummer, worked wonders, and stopped us both from following the guitarist on them).
    Decide at the second session what works & what is unfixable during the session, stick with the "works" for your set list.
    Enjoy yourselves & have fun at the gig, dress like DEVO or Bootsy Collins if you feel insecure, most people will remember that part.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2023
    elberon likes this.
  14. TreySonagras


    Aug 11, 2013
    If you play the gig and it’s a flop you won’t be the only one responsible. If you bail on the gig everyone will blame you for the gig not happening.
    Or they’ll do it without you and find someone else.
    SoCal80s likes this.
  15. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    On the other hand, you my be holding yourself to a much higher standard that is required for the gig. Whilst I also like my band to be as prepared and professional as possible, I’ve also been involved in the odd self-perceived train wreck, especially a couple of times I dipped with a friends band who were nowhere near up to my personal standards. But guess what, the punters didn’t care and still enjoyed themselves.

    The band can get through every song on the set, give yourselves a bit of slack. You might just enjoy it. It ain’t Wembley, it your mates pub.
    SoCal80s, salmon256, Wesley R and 8 others like this.
  16. lark_z

    lark_z Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2020
    Overland Park, KS
    This scares the heck out of me.....
    31HZ and JeezyMcNuggles like this.
  17. p12bassnut

    p12bassnut Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2009
    I would do the best I could giving the circumstances, while tactfully letting the band know my misgivings about it beforehand. IF it all goes south then after the gig you can tactfully use it as a teaching opportunity to point out that this is what happens when a band is unprepared.
    You really can't force people to do something they don't want to do (prepare properly) but you can let the life lessons show the way to reality.
    HHudson likes this.
  18. HHudson


    May 28, 2023

    > His parents are the ones booking this show [...] We still don’t know if we need to provide a PA…we don’t even have a PA to bring if we do.

    That bit is very doable.

    Contact them & find out if they do for vox FOH *and* vox monitors for your singer(s) & the size of the joint (if local, go visit it).

    Then borrow or book in advance & rent what you require accordingly, (unless you guys are really loud which in a pub won't go down well), for small pub venues a modest 120-200w mixer for the stage vox monitors & *active* speakers on stands for the audience are usually the easiest to handle & set up quickly if this is new for your band. I suspect you have an active mixer & wedges for vox in the practice room already? If we are playing where there is no PA support, we take our practivce room mixer/wedges as the stage monitors & a pair of 12" active 400-500w RCFs (which we bought) connected to the XRL outs along for vox & sometimes a bit of kick... for indoors at least, we never need to turn the RCFs up much.

    Sounds like crap that you are being given all the organizational tasks, delegate what you can. Sometimes you just have to do it, burnt fingers & lessons learned for all .... and avoid it the next time.

    I usually only need to deal with the PA, Mics, generator, cabling etc.. for the band, which can be more than enough.
    Set lists & e.g. who sings we decide together as a group, per vote if necessary. Vetos are honored (and why we have *never* played Smoke on the Water outside of the practice room while I have been in the band...).
    Others deal with GEMA, set list sheets, Lighting or being the practice drill Sargent.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2023
  19. I have substituted for the vacationing bass player in several bands who play covers and never played a rehearsal with them. Most times the first time I met all the players was at the gig.

    The key to my and those band’s success was mentioned earlier in this post, have everyone play the same version of the cover. One way to do this is create a Dropbox folder shared with all band members with mp3 recordings of the songs arranged in set list order. All band members can then practice playing along with the recordings at home and become familiar with the sets. It’s worked for me, YMMV.
    PapaBearBass, HolmeBass and HHudson like this.
  20. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    All this headache for $100? Pass.
    EdO., mstillman, BobKos and 6 others like this.