Thread: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

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  1. #21
    Bassist/struggling pizza boy! Digs Ditches
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    For performers who were schooled in bars and clubs, that's a hard threshold to cross for some reason.
    I think that part of this comes from wanting to be something more than they are... a "bigger than life" type of ego issue.
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

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  2. #22
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Hmm, maybe in the sense some performers use the PA as a crutch to supply them with affirmation that they do sound ok, you know, propping the ol' ego due to low self esteem.

    Then again, I know quite a few acoustic type performers who never learned to project thier voice or instrument and just fucking dry up when asked to play at a party or campfire or in the park. They just can't put it out there.
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    OK - I'll admit; I'm a loud guitarist on stage. 120-125db most of the time. yeah, rediculous I know and yes i do have some hearing loss. I think I do it to be able to hear over the snare - no kidding. I do side wash most of the time though so it's not bleeding out into the audience (too much)


    Good thread though - one thing to expand on though; a clean stage. Crap everywhere (rolls of duct tape, towels, empty beverage containers, etc) looks amateur. Don't have cords running amok. yuck.

    We have banners on stands that we use to cover the backline so the stage is nice and clean. That may not be an option for everyone, but think about the presentation (as has already been mentioned).

    And just to touch on the tuning thing - I always tune my guitars prior to playing and when i switch out, they're always out... here in Denver. I wonder if the Mile High psuedo-atmosphere here causes more changes in the way temperature will change a guitar's string tension.

    Has anyone else experienced that or is it just Murphy following me around everywhere? And by everywhere... I mean everywhere. I have some real nightmare stories.
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  4. #24
    Hates these rank titles! Ends jokes with… That's what she said
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    I encounter a lot of bands that make mistakes a lot of what I come across is during kit shares they dont prepare for the worst which usually ends up in us having to blag some backline from somewhere for them to actually play. Another is constantly moaning about monitors after they have just whacked their guitar up and knocked the mics out of position. Oh and quiet vocalists in loud bands always manage to confuse me and annoy me.


    But yeah most common is not arranging their kit in advance and thinking of the worst and tuning for to long and doing new songs that they havent practised.
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  5. #25
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    I never understood the problem with tuning so long and so much.

    Back in the day when they first took the horses off the front of buggies, I used a pass through tuner that was on all the time. If I though I had a string slipping out, a well placed overtone and a glance at the floor was all it took. A minute or two in mute mode before the gig started and I was good to go.

    Anymore, I tend to think most onstage tuning problems are caused by folks who don't know how to set up their ax so it can be tuned to begin with. Those guys are usually loud too.
  6. #26
    Most friends are "on the inside". Oxygen bandit
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    I'm going to side with Rockdart on the tuning issue. I live in Colorado too, have my guitars professionally setup, and encounter tuning problems too.

    Most people just don't understand that we change elevation up to 2000 feet between locations sometimes. Seriously, my show on Friday and my show on Monday were probably 70 miles apart and 1300 feet change in elevation--that's a lot of difference in pressure, temperature, and humidity (or the lack thereof).

    I'm finally starting to figure out that I need to take my guitars out of their cases after load-in, tune 'em up, and leave them on stage to adjust for the two hours or whatever. I definitely tune again right before playing too--absolutely necessary.
    Last edited by Bivouac; February 2nd, 2007 at 07:13 PM.
  7. #27
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    I'm going to side with Rockdart on the tuning issue. I live in Colorado too, have my guitars professionally setup, and encounter tuning problems too.

    Most people just understand that we change elevation up to 2000 feet between locations sometimes. Seriously, my show on Friday and my show on Monday were probably 70 miles apart and 1300 feet change in elevation--that's a lot of difference in pressure, temperature, and humidity (or the lack thereof).

    I'm finally starting to figure out that I need to take my guitars out of their cases after load-in, tune 'em up, and leave them on stage to adjust for the two hours or whatever. I definitely tune again right before playing too--absolutely necessary.
    that sounds like the perfect plan
  8. #28
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    todays event is a dance event, our space does a lot of non band type events. theatre, dance, corporate, etc. the whole gamut.

    today, i am in what i think of as "babysitting" mode. the producers of the event are as nice as can be, we all get along swimingly. they like coming here and we like having them. we work well together. they also ask for things nicely, so i'm truly happy to get them everything they need - many times before they've asked for it ala radar o'reilley.

    however, many of the dancers coming to participate in the event bring bad habits with them. getting rosin all over the place, bringing drinks on the marley, messing with the soft goods, parking in really bad places in the loading dock, etc. so lots of my time today is being the "bad guy" and kind of policing that stuff. in the overview, given the amount of folks in for this event today (and at the other two shows going on in other parts of the facility), i don't have to say "no" too many times to too many people. but it happens. it's part of the delicate balance between incoming talent and us as the folks who have to keep the show running, keep things safe, and have a better overview of things than our guests.

    i suppose this balance is also what brings the idea of differences between staff and talent. i suppose it's only friction if it's handled rudely. i certainly try to be polite, but with all due respect, at my live venue what i say goes. the rules are the rules, and i just expect the same rules to apply to everyone. really.

    i dont' think it's a bad thing, and there aren't many rules, and they all make sense. they are not all written down, perhaps it would help if they were. not sure if it would make a difference. most of it is just common sense applied uniformly.

    the worst thing i run into isn't folks who don't know this already. some are agreeable to these ideas, especially since it all makes perfect sense and is obviously for the good of the show and the safety of all involved. the worst thing is folks who decide they are somehow entitled to bypass the rules. i hate that shit. and i don't live by that philosophy. parking in the middle of the loading dock isn't cool, or breaking any of the other rules. act like a dick about it when we are telling you the rules and you'll see my attiutude change real quick. i don't have any time or patience for folks who want to argue with me over why they should be above the rules.

    i still think most of the confusion can be avoided by getting folks informed at the time of booking the event. getting everyone on the same page from the getgo makes the actual production day go much better. nonetheless, we suffer from "let no good deed go unpunished". let one person park in the dock once for some reason and in the future there is no going back. (just using parking in the loading dock as an example, there are lots of other areas where this comes in to play, but dock parking is a pet peeve of mine at this venue). i suppose that's why consistent application of the rules is important, once you start bending them than you cloud everything up and can't really take back something you've given up.

    this doesn't apply strictly to bands, this is the larger view of the relationship between venues (with their rules and staff) with guests for shows. i think it's a delicate relationship. shows that are organized love us at my venue, but disorganized shows tend to put me in babysitting mode and i dont' prefer to have to be the bad guy telling folks that they can't do stuff all day. it isn't fun for me either. i think it's more largely the repsonsibility of the venue to make their rules clear, and to enforce them. otoh, smart clients booking spaces like this often know the right things to ask to also help avoid confusion. if you've been to enough venues you'll get the gist of what kind of rules come in to play. this is more true for theatres and larger venues and less true for bars in my experience.

    just kind of vibing on this thought a bit. now i have to quit typing to go keep an eye on the stage.
  9. #29
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    That used to work, "back in the day", when guitarists/bassists knew which letter of the alphabet corresponded to a given string. Now, with the hoofstomps of the liberated horses, and the angry cries of the buggy drivers, they are too terrified to recall from memory such exoticisms.

    A good live show=a good band playing good songs. Even if the live sound ain't all that. Competence has the magical power of being able to arrive to an audience perhaps scathed and bloodied, but recognizable as what it is. A band that can blend itself easily, through experience, is probably a band that can then be amplified to an audience with a minimum of pain to the AE.

    Funny thing is, the recording studio used to be like that too. Imagine 1 mic...the band would have to be placed at varying distances from it for balance, each member painfully aware of their dynamics. And, that experience would probably make them a better live band too.

    As far as tuning problems go, I agree that they're too loud. But that's just because they're out of tune, and shouldn't even be heard in the first place. Dumb fucks.

    Rant over! I now return the controls to....
  10. #30
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Funny thing is, the recording studio used to be like that too. Imagine 1 mic...the band would have to be placed at varying distances from it for balance, each member painfully aware of their dynamics. And, that experience would probably make them a better live band too.
    Word that. Listen to those old Spike Jones recordings, with the absolutely stellar musicians he had with him plus the sound effects table using pistol shots, breaking glass, etc. as percussion instruments. And then realize that it was all recorded in one take through a single mic.
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  11. #31
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Great to read other people's experiences and input on this topic.
    I would only add and stress the importance of knowing before hand who your audience is and what the venue is like in feel...then pitch your performance accordingly...this could be part of a mid term preparation when putting the programme together...
    If you have the chance to see the place and get some feed back on what kind of audience attends, some mistakes can be avoided...
    A rehearsal at the venue is the ideal, though I understand it is not always possible.
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  12. #32
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Great to read other people's experiences and input on this topic.
    I would only add and stress the importance of knowing before hand who your audience is and what the venue is like in feel...then pitch your performance accordingly...this could be part of a mid term preparation when putting the programme together...
    If you have the chance to see the place and get some feed back on what kind of audience attends, some mistakes can be avoided...
    A rehearsal at the venue is the ideal, though I understand it is not always possible.
    amitiés
    Annemarie
    seems like a great idea. scouting out the venue in advance could sure make things easier. knowing the load in, staff, crowd, vibe, etc. gets you all sorts of info to help you succeed if you use it to your advantage!
  13. #33
    Frustrated Chick Rock singer...now doing jazz standards poorly! Fletcher's prison bitch
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Either I've not read this properly or you've missed something. Maybe it's just in England, or maybe even just Bolton but one of the biggest mistakes our local bands make is assuming they can't play until they've all downed five pints of Guiness.

    My favourite local band, The Kiss Off are great when sober; tight (well, almost) and full of energy but when drunk, which is more often than not these days, they're just sloppy and think it's great fun to be out of tune, snap strings and throw your bass all over the place. t might be fun for them but it's not for the audience...
  14. #34
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Either I've not read this properly or you've missed something. Maybe it's just in England, or maybe even just Bolton but one of the biggest mistakes our local bands make is assuming they can't play until they've all downed five pints of Guiness.

    My favourite local band, The Kiss Off are great when sober; tight (well, almost) and full of energy but when drunk, which is more often than not these days, they're just sloppy and think it's great fun to be out of tune, snap strings and throw your bass all over the place. t might be fun for them but it's not for the audience...
    yeah, drunk bands aren't fun to watch. i don't know why they would think any different. folks who can play alright otherwise play pretty loosely, to put it politely, when drunk or high or whatever. seems like a bad plan.

    i recommend having the party after the gig, and then go wild. i'm not being a prude here, a drink or two before a gig is still ok if you can handle it. being sloppy at the gig works to your own detriment.
  15. #35
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is the fact that the band members should be aware of their surroundings, and what has to happen for a show to take place.

    I still remember one time when a band set up a guitar amp DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE BASS DRUM. I had to kindly ask the guitarist if he thought it would be a good idea to mic the bass drum, and if his band wanted it mic'ed, he'd have to allow some room for me to position a microphone in between the guitar cab and the bass drum.

    Another thing for the drummers... please leave some room between the high hat/racktom/snare for us sound guys to mic the snare!

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    -Jeff
  16. #36
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    it was hit on a couple times so far, but i think it needs to be stated again. ENTERTAIN THE FUCKING AUDIENCE!!!! no, you don't have to tell, stupid jokes, and no, you don't have to blend every song into the next one, but give the kids who paid good money to come to the show something to see and/or hear MOST of the time. i had to play after a terrible band, the kids were young, not all that talented, and worst of all, unrehearsed. they had maybe 3 band practices, said "hey let's play a show" and went for it. kudos to have the balls to do it, but you can't have balls without the skill to use them properly. they spent half of their time (literally, i counted just to make sure i wasn't crazy) onstage BETWEEN songs, that included 1) tuning 2) talking about the song they played beforehand 3) talking about the song they were about to play 4) realizing that guitar player B is not tuning to what guitar A and bass are tuned to, whoops. that kinda crap bugs me.
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  17. #37
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

  18. #38
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    "We are gonna get the biggest record deal of the history - because .. we are smart!

    ...

    Ok, I need a fucking drink, I am not being payed!"


    "The next song is called Love, and it is about Love. Hey! Quit!! Hey, I'll have the bounsers beat you up, if you don't stop stepping on those mices, they don't like that!" (½ a minute later, he is the one getting kicked out by the bounser)
  19. #39
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    problems

    1) sucking

    2) playing too loud

    3) bass loading
  20. #40
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Competence has the magical power of being able to arrive to an audience perhaps scathed and bloodied, but recognizable as what it is. .
    Damn!

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