Thread: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

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  1. #41
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    problems

    1) sucking

    2) playing too loud

    3) bass loading
    What is "bass loading"?
    Gordon in Austin

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  2. #42
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    What is "bass loading"?
    It's either what I have to do at the end of the gig when I put my gear in my old pickup truck or it's putting M-80s in fish...

    Cheers, Tim
    Yes, I'll have another beer, thanks.
  3. #43
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    I certainly won't disagree with the logic of this. I don't know if this sounds stupid, but I'm always concerned with how things look from the audience. With that in mind, for a visual, I like amps to be facing the audience, and, like your mother, I go down the line of vocal mic stands making sure they are neatly spaced, angled and at the proper height for the person using it. In a small bar or club, I'm pretty carefull to make sure my volume is in sync with the band, regradless of if the amp is pointing at my ass, though I have a little table my Allen or Deluxe Reverb sits on. Having a low wattage amp to use in a small club helps so I can make sure I don't blow the people out of thier chairs up front and still retain my 'tone' and I usually run two amps.

    I know I said this at the last place and it seemed to cause a little reaction, but one thing that bothers me to no end is listening to people tune. My personal and professional feeling is use a stage tuner with a mute or hire a gutiar tech.

    One more thing that should be considered, dressing with a point of view. I don't really go for the just finished mowing the lawn look. Nothing wrong with casual, even hippy sloppy, but how you look should say something besides you just finished washing the car, grabbed your gear and hit the club. When we had women in the band, they coordinated all the clothes. It was pretty striking.

    Excellent post!
  4. #44
    Ducked in here to avoid the paparazzi Child Prodigy Gone Bad
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    The biggest mistake? LOL There are many.. The funniest one I ever saw was a band called "the Blow Monkeys" from jolly old England who were out on tour as the support act for Robert Palmer back in the 80's or early 90's, it escapes me now. In their rider they had written that they required a "home cooked meal" I was working with a group of guys with a small production company that subbed under a larger company that subbed under Bill Graham, a lot of subbing eh? anyhow, where were we?.. ahh yes, the home cooked meal... First let me say that Robert Palmer was a suave dude and smart too, he knew that coming to Santa Cruz and the bay area to modify his standard rider to include a big seafood buffet (smart guy) so back to the original incident, Our fearless leader had never been confronted with "home cooked meal" on a rider before and he hired his Mother for the gig and she went all out man, she had gotten hold of a cassette of these guy and liked their almost smooth R&B sound and decided to prepare them a large taste of Americana since they were from England and all, this included several casseroles and other dishes, made plenty for the crew as well while we were eating at one point these guys lead singer started complaining about the food which led to all of them talking shit, which means for English dudes sounded like a bunch of yip-yapping little lap dogs
    Their singer, pulled a punk rock move and threw a plate on the floor and that brought tears to mom's eyes, well the next thing you know the singer is going on stage that evening with a big mouse and big black eye We laughed about that one for years and still have a good laugh about it when any of us get together to this day.
    The moral of the story? Don't be assholes to your production crew (especially if they are home boys).. They have thousands of ways to make your life miserable. and won't help you score consumables or set you up with local girls (not that I think these guys cared about girls)
    Last edited by Randall; July 28th, 2009 at 08:53 PM.
  5. #45
    Ducked in here to avoid the paparazzi Dated Paris Hilton before she was a tramp!
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    This was a new one to me. Diva has her first CD release party. She has her set list on her iPhone, sharpies and paper are so last century. Her friends who aren't in attendance are texting her their congratulations. First time it happens it makes her "you've received a text" sound, which the mics pick up. OK, she puts it on silent. She, of course, has to text back right then and there -- "multitasking" she calls it. Each subsequent text takes over the screen and she has to flip back to her "Setlist App" to know what to play next.
  6. #46
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    The biggest mistake? LOL There are many.. The funniest one I ever saw was a band called "the Blow Monkeys" from jolly old England who were out on tour as the support act for Robert Palmer back in the 80's or early 90's, it escapes me now. In their rider they had written that they required a "home cooked meal" I was working with a group of guys with a small production company that subbed under a larger company that subbed under Bill Graham, a lot of subbing eh? anyhow, where were we?.. ahh yes, the home cooked meal... First let me say that Robert Palmer was a suave dude and smart too, he knew that coming to Santa Cruz and the bay area to modify his standard rider to include a big seafood buffet (smart guy) so back to the original incident, Our fearless leader had never been confronted with "home cooked meal" on a rider before and he hired his Mother for the gig and she went all out man, she had gotten hold of a cassette of these guy and liked their almost smooth R&B sound and decided to prepare them a large taste of Americana since they were from England and all, this included several casseroles and other dishes, made plenty for the crew as well while we were eating at one point these guys lead singer started complaining about the food which led to all of them talking shit, which means for English dudes sounded like a bunch of yip-yapping little lap dogs
    Their singer, pulled a punk rock move and threw a plate on the floor and that brought tears to mom's eyes, well the next thing you know the singer is going on stage that evening with a big mouse and big black eye We laughed about that one for years and still have a good laugh about it when any of us get together to this day.
    The moral of the story? Don't be assholes to your production crew (especially if they are home boys).. They have thousands of ways to make your life miserable. and won't help you score consumables or set you up with local girls (not that I think these guys cared about girls)

    wow.
    The Blow Monkeys must be morons, otherwise they would have left there owning the production company.
    And with a large apology bonus from the promoter and venue.

    or are you saying violence is a reasonable (or legal) response to rudeness?
  7. #47
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Really, the best thing I ever did as a guitarist was to put my amp on the side of the stage and shoot it across at me, instead of out toward the audience. I can hear my tone better, my slide playing is more accurate, and I can hear my vocal monitor a lot better. If my amp is being miked, and in most cases it is, it's now a stage monitor. It doesn't have to cover anything but the stage. I'm using a 40-watt combo amp with a single 12" speaker, and I really don't need that much. I don't think I've ever played it above 3. I don't think I'm gonna be dragging out my 100-watt Hiwatt half stack any time soon.
    Droolbucket
    This is a technique that I learned back in the late '70s from Blue Oyster Cult. They'd have a huge wall of amps behind the band and a couple were actually live for the guys playing rhythm guitar, but Don Roeser's amp was always set up at the side of the stage by the sidefill stack on his side. He could hear a lot better, the other musicians could hear him better, je could get his feedback without running to the back of the stage and George had a lot better control of him in the house. Don was using a 100 Watt Boogie MKII and a single 4x12 - but they were playing coliseums.......

    Most of BOC's backline was mostly to give the crew something to hide behind......

    Cheap Trick's too.....

    Ever since I've been a great proponent of this setup to guitar players I've worked with. A couple of them even listened to me........
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  8. #48
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    " I have to play loud or I can't hear my amp!"

    'That's because your ass has no ears."

    'What?"

    'It's aimed at your ass."
    That's why Leo Fender invented TILTBACK LEGS......
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  9. #49
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    All execllent tips and replies. I agree with just about everything, especially the bands' playing too loud.

    But, nobody is putting any responsibility on the venue. Many times a venue will book a metal band, in a room in a residental area with sound ordinances. Then bitch about it to the band. If you're a club owner, and you want to offer live music, I applaud you. But, you have to know your rooms limitations. Also, put someone in charge that understands the business. There is a club, in which I regularly work as the live sound provider/engineer. If the owner of the club doesn't know the band, they use me. PERIOD!!.

    In the band's contract, it specifies that I run the show, and have the ability to shut it down if I feel it is in the best interest of the club. PERIOD! ! !

    Now, this is a 200 seat venue, connected to a resturaunt. I meet the bands at the door as they're coming in. I provide the band a copy of the rules, which are also in the contract, that basically say, if I say turn it down, turn it down. If I say stop saying FUCK! ! at the top of your lungs. Stop it. Etc, etc, etc... I've had to almost cancel a number of shows, because the buthead guitar player brings in a full Boogie Tripple rec stack. Then, he can't get his "tone" if he's not playing 125db. Bullshit. I basically offer to provide a very nice single 12" all tube amplifer for him to use free of charge. If he wants to perform there that night, he'll take me up on it.

    We've found, that when you're up front with the bands and let them know what's expected of them right off the bat, they will respond. If they don't, they don't get paid, and they're not invited back. Plus, I work in a fairly small city, so word travels fast between the clubs that offer live entertainment which bands cause trouble.

    Just my obversations over the past 30 years.
    thanks,

    Axe
  10. #50
    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

    This is a technique that I learned back in the late '70s from Blue Oyster Cult. They'd have a huge wall of amps behind the band and a couple were actually live for the guys playing rhythm guitar, but Don Roeser's amp was always set up at the side of the stage by the sidefill stack on his side. He could hear a lot better, the other musicians could hear him better, je could get his feedback without running to the back of the stage and George had a lot better control of him in the house. Don was using a 100 Watt Boogie MKII and a single 4x12 - but they were playing coliseums.......

    Most of BOC's backline was mostly to give the crew something to hide behind......

    Cheap Trick's too.....

    Ever since I've been a great proponent of this setup to guitar players I've worked with. A couple of them even listened to me........
    Yep, putting your amp sidestage is a great idea, if the stage shape accommodates it. As an alternate solution, I just built myself a 2x12 guitar wedge for the front of the stage. I can set my 4x12 cab to whatever volume works, then just add volume to the wedge to fill it out if I can't hear. Our drummer hits pretty hard, too, so it comes in handy.

    PS--good post pounce, I missed it first time around. It should be required reading for any band.
  11. #51
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    wow.
    The Blow Monkeys must be morons, otherwise they would have left there owning the production company.
    And with a large apology bonus from the promoter and venue.

    or are you saying violence is a reasonable (or legal) response to rudeness?
    It is an often touted fact of life on a planet full of people who have testicles that, all things being equal and regardless of consequences, dissing somebody's mom might get your teeth kicked out of the crack of your ass.

    It is what it is.

    This is why your mom taught you manners.
    Last edited by bunnerabb; November 11th, 2009 at 10:24 PM. Reason: post stroke dyslexia
  12. #52
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    All execllent tips and replies. I agree with just about everything, especially the bands' playing too loud.

    But, nobody is putting any responsibility on the venue. Many times a venue will book a metal band, in a room in a residental area with sound ordinances. Then bitch about it to the band. If you're a club owner, and you want to offer live music, I applaud you. But, you have to know your rooms limitations. Also, put someone in charge that understands the business. There is a club, in which I regularly work as the live sound provider/engineer. If the owner of the club doesn't know the band, they use me. PERIOD!!.

    In the band's contract, it specifies that I run the show, and have the ability to shut it down if I feel it is in the best interest of the club. PERIOD! ! !

    Now, this is a 200 seat venue, connected to a resturaunt. I meet the bands at the door as they're coming in. I provide the band a copy of the rules, which are also in the contract, that basically say, if I say turn it down, turn it down. If I say stop saying FUCK! ! at the top of your lungs. Stop it. Etc, etc, etc... I've had to almost cancel a number of shows, because the buthead guitar player brings in a full Boogie Tripple rec stack. Then, he can't get his "tone" if he's not playing 125db. Bullshit. I basically offer to provide a very nice single 12" all tube amplifier for him to use free of charge. If he wants to perform there that night, he'll take me up on it.

    We've found, that when you're up front with the bands and let them know what's expected of them right off the bat, they will respond. If they don't, they don't get paid, and they're not invited back. Plus, I work in a fairly small city, so word travels fast between the clubs that offer live entertainment which bands cause trouble.

    Just my obversations over the past 30 years.
    Well, not to defend being too loud, but given your attitude I work for several bands who would never, ever play your club.

    My own band might, depending on your attitude. That PERIOD! bothers me.

    As far as "butthead guitar players with a full Boogie Triple Rec" are concerned, If your booking agent can't figure out what kind of band is going to be too loud for your club you need a new booking agent. You don't book Metallica/Slayer/Testament clones and expect them to be quiet. These kinds of problems should be sorted out before the gig ever happens.

    I recently did a gig at a small (approximately 150 seat) restaurant/nightclub, pinch-hitting because my friend who is the regular soundman was playing in the headline band. Everybody told me the opener was going to be a problem with volume - including the band themselves. I did my usual thing with full micing everything (just in case) and set the amps up firing cross stage to keep them out of the vocal mics and not blast the audience. Yeah, they were loud - I didn't use any of the drum mics except kick as the drummer was extremely strong. The guitar amps were loud, but because of the cross stage setup I actually used a tiny bit in the PA to balance things out. Had no problem with the vocals, nobody from the club asked me to turn it down, and everybody was saying it was the best this band has ever sounded. I didn't have to get in the guitarist's face due to the stage setup. Everybody was happy. You have to know your art.
    Last edited by John Eppstein; November 14th, 2009 at 12:33 PM.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  13. #53
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    wow.
    The Blow Monkeys must be morons, otherwise they would have left there owning the production company.
    And with a large apology bonus from the promoter and venue.

    or are you saying violence is a reasonable (or legal) response to rudeness?
    I'd say the story makes it pretty clear that they were, in fact, morons......
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  14. #54
    Ducked in here to avoid the paparazzi Dated Paris Hilton before she was a tramp!
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    hmm, there's the "take your upright bass and lay it on its side so it has to be stepped over to get to the snake or in and out of the drumkit while you dick around with other shit and act like it's inconvenient for you to put it somewhere else while you dick around with other shit" trick that I hadn't encountered until last night.
  15. #55
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    hmm, there's the "take your upright bass and lay it on its side so it has to be stepped over to get to the snake or in and out of the drumkit while you dick around with other shit and act like it's inconvenient for you to put it somewhere else while you dick around with other shit" trick that I hadn't encountered until last night.
    We can add that to the "technical terms" list.

    Relic'ing: (verb) Leaving your precious instrument in a place where it is guaranteed to accidentally get the shit kicked out of it.
    "Dude, the sound guy just relic'd your bass. Hope you can still play tonight."
    Originality is the art of concealing your sources.
    -Anonymous
  16. #56
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    First off I have been a lurker for a while now but just now got around to making an account...

    My wife and I have a small acoustic duo that we play in and our main venues are smaller coffee house type things and a few weddings and odds and end festivals.

    Keeping our sound as pure and clear as possible by using decent gear is one of the first things we do, and also really focusing on taming feedback at any given time, either playing with mic's or DI instruments.

    Multiple tunings means multiple guitars, rather than tuning between songs and having an awkward moment or two on stage. At the most I like to keep it at Drop D tuning on my guitar.

    Decent merch displays and well thought out setups for said tables makes a big difference in how much you'll sell but also will reflect on how your crowd and venue see you as an artist.

    It's much better to be early for a setup than late for one and having to rush it all through... I don't know how many bands I have seen show up 10 mins before they need to have a big PA and 10 stringed instruments all in place while not having a chance to warm up their vocals or even see to it that their sound is tweaked well.

    When we're the headliner I like to be at least 2 hours early so we can set up our PA and let our instruments sit on stands for a while, run through a song and then maybe have a bite to eat and a drink, mingle with the crowd there and then go out and perform a much less stressed sounding and feeling set. Not that we always get the chance to do this but it is a nice feeling just the same.

    A lot of our coffee house gigs are seated shows so we like to take about 10 mins in the middle to let folks go get refills and get up and walk around. We also seem to sell the bulk of our merch around this time as well.
  17. #57
    Join Date Aug 2010
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Playing too fucking LOUD



    sorry, I couldn't resist
    And this isn't just for garage bands at a bar gig, or club. I've seen
    Journey 3 times in the last 3 or 4 years. Guitar to loud every time. So much that it overpowered the entire mix of each show.
  18. #58
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    My apologies if this has been brought up in the thread aleady.

    Bands who are headlining (or have a later slot) at a small to mid-sized club: please backline your gear appropriately. Too many times I have gone to a show where the stage is already teeny-tiny, there are 3 bands on the bill, and the headliner has left all their gear haphazardly across the stage (usually jam bands). I'm not talking big amps backlined against a wall, but cord boxes, guitars, stands, dead cases, keyboards, auxillary percussion, cymbals, etc. Put this stuff BEHIND your gear! Leaving your gobs of gear all over the place not only makes it really really hard for the other bands to set up, but it takes forever, and then the sound guys have to do yoga around all this shit just to set up mics for the other bands. Even worse is when a band does this and is not open to sharing gear. Equally bad is when the drummer for the headlining band sets up their drums FRONT STAGE LEFT or right and leaves them there taking up half the stage for 2 sets.

    In other words, be mindful of the stage!! A good headliner with a good attitude can make life so much easier for the sound guys and for the other bands.
  19. #59
    Ducked in here to avoid the paparazzi Child Prodigy Gone Bad
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    Play

    For

    The

    Room.
  20. #60
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    Default Re: The main mistakes bands make with live shows

    so for example, if it's a piano and cello duo, or string quartet, but they get hired for a large arena, they should get amplifiers and play really loud "for the room"

    right?

    because the logic should be the same for hiring a punk rock band for a small club

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