Any tips for my first pub gig (Auckland, NZ)
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12-07-2012, 12:58 AM
My 4 piece covers band is about to do our very first pub gig. It's a little Irish pub called the Clare Inn, (for anyone who lives in Auckland, NZ). We have about 40 songs mostly classic stuff : Queen, GnR etc.
We'll be using our own PA which includes just 2x12" speakers and well that's it aside from the guitar amps. We just angle them in a bit so we can hear ourselves sing.
None of us have any experience at being a front man, from what I can see just act like an idiot, talk crap with the crowd and they'll find you entertaining.
I'm a little nervous about the mix. We will have friends there who can comment during the gig and we might try to get there really early to play a chorus of a song or something. But yeah I'd hate for our sound to be ruined by some fundamental problem. Such as when the bar is full the eqing might be completely wrong or something. We are doing our own sound mix from on the stage.
We pretty much have our drummer playing as quietly as he can so we can keep our overall volume from getting too loud, managers hate when the bands are too loud.
Anyway that's my story. Any tips or suggestions. Things to look out for??
12-07-2012, 04:08 AM
Well I think you need to be a bit more confident and also a bit worried about the practicalities.
At this stage you have your repertoire sorted, I think 40 songs are too many. Over here pub gigs usually consist of two sets about an hour each. The break will give the singers voice a chance to recover. We play 14 songs a set which lasts an hour including links. Choose your best songs and think about the order. Start with a good song but one which is easy to play. The nerves can make the first song pretty ragged so choose something you can play asleep, this really settles the nerves. Finish each set with something good, you want the audience to want you back so give them your best shot. There's a sticky in bandleading about all this. Think about how to keep the gaps between songs as short as possible, link some songs in pairs so you lead straight in from one to the next with no break. sort out who starts each song and don't leave gaps where nothing is happening. Don't talk crap but be natural, mainly don't talk for too long, people want the music the craic they get from the people they are with.
A 2x12 isn't really good enough for vocals. I haven't used them since the early seventies! You really need the higher frequencies and this means something equipped with a horn, is there nothing better that you can borrow?
make sure your singer can hear their vocals properly, it is going to be harder than at practice and if they can't hear they will sing out of tune. 50% of pleasing the audience is how well they sing.
You have to sound check properly, especially if you are doing your own mix. Even though we have been gigging for years we still sometimes hire a hall and set up as if we were on stage and sort out any technical problems, a kind of technical rehearsal. On the day I allow an hour for setting up and soundchecking and I've been doing sound for 40 years. You need to allow longer. You need to spend time soundchecking. Loads of information here http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/the_guide_to/the_guide_to_pa__part_two_-_setting_up_and_soundchecking.html You do a line check to test that everything is working then play a chorus or verse, adjust and repeat, adjust and repeat. If you change instruments at all then you need to repeat with something that uses all the different instruments. You also need to allow time for things going wrong, take spare leads etc but mainly give yourself time to sort problems by arriving as early as possible. This inevitably means nothing will go wrong and you will be sitting around waiting to start, which shouldn't be too hard in a pub, but there's nothing worse than panicking about the gear then having to go on with your heart still racing from the panic.
It's really hard to mix if you are playing, you can't really hear what the audience hear and it is pretty hard to concentrate on your playing if you have one ear on the PA. If you have a reliable friend then it is worth having them there whilst you set up and then have them tweak the mix during the set. If you don't have someone you can trust then get a long lead (you can buy a socket to join two jack leads) and walk out to the audience area to listen during the soundcheck.
In the end enjoy yourselves. Looks like you are going to have a popular set and the audience are always more supportive than you think. Good Luck
12-07-2012, 05:14 AM
Hmm. Getting a solid house mix without mic'ing anything is definitely not easy, in most cases. Just remember that your lead guitar player (assuming you've got more than one guitar player) isn't TOO overbearing. Even if you only have a guitar and a bass, keep that in mind.
Acoustic drum kits don't likely have a volume control, so, yeah, that's always something to keep in mind. Make sure you're playing is tight, in the end. Because, frankly, people aren't there to see a cover band because they want to hear what's on a record. It's a live gig. Live music is supposed to be loud and raunchy..especially for a rock show.
Overall, just play your parts and no, don't act like idiots. LOL. Be respectable and play what people like to hear. The more songs they dig, they more beers they'll drink..and the more beers they drink..the more likely you and your band will be asked to return to said pub...which results in better pay.
12-07-2012, 07:27 AM
thanks for the pointers.
I should clarify my gear. The 2 front of house speakers we have each consist of a 12" speaker + horn. So yeah have that covered. Also we are micing the guitar cab with a condenser instrument mic and feeding it through the front of house speakers. I've seen bands just crank the cab by itself and it sounds terrible.
As for songs, I'm pretty sure we'll be expected to play for 3hours all up including a half time break. So our aim is 20 songs +30min break +another 20 songs which will end up being about 3 hours.
Yeah I'll probably take it easy then on the acting like an idiot, maybe just the occasional dialogue with the crowd, just for a bit of engagement. We only have a few songs that definitely run together, the others we just kinda start them straight away, after the previous one. (Something to work on maybe)
As for setting up I'm going to try and get there like 4pm, do a quick chorus, have a muso friend critique the mix and then hope for the best. But he'll be there during the gig too to tell us if we need to adjust anything. Then we'll take turns at watching the gear until 9pm when we start.
12-07-2012, 04:25 PM
have a great night
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