Advice for worst gig


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Dutch_Apples
07-08-2007, 12:55 AM
More of a rant, but I'll throw some tips at the bottom of this thread so it doesn't get closed!

I don't know if any of you have ever read that story I have posted in a few discussions about that TERRIBLE gig I had a few months ago at this really white trash bar in Delaware, but basically my band played in terrible conditions, got less pay, and the clientel was REALLY low class. I didn't think it was possible, but tonight's gig with the band was actually worse...

Somehow, my bassist booked us playing at a rec center for a private party for a guy that just came back from Iraq. As a sign from a god, I actually played this same rec center before with my last band and that gig was our worst.... cursed building?

Anyways, we thought there were going to be a bunch of 20-something year olds there because of the age of the troop and that's our primary audience. Guess again, 80% of that room was Age 55 and above and there were a lot of kids under 5 running around. There were maybe 15 people there ages 14-30. We thought we would play it safe and just have our lead guitarist and singer do some acoustic songs first to warm them up. After about 4 acoustic songs, people were still not interested so we thought we would bring that band in. Keep in mind this rec center has tiled floors and a steel ceiling. It sounded like ASS!

We tried to mix up our setlist some but that was to no avail. Many people were going outside to smoke or just talking to their friends there. I know it was a private party and they had other things on their minds, but we were hired as ENTERTAINMENT...not a radio. After our first hour set, some old guy came up to us and told us to turn down because we were hurting his ear drums! It wasn't even that loud in there...We went on break and they had no background music playing.. we didn't even bother brings ours in. We were seriously thinking of just packing up our stuff and leaving, but figured we would keep going.

Things got worse, 4 songs into our 2nd set... we start to see people talking tableclothes off, emptying trash cans, and sweeping the floor. This is an hour and a half before this thing was supposed to end... The guys in the band were saying "LET"S JUST GO!" but I tried keeping my professionalism by saying "Let's just play until someone tells us to stop".... when I started seeing someone come out with this giant platform to put folding chairs on... I knew there was no more use in trying, so we killed it and didn't care at all.

People were actually saying we played good, but the main factors in it were that people just weren't in the mood to party and our repetiore was really not appropiate for the age group there. We still got paid ($400 for a set and a half isn't bad?) but it's really not about the money anymore... I've had so many streaks of bad gigs with these guys, I'm ready to just call it a day.

One of the big reasons I was so mad tonight was because earlier today, I was at the wedding of one of my childhood friend's and had to leave the reception early to go to this gig. It was the first time one of my friends had gotten married and instead of being with my friends for a great occasion, I was stuck at this miserable rec center.

So after a few months streak of bad gigs, here's 9 tips I have for HOW TO COPE when you know you are having a bad gig:

1. Remain calm: Don't let the audience see that you are obviously not having a good time because if your mood goes down, so will there's.

2. Always bring an acoustic guitar with you at gigs, because you never know when you are going to need it. Have a few acoustic songs ready just in case.

3. Even if there is NO ONE in the room, keep playing unless you see people putting chairs on tables, putting stuff away, etc. . I've had a gig at a bar where there was 10 people in the room one minute... and 15 minutes later.. there was 150.

4. Don't talk crap about the club on the microphone. Not only is this unprofessional, but management will not welcome you back.

5. Have fun with the audience. If you are in a tense situation and see a lot of people looking like they don't care. Make cracks on the audience if you actually say something funny. Sometimes that can bring the mood up a little bit. This can also be used to change lyrics. When we covered "What I got" by Sublime tonight... since there was a lot of kids there.. we changed the lyrics "I can still get high" to " and I like apple pie" That made some people laugh and saved us for a moment at the same time.

6. If you absolutely want to stop playing early, make sure you talk with the person in charge first. Some club owners who know it's a terrible night will sometimes cut you a deal, less money if you stop early for instance. I've dealt with some people who have said "I don't care what you do".. which means you are the decision maker!

7. Never let a crowd heckle you. Sometimes audience members will start being obnoxious just for the hell of it. If that's the case, put them in their place or find other methods. Don't let them get to you.

8. You have an act to put on. Sure you may need to change things around sometimes, but your band name is your act. I was in a band before in which some band members refused to show up at a private party multi-band gig because they knew it was going to be terrible (and it was) Other members had the idea of going on without those members and having someone else play their parts. I said no way because we had a certain act to go out there with and that would have TOTATLLY changed our sound.

9. Everyone has bad gigs. There's no way around that. Just look at them as learning experiences for the future. Even guys making top dollar have bad gigs. You just can't please everyone all the time.

Muphin
07-08-2007, 01:11 AM
Sounds like a fun time to me. I'd play a worse gig for $400 :)

winterXsolstice
07-08-2007, 01:15 AM
wow man, sorry for the crap luck. if it makes you feel any better i once fell off the stage and broke the club owners leg.

JackFlash19
07-09-2007, 06:07 AM
Ok well I am somewhat torn here.

It sounds like your gig went pretty well. The amount of people there or whether they are talking to each other should not be your primary concern. You should play your heart out and have a good time playing in front of 100 people or 3. Nothing is more disappointing to the 2 or 3 people that may actually be listening to you if the band up and stops playing because they weren't enough for you. Granted the sound and acoustics of the room you are playing in may not be the best, but you should make the best of it. At least you had a gig that day, playing in front of people who haven't heard you before. Hell man, you booked a gig at a freaking rec center. What else do expect? AND you got paid $400 for it? Sounds like easy money to me.

"but basically my band played in terrible conditions, got less pay, and the clientel was REALLY low class"
........Could you be any more condescending? First off, the 'conditions' your band had to play in weren't that bad. If the conditions you speak of were the tiled floors and steel ceilings, consider yourself blessed with a roof. $400 is LESS PAY? Be glad you got that. Alot of bands play worse conditions for less or no pay at all just to be heard. You should adopt thier mentality.....and REALLY low class? why don't you be a little more egotistical and pretentious, just to see if you can be any more of an ass. One of the good things about music is that is transcends the monetary separation of 'class'. What is in your bank account or how much school you've been through doesn't determine your taste in music. That is a VERY sh!!tty thing to say. You should realize that many of the 'lower class' have a greater appreciation for music than most.
Hell I had a homeless guy come up to me asking for some change to get a burger and I saw he was carrying a guitar on his back riding his bicycle. I said 'can you play that guitar?' He said yes, So I paid him to play. He played blues and he was good. His name was steve. I handed him a 5 and he got himself a combo. Probably his first paying gig in a while, and he played it with more enthusiasm than most people i know. Get off your high horse and be thankful you have a band and a gig to play. AND be glad you could play for a member of the armed forces coming home alive, because I'm sure that what his friends and family were thinking. :rolleyes:

/rant


Not to mention your best advertising is word-of-mouth. You never know, one of the older guys might recommend your band to his son, his nephew or he might even like it himself (just cause they are old doesn't mean they don't like new music). And just because it doesn't look like they are listening doesn't mean they can't hear you. You never know, they may pause in their conversation, hear a bit of your song, and like it. I totally understand that crowd response is part of a show, but if it doesn't happen, then you play your little heart out regardless. If you quit a set because noone is listening, what does that say about your character as a musician? You got paid to do a job, finish it.


As far as bandmates refusing to show up for a gig because they think it's going to be bad, they need to rethink their stance on being a musician. You don't go play music for people to like you or enjoy your music. You play music because that's what you like to do. So many musicians and band members get this 'rock star' image in thier head that they deserve the world and shouldn't have to deal with 'conditions' or 'less pay' and 'no fans paying attention'. There are people playing guitar in the street for nothing because they love it. The least you could do is look at it from a purely business standpoint (which is what it is, a BUSINESS), and say I'm getting paid to go to work from 8pm to 10pm. I need to show up on time and work till my shift is over. I should act professional with my employers and interact well with my customers so that they will return another time.



You seriously never know who could be in the crowd, regardless of their age. Any number of people could have ties to music execs, guitar shops, promoters, advertising agencies, that would be willing to hook you up for whatever reason (you were solid musicians, you thanked them for coming after the show, they enjoyed your music etc). That's what you have to do man, you have to not only sell your music, you have to sell yourself. Try to say thanks to everyone who came out and stuck around to hear you. Make it a constant, because you seriously never know.


As far as a bad gig, I don't consider that a bad gig. A mediocre gig is one where you break a string, your drummer misses a chorus, the sound guy is clueless, you hit a wrong note in a song. That's what makes a mediocre gig. A bad gig is not having a backup guitar, playing in the rain, an amp blowing, singer throwing up on stage, sound going totally out.

When you face something like this that causes you to think about 'calling it a day' with your band, you will either be 1 of two things. A musician, or a hobbyist. A musician will work through bad gigs, rough relationships with bandmates, disagreements, and the like to further the success of the band. A hobbyist will just call it quits and go to a band that's easier and not as hard to make successful, or just play guitar at home for his friends and family. Challenge your personal resolve and try to work through something for yourself, if not for the band. Because chances are, when something comes along later in life, it will be harder than this, take much more determination to overcome, and cause you much more heartache than this has. And thats my dollar and 2 cents. Kudos to those who have read this far, because I think I just wrote a book :p:

Dutch_Apples
07-09-2007, 06:36 AM
The terrible conditions and low class people was for a different gig. Keep in mind this band I'm in doesn't play for fun and we haven't done so in awhile,which I considered our downfall. Your responce seemed to cater to someone who has been in a band for 3 months and then made this thread. That's not the case.

This band I'm in has had so many shows where we thought "OH! the bar manager for ____ is going to be here!" or "They know people" When in reality, it was just people lying to us. I've tried hanging in with this band for WAY too long, there is more to this story than what is posted here. All I can say is that when I have people saying they can't practice because they "have to see their son everyday" and "my girlfriend and I are going out tonight"...and there hasn't been a practice in a few months..it's time to leave.

I've dealth with all of the hard times, rough relationships, etc in the past, but I'm done dealing with this band. I know nothing will change because of false promises made in the past. Keep in mind this band is not the only musical thing I do in life, so never call me a hobbyist.

DoctrDrew116
07-09-2007, 04:34 PM
Dutch Apples, I see you live in Maryland. Maybe I can come see a show sometime.

Spazz128735
07-10-2007, 07:58 PM
thanks for the tips. I feel comfortable taking them to heart from someone that's coped so well and really gotten on his feet after the first few bad gigs.

garden of grey
07-10-2007, 10:54 PM
Thanks for the tips!


At least it isn't you guys messing up like crazy or anything. You just need to find some way to make the crowd interested and get somewhere.

dudetheman
07-11-2007, 12:46 AM
Ok well I am somewhat torn here.

It sounds like your gig went pretty well. The amount of people there or whether they are talking to each other should not be your primary concern. You should play your heart out and have a good time playing in front of 100 people or 3. Nothing is more disappointing to the 2 or 3 people that may actually be listening to you if the band up and stops playing because they weren't enough for you. Granted the sound and acoustics of the room you are playing in may not be the best, but you should make the best of it. At least you had a gig that day, playing in front of people who haven't heard you before. Hell man, you booked a gig at a freaking rec center. What else do expect? AND you got paid $400 for it? Sounds like easy money to me.

"but basically my band played in terrible conditions, got less pay, and the clientel was REALLY low class"
........Could you be any more condescending? First off, the 'conditions' your band had to play in weren't that bad. If the conditions you speak of were the tiled floors and steel ceilings, consider yourself blessed with a roof. $400 is LESS PAY? Be glad you got that. Alot of bands play worse conditions for less or no pay at all just to be heard. You should adopt thier mentality.....and REALLY low class? why don't you be a little more egotistical and pretentious, just to see if you can be any more of an ass. One of the good things about music is that is transcends the monetary separation of 'class'. What is in your bank account or how much school you've been through doesn't determine your taste in music. That is a VERY sh!!tty thing to say. You should realize that many of the 'lower class' have a greater appreciation for music than most.
Hell I had a homeless guy come up to me asking for some change to get a burger and I saw he was carrying a guitar on his back riding his bicycle. I said 'can you play that guitar?' He said yes, So I paid him to play. He played blues and he was good. His name was steve. I handed him a 5 and he got himself a combo. Probably his first paying gig in a while, and he played it with more enthusiasm than most people i know. Get off your high horse and be thankful you have a band and a gig to play. AND be glad you could play for a member of the armed forces coming home alive, because I'm sure that what his friends and family were thinking. :rolleyes:

/rant


Not to mention your best advertising is word-of-mouth. You never know, one of the older guys might recommend your band to his son, his nephew or he might even like it himself (just cause they are old doesn't mean they don't like new music). And just because it doesn't look like they are listening doesn't mean they can't hear you. You never know, they may pause in their conversation, hear a bit of your song, and like it. I totally understand that crowd response is part of a show, but if it doesn't happen, then you play your little heart out regardless. If you quit a set because noone is listening, what does that say about your character as a musician? You got paid to do a job, finish it.


As far as bandmates refusing to show up for a gig because they think it's going to be bad, they need to rethink their stance on being a musician. You don't go play music for people to like you or enjoy your music. You play music because that's what you like to do. So many musicians and band members get this 'rock star' image in thier head that they deserve the world and shouldn't have to deal with 'conditions' or 'less pay' and 'no fans paying attention'. There are people playing guitar in the street for nothing because they love it. The least you could do is look at it from a purely business standpoint (which is what it is, a BUSINESS), and say I'm getting paid to go to work from 8pm to 10pm. I need to show up on time and work till my shift is over. I should act professional with my employers and interact well with my customers so that they will return another time.



You seriously never know who could be in the crowd, regardless of their age. Any number of people could have ties to music execs, guitar shops, promoters, advertising agencies, that would be willing to hook you up for whatever reason (you were solid musicians, you thanked them for coming after the show, they enjoyed your music etc). That's what you have to do man, you have to not only sell your music, you have to sell yourself. Try to say thanks to everyone who came out and stuck around to hear you. Make it a constant, because you seriously never know.


As far as a bad gig, I don't consider that a bad gig. A mediocre gig is one where you break a string, your drummer misses a chorus, the sound guy is clueless, you hit a wrong note in a song. That's what makes a mediocre gig. A bad gig is not having a backup guitar, playing in the rain, an amp blowing, singer throwing up on stage, sound going totally out.

When you face something like this that causes you to think about 'calling it a day' with your band, you will either be 1 of two things. A musician, or a hobbyist. A musician will work through bad gigs, rough relationships with bandmates, disagreements, and the like to further the success of the band. A hobbyist will just call it quits and go to a band that's easier and not as hard to make successful, or just play guitar at home for his friends and family. Challenge your personal resolve and try to work through something for yourself, if not for the band. Because chances are, when something comes along later in life, it will be harder than this, take much more determination to overcome, and cause you much more heartache than this has. And thats my dollar and 2 cents. Kudos to those who have read this far, because I think I just wrote a book :p:

:golfclap: :down: :golfclap:


You are exactly right.

Play it for the music and the enjoyment of it, not that cash, fame, or glory.