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Old 07-08-2013, 03:39 AM   #21
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canberra, Australia
^^^ That's pretty much right, I'll do my own spin on it though.

Venues get cover bands to make more money. In this respect they are making a bet. They are betting $800 (average for a 4 hour set in my area) that if they get a band in for 4 hours that they will make more than $800 because they brought the band in. This usually means drinks. Lets say a drink is $5 a pop. So they need to sell 160 drinks in 4 hours to break even with the band, and ideally make more than that so that the band pays off. The whole reasoning is that their customers will stay longer because there's a band there, hopefully dancing. If people are dancing they're more likely to get their eyes on someone they like there and spend more time dancing, and importantly more time drinking until they go home with someone in a drunken state.

So the cover band, they're there to keep the customers there. That's their job. How do you do this job? Well they have to play music that appeals to the widest demographic possible, play it well, and hopefully put on a bit of a show. So that's what you need to do.

BUT if you play music badly, or play music that the audience doesn't like, they will leave. The world of cover bands can be especially harsh sometimes.......STORYTIME!

I recall one gig where everything was going well then we played a song that was not in the liking of the audience and they split. Quite literally. I have never seen a dance floor clear that fast, I joked later that it was like Moses played the gig. However at the time it was quite not as funny, as they split roughly 30 seconds into the song, and stood on the outside of the dance floor looking in.

Imagine if there was a circle of people on a dance floor watching a dude breakdance, except there was no breakdance guy, yep that was the audience. I was quite surprised, the place was packed out but through audience cooperation they had managed to clear the entire floor and absolutely fill the outside of it. In fact we had done the audience one so badly they did not return to the floor for another four songs, at which point the band ended that set, the CD player turned on and they flooded the dance floor whilst we did the walk of shame.

Ahh yes. It's a lesson for everyone. Never play Evanescence.

But that does demonstrate the point, the venue is getting a band in to make more money than they would putting on a CD player. CD players don't take breaks, they don't get paid, they just play music more perfectly than any cover band ever could. However they lack the human element of entertainment, and that's pretty much what draws people to live performance of any type.

You cannot please everyone all the time, but a cover band sure has to try, and your song choice is integral to whether the audience is going to enjoy the show or not (and stay and drink etc). If you play songs they don't like they leave. Venue gets angry, they made a loss because they hired you, and you feel like crap because you chased the audience away.

And that's why the metal cover band will not work in most places. If it's a metal bar - go for it, that's your audience. If it's anywhere else, do not do it. I have seen many a thrash metal band literally clean out a pub.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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Old 07-08-2013, 06:09 PM   #22
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Join Date: Jan 2010
you could always try adapting your metal tastes to interesting variations - it's a market that's hardly cornered. metal parody bands like steel panther found a niche and ran with it, and now they're playing regular gigs (with original music) touring and filling up venues in vegas on their off-time. and that's not even original, really, so much as a well-executed spinal tap reboot

then there are a few bluegrass cover bands like hayseed dixie that cover stuff like motorhead and 70s/80s hard rock/metal their own way

if you find a unique niche to exploit in your market, you have exclusivity to keep people on the dance floor and gigs in your address book
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