Heard a terrible live band today. Muddy distortion, rhythm guitar louder than lead, singer drowned out by everything, and no rhythmic or dynamic contrast, the guitarists just wanked on distorted bar chords for the whole song. ugh. Please feel free to air your greivances about similar failures in instrumentation you have had to suffer through and share any tips on avoiding them. Allow me to make a first suggestion: lose the freaking distortion if all you play is bar chords and open chords!!! Any one else?
We have started mixing our instruments through the PA, since we now have monitors. A mistake a lot of inexperienced bands (like ours) make is that they turn up the amps way too loud to hear themselves. They lose a lot of clarity in the sound and drown out the vocals.

I also hate the balance in bands with too many members. I know rhythm guitar is very important, however, a lot of rhythm players think they deserve to be about as loud as the leads on solos. It is extremely difficult to have a good solo if the rhythm guitar drowns you out when you try to contrast the dynamics a bit. I hear this sometimes even in professional bands; the lead is just too far in the background compared to the rhythm.
Not instruments but at the last concert I went to...they switched who they had on vocals...which was alright until the drummer went on vocals and the singer went on drums. The drummer forgot the words and rather than just pick it up at the next verse or chorus... had the band carry on playing so he could try and restart...cue nearly 2 minutes of repeating verse with no vocals. Then they started again and he sang it all the way through but mumbling half of it because of nerves.


Awesome drummer...but if you're not 100% on the vocals have a piece of paper...it might not look cool but it's better than that embarassment. That said...all respect for the band, the two bigger bands (head-liners and the second "biggest") dropped out because "they forgot to get time off work"....
There was one band I saw at a backyard concert (you know these go well) The instrument you could actuallly not hear at all was the drummer. He was playing about 1 inch off the drum heads. The girl singing was 12 years old and sang in monotone. They are still around, but are still considered one of the worst bands in my town even though that event was a year ago.

The problem I see at most "rock shows" in my area is the people running sound think that just because they own a P.A., they have a degree in audio engineering. Most of the time the guitars are very muddy or too loud and you can barely hear the vocals. There have been several incidents where members of my band would tell the sound guy to turn it up and they would do nothing. There was also one incident where we started our set and during our 3rd song, the entire PA cut off because some ass clown from another band tripped over the power outlet that the mixer was in. I was positioned on the stage closest to the sound guy and turned to tell him but he was no where to be seen. So I ran and found the girl who was organizing the event and she said he left to get Chinese food! .. How professional.

Also I play synths in my band, many of the sound guys at these gigs have NO clue on how to accomdate my rig or how to mix it in the music. I was also at a show where the soundguy was RIGHT behind the drummer.. how much sense did that make?
I was once heavily prominent on these forums from 2004-2007, let's see how long I can stay now that I'm back.
Quote by psychodelia
We have started mixing our instruments through the PA, since we now have monitors.

ugh these guys even had monitors and they still sounded like crap. i'll never forgive that rhythm guitarist, he was way too loud. i don't even play with a rhythm guitarist, my bassist covers me fine. sigh my drummer is moving though, we were gonna start up our band again this summer. oh well, just me and the bass player for now.
I'm going to form a power trio soon, I'm sick of other rhythm guitars lol... if I find one who's good, I'll keep him, but all the best ones just want to do leads, so I'll cover both.
^amen for the power trio. or get a keyboardist if you want the sound filled out a bit more. or better yet a horn section. boo-ya.