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  • what would you have done?

    last night i did a show with headliner and two opening bands. this was not a festival style show but instead a show where the headliner is soundchecked before doors and then the opening bands use whatever is left over both stage wise and equipment wise.

    this was an even that required a lot of negotiating in the planning stage, and one of the main points agreed on was i was hired to bring enough equipment to satisfy the headliner rider but not beyond. the rider was clear that headliner would be soundchecked before doors and nothing struck, no channels pulled, no mixes changed. any opening bands were to use left over channels. the promoter was not willing to pay for more than the headliners requirements, and from the riders of the opening bands it would work if headliner allows opening bands to use the front vocal mics. headliner ok's this. actually the headliner was very cool, relaxed and allowed a lot of wiggle room.

    soundcheck in reverse order -

    headliner soundchecks fine, it sounds great. they are happy. turns out their rider was a little off, no biggie. they play four full tunes so i can dial foh in, sweet! i wish i had more days like this.

    second opening band sets up, headliner agrees to move some things out of the way for them. this amazes me as a very generous move on their part. i know the second band personally and had talked to them about what was going to happen, that we would have three channels beyond vocals for them and they were cool about it; they understood the way it was. they had a thirty minute slot so one drum mic was ok for all parties. (during the show this band was really good and played one of their best shows, and they got all their equipment off the stage in 4 minutes.)

    minutes before doors opened the first opening band shows up. their rider stated 3 vocal mics, 2 guitars and one bass. we had the three extra channels of course which just meant that the second bands mics got pulled to do the first band and then reset. since the headliner had agreed to allow use of the 3 vocal mics out front all was good. but it was not to be all good.

    the first band showed up with more instruments and amps than i have seen in a while and demanded 10 channels and four vocal mics. i said we have 3 channels plus 3 vocals. an argument ensued which quickly escalated until i said 'your rider said three channels and three vocal mics.' which got the oddest response i have ever heard, ever.

    they turned to each other and said 'ryder said we get 3 vocals and the mics, who is ryder?' i was stunned. at this point i got the promoter involved and brought up the negotiated contract. the first band kept looking at all these mics on stage and could not understand why we wouldnt just pull them so they could use them. it got ugly and i held firm that i would not pull any mics from the headliner as per contract agreement. i would meet the conditions of the first bands rider and no more. i asked if they knew what i rider was and they said no. turns out the promoter had created the rider after talking to first band on the phone.

    i wasnt totally unsympathetic. the headliner did agree to pull the fourth vocal mic up front for first band to use. again, headliner was very accommodating but of course would not agree to pull instrument mics nor would i. there was to be no post-doors soundcheck for the headliner.

    the first band went on with 3 mics and 4 vocals. they played a folky sounding set with beat boxing and generally werent very good, complained about the sound inbetween tunes and after thirty minutes got off my stage. (all this grief over a 30 minute slot).

    second band played and rocked. serious rockage occured in their 30 minutes. i was impressed. people were rocked. i was rocked. even the ME commented on the amount of rockage the second band brought with them. and the second band never complained, and only had one mic on the drumkit.

    headliner went on after all the vox were reset. it's been 14 hours since they stopped playing and i am still thinking about them. they brought the show for sure. all in all it was a very good show minus the first band.

    i was pissed at them all night. i'm still a little hot. it was their attitude, that i was there only to please them. this struck a nerve over my prior teaching experience. and no surprise, the bulk of the band were students at said experience (who have been programmed to beleive tech people are not dissimilar to food servers). i was in no mood to accommodate anyone other than prior negotiated terms and i did not.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">band status - &quot;its complicated&quot;</div>

  • #2
    You stuck with the contract, the promoter was brought in to handle things and the headliner accommodated slightly. I'm not sure there is much more this band could have asked for in terms of accommodation. You are simply there to execute a defined set of instructions and provide services within the lines - and it sounds like you did this

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    • #3
      I've never played in a band that has had a show in anything bigger than a local watering hole, so I've never been in this type of situation.

      What if the first opening band had shown up with their own mics and mixer? Is it possible to accommodate better if that is the case?

      There's definitely no excuse for treating a sound person like crap, but I know that if I was playing in a band that I really cared about, I'd be kind of pissed if I was forced to play a venue with one mic on my drumkit (assuming it was anything larger than a hole in the wall). From a musician's point of view (assuming I am in this sort of first opening band) what can I do to prevent something like this from happening?

      Comment


      • #4
        you would simply communicate with the promoter/provider beforehand to find out if this is the case, and what they will provide. you wouldnt just show up to any gig thinking everything you want will be provided with no prior negotiation would you?

        the bands are hired; if you don't like what the job is don't take it.

        in a 'festival' setting none of this would have been an issue, i would have been happy to provide the first band with as much as i could. during the negotiating process i brought up the idea of having an additional mixer for the opening bands but this concept ended up on the floor.

        in this scenario i worked for the event coordinator, not the bands. i try and be as accommodating as possible but in this case there was little i could do.

        i've been in plenty of odd situations like this on the other side of the mic, and its just as easy to strip down your performance for the setting i think. i've played my keys without PA before, and brought a minimal rig to play through. it seems like if your a good band you could work with it instead of throwing a tantrum. it was only 30 minutes with 10 minute changeovers so you cant expect all the bells and whistles.

        the weirdest show i ever played was in hungary, i was in a wind band and we showed up to the venue and found they had provided NO CHAIRS. there are a few wind instruments you can play while standing but many more which you cannot. we made do, no one became angry and we simply threw out the more complex tunes in lou of a lighter concert, more appropriate to the situation.
        <div class="signaturecontainer">band status - &quot;its complicated&quot;</div>

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        • #5
          Yeah, the fact that the first band didn't know what a rider was shows how woefully unprepared they were no matter what you tried to do for them. I absolutely agree with you there.

          So I guess if I'm playing in an original band opening up for someone at a bigger venue, just try to communicate as much as possible with the event coordinators and bring spare equipment to be safe?

          EDIT: I suppose you already answered my questions in your previous post, so I'm being a bit redundant here.

          Comment


          • #6
            I've never played in a band that has had a show in anything bigger than a local watering hole, so I've never been in this type of situation.

            What if the first opening band had shown up with their own mics and mixer? Is it possible to accommodate better if that is the case?

            There's definitely no excuse for treating a sound person like crap, but I know that if I was playing in a band that I really cared about, I'd be kind of pissed if I was forced to play a venue with one mic on my drumkit (assuming it was anything larger than a hole in the wall). From a musician's point of view (assuming I am in this sort of first opening band) what can I do to prevent something like this from happening?
            Don't show up late like the dumbasses in the OPs post. Anytime my band has ever opened for a national act we are at the venue hours before showtime. Then you get to play"hurry up and wait". The promoter or sound company needs a rider at least a couple of weeks before show time. remember you are way down the food chain at these events so try to be resonable with your rider requests. DON'T BE A DICK! If you do don't expect the promoters to want to work with you again.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think you handled it the right way.
              I had a client (550 seat theater) where these issues occasionally came up. They bring in good B level acts (next few are Lou Gramm, Robert Cray, and a Genesis tribute act) and used to get one or two bands to open the show. It usually turned into a cluster****************, as the stage is pretty small with not a lot of offstage storage space. The managing director held firm to "the opener gets what they get after the headliner's done". Eventually I was able to train her that the best situation for all involved was to hire a single solo or duo acoustic act to open. It's been that way for awhile, and the shows run very smoothly.

              Comment


              • #8
                You pretty much did what was right. I like the idea of the lunch with the promoter. Another thing you might do is, if you still have contact infol for the first band, in as kindly was as possible (without talking down to them) let them know that the reason they were unhappy was a lack of communication. That if they plan on doing more shows on this level that a comprehensive stage plot and input list should be advanced and negotiated with the promotor and technical staff I.E. you, well before the gig (weeks or month's are good).

                In doing this you may be helping these guys have a smoother journey through life. If they don't heed your advice, then at some point they will find the error of their ways. It could put your head in a better space if you think of yourseldf as the wizened pro and them as the students in need of knowledge.

                Or...... if they peeved you off enough you could just say "F&*# them - I'm glad I'll never see them again". In my book both are valid approaches
                J.R. Previously jrble

                See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

                Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
                If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You pretty much did what was right. I like the idea of the lunch with the promoter. Another thing you might do is, if you still have contact infol for the first band, in as kindly was as possible (without talking down to them) let them know that the reason they were unhappy was a lack of communication. That if they plan on doing more shows on this level that a comprehensive stage plot and input list should be advanced and negotiated with the promotor and technical staff I.E. you, well before the gig (weeks or month's are good).

                  In doing this you may be helping these guys have a smoother journey through life. If they don't heed your advice, then at some point they will find the error of their ways. It could put your head in a better space if you think of yourseldf as the wizened pro and them as the students in need of knowledge.

                  Or...... if they peeved you off enough you could just say "F&*# them - I'm glad I'll never see them again". In my book both are valid approaches
                  J.R. Previously jrble

                  See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

                  Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
                  If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sn opening act nneds to realize this is an opportunity and not to screw the hand that gave them this opportunity. The real question the band needs to ask themselves is if it's better opening for a big crowd or playing their own show to nobody?

                    I have had some of the best opportunities (in the horse world) when we have opened for a headliner show rather than when we did our own show. We spent years accomodating whatever was asked of us and however we could help out. Yes, sometimes it was inconvenient but it lead to sharing some headline slots over the past few years and to meeting some really good folks who helped us get more than a foot in the door. In this year of budget cutbacks, we were confirmed for a large summer event with no problem at all, we were selected because we get the job done and get along with everybody and don't present any 'tude.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In this year of budget cutbacks... we were selected because we get the job done and get along with everybody and don't present any 'tude.


                      This will probably be the case in most situations, whether in horse shows, live sound, or working at McD's.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer">Engineering Axiom 21: Whomever has the key should be qualified.</div>

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                      • #12
                        This will probably be the case in most situations, whether in horse shows, live sound, or working at McD's.


                        My point exactly.

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                        • #13
                          When I have to deal with a headliner that shares no inputs with everyone else I'll bring a little miser (01V) for openers and repatch and do monitors from FOH. I may even say only 2 mixes per and use 1/2 for 2nd band and 3/4 for opener.

                          The first band was terrible in thier behavior and you were right to hold your ground. I default to the contract and tech rider, if it hasn't been updated then that's not my fault.
                          <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.rock-bot.com" target="_blank">www.rock-bot.com</a><br />
                          Live-Band-Karaoke<br />
                          <br />
                          bassist and sound reinforcement</div>

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