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Walk me through your typical set up timeline for a gig


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  • Walk me through your typical set up timeline for a gig

    Hey guys, just curious about this... and bored at work on a friday but say you have a gig at 9pm, When does your band show up? When do you sound check? When does each member show up? Or really any other info. I will give a breakdown for my band. We are only a standard 5 piece, 2 guitars, bass, drums, and lead vocalist.

    I am currently running our sound so I usually get started a little earlier (around 5pm) getting things packed up and road ready.
    I like to show up at about 630 - 7pm to start setting up. Usually takes about 30-45 minutes for everything. My vocalist, drummer, and other guitarist usually show up at the same time. Drummer will be earlier from time to time.
    By 730pm I do a quick check of the PA, all the mics, adjust the EQ based off of the room and make adjustments according to who is using each mic and what not.
    Our bassist will usually show up around 745 - 8pm... he is kind of unpredictable which is annoying... but manageable.
    Around 8pm we usually do a quick sound check. What sucks is that I usually sit out and make sure the other 4 are mixed alright then just try and match them (I REALLY hate trying to run sound in a band I am playing in, especially being new to running sound as well)
    From 8 - 9pm we usually all just chill and drink a beer or so bored out of our minds until its time to play.

    That is really it for us. Pretty simple, usually don't mic up each instrument but probably will start doing that at a couple shows so that will increase set up time. Whats nice is depending on where we are playing we will close the bar and walk out with the owner to pick everything up the next morning. Night ends with a poor decision at wafflehouse, denny's, shoney's... etc...

  • #2
    It's really venue/event dependent. Back in the rock club days, there was often a "doors open at" time that dictated when sound check had to be done by. If you're playing a place the serves food or is broadcasting a sporting event, they might want you to set up and be done with sound check before those things take place. If it's a private event, there might be other portions of the their event that you have to be set up prior to. In my experience, the band rarely gets to be the one to call what time the band can set up and sound check.

    Are there really that many gigs where the band starts at 9 and it's OK to run sound check at 8:45? I certainly wouldn't want to be doing that where there's a roomful of people. Although I've definitely had some gigs where the available load in period was so tight that we were throwing up the gear, getting a small (if any) sound check and immediately start the set.

    Since our gigs are all private events and involve some travel for at least some of the members, there's always a predetermined load-in time that everyone is expect to honor. We usually give ourselves a 3 hour window. Everyone shows up at, say, 3, we unload the trailer, move all the gear into the room and then everyone starts on their tasks. We've all got our things we do whether that's setting up our own gear or helping out with the PA and lights. Since the singers don't really have any gear, they deal with most of the lighting. We have a sound guy so he deals with the bulk of that. Sound check is as soon as everything is ready and able to be sound checked.

    Then we're done by 6 at the latest and everyone is free to do whatever they want as long as they are back by the time we're supposed to go on stage. Better is having everyone show up at least 15 min before so we can go over any last minute changes to the set list. But private events rarely run on schedule, so a 9 start time usually ends up being closer to 9:30 or 10 most nights.
    Last edited by guido61; 08-29-2014, 10:47 AM.
    Appears the singers biggest problem is pitch and to much lesser degree his tone or phrasing. --- chord123


    • #3
      If it's a 9pm start then I'll start around 5:30. I'll start packing up the PA equipment.

      Around 6ish the bassist shows up and he and I load the equipment into our trucks. Usually hitting the road by 6:30.

      We usually play within a half-hour radius, so we get to the venue by 7. Drummer is usually getting there right around the same time and he starts setting up his drums. The singer, bassist and I unload the trucks. Keyboardist shows up and he helps unload. Then we set up.

      Whole thing takes about an hour. So that's 8pm.

      Then we have a soundcheck, make adjustments, and then we can relax. By then it's 8:15-8:20.

      I'll order some food, and by the time it comes, it's time to get ready to go on. I'll wash up, change my shirt, the food will get boxed and wait for the end of the night.

      Sometimes we get things done faster than that. One venue never lets us start setting up until 8-8:30 and then it's a mad dash to set up and get ready, and our soundcheck usually ends up being our first song. I hate that.
      Last edited by Opus Antics; 08-29-2014, 09:36 AM.


      • #4
        We are fortunate in that we are usually able to set up at a gig the night before. Whatever time we choose is when I arrive with me trailer. We unload and bring everything near the stage. Don't mind the paragraph separator. Then we get the light truss up, I place the lights where they go, and I get the singer and bass player to hook up the DMX, power & safety cables. While they are doing this I get the FOH, monitors, and power amps into place. I set up the table for the mixer and get a hand lifting the mixer onto it. The people working on the lights then get the banner up. I run the power to the subs, and speakons to all the monitors. Once the lights and banner are up the drummer gets to work on his kit. Then I run a 6 channel snake to the front for 4 vocal mics, accoustic guitar DI, and keyboards DI. Then I run an 8 channel snake to the far side of the drum kit. 6 channels for drums, a channel for bass and guitar. I run an XLR for my guitar amp. Mic the drums, hook up the mixer and we are good to go for sound check. I then load uo the scene for whatever venue we are at, and set the gains for everyone, then I go out front with my iPad mini and start dialing in the mix. Quick drumset mix, then I add everyone to that. They play a song or two and I dial in the mix, along with my guitar. Go on stage, have a GF give me the thumbs up on my vocals, then we do a song or two and get a critique from the people there, setting up tables etc. Since its the night before we will run through different songs, try a few new ones etc. then we come back the next day, I'll put on some dinner music and we wait for show time. Then we tear down some that night, finish tearing down and loading out the next day.
        PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

        LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox


        • #5
          it does depend on the venue cuz some of the places we play have awful load ins. Even then... You guys are going to hate me...

          Ostrich Hat is a trio and we have a small but decent sounding PA. When we put together this band we made sure it was as compact and easy to set up as possible. A local gig with a start time of 9pm looks like this:

          7:30pm-7:45pm Guys arrive at my house to pick up gear. We load everything up in our guitar player's SUV including my Vdrums (80% together and folded up)
          8pm arrive at the venue and start load in.
          8:30pm sound check
          8:35pm have a beer and hang out.
          9pm start to play.
          1am end the show, take 5 minutes and then start to tear down
          1:30am start the drive home

          So sometimes I am home from a local gig before 2am. Nice.



          • #6
            When I'm playing keyboards and providing PA, I use 3 hours. I can do it in 90 minutes, but then there is all that spaghetti on the floor that I want to hide. Usually I end up with about 40 minutes available for problems.


            • #7
              We have a game plan. Everything comes in in the order that suits a fast set up. Stuff never gets moved more than once. IOW, it's staged. If lights are necessary, that is done first. Other than that, it's all staged. Drums...PA...then amps etc. You get the idea.

              We get it done quickly and efficiently, with no tripping.LOL.

              No better way to kill a good gig than an inefficient setup.


              • #8
                And a good trailer pack.
                PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

                LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox


                • #9

                  Of course it's gig dependent, but I like to allow 2 hours for load in and set up. Gives us time to get things going, address any problems if they arise, and relax before the show.

                  the drummer and I haul all the PA. I bring the subs, tops, lights, and my keys. He brings the mixer/rack, mic stands, cables, and his drums. We both set everything in place as it gets brought in, then set up our own gear, then he wires the board and rack and I wire the mains and set the lights up. The bass player will show up and set up his rig, he usually carpools with the guitar player. They usually show up 30 mins after the drummer and I. It's good that they show up a little later because having them trying to setup their gear while we're doing the PA, they are just in the way. The singer shows up 30-60 minutes before showtime, depending on the venue. She brings her wireless mic and sets that up. We are usually done in less than an hour, then we line check everything (never really do a full blown sound check, we have our system down well and know our rooms). Then we can hang out, have a beer or maybe eat something.

                  After the last note is done, we start striking the stage. Everyone pitches in on this. I tear down my gear, the singer helps the drummer with his gear. The bass and guitar strike their rigs and then set to winding cables, tearing down the PA and lights and packing up. Then we all carry the gear out to the trucks. We can be completely loaded out in 30 minutes if the stage is near a door and parking is close. Some of the casino stuff the load in is longer and it might take 45 minutes from the last note till the van door closes.
                  My Live Gear: Roland FA-08, Hammond SK1-73, Nord Lead A1
                  My Bands: http://www.bksband.com


                  • #10
                    Like many others - it depends on the gig. In general terms - both of my projects typically need two hours from time of arrival to be get loaded in, set up, sound-checked and be ready to play. That can increase for venues with unusually tough load-in challenges (long distances, obstacles (steps) and/or bottlenecks (i.e., having to coordinate freight elevators), etc.) For one of my projects it can be affected by "staggered" arrivals - i.e., the PA and drum rig getting set up early at local gigs). Both projects are typically completed packed, loaded out and van doors closed within an hour of the last note being played.
                    The SpaceNorman


                    Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
                    Keyboard Rack: Samson SM10 Line Mixer, Motu MIDIExpressXT MIDI Interface, Shure PSM200 IEM system, M-Audio Wireless MIDI, Live Wires IEM ear buds, iPad wOnSong.
                    Stage Amplification: Stereo via 2 Yamaha DSR112s


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jeff42 View Post
                      it does depend on the venue cuz some of the places we play have awful load ins. Even then... You guys are going to hate me...

                      Ostrich Hat is a trio and we have a small but decent sounding PA. When we put together this band we made sure it was as compact and easy to set up as possible. A local gig with a start time of 9pm looks like this:

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-_8DrDp14c Does that include gigs where you guys use your light system? I imagine that takes a bit longer to setup.
                      sig? I don't need no stinkin sig.


                      • #12
                        your tiler is good