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  • So if a bar wants dance patrons doesn't a DJ make more sense then a cover band?

    Converselly, how many bands have the talent to be show or concert for people to watch?

    Maybe this is one of the reasons why the live gig scene is at a crawl, the bands aren't getting it done.


  • #2

    tacdryver wrote:

    Converselly, how many bands have the talent to be show or concert for people to watch?

    Maybe this is one of the reasons why the live gig scene is at a crawl, the bands aren't getting it done.


    Don't know how it is in Eugene, but over here every DJ club folds up in about 6 months to a year. Seems no one wants that either. 

     

    Sometimes I think we're arguing over whether people would rather ride horses or drive a Model A. It's two versions of something that has evolved  and continues to. Its time we faced that in a culture that is bombarded with media stimulation and constant accessibility at all times, perhaps music as a commodity just doesn't have the marketability and appeal it once did. I can remember as a kid when lots of people wanted to play music or envied those who did.  Now, tell people you play in a band and they may just as likely yawn and change the subject.They may even dread that you'll pester them to come out to your gig. My youngest daughter, now 24, dated a kid in a band when she was 18 and she said she felt like he was having to be an Amway salesman, with his success being dependent on how many people he could beg, cajole, entice or guilt into coming to see him. She said people would dread seeing him, because he was always promoting to get a crowd. Lord knows the venues don't do it anymore. But it's what we've become: salesmen with guitars. We rarely stop to ask ourselves that if we have to invite people, encourage, entice, whatever the word one chooses to use, what does that say about the current state of the business? We don't ask, because I think we all pretty much know the answer. And so we soldier on, trying to keep a slowly sinking ship on the water. 

     

    Being a pro musician is no longer something a great number of people aspire to or admire.While we debate things like set lists, clothing, lighting, PAs and performance, perhaps it is the entire model itself that has run its course. Perhaps, in the end, we're debating ways make the Edsel more marketable. I went to a local rock bar to see some friends play awhile back. They were quite good, and very entertaining. The stage set looked like an art installation, great lighting ideas, they were funny, engaging, etc. But half the crowd wasn't paying any attention. I looked around the room and saw literally half the room sitting at tables or standing round staring at cell phones. I don't know what else these guys could have done to capture everyone's attention short of lighting themselves on fire or blowing themselves up on stage. Entire groups of folks wander the downtown area, moving from one bar to the next, staying long enough to have a drink or two, making the loop two or three times sometimes, and the music seems to be irrlevant, at best background noise. Cell phones and constant accessibility has made keeping people's attention very difficult. If you doubt it, go to a movie sometime and observe how many people sit there staring at their phones or sit chatting all the way through it. 

     

    All is not lost, however. I think we just have to be willing to adapt to whatever it becomes, and be willing to admit that, as Lee pointed out, the model is changing. It may not be changing as rapidly in the rural areas and suburbs as the cities, but changing it is, or soon will. I have certainly had to adapt. There just isn't much market for a 58 year old guy with an electric guitar in a band who can play blues and roots rock. We have tons of these here. I put out feelers offering to be a side man in a band, and not one response came. But I have been able to parlay my ability to figerpick an acoustic and play songs no one else is playing into steady work 2 to 4 nights a week as a solo, and I'm good with that.

    http://www.patcoast.com"The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio."-Christhee68" the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep."- FitchFY

    Comment


    • Lee Knight
      Lee Knight commented
      Editing a comment

      BlueStrat wrote:


      tacdryver wrote:

      Converselly, how many bands have the talent to be show or concert for people to watch?


      Maybe this is one of the reasons why the live gig scene is at a crawl, the bands aren't getting it done.




      Don't know how it is in Eugene, but over here every DJ club folds up in about 6 months to a year. Seems no one wants that either. 


       


      Sometimes I think we're arguing over whether people would rather ride horses or drive a Model A. It's two versions of something that has evolved  and continues to. Its time we faced that in a culture that is bombarded with media stimulation and constant accessibility at all times, perhaps music as a commodity just doesn't have the marketability and appeal it once did. I can remember as a kid when lots of people wanted to play music or envied those who did.  Now, tell people you play in a band and they may just as likely yawn and change the subject.They may even dread that you'll pester them to come out to your gig. My youngest daughter, now 24, dated a kid in a band when she was 18 and she said she felt like he was having to be an Amway salesman, with his success being dependent on how many people he could beg, cajole, entice or guilt into coming to see him. She said people would dread seeing him, because he was always promoting to get a crowd. Lord knows the venues don't do it anymore. But it's what we've become: salesmen with guitars. We rarely stop to ask ourselves that if we have to invite people, encourage, entice, whatever the word one chooses to use, what does that say about the current state of the business? We don't ask, because I think we all pretty much know the answer. And so we soldier on, trying to keep a slowly sinking ship on the water. 


       


      Being a pro musician is no longer something a great number of people aspire to or admire.While we debate things like set lists, clothing, lighting, PAs and performance, perhaps it is the entire model itself that has run its course. Perhaps, in the end, we're debating ways make the Edsel more marketable. I went to a local rock bar to see some friends play awhile back. They were quite good, and very entertaining. The stage set looked like an art installation, great lighting ideas, they were funny, engaging, etc. But half the crowd wasn't paying any attention. I looked around the room and saw literally half the room sitting at tables or standing round staring at cell phones. I don't know what else these guys could have done to capture everyone's attention short of lighting themselves on fire or blowing themselves up on stage. Entire groups of folks wander the downtown area, moving from one bar to the next, staying long enough to have a drink or two, making the loop two or three times sometimes, and the music seems to be irrlevant, at best background noise. Cell phones and constant accessibility has made keeping people's attention very difficult. If you doubt it, go to a movie sometime and observe how many people sit there staring at their phones or sit chatting all the way through it. 


       


      All is not lost, however. I think we just have to be willing to adapt to whatever it becomes, and be willing to admit that, as Lee pointed out, the model is changing. It may not be changing as rapidly in the rural areas and suburbs as the cities, but changing it is, or soon will. I have certainly had to adapt. There just isn't much market for a 58 year old guy with an electric guitar in a band who can play blues and roots rock. We have tons of these here. I put out feelers offering to be a side man in a band, and not one response came. But I have been able to parlay my ability to figerpick an acoustic and play songs no one else is playing into steady work 2 to 4 nights a week as a solo, and I'm good with that.




      Amen!!! My earlier points... I didn't really flesh out the ideas I had. I was too busy trying to make the point that the old model is dying. Date of death to be dertermined in your area. The fact the Nuts in a Blender can pack a house and get 20 somethings dancing (or is it 40 somethings?) is great. But it is isolated. For others to latch onto to that, not realizing that it is trending, but not in the direction thay'd hope, that's a fools errand. But it is not an unknown. We KNOW. It is going away. So... like big bands did in he 50's. From Glen Miller to Miles Davis' combos. The guys that kept their big bands died. Ignore history and you're doomed to blah blah blah. 


       


      Duos. Singles. Unique combonations of instruments with fewer players switching to keep it interesting. GOOD musicianship. Great singing. Low overhead. Unique presentation. More that just music. Acoustic busking on steriods. Go Mumford. Go little amps and modified drum kit. Upright bass and a folk singer playing pop. NEW NEW NEW


       


      Anything that is new, interesting, of quality. And low overhead designed to fit smaller venues with revenue, like eateries and their adjacent lounge. The old truth still remains. Make the till swell and you've got a gig. And with better numbers than if you don't .


  • #3
    If a man is hungry, shouldn't he eat potato chips instead of a steak?
    Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

    Comment


    • #4

      I think a band or a DJ can both fill the same functions when it comes to "party time!"  But, it depends on the band and the DJ. If either brings a sense of fun and is good at getting the party started, they can both be effective. But, generally, people seem more attracted to live music. 

      So, no, a DJ doesn't necessarity make more sense, you just need the right band or DJ. There are as many lame DJ's as lame cover bands.

       

      Check my band: SoulPlay - > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TH9-e4FmaE
      Key Rig: Alesis Fusion 8HD; Roland A-800 Pro; Toshiba i7 laptop running Cantabile VST host with IK Multimedia Total Workstation Bundle, NI Vintage Organs, Tyrell N6, Sylenth1, XLN Addictive Keys, NI FM8; Tascam US-1641 USB MIDI/Audio Interface; 2 x RCF Art 310-A MK III series monitors.

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      • #5

        Answer 1: Well that's why we've given them a high-energy dance party band that competes direct with DJ's, targeted at large dance clubs and comes with it's own DJ to spin between sets... not an easy thing to do but we've been doing it over 10 years now. We're not alone... there are many bands on our scene doing the same thing. Attendence may be down at clubs in general... but that has little to do with the bands on the scene and more to do with, high drink prices, a 4 year stagnent economy and social media. 

         


        tacdryver wrote:

        Converselly, how many bands have the talent to be show or concert for people to watch?


        Well maybe not many... but that's why business for been very good us.

        Didn't you accuse us in another thread of being too frigin lazy playing video games or whatever? Unmotivated musicians?

        so over this signature BS!!!

        Comment


        • #6
          Uh, Grant, you didn't write that song. You guys are copycat posers.
          Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

          http://www.silentlapse.com

          Comment


          • guido61
            guido61 commented
            Editing a comment

            What makes the most sense from the bar owner's perspective is the best entertainment value for his $$ that's going to keep the crowd there.  

            If it's just about playing the latest hit dance songs then sure, a DJ would win every time.  He can do it for cheaper.  So it falls on the band to make sure they do all the DJ can do and more.   The problem I see is so many bands don't even really try.   Most are barely able to play the songs decently, let alone go above and beyond.   Bands have contributed to their own demise, IMO, by sticking to decades-old entertainment models.   The ones who are successful are the ones who work to reach crowds on their level:  bringing their own DJ to spin during breaks and be part of the show; shorter song segments; more quick segues and mashups;  the ability to quickly end a song that isn't working and jumping into a new one that does.  

            I agree with everything Blue Strat says about the changing world.  It IS a new world.  Most bands are still trying to polish up that '56 Chevy.  It's a great car, and everybody might ooh and awe at a classic, but it's not  what would move out of the new car showroom.   People want AWD with heated seats, GPS and internet connectivity.   

            Bars are a bit different animal because each venue has it's own atmosphere, reputation and public appeal regardless of the entertainment they are providing on a different night and bands have to contend with all that as well.  And I don't work in bars anymore so I can only speak so much about what I think works best in them.   But where I can speak with some authority is in the private event world where we actually compete very directly with DJs for gigs.   I would imagine that at every wedding we book, the idea of "wouldn't it be better to just get a DJ for half the price?" must come up for pretty much everyone who thinks about hiring us.

            So it falls on us to, at some point, sell to client why they are going to get more for their money by hiring us.   Convincing them that their guests are going to be more entertained and they will have a better party by having a full 6-piece live band at their event than 1 DJ.    Convincing them is just salesmanship.   Delivering on that promise is the work.   But it can be done.

            I wish I had the exact quote (wish she had written it down because it was a great testimonial), but the bride at the last wedding we played came up to us after the show and was telling us that she was getting worried before we started playing because so many of her friends were expressing disappointment that she had hired a band instead of a DJ, and she was having to assure them that, "no...you just wait...these guys will be great!".   Since she had never actually seen us perform before, I can imagine why she might be worried.

            But she said that all of her friends were coming up to her all through the night saying how great the band was and how much better it was to have us there than a DJ.   She was thrilled with the final result.  Which is, of course, how it should be.  This is what we work hard to do.  Mission accomplished.

            But this kneejerk distate for a live band by younger people seems a real problem to me.   And one that can only have begun by too many people having seen way too many lame live bands in the past.

             


        • #7

          Than

          Comment


          • Opus Antics
            Opus Antics commented
            Editing a comment

            "I wish I had the exact quote (wish she had written it down because it was a great testimonial), but the bride at the last wedding we played came up to us after the show and was telling us that she was getting worried before we started playing because so many of her friends were expressing disappointment that she had hired a band instead of a DJ, and she was having to assure them that, "no...you just wait...these guys will be great!".   Since she had never actually seen us perform before, I can imagine why she might be worried."

             

            This is distressing.  It used to be that the live band was considered to be more exciting, lively and dynamic than a DJ.  


          • jeff42
            jeff42 commented
            Editing a comment

            Potts wrote:

            Than


            HAHAH! YES! (this made my day)


          • tlbonehead
            tlbonehead commented
            Editing a comment

            Potts wrote:

            Than


            when?


        • #8
          There are more bad DJ's now than bad cover bands. But you don't really notice because the recorded music you know is ultimately playing. They'll pay a guy with iTunes and a laptop to "DJ," but with none of the entertainment value that a good DJ who can work a crowd presents. Eventually bar owners will replace the bad DJ with a jukebox, because that makes more sense. If they want entertainment, they'll have to hire entertainers, like musicians, or the good DJ's who charge money.
          Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

          http://www.silentlapse.com

          Comment


          • wheresgrant3
            wheresgrant3 commented
            Editing a comment

            SLScott86 wrote:
            There are more bad DJ's now than bad cover bands. But you don't really notice because the recorded music you know is ultimately playing. They'll pay a guy with iTunes and a laptop to "DJ," but with none of the entertainment value that a good DJ who can work a crowd presents. Eventually bar owners will replace the bad DJ with a jukebox, because that makes more sense. If they want entertainment, they'll have to hire entertainers, like musicians, or the good DJ's who charge money.

            THIS I AGREE WITH.... and it totally rules in our favor. Listen, most club owners we play for want live entertainment. They ultimately hold the bands responsible for the draw that night which at times can be unfair. A bad band can draw inconsistantly or drive people right out of the club. A bad DJ can do the same... it's just in most cases the overhead risk is less. Plus... good DJ's will usually draw a better crowd than a bad DJ will. Listen in a club that doesn't have good security you will have thugs at all types of events... but a good DJ will ultimately bring out a happier crowd. I'm friends with quite a few DJ's on the scene and we don't look at each other competitively. We are always looking to collaborate with one another. One DJ is constantly pumping our shows... he's a fan of the band. In my band experience if you want the crowd to dance, you bring in a DJ. If you want to put on a show you hire a band like us. We are not background music and we put alot of bodies through the door. So I'm not down on DJ's as much as other forum members may be. We've learned to co-exist quite well. I'm more concerned about the dozen of copycat laptop bands (backing tracks) that have little in terms of 'show' but come in at a steep discount. 


        • #9
          At least that's what I'm hoping ^
          Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

          http://www.silentlapse.com

          Comment


          • guido61
            guido61 commented
            Editing a comment

            That's what I'm hoping too.   That it will all come full-circle and instead of bar owners looking for the cheapest way to hold a crowd, they'll go back to looking for ways to provide entertainment so that their venue becomes a destination.

            But then it once again falls on the musicians to find a way to make a musical performance something that people want to go out of their way to experience.   The days of simply putting up a sign that says "LIVE MUSIC" and having that be the draw are obviously long gone.  

            I dunno.  I'm old and burnt out.  I don't have the energy or creativity or desire to re-invent the wheel.  I'm content to such find a small niche that works for me for however-many years I might have left in this business.  But it seems to me instead of complaining about how modern technology has ruined people's appetite for live music,  younger musicians need to be USING all that modern technology to create new and exciting forms of live entertainment.  


        • #10
          ^Sellout
          Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

          http://www.silentlapse.com

          Comment


          • guido61
            guido61 commented
            Editing a comment

            SLScott86 wrote:
            ^Sellout

              

            Well, my attitude has always been that the minute you accept a paycheck for doing covers you've already offically sold out, so it only makes sense to do it right and go all the way after that!


          • Opus Antics
            Opus Antics commented
            Editing a comment

            "Opus... how many live bands are there in your general area. How do they compete against DJ's. Do you feel the pressure to draw from bar owners and the 'pinch' when negotiating?"

             

            How many bands?  More than you can count. And, yes, like many people have said, the large majority of them are pretty bad.  So now that I sit and think about it, I can see how people equate "live music" with "bad music".  But at the event level, I've always thought it was a no-brainer - if you can afford the band, you get the band.

             

            However, there are quite a few out there in the bar circuit still who are darn good.  But very few who do it all.  I've seen some bands play technically perfectly all night long, sound amazing, but who are boring as sin to watch.  

             

            How do people compete against the DJs?  Around here? I'm not seeing a lot of bands step up to the plate.  We are trying to compete by playing music people want to hear (as opposed to music we like to play - there can be a difference at times), staying current with the set list, and by interacting with the crowd.  We'll have T-shirt give-aways; call out people celebrating an anniversary or birthday or something, go out into the crowd with a wireless mic for singalong type songs, occasionally let people "sing backup" on a mic off to the side, or come up on stage and dance with us.  We try to be interactive.  Not saying we have it down yet.  Still a work in progress, but there's a plan.  We want it to be an event, not a concert.  Trying to up our game with lights and a fogger (thanks RoadRanger) and enhance the visual experience.  But I don't see a whole lot of other bands bringing that to the table right now.  And like I said, we don't have it all down yet, but we will.  


        • #11
          "Dude, you didn't even write that progression"
          Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

          http://www.silentlapse.com

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          • #12
            $60 an hour is minimum wage? Somebody better tell Ted Cruz.
            _________________________________________________
            Appears the singers biggest problem is pitch and to much lesser degree his tone or phrasing. --- chord123

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            • #13
              I'm ultimately with Tim. The money in the originals scene sucks. The money playing covers solo is better, but if I didn't enjoy both I wouldn't do both.

              Tacdryver is in a world where people buy enough music to keep the "real" musicians afloat and Elvis Presley was an uncreative hack riding the creative coattails of songwriters.
              Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

              http://www.silentlapse.com

              Comment


              • #14
                I've always believed in putting on the best show you can. Engage the crowd, have fun up there and look like you are having fun as well. Nothing worse than some shoe-gazers. Interact with each other, interact with the crowd.

                Put on the best show you can. Buy the best gear you can, reinvest until you have a solid setup. I too have Unity15's over LS800p's and they've served me well for the past 10 years.

                We don't do as well as Dave but we have a $300/man minimum and we too out at $500/man (I tack on an extra $100 for providing the light/sound rig) so I do ok. I also provide sound & lights for other bands.

                My band isn't playing NYE this year, but I'm providing sound & lights for a band that is playing NYE for $1000. So it's a pretty decent payday.


                How much have you made with your original songs?
                PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

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

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