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  • Setlists (or the lack thereof)

    We played a big party last weekend at the end of the St. Patty's Day parade (I posted a couple pics in another thread).  We had to play one set that was around 2 hours long.  Not knowing what kind of crowd we'd have and what the mood would be, I didn't do a setlist.  I just took about 70 songs, and called out each song towards the end of the one before.  We were still able to move from song to song with no breaks like we always do.

     

    Personally, I think it worked out great.  It let me judge the mood of the crowd and then pick the next song accordingly.  If I saw the crowd dancing, we gave them another dance tune.  If they we singing, we gave them a sing-along.  Ig they wanted to rock, we threw some heavier stuff at them.  Really, for us the set list has always been more of a loose guide then an actual setlist.  I constantly rearrange things on the fly, but this is the first time that I was the only one who even had a song list in front of them.

     

    Anyone else work like this?  Because I'm almost thinking of doing this for all our shows.

    ****************

    Jason
    My band: http://www.facebook.com/thetrickydickies

    "Do or do not. There is no try" - Yoda

  • #2
    I do something similar but I usually have a list for each set ie. Heres 15 songs that are "first set" kind of songs. I almost never put them in order anymore, I got sick of wasting good dance tunes when the crowd really wanted a singalong and vice versa. Gotta have some kind of list though, without one I magically forget what songs we do!

    Comment


    • guido61
      guido61 commented
      Editing a comment

      sweatpat wrote:
      Gotta have some kind of list though, without one I magically forget what songs we do!


      Me too.  Must be an age thing (on my part anyway.)  I used to remember everything.   Now, if I don't have a master list of songs, I'll find myself on stage with the crowd wanting an encore and me not being able to think of a single song we know how to play....


    • tlbonehead
      tlbonehead commented
      Editing a comment

      sweatpat wrote:
      I do something similar but I usually have a list for each set ie. Heres 15 songs that are "first set" kind of songs. I almost never put them in order anymore, I got sick of wasting good dance tunes when the crowd really wanted a singalong and vice versa. Gotta have some kind of list though, without one I magically forget what songs we do!

      Same here!! The bass player and I also try to bring a couple of fresh songs to the gig that we've never done before just to surprise the rest of the band. Obviously we want to be pretty certain the the other players are at least somewhat familiar with the song.


    • RobRoy
      RobRoy commented
      Editing a comment

      sweatpat wrote:
      I do something similar but I usually have a list for each set ie. Heres 15 songs that are "first set" kind of songs. I almost never put them in order anymore, I got sick of wasting good dance tunes when the crowd really wanted a singalong and vice versa. Gotta have some kind of list though, without one I magically forget what songs we do!

      +1

      We use a setlist but then alter if necessary - adding or removing a song, modifying the order as the need arises. I even used to do that in my DJ days in the late 70's I actually prerecorded the music in order on cassettes (I was a gearhead even back then and used very good stuff) and would inject a fast song or two from the other cassette deck if a slow one was coming up and the crowd was clearly not ready.

      BTW, I used cassette because I was lazy (hands free until the end of the tape) and in some venues the dancing would cause the records to skip. It was the old days. Lots of places had wood floors.


  • #3

    I like doing that.  I find it much better for the show to be able to call out stuff on the fly.  Problem I have is that, with a 6-piece and with everyone having earbuds slammed into their heads, I can't effectively get the "call" out to everyone.  If it's a song the drummer starts, I can communicate with him, but that's about it.  Otherwise I have to shut down the flow and, as you know, even a 10 second break between songs isn't usually ideal.

    Every gig I find myself fantasizing about having some sort of monitor facing the band that all could see that I could have read out the next song. 

    _________________________________________________
    band websites:
    http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
    https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
    https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
    http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

    Comment


    • trevcda
      trevcda commented
      Editing a comment

      We work a couple of different ways; if our keys guy is on the show we don't use a setlist and he will call them out on the fly.  If he's not, we list the songs we want to use in a set or use an ordered setlist, because we need a better flow.


      David- since you're on ears, why don't you add a second mic by you that only goes to the IEMs for talking to the band?  I did some fill in work for a band that had dedicated IEM only mics (that kind of doubled for ambient mics) and it worked really well, except for the color commentary concerning the female dancers from the guitar player, which usually came as I was concentrating on a vocal harmony I'd just learned for this band, ending with me cracking up mid harmony.


    • TrickyBoy
      TrickyBoy commented
      Editing a comment

      guido61 wrote:

      I like doing that.  I find it much better for the show to be able to call out stuff on the fly.  Problem I have is that, with a 6-piece and with everyone having earbuds slammed into their heads, I can't effectively get the "call" out to everyone.  If it's a song the drummer starts, I can communicate with him, but that's about it.  Otherwise I have to shut down the flow and, as you know, even a 10 second break between songs isn't usually ideal.

      Every gig I find myself fantasizing about having some sort of monitor facing the band that all could see that I could have read out the next song. 


      Knowing nothing about earbuds, is it possible to have a second mic set up that only plays through them and not the FOH??


    • RobRoy
      RobRoy commented
      Editing a comment

      guido61 wrote:

       Otherwise I have to shut down the flow and, as you know, even a 10 second break between songs isn't usually ideal.

      I was "fired" from a band once because one of the members would twiddle with his equipment between songs, often for several minutes, and I finally said after a gig that it is simply not acceptable for a serious band to put up with such a thing on any kind of regular basis. The experience proves that sometimes the minority can be right, but they are still the minority, and all that that implies.


  • #4

    We always use setlists, but only follow them somewhat. Usually in a 15-16 song set (about 75-80 minutes or music) 5-6 songs won't be on the set list. Sometimes it is more.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="mailto:tlbonehead@yahoo.com">tlbonehead@yaho o.com</a><br />
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    Comment


    • #5

      Unlike drummers, bass players and to large degree, guitar players - as a cover band keyboard player, I'm expected to cover a broad spectrum of sounds.  That means pre-programmed patches for most tunes.  I arrange those patches in advance - based on the set list - so that I can get to the right patch for each song immediately.   Deviating from the set list negates that preparation - and leaves me scrambling. 

      If we're gonna work without a list - I'll whip up a half dozen generic patches and be done with it.   Just don't turn around and wonder where that real cool _____ sound that I used to play in Song X went to.  I can deal with either approach - however, if you're a "set list" band - stick to the damn list!  If you're a "wing it" - know you're gonna hear a dramatically reduced sound palate.  It's that simple.

      The SpaceNorman

      www.facebook.com/SuperstarsOfRock
      www.souldoutrocks.com

      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

      Comment


      • SeniorBlues
        SeniorBlues commented
        Editing a comment

        SpaceNorman wrote:

        Unlike drummers, bass players and to large degree, guitar players - as a cover band keyboard player, I'm expected to cover a broad spectrum of sounds.  That means pre-programmed patches for most tunes.  I arrange those patches in advance - based on the set list - so that I can get to the right patch for each song immediately.   Deviating from the set list negates that preparation - and leaves me scrambling. 

        If we're gonna work without a list - I'll whip up a half dozen generic patches and be done with it.   Just don't turn around and wonder where that real cool _____ sound that I used to play in Song X went to.  I can deal with either approach - however, if you're a "set list" band - stick to the damn list!  If you're a "wing it" - know you're gonna hear a dramatically reduced sound palate.  It's that simple.


        I played a wedding last night and this was a major issue.  I had a pointed discussion with the band leader after the gig and then again on the phone today.  Here's what I proposed:

        1)  Make each set list longer than it has to be.  If the next song on the list seems less suitable, skip it and go to the next one.

        2)  Be aware of which songs require a specifc patch, and

        3)  Be aware of which songs are not yet refined and need full concentration and/or a lead sheet.  If it's a standard everyone knows cold and a generic piano will work, call it . . . . BUT

        4)  Tell me first!  I can hit a switch while you're telling the other guys.

        5)  Identify the songs which can be started with an extended vamp.  This also helps our new drummer lock into a groove he may not have in his pocket yet.

        For our band, #5 seems  like it will be the most helpful.  The band leader agreed to all the above . . .  in theory.  We'll see.


    • #6
      That's one reason I'm the guy who calls out the songs!
      _________________________________________________
      band websites:
      http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
      https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
      https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
      http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

      Comment


      • #7
        Guido, I don't know if you have a mic or not but they make handy stomp boxes that turn your live mic into a talkback mic.... one such model is the panic button by Proco I think. This eliminates the need for 2 mics.

        Comment


        • MDLMUSIC
          MDLMUSIC commented
          Editing a comment
          I have OnSong on my iPad, so I make lists of the different songs by genre, then use the randomizing button to come up with setlists. I don't stick to it 100% but at least it gives me something to go to when I have one of my senior moments (which seem to be happening more frequently, now that I actually AM a senior).

      • #8

        I play in three bands.  One band strictly follows the setlist, another band we create the setlist but deviate heavily and the 3rd band there is no set list.  My enjoyment of playing basically follows the above order and the energy level of the band generally follows the above order.  Coincidence?

        '57 Hammond B3; '69 Hammond Porta-B; Hammond XM2/XMc2; '68 Leslie 122; Motion Sound Low Pro/Pro 3T; Neo Vent; Kurzweil PC3; Generalmusic Equinox 88 Pro and 76; Voce V5+; EV ELX112P; '67 Howard Combo Organ; http://www.dyinbreedband.webs.com

        Comment


        • SpaceNorman
          SpaceNorman commented
          Editing a comment

          delaware dave wrote:

          I play in three bands.  One band strictly follows the setlist, another band we create the setlist but deviate heavily and the 3rd band there is no set list.  My enjoyment of playing basically follows the above order and the energy level of the band generally follows the above order.  Coincidence?


          I don't think it's a coincidence at all. I can't recall many bands that were tight enough and had the stage communication to pull it off well.  The couple that I can remember - pretty much played more "listening oriented" Americana type material.   Add keys that cover more than just piano or organ ... and the likelihood of success falls significantly.  

          Most of the touring acts out there run off a predetermined set list - clearly there's a reason for it.

           

           

           


      • #9

        We pretty much do that. There's always a setlist be we never stick to it and always jump around. I like doing things that way to a certain extent. If we veer too far from the plan it can trip me and my keyrig up due to load-times, etc. But, within a certain window/song group it works well.

         

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

        Comment


        • Piano Whore
          Piano Whore commented
          Editing a comment

          I much prefer gigs where I just stick to organ/piano/EP etc, but nowadays I have to futz around with some miscellaneous sounds and a 2-keyboard rig, so set lists are a necessary evil if the band wants to avoid dead time. To complicate matters, I'm hard of hearing and my band members work around that somewhat by relying on specific symbols or gestures for certain songs or keys (for example, flipping me the the bird means "F", the "f*k you" key). At one point it got to where the drummer couldn't so much as scratch himself without me launching into a song. 

          One of my favorite gigs was with an old-time blues player who preferred organ to piano (possibly because my piano playing sucked for blues). So I would show up with just my trusty Yamaha SK20 combo organ, an X stand, and my amp- no DI's or FOH to worry about. I do better with simplicity vs having to operate a Captain Keyboard Command Station. Although I also remember my college band days, when I got pretty good at allowing for the load-time (15-30 secs?) for my Mirage sampler in time for the next number, even while crocked. 

          Hear ya Norman about band members calling out a key, only to have it be just the first chord of the song. It also puzzles me when a singer doesn't know what key they sing THEIR OWN SONG in. Although I have gotten pretty good at suggesting keys, based on gender/range etc.

           


      • #10
        For me, at least, it's largely an age thing. I grew up an age where synths had to be complete reprogrammed between songs. Having a PRESET with a NUMBER assigned to it was mind blowing. I used to be able to remember dozens of different presets and there associated songs.

        Nowadays? I'm lucky if I can remember where I left the keyboard...
        _________________________________________________
        band websites:
        http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
        https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
        https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
        http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

        Comment


        • benzem
          benzem commented
          Editing a comment

          guido61 wrote:
          For me, at least, it's largely an age thing. I grew up an age where synths had to be complete reprogrammed between songs. Having a PRESET with a NUMBER assigned to it was mind blowing. I used to be able to remember dozens of different presets and there associated songs.

          Nowadays? I'm lucky if I can remember where I left the keyboard...

          Blah blah blah.....on and on guida, ono uiska, dummaska pasta loseri


      • #11
        Good answer!
        _________________________________________________
        band websites:
        http://www.JumpStartYourParty.com
        https://www.gigmasters.com/Rock/Jump-Start
        https://www.facebook.com/JumpStartYourParty
        http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/jumps...587fe5f12.html

        Comment


        • jeff42
          jeff42 commented
          Editing a comment

          This past weekend we played a private gig in the backyard of a frat house for the Frat's spring Parent's weekend. it was 5:30pm-9:30pm so needless to say no one was ready to ROCK at 5:30pm.

          We took our master songlist (which is mostly medleys) and just called them out- No real set list at all. We were playing some more laid back stuff/listening music (laid back for us) for the 1st hour or so. Every once in awhile we would toss in a short dance medley to see if they were ready to party and when they finally were ready we just continued calling medleys.

          It worked out nicely. Not something we will do often but it was do able and worked out. 

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