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Are These Songs Worth Learning for a Pop Trio?


xtianmind

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This is a start-up trio. Keys that plays bass lines with LH/vocals, Guitarist/Vocals, E-Drummer.

 

What do you guys think of this list? Anything we should add or take out? These will be the first 10 songs we will put together as a group.

 

1. We are young by Fun

2. Somebody that I used to know by Goyte

3. Glad you came by The Wanted

4. Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

5. Starships by Nicki Minaj

6. Wild Ones by Flo Rida

7. Part of Me by Katy Perry

8. What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

9. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen

10. Boyfriend by Justin Bieber

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This is a start-up trio. Keys that plays bass lines with LH/vocals, Guitarist/Vocals, E-Drummer.


What do you guys think of this list? Anything we should add or take out? These will be the first 10 songs we will put together as a group.


1. We are young by Fun

2. Somebody that I used to know by Goyte

3. Glad you came by The Wanted

4. Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

5. Starships by Nicki Minaj

6. Wild Ones by Flo Rida

7. Part of Me by Katy Perry

8. What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

9. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen

10. Boyfriend by Justin Bieber

 

 

 

I remember you said that you were 23 in a previous post. Can I assume you don't plan to play to anyone over the age of 23. My guess is by the time you put together those songs and start getting decent gigs more than half that list will have faded from the charts. The problem with covering modern pop so close to the cuff of release is that the songs themselves have a very short shelf life... for us 3-6 months tops. There are timeless pop songs and there are songs that are popular in the moment.... and most of that list is in the moment.

 

How many songs do you plan to cover? How often do you plan to play and where? Will you play songs through their entirety or just cover their hooks and move on? If you are just planning on getting your feet wet, starting to hit rooms without a club following then it really doesn't matter. You can move and adjust as people feed your requests. I'm not sure how LA is different from NY, but I do think that none of those songs would really appeal to anyone beyond college age.

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Basically just adding to what Grant said: there's nothing wrong with those songs with a younger crowd but most aren't going to last long. If you're gigging once a week or so, that's fine. Just be prepared to keep learning the next current hits to replace the ones that don't work anymore.

 

And if you're not playing that often, then you might not get to really play them much before you have to move on to the next ones.

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I remember you said that you were 23 in a previous post. Can I assume you don't plan to play to anyone over the age of 23.

 

 

I don't know... I'm 30 and I would enjoy seeing what a live band did with those songs, provided it wasn't all just playing to sequences/tracks. He's going after the "club" crowd with these songs, which is what we attempted to focus on with the Riot. It didn't work for us, but we're not in LA, either. The big advantage to that market is that they're going to drink and they're going to party, so it's going to be a lot easier to have a good night at the bar, IMO.

 

On that note as well, I'd much rather see any band playing newer stuff than the same old "safe" set list that we get in this area all the time. At any bar at any given night of the week I can virtually guarantee you're going to hear The Middle, Sweet Home Alabama, What I Got, Ball and Chain, and something by AC/DC. Part of it is likely because this particular area is tourist-based, so when you're playing at any of the Va Beach venues you're probably playing to a built-in and brand new crowd each time, and they're on vacation and want to hear what they know. It's difficult to walk into a bar here and hear something new, which I guess is why that set would appeal to me.

 

I do agree that the shelf life would be a limiting factor; you're taking a chance by playing the new stuff in hoping that it'll stick around. I don't mind that, I enjoy changing up the set frequently. But as a drummer, my parts are basically already laid out. If your rhythm and lead guys are having to chart out new songs together every week it might get a bit tedious.

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I don't know... I'm 30 and I would enjoy seeing what a live band did with those songs, provided it wasn't all just playing to sequences/tracks.

 

 

I'm 50 and would enjoy the same thing, but I'm not typical of most 50 year olds in this regard. But by that same token, I have to agree with you that there must certainly be a market of under-30s who would rather hear what a live band would do with this stuff rather than hearing yet another band do "Brown Eyed Girl".

 

The shelf-life of new songs isn't a new phenomenon. When I was playing Top 40 back in the 80s it was the same deal: 75% of our songlist would be switched out within six months and we maybe had 2 songs that lasted more than 5 years. And nobody thought anything of it. Searching for songs with "Shelf life" just wasn't really on anybody's minds back then.

 

BUT we were playing 5 nights a week/50 weeks a year back then. We'd be pretty sick of playing a song after 6 months and would have gotten a lot of use out it. If a band is only playing once or twice a month...it might be hard to justify learning new material after only a few performances.

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I don't know... I'm 30 and I would enjoy seeing what a live band did with those songs, provided it wasn't all just playing to sequences/tracks. He's going after the "club" crowd with these songs, which is what we attempted to focus on with the Riot. It didn't work for us, but we're not in LA, either. The big advantage to that market is that they're going to drink and they're going to party, so it's going to be a lot easier to have a good night at the bar, IMO.


On that note as well, I'd much rather see any band playing newer stuff than the same old "safe" set list that we get in this area all the time. At any bar at any given night of the week I can virtually guarantee you're going to hear The Middle, Sweet Home Alabama, What I Got, Ball and Chain, and something by AC/DC. Part of it is likely because this particular area is tourist-based, so when you're playing at any of the Va Beach venues you're probably playing to a built-in and brand new crowd each time, and they're on vacation and want to hear what they know. It's difficult to walk into a bar here and hear something new, which I guess is why that set would appeal to me.


I do agree that the shelf life would be a limiting factor; you're taking a chance by playing the new stuff in hoping that it'll stick around. I don't mind that, I enjoy changing up the set frequently. But as a drummer, my parts are basically already laid out. If your rhythm and lead guys are having to chart out new songs together every week it might get a bit tedious.

 

 

I agree with you for the most part. My point wasn't that they were planning to cover recent hits, they were looking to cover current hits. And most of those songs will have fallen off the charts by the time they start getting gigs. Then what do you do? We play Flo'Rida, Katy Perry, but it's their largest hits that have the best traction not the current ones. We just added "We Are Young" but it replaced "Pumped Up Kicks". He's just starting out but by June/July most of these songs may not be very appealing. That's more my point. Even a band covering current pop and Top40 should look toward adding memorable songs... songs that are the signature of an artist that everyone can recognize.

 

 

Another point... although they are going after the 'club' crowd they are still performing as a stripped down trio. To me that is the smartest approach. Keep it simple. However if they do plan on using backing or production tracks to make the songs more electrified they will probably suffer without a front person, unless all three are really dynamic players and can engage the audience as well as perform. Remember you tried this as a 5-6 piece band. My band performs this stuff with a front person. Most bands I know covering modern pop have someone hands free (no instrument) with a mic ready to connect with the audience. If they are going for a fuller production they could use someone out front.

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but it's their largest hits that have the best traction not the current ones.

 

 

You're assuming "traction" is the goal. If they are willing to rotate a lot of songs, I think it could certainly work to play a Top 40 roster for the right crowd. Not every Katy Perry fan only wants to hear "Hot n Cold" and "California Gurls". I would think this would clearly be for an under-25 market, and I would think that in LA there would certainly be clubs that cater that specifically to a small age-group.

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You're assuming "traction" is the goal. If they are willing to rotate a lot of songs, I think it could certainly work to play a Top 40 roster for the right crowd. Not every Katy Perry fan only wants to hear "Hot n Cold" and "California Gurls". I would think this would clearly be for an under-25 market, and I would think that in LA there would certainly be clubs that cater that specifically to a small age-group.

 

 

Agreed... now fill an entire setlist with 45-60 songs. ;) Damn that's alot of rotation! :eek: That's my point. Sustainability.

 

But agreed, in LA, it could probably work... if they can get hired in the clubs.

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Agreed... now fill an entire setlist with 45-60 songs.
;)
Damn that's alot of rotation!
:eek:
That's my point. Sustainability.

 

I'm sure they'd eventually hook on some songs that stick and they don't need to rotate out. There's probably one or two songs with "legs" in any given Top 40 chart---it's just that no one really knows which one it will be until a year later....

 

I just don't think the concept of focusing on Top 40 should be dismissed out of hand. Yeah, it's a different deal and requires different work and mindset. But if I was 23? I think it's probably what I'd be trying to do.

 

And the rotation isn't as much as you might think. Learn two new songs a week and you've refreshed you're entire songlist of 50 songs every six months.

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I don't know ANY of those songs. and I've not heard of HALF of the artists.

 

so my answer would depend on whether or not your target market is mid-30s suburbanites with classical music backgrounds who grew up listening to stuff from the 60s/70s on their parents' 8-track.

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I'm just glad to see a kid under 30, let alone 25, wanting to play in a cover band at all. They are as rare as green unicorns these days.

 

Me too. And for that reason alone, I'm most encouraging of "keep it young and fresh". Leave the classic rock stuff for the old farts.

 

The idea of a band of kids under 25 playing nothing but songs from THIS young decade? I think that'd be pretty cool, actually. At least in theory. :idk:

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Me too. And for that reason alone, I'm most encouraging of "keep it young and fresh". Leave the classic rock stuff for the old farts.


The idea of a band of kids under 25 playing nothing but songs from THIS young decade? I think that'd be pretty cool, actually. At least in theory.
:idk:

 

+ a billion

 

He's young and he'll fail and learn a few times just like all of us have, but let him do it on his terms.

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My old band started doing covers mixed with originals. We were all mid 20's-ish and did things like Incubus, Muse, Killswitch Engage, Katy Perry, Orianthi, etc - people ate it up. We played to that age group, though, so as usual, it comes down to knowing your audience and knowing your own band.

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My old band started doing covers mixed with originals. We were all mid 20's-ish and did things like Incubus, Muse, Killswitch Engage, Katy Perry, Orianthi, etc - people ate it up. We played to that age group, though, so as usual, it comes down to knowing your audience and knowing your own band.

 

 

We did plan on playing some older songs too for the older crowds, but I don't think many of them would be hanging out in the 25 year old clubs.

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Exactly, there is this Youtube band that really inspired me to set out this project. They are always on top of their game in covering the Top 40 songs. When they announce that they are working on a new song, that I know just hit the Top 10, I get pretty excited my self. In fact I am a huge fan of theirs. Here is a link in case you want to take a look.

 

 

Talented group! But those kids are YOUNG! Obviously they aren't playing clubs. So you may be onto something here. Especially if you can pull the stuff off vocally. The main thing that makes that group sound so good, IMO, is the pro-level vocals.

 

Good luck and keep me informed on how you progress.

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This is a start-up trio. Keys that plays bass lines with LH/vocals, Guitarist/Vocals, E-Drummer.


What do you guys think of this list? Anything we should add or take out? These will be the first 10 songs we will put together as a group.


1. We are young by Fun


3. Glad you came by The Wanted

4. Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

5. Starships by Nicki Minaj

6. Wild Ones by Flo Rida

7. Part of Me by Katy Perry

8. What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

9. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen

10. Boyfriend by Justin Bieber

 

 

I actually went through all of these (my band is voting on songs for the next rehearsal) but this song is interesting. 2. Somebody that I used to know by Goyte. Just curious how you plan to cover it? The rest of the songs are fairly upbeat. This one is the opposite direction. Not very danceable at all. Where do you see this falling in your setlist?

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Around here the cover band bars are filled with older people that have some spare money. I'd estimate crowds in their 30s to 50s. While an occasional current pop tune would be welcome, doing all current stuff would fail unless you were incredibly talented and a great showman. There are clubs and bars on just about every street corner where the DJs do those songs every night. Hard for a band to compete head on with that around here. Live music is very big and a good cover band can make a decent living if they play what the crowd pays to hear. Most of the people that go out to hear cover bands (outside a college campus) are older and if they wanted a night of Justin Bieber and Katy Perry they would go to one of the clubs with a DJ.

 

Like I said, different parts of the country are very different in tastes.

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Around here the cover band bars are filled with older people that have some spare money. I'd estimate crowds in their 30s to 50s. While an occasional current pop tune would be welcome, doing all current stuff would fail unless you were incredibly talented and a great showman. There are clubs and bars on just about every street corner where the DJs do those songs every night. Hard for a band to compete head on with that around here. Live music is very big and a good cover band can make a decent living if they play what the crowd pays to hear. Most of the people that go out to hear cover bands (outside a college campus) are older and if they wanted a night of Justin Bieber and Katy Perry they would go to one of the clubs with a DJ.


Like I said, different parts of the country are very different in tastes.

 

 

I haven't hung out in LA for years. I have no idea what the live music scene is like down there any more. But I HOPE that, at least SOMEWHERE in the country, there's a market for live bands playing current stuff. If live music is going to live and die on the strength of Classic Rock, then it's just a matter of time before it completely dies, I would think.

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I haven't hung out in LA for years. I have no idea what the live music scene is like down there any more. But I HOPE that, at least SOMEWHERE in the country, there's a market for live bands playing current stuff. If live music is going to live and die on the strength of Classic Rock, then it's just a matter of time before it completely dies, I would think.

 

 

I hear ya. I believe it all goes in cycles. 40 piece Big Bands were once the standard. I doubt if live music will ever die but I'll bet computers and sequencing will keep playing a larger part of the plan. I'm also not sure if live covered current pop will draw enough cash into clubs to make a serious stand against classic rock or DJs.

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I'm also not sure if live covered current pop will draw enough cash into clubs to make a serious stand against classic rock or DJs.

 

 

I think it's all in the presentation. I think the only real problem with relating live music to younger audiences is the standard format for delivery is about 50 years old. I refuse to believe that a good number of people don't want to see live people doing a live performance when they go out for the night. It just needs to be re-thought for the new century.

 

There WILL be a next "The Beatles" someday. They just probably won't be 4 guys playing guitars and drums. It will be some new multi-format technological thingy I'm too old and tired to even imagine.

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I think it's all in the presentation. I think the only real problem with relating live music to younger audiences is the standard format for delivery is about 50 years old. I refuse to believe that a good number of people don't want to see live people doing a live performance when they go out for the night. It just needs to be re-thought for the new century.


There WILL be a next "The Beatles" someday. They just probably won't be 4 guys playing guitars and drums. It will be some new multi-format technological thingy I'm too old and tired to even imagine.

 

 

I agree with this completely. I've said before that the popular format of guitar/bass/drums/keys and the differing variations of it has about played out. It's been a popular format since the birth of rock n roll in the 50s and even a little before in the jazz worlds going back to Charlie Christian and Chet Atkins in the late 40s. It's been 65 years now, and I think it just doesn't hold the same allure it did 40 years ago. But will music be performed live? I think most definitely it will, as it has since the first people beat on animal skins and figured out how to blow air through bones to make sounds.

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I'm just glad to see a kid under 30, let alone 25, wanting to play in a cover band at all. They are as rare as green unicorns these days.

 

 

Well considering that labels are always looking for fresh new "young" faces with talent

can you blame the younger folks wanting to cover tunes if you can get half miilion hit on youtube

doing originals.

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Well considering that labels are always looking for fresh new "young" faces with talent

can you blame the younger folks wanting to cover tunes if you can get half miilion hit on youtube.

 

I dunno. Haven't they've ALWAYS looked for fresh new young faces?

 

I don't recall a whole lotta 30 and 40 somethings getting record deals in the 70s and 80s... :idk:

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