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Times they are a-changin'


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There's been a lot of talk on this forum over the years about the aging of music fans and the relative appeal of classic rock, so I thought I'd share this email I just got from a bride discussing our songlist for her upcoming wedding we're playing for some perspective on this topic:

 

The highlighted songs are the songs that we'd like to hear obviously at your discretion and based on the crowd response. Just to give you a heads up -- my dad is 70 & so is Patrick's mom so there will be a lot of 1970"s-80 music lovers also my mom is 50 and there are lots of friends of her age too....so they like to boogie to more of 80s stuff. Once they get warmed up and tired, we can transition into more modern 90/s + now tunes. I am sure you know all this. My dad loves Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Earth Wind & Fire, etc... Also, you will see on the attached list that I highlighted some songs and wrote little notes next to them.

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There's been a lot of talk on this forum over the years about the aging of music fans and the relative appeal of classic rock, so I thought I'd share this email I just got from a bride discussing our songlist for her upcoming wedding we're playing for some perspective on this topic:


The highlighted songs are the songs that we'd like to hear obviously at your discretion and based on the crowd response. Just to give you a heads up --
my dad is 70 & so is Patrick's mom so there will be a lot of 1970"s-80 music lovers also my mom is 50 and there are lots of friends of her age too....so they like to boogie to more of 80s stuff.
Once they get warmed up and tired, we can transition into more modern 90/s + now tunes. I am sure you know all this.
My dad loves Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Earth Wind & Fire, etc.
.. Also, you will see on the attached list that I highlighted some songs and wrote little notes next to them.

 

 

 

Todays old people grew up on rock and roll. schazamm imagine that

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Todays old people grew up on rock and roll. schazamm imagine that

 

 

Well, you kinda missed my point.

 

On one hand we've got a bunch of bands here playing 70s classic rock wondering why the crowds and the money ain't what they used to be in nightclubs and bars and then on the other hand I've got a chick here telling me that her 70 YEAR OLD dad and future mother-in-law are big fans of 70s stuff...

 

Ya think maybe the two things are related?

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It does bring one to think about it. My band plays classic rock and we enjoy the hell out of it. I'm not interested in other decades of music, the 60's-70's-80's is where my passion is. There WILL be a time when I'm going to look around and realize the ride is over. Thank goodness I have another passion for blues. You really can't be too old to do that.

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It does bring one to think about it. My band plays classic rock and we enjoy the hell out of it. I'm not interested in other decades of music, the 60's-70's-80's is where my passion is. There WILL be a time when I'm going to look around and realize the ride is over. Thank goodness I have another passion for blues. You really can't be too old to do that.

 

 

Well, it's not me being too old to do anything or not that has ever concerned me much. It's more about the relative audience being too old.

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I'm pretty clueless about cover band's sets and what goes over well with who. :idk:

 

...but this thread made me think of how my in-laws, who are in their mid 60s, really like Lady Gaga, while my wife and I, thirtysomethings, can't stand her, and how my good friend who is 24 listens to mostly Motown, R&B, and stuff like Hall and Oates and Fleetwood Mac.

 

Just from personal experience I find it growing increasingly harder to predict what people like, based on their age.

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Well, you kinda missed my point.


On one hand we've got a bunch of bands here playing 70s classic rock wondering why the crowds and the money ain't what they used to be in nightclubs and bars and then on the other hand I've got a chick here telling me that her
70 YEAR OLD
dad and future mother-in-law are big fans of 70s stuff...


Ya think maybe the two things are related?

 

 

 

If you are trying to make the point that old people dont go to bars ,, it really depends on the bars and their location. Weddings are 8 to 80. so are many bars.

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Just from personal experience I find it growing increasingly harder to predict what people like, based on their age.

 

 

That's very true. One thing I've noticed at the weddings we play is that we'll have a lot of people of ALL age groups on the dance floor for all sorts of different songs. It seems much more song-dependant than age-dependant. I'm often surprised at how many ladies clearly pushing 60 who seem to know all the words to "Dynamite".

 

Having said that, I still don't think you can load up a bar-set with nothing but Motown and expect to fill the place with 20-somethings. You'll find a few who love it, and many more who will like the occassional Motown song in a set...but a whole NIGHT of it? Probably isn't going to work unless you've got some other sort of gimmick going on. (Tribute band, etc.)

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Having said that, I still don't think you can load up a bar-set with nothing but Motown and expect to fill the place with 20-somethings. You'll find a few who love it, and many more who will like the occassional Motown song in a set...but a whole NIGHT of it?

 

Probably not as a general rule, no. Although, your comment made me think of how there is a certain regular "soul night" event here (this is admittedly a DJ thing, not bands), focused on 60s and 70s soul, that has gone on for many years and it is HUGE with 20-somethings. It's a total "see-and-be-seen" event.

 

I know it's not the same thing exactly but I think it makes a certain point about diversity. :idk:

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Probably not as a general rule, no. Although, your comment made me think of how there is a certain regular "soul night" event here (this is admittedly a DJ thing, not bands), focused on 60s and 70s soul, that has gone on for many years and it is HUGE with 20-somethings. It's a total "see-and-be-seen" event.


I know it's not the same thing exactly but I think it makes a certain point about diversity.
:idk:

 

I think it makes a better point about gimmickry. That same "soul night" would probably work just as well with a live band. Would work even better if the band put on giant afro wigs and platform shoes. And certainly there are many bands who make GREAT money and do GREAT gigs going the gimmickry/costume route. And that can be done with many genres and eras.

 

But just some generic band playing the same material at a "regular" bar night without the gimmickry and hype? Much tougher sell. To even the exact same crowd.

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It's been a while since I've been to Texas, but last time I was there you still had to be 21 to get into a bar.

 

 

True , but many bars dont go after the 21 year old crowd and do quite well at it. I think older crowds tend to spend more money. The old guy is always the guy who picks up the tab at a 10 or 12 top at the end of the night.

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That same "soul night" would probably work just as well with a live band. Would work even better if the band put on giant afro wigs and platform shoes. And certainly there are many bands who make GREAT money and do GREAT gigs going the gimmickry/costume route.

 

It could definitley work with a live band but it wold also cost more and require a better stage and sound then some of the spots they've done it in.

 

Doing it as something gimmickey like that would be a huge mistake and it's would be seen as really cheesey and uncool. They play a lot of Northern Soul and obscure stuff, and it's all about dressing sharp. It's a total "scene".

 

Again, this is something pretty specific to certain markets but it illustrates my point- you can pack a Seattle club with 20-something dancing to obscure (in the US) 60s/70s British soul music.

:idk:

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True , but many bars dont go after the 21 year old crowd and do quite well at it. I think older crowds tend to spend more money. The old guy is always the guy who picks up the tab at a 10 or 12 top at the end of the night.

 

 

Nachos joints in tourist areas aside, there aren't many bars ANYWHERE that have success with any sort of "all ages" format. People tend to hang with people they are comfortable with. Which is why you can go to pretty much any city in the US and see the same thing: crowds in bars will be segregated by age and culture. Which is why we even HAVE things like Country bars. And Discos. And why a bar filled with 20 somethings will have virtually noone in it over 40 and younger people rarely go to the Geezer Lounge on the corner.

 

And I also disagree with your idea that "older crowds tend to spend more money". Again, maybe in certain tourist environments, but generally speaking, older people don't go out NEARLY as often. And when they do, they aren't too interested in spending money on partying. Which is why, by and large, bars go after the younger demographic--that's where the disposable income for "partying" is.

 

We've had this conversation before, but if what you say is true, then every town would have a couple of big bars with live music packed to the rafters with geezers and they'd be able to afford to pay the bands $2K a night because the geezers would be picking up the big tabs. But they don't. Such places don't exist. I think it would be cool if they did, and I'd be first in line to want to book my band there. Such a market is purely a fiction of your imagination, I'm afraid.

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Doing it as something gimmickey like that would be a huge mistake and it's would be seen as really cheesey and uncool. They play a lot of
Northern Soul
and obscure stuff, and it's all about dressing sharp. It's a total "scene".

 

There was a huge wave in Chicago over the past 5 years or so exactly like this: LOTS of monthly 'event' nights across several clubs, seemed every DJ could do a 'special' soul night, etc. And yes, it was ALL about looking sharp and being seen.

 

I was in an all originals rock/soul band at the time, and knew of a couple other bands that fell under a very broad 60's-70's soul umbrella:

not a single one of these event deals wanted live music at them. Believe me, we tried to leverage the concept of some sort of synergy with them more than enough.

They weren't hearing it: the DJs could spin original pressing 45s, man...

:facepalm:

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There was a huge wave in Chicago over the past 5 years or so exactly like this: LOTS of monthly 'event' nights across several clubs, seemed every DJ could do a 'special' soul night, etc. And yes, it was ALL about looking sharp and being seen.


I was in an all originals rock/soul band at the time, and knew of a couple other bands that fell under a very broad 60's-70's soul umbrella:

not a single one of these event deals wanted live music at them. Believe me, we tried to leverage the concept of some sort of synergy with them more than enough.

They weren't hearing it: the DJs could spin original pressing 45s, man...

:facepalm:

 

I think it's a pretty DJ-centric scene, yeah.

 

It could probably be great with a live band. Hell, I'd be into playing in a band doing that stuff, given the chance. But bands also cost more, take up more room, and add all kinds of variables. So I get why it's DJs.

 

In my experience there isn't a lot of "band versus DJ" sentiment here (here being metropolitan Seattle); they fill really different roles most of the time.

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It is no revelation that classic rock is dead at the clubs and has been for awhile. It is no mystery as to why.

 

Some people still seem to be in denial over this :idk:

 

Didn't you know? It's the old people who go out and fill the clubs because they're the ones with the extra time and the extra money! Haven't you noticed all the live-music venues packed with 60-somethings down in Southern Cal because of this? :facepalm:

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Some people still seem to be in denial over this
:idk:

Didn't you know? It's the old people who go out and fill the clubs because they're the ones with the extra time and the extra money! Haven't you noticed all the live-music venues packed with 60-somethings down in Southern Cal because of this?
:facepalm:

 

Back to your OP, in regards to your bride's requesting the "now" stuff, we just have the DJ that travels with us do it. There usually is only time for one of his "sets" anyway and we do the other one or maybe two with the 60's 70's 80's and 90's stuff. When you throw in the usual first dance...father/daughter dance...garter toss, etc., you barely have time to do more than one long set anyway before the DJ rocks his stuff.

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Those of us who still play a lot of stuff from the 70s are not in denial. We play it because we like it, play it well, and are willing to deal with the fall out, good or bad. We are not oblivious or immune to crowd reaction. We just don't think they should control what we do to the extent that you do. No doubt it costs us a few gigs. Fine with me.

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Nachos joints in tourist areas aside, there aren't many bars ANYWHERE that have success with any sort of "all ages" format. People tend to hang with people they are comfortable with. Which is why you can go to pretty much any city in the US and see the same thing: crowds in bars will be segregated by age and culture. Which is why we even HAVE things like Country bars. And Discos. And why a bar filled with 20 somethings will have virtually noone in it over 40 and younger people rarely go to the Geezer Lounge on the corner.


And I also disagree with your idea that "older crowds tend to spend more money". Again, maybe in certain tourist environments, but generally speaking, older people don't go out NEARLY as often. And when they do, they aren't too interested in spending money on partying. Which is why, by and large, bars go after the younger demographic--that's where the disposable income for "partying" is.


Why do you disagree? Who is spending the money for your gigs? you are not getting booked by too many 21 year olds. older People go out alot


We've had this conversation before, but if what you say is true, then every town would have a couple of big bars with live music packed to the rafters with geezers and they'd be able to afford to pay the bands $2K a night because the geezers would be picking up the big tabs. But they don't. Such places don't exist. I think it would be cool if they did, and I'd be first in line to want to book my band there. Such a market is purely a fiction of your imagination, I'm afraid.

 

 

 

Dave ,, you have not hit the dinner all age shows because you do pvt parties. The thing you will notice about a reception is they look just like a all age dinner show. Its a lower wage scale than receptions and corp stuff , but its pretty well the same crowd. 150 is a full house. Its famlies. It may not be a model that you see alot in most parts of the country , but it exists. A big family out on the town with a couple generations spend a good deal of money at the venue. It may be unique to my location , but its a market none the less.

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Back to your OP, in regards to your bride's requesting the "now" stuff, we just have the DJ that travels with us do it. There usually is only time for one of his "sets" anyway and we do the other one or maybe two with the 60's 70's 80's and 90's stuff. When you throw in the usual first dance...father/daughter dance...garter toss, etc., you barely have time to do more than one long set anyway before the DJ rocks his stuff.

 

That's definately one way to do it! :thu:

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Those of us who still play a lot of stuff from the 70s are not in denial. We play it because we like it, play it well, and are willing to deal with the fall out, good or bad. We are not oblivious or immune to crowd reaction. We just don't think they should control what we do to the extent that you do. No doubt it costs us a few gigs. Fine with me.

 

 

Then I wasn't speaking of you. The ones in denial who are those who still think there's big money flowing into nightclubs by that age group.

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It may be unique to my location

 

 

Thank you. I'm glad you finally realize that.

 

And heck, even if YOUR location it doesn't seem to be a very winning market for bands. If they are spending good money at the venue, it doesn't seem to be trickling down to the musicians, does it?

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