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Lost a venue - not because of performance...


mstreck

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We recently played a new venue and had a good turnout - the place was pretty full and most of the tables were there specifically to see us. People had dinner, danced, and stayed most of the night. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and we had great feedback from the people in attendance. It was not a typical night for this venue (I know firsthand because I've been there a few times).

 

However, I noticed that we were "erased" from the venue's facebook page the next day. There wasn't a trace of us anywhere to be found. :confused:

 

I asked the girl who booked us and she didn't know why. She finally got back to me last night with an answer...

 

"Ok...now that I finaly have time...Here we go..Please keep in mind..this has nothing to do with me at all..***** was a little bit upset last friday...Feedback,long breaks ,keeping the bartenders there late.....Thats what he told me..."

 

Then she went on to say how he is losing money with bands and cancelling all but two bands in the off season - and we are not on that short list.

 

My answer:

 

"That's understandable. I just wish he would have said something at the beginning of the night. We were under the impression that we were supposed to play from 9 - 1, so we were doing what we always do for a four hour show. We didn't know until around 11:30 that we were only supposed to go until 12:15. Had we known his expectations, our breaks would have definitely been shorter. And had we known that they wanted us out earlier, we would have done that as well. We thought they were open for business until 1:00, so we didn't rush. We've never had a problem with that before.


As for the PA feedback, none of us were happy about that. We had the same problem at Venue XYZ and have since hired a new sound guy."


Etc.


 

So... lesson learned. :facepalm: This was a venue where I originally wanted to use a contract but was "talked down" by the rest of the band because the owner was a nice guy. Not that it would have made a difference in the long run, but at least we would have been made aware of the guy's expectations.

 

No biggie, tonight we are playing a venue that loves us! :thu:

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Yeah, next time we'll ask. Three hours with 10 minute breaks - that's never been requested of us from a venue.

 

It's not a surprise that he is losing money with bands - he'd be much better off with acoustic acts or a DJ. It's a small room with a low ceiling and we were crammed in a corner formed by a mirrored wall and glass doors - definitely a soundman's nightmare. Someone from another band said that everyone has trouble with feedback there. We were all going direct (even V-drums), but it wasn't enough. It probably didn't help that the owner was feeding our soundman shots while we were setting up. I'm still not sure what was up with that.

 

On top of that, he was paying us what he considered a "cheap" rate (his words) and what we considered good pay for a venue of that size. If we're "cheap" and have a draw, he must really be losing his ass on some of the other bands that play to a near-empty room.

 

If I owned that particular restaurant (and I have owned a restaurant), I never would have hired a band like us in the first place. I would have acoustic acts and DJ's - nothing more.

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Feedback,long breaks ,keeping the bartenders there late


And this ISN'T because of "performance"??
:confused:

 

Not musical performance - it was more miscommunication than anything. All of those issues (except the feedback) could have easily been avoided had we known that they were "issues" in the first place.

 

Our normal routine is to play dance music during our breaks (25-30 minutes), which we did and people were dancing to it. No one was leaving and the bar was lined with people ordering drinks. The owner was sitting there and told us we needed to go back on right when the last song on the break playlist started - and we did. But he never said anything about 10 minute breaks.

 

Normal operation for bars in DE is until 1:00 and we usually play until at least 1:00 (and are often encouraged to play later). We had everything packed up and out of the place by 1:15 - an hour after we stopped playing. Seems rather reasonable to me. :idk:

 

Seriously, if someone would have just said "You play 9 - 12 with 10 minute breaks" we would have done exactly that.

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Sometimes we forget to ask the easiest questions when booking a gig. Like, what time do we start and stop? Been there before. Still, 10 minute breaks and 9-12, you can't play 1hr sets that way. You'd have to go 9-950, 10-1050- and 11-12. 10 minutes is barely time to take a leak.

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Mike... stuff like this happens. And sometimes it's just not in the cards. Some of these smaller to middle sized venues are having a tough time in this economy. He probably has 2 bands that fill that place and several that do OK on some nights and not OK on some others. So you get lumped into that group. In the last two years we've had three rooms cancel all bands... except us. Some of these bands are good too. Friends of ours. People we'd stick our neck out for. It doesn't matter. They didn't have enough consistent nights to continue having these bands. Keep in mind, as you guys described, these venues aren't really vested in live entertainment anyway. They don't have sound or lights. They don't regularly advertise. Still losing a room never feels great.

 

I would pay specific attention to the notes they gave you: keep that feedback under control... if you are having a problem then cut the set short and deal with that.... make up the time in the next set. Confirm setlist times, load in/load out. Never assume anything. But don't take this as a personal loss... find another room and move on. ;)

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Not
musical
performance - it was more miscommunication than anything. All of those issues (except the feedback) could have easily been avoided had we known that they were "issues" in the first place.

 

 

Well, taking too long to load out shouldn't happen because of miscommunication either.

 

But yeah...not being 100% clear on how to run the sets....I've been there/done that too. (Well, I've made those other mistakes as well).

 

Just consider it a learning experience and move on and work to not have so same problems again.

 

BTW, getting that driverack and setting it up properly should help with the feedback issue.

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All you can do is learn from it and move on. Funny thing about feedback, it only needs to happen a little and it makes a HUGE impact. I did sound for a jazz group a little while back and was having a terrible time getting a good monitor mix for the drummer. FOH was great so the audience enjoyed the evening but the drummer was not happy. Probably never get a call from them again. Have a short memory and keep going.

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Sometimes we forget to ask the easiest questions when booking a gig. Like, what time do we start and stop? Been there before. Still, 10 minute breaks and 9-12, you can't play 1hr sets that way. You'd have to go 9-950, 10-1050- and 11-12. 10 minutes is barely time to take a leak.

 

 

Yeah, I'd rather go an hour and a half than 50 minutes.

 

We showed up at one venue prepared to play four 45-minute sets (as instructed) and upon showing up the owner told us to play two long sets with a 30 minute break in between - music to my ears!

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Funny thing about feedback, it only needs to happen a little and it makes a HUGE impact.

 

 

Yep. As musicians I think most of us are somewhat immune to feedback and aren't NEARLY as annoyed by it as the patrons and bar-staff are. Well, more accurately, we're ANNOYED by it and see it as a part-of-the-routine that we need to adjust and remedy. Those folks are downright OFFENDED by it and see it as something they would rather leave the building than have to hear a second time.

 

Feedback happens and we're often grinning sheepishly on stage saying "Sorry folks!" while they have their hands over their ears writhing in pain.

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Just another reason we'd like to find a competent manager. I'm not doing a very good job.

 

It's really hard to run things from the stage. One way you could circumvent this is by front loading the first three songs of the first set with songs that don't need a 2nd guitar. Let the band start and you can work with the sound guy to get the sound locked in... make sure you've connected with the bartender to know the $specials$ to mention and the owner (who is there) to introduce yourself as the band manager, and if they have any questions to direct them to you. The same with the end of the night. Pad first 1-2 songs of the 3rd set to connect with the manager, make sure everything is fine.... (hint: get the money together to pay the band)make sure the bar doesn't want any changes to your third set (cutting short, play longer etc.) .

 

 

We have a tight routine when it comes to any venue old and new. We have rehearsal on Wednesday night. While the band is at rehearsal our manager is connecting with the venue to make sure everything for the weekend is set. He usually sends and email like this out:

 

Hey boys... here is the schedule:

 

Fri.

Leave McDonalds at 7:30

Load in at 9

Start time 10

2 sets - 10 - 11 and 11:30 - 12:30

 

* We need to reverse pack the van and trailer on load out for XXXXX on Saturday.

 

Sat.

Leave Bryans at 7:30

Load in 8:30

Start time 10

3 sets- 10-11, 11:30-12:30, 1-2am

* We are trying to come up with a plan to just bring down the van.. Any ideas? We have to provide sound. I think we can get away with one sub.

*** Both Places have a in -house DJ. XXXXXXX stage is Tiny.

 

Sunday

Load in is in NEWBURGH waterfront...

Load in Time is looking like 1130.

We play 1-4

We get 5 guests total.

 

There is never any confusion and everyone is accountable at that point. Sometines if I'm busy and I forgot the info, I won't even ask, I'll look up the email on my phone... before someone rips me... "Someone didn't read their email!" :D

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Sometimes we forget to ask the easiest questions when booking a gig. Like, what time do we start and stop? Been there before. Still, 10 minute breaks and 9-12, you can't play 1hr sets that way. You'd have to go 9-950, 10-1050- and 11-12. 10 minutes is barely time to take a leak.

 

 

On a three hour gig we do two sets , one break.

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Amy reminded me...

 

We did the acoustic trio thing at this place back in May. We played for four hours and took our standard breaks with dance music between sets. That same night, he said to bring the full band next time (and that's when he told us that our band rate was "cheap"). I questioned the size of the room and the mirrors/glass and told him that there would probably be feedback problems with a band of our size. He said to not worry about it.

 

So we didn't. :facepalm:

 

Well, good luck to him, then.

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Sounds like it was just in the cards no matter what; if the business is hemorrhaging money, you could've been amazing, but it wouldn't have been enough. Good luck with the other venues this weekend!

 

 

Thank you, sir!

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Amy reminded me...


We did the acoustic trio thing at this place back in May. We played for four hours and took our standard breaks with dance music between sets. That same night, he said to bring the full band next time (and that's when he told us that our band rate was "cheap"). I questioned the size of the room and the mirrors/glass and told him that there would probably be feedback problems with a band of our size. He said to not worry about it.


So we didn't.
:facepalm:

Well, good luck to him, then.

 

If you had feedback ,it was your fault. want to fix feedback. turn down. take notes and learn from this situation. Dont just blame the venue. Two bands were left standing.

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If you had feedback ,it was your fault. want to fix feedback. turn down. take notes and learn from this situation. Dont just blame the venue. Two bands were left standing.

 

The feedback was brief and early in the night, and I'm not blaming anyone but myself for using the sound man that we did. Just pointing out that we had a discussion with the owner where it was brought up as a distinct possibility and he acknowledged it.

 

Notes taken! :thu:

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One bar years ago was hesitant to have us back because of bad communication. It was our first gig at this place and we were told one starting time 10:30pm but the owner wanted us on and 10pm and didn't know the bar manager told us 10:30pm. So the owner was under the impression we started late. We didn't realize this until we tried to book another date there and the owner went on and on about how we started too late...

 

We tried to explain but :idk: Oh well.

 

Some smaller places in my area that have tried bands have started out great but after a few weeks of bad turn-outs end up cancelling ALL bands. it happens.

 

Actually there is one place that we have played for the past 5 years or so that cut every band but us and 2 others. They don't really have much of a regular crowd any more. They said they can't justify paying a band if there are 8 people there. And the pay isn't much. But I get it and I understand. It is kinda sad really cuz this place used to be a good place with a good crowd. The manager told me they are struggling with business across the board not just at night. Their lunch & dinner crowd too.

 

Another place I played with my trio I was told by the owner that bands cost too much compared to what they bring in and he was stopping live entertainment. So I told the owner if it doesn't work for you, don't do it. Bottom line. He stopped for a while but is doing it again. Live bands don't work for every place, sadly.

 

as far as 3 hour shows we usually do 2 longer sets and a 20-25 minute break. Actually that's what we are doing Saturday at a town festival.

 

Normally our breaks for a three set 4 hr show are about 15-20 minutes. Some places have actually asked that we take 25, some places have asked for 4 sets and 3 15 minute breaks.

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The feedback was brief and early in the night, and I'm not blaming anyone but myself for using the sound man that we did. Just pointing out that we had a discussion with the owner where it was brought up as a distinct possibility and he acknowledged it.


Notes taken!
:thu:

 

Who knows. Sounds like you went in not knowing what was going on with your own gig. Sounds like bands are not working out very well for him. Ya might want to figure out who was left standing and why they were a better fit than your band. You do have to adapt the show to the room. maybe you guys want in too big for the room.

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Amy reminded me...


We did the acoustic trio thing at this place back in May. We played for four hours and took our standard breaks with dance music between sets. That same night, he said to bring the full band next time (and that's when he told us that our band rate was "cheap"). I questioned the size of the room and the mirrors/glass and told him that there would probably be feedback problems with a band of our size. He said to not worry about it.


So we didn't.
:facepalm:

Well, good luck to him, then.

 

Sometimes you're just not the right band for the venue regardless of what the owner might have thought beforehand, and then suddenly all sorts of nitpicky things like breaks and load outs become "issues" to add on to the tab that he might completely overlook for some other band that's a better fit.

 

You can't win 'em all.

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