Jump to content

Lost a venue - not because of performance...


mstreck

Recommended Posts

  • Members

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.

 

 

My guess it they came into a small venue with too big a footprint and kind of came off as a bull in a china shop. Too long to set up and tear down ,, sound problems, and didnt really understand what the gig was before they loaded in. Its easy to do now days, because so many bands have this image of what they should be and dont really look at the task at hand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 53
  • Created
  • Last Reply
  • Members

Sometimes you're just not the right band for the venue regardless of what the owner might have thought beforehand

 

 

THIS.

 

We were booked at a country bar once. Really nice place too. The owner was trying to change the perception of this place and get more rock and dance/party bands in.

 

Didn't work. We played to about 12 people that night in a pretty nice sized room. We were never asked back. The place closed a few months later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

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

 

 

Not trying to pile on, but I think it bears asking so you think about things for the NEXT gig (and every one after that)...

 

In any of the time leading up to the show, from the date the gig was booked to the time you hit the first note of set 1/song 1, through the rest of the show...

Did anybody in the BAND ask about or try to confirm set times/length with anyone at the venue?

 

I see a couple comments in your posts above where you talk about how things are at 'most bars' around you, or the 'usual' start/finish times at them, when last call is, etc.

I would suggest you immediately stop thinking like that and make it a habit to include discussions about load-in, start time, set number and length, stop time, etc. in your show advance for each and every gig from now on, even if you've played there before. If a venue contact says "same deal as before" and leaves it at that, reply with the specifics and ask them to confirm.

 

Don't leave it up to chance or assumption is the lesson, I guess.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

THIS.


We were booked at a country bar once. Really nice place too. The owner was trying to change the perception of this place and get more rock and dance/party bands in.


Didn't work. We played to about 12 people that night in a pretty nice sized room. We were never asked back. The place closed a few months later.

 

 

Yep. Years ago we had a clubowner come check out my pop-hair-metal band at a club. He said he loved the band which, most likely, meant that he loved the size of the crowd we drew. Booked us into his club in another city for a two week stint. Place turns out to be a full-on disco/dance club. We were a total fail and he was trying to fire us after the first week even though he had signed a contract for two. So he's talking about how were were too loud (we weren't even close to the volume of the DJ playing during the breaks) and bringing up every other reason he could think of to get out of the contract. IIRC, our agent managed to move some bands around and get us another gig for the 2nd week but obviously this guy had more money than sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Same thing happened when we played the Greene Turtle in Aberdeen. Contract said 9-1, we started playing at 9 and got shut down by security after 3 songs, and told we weren't supposed to start until 10. The manager wanted to give the "dinner crowd" time to finish and leave.

They were totally cool about it, and we gave them their money's worth, and have another date there, so I guess it's all good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

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.

 

 

I have a similar situation. Meagan and I play acoustically at a wine bar and they keep bugging us to get the full band to play there. Acoustically, we play the room with a cheap PV 8 channel PA into a single 15" speaker and it's PLENTY loud enough and we have tons of overhead. I keep telling them that live drums in this place will blow the windows out, but they really want us to play because they want "stuff people can dance to"

 

I've countered with an offer for them to up our acoustic rate 50% and we'll bring a percussionist. I'm hoping they go for this option and don't press us on the full band...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

I have a similar situation. Meagan and I play acoustically at a wine bar and they keep bugging us to get the full band to play there. Acoustically, we play the room with a cheap PV 8 channel PA into a single 15" speaker and it's PLENTY loud enough and we have tons of overhead. I keep telling them that live drums in this place will blow the windows out, but they really want us to play because they want "stuff people can dance to"


I've countered with an offer for them to up our acoustic rate 50% and we'll bring a percussionist. I'm hoping they go for this option and don't press us on the full band...

 

 

You can do it......if the amps have volume knobs that can be adjusted below 11 and the drummer is at a skill level where he also knows how to play at a lower volume.

 

Now if the place is so small that even a small jazz kit would be too loud, then I get it, but I doubt its that small.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

You can do it......if the amps have volume knobs that can be adjusted below 11 and the drummer is at a skill level where he also knows how to play at a lower volume.


Now if the place is so small that even a small jazz kit would be too loud, then I get it, but I doubt its that small.

 

 

 

No reason why a full band cant play a small venue and pull it off. I agree with you , but lots of musicans dont have the ability or the notion that you can play without all that volume,gear and drummer pounding. They are not good enough to play at a low volume.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

No reason why a full band cant play a small venue and pull it off. I agree with you , but lots of musicans dont have the ability or the notion that you can play without all that volume,gear and drummer pounding. They are not good enough to play at a low volume.

 

 

Ouch....

 

Hey now, I didn't mean to start any crap, That was no testimony on how good of players we are talking about,....I was just sayin I've played small rooms before with the drummer just bringing a small kit....everybody turned down. I mean if you can do a duo with a singer using a P.A., there's no reason why she can't be backed up by a bass player and drummer playing underneath her vocals.

 

Just sayin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Ouch....


Hey now, I didn't mean to start any crap, That was no testimony on how good of players we are talking about,....I was just sayin I've played small rooms before with the drummer just bringing a small kit....everybody turned down. I mean if you can do a duo with a singer using a P.A., there's no reason why she can't be backed up by a bass player and drummer playing underneath her vocals.


Just sayin.

 

 

NO reason what so ever ,, Part of being good is to be able to perform at low volume levels. There is no reason why she could not be backed up by the whole band, if they can keep the foot off the volume. Its pretty easy to go way overboard on everything when you start trying to take your big club rock show into a smaller venue that not only wants a little danceing but they also want to serve food. The this is our show, and it has to be this big mentality can get you creamed by an owner. just sayin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

You can do it......if the amps have volume knobs that can be adjusted below 11 and the drummer is at a skill level where he also knows how to play at a lower volume.


Now if the place is so small that even a small jazz kit would be too loud, then I get it, but I doubt its that small.

 

 

You're right, we could pull it off. I mean we practice in a 12x12 room and our drummer has no trouble adjusting his volume. I'm telling you though, this room is tiny - room for 40-50 TOPS. When we play acoustically, 30 people seems crowded....

 

And they THINK they want a big rock show, which is the big problem. I feel like we're gonna be walking into a no win situation. If we go in there and control ourselves, we end up with them being pissed that we didn't bring it... If we bring it, they'll be pissed it's so damn loud.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

You're right, we could pull it off. I mean we practice in a 12x12 room and our drummer has no trouble adjusting his volume. I'm telling you though, this room is tiny - room for 40-50 TOPS. When we play acoustically, 30 people seems crowded....


And they THINK they want a big rock show, which is the big problem. I feel like we're gonna be walking into a no win situation. If we go in there and control ourselves, we end up with them being pissed that we didn't bring it... If we bring it, they'll be pissed it's so damn loud.

 

 

Bringing it doesnt have to mean loud unless thats all you got to bring. Prolly just adding the drummer to the next show would be a good way to go ... work them up to the full show. I sure would not go in there with subs and a full light rig thinking you need to mic everything up. You dont want to beat them up with load in , and major sound checks. your back line should more than carry the room. Not winning is usually self induced if you have a full room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

And they THINK they want a big rock show, which is the big problem. I feel like we're gonna be walking into a no win situation. If we go in there and control ourselves, we end up with them being pissed that we didn't bring it... If we bring it, they'll be pissed it's so damn loud.

 

 

Have you explained it to them this way? Do they understand that the acoustic thing and the full band thing are two completely different dynamics....and that their regular crowd that shows up expecting an acoustic thing might not be pleased with the full band approach?

 

I'm sure the owner/staff/whoever is interested in hearing the full band, but it sounds like they want it because that's what they like personally. The question is, does the full band make good business sense for the venue? Considering your own reservations, I'm guessing the answer is "no".

 

Also, let's say your suspicions are correct....you agree to try the full band thing, and it bombs badly. Would that have an adverse effect on your present working relationship as an acoustic act at the venue?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

I have a similar situation. Meagan and I play acoustically at a wine bar and they keep bugging us to get the full band to play there. Acoustically, we play the room with a cheap PV 8 channel PA into a single 15" speaker and it's PLENTY loud enough and we have tons of overhead. I keep telling them that live drums in this place will blow the windows out, but they really want us to play because they want "stuff people can dance to"


I've countered with an offer for them to up our acoustic rate 50% and we'll bring a percussionist. I'm hoping they go for this option and don't press us on the full band...

 

 

 

This same exact thin happened at my acoustic wine restaurant gig. The new owners stopped hiring solos and duos on weekends and asked for the whole band. I told them we were too big for the place. They persisted, and informed me they weren't going to hire my duo anymore, because they wanted more 'higher energy stuff", so it was the band or nothing. Well, since it's a 2 night gig, I figured it would be a great place to at least rehearse our full sets at a low volume to tighten up and get paid for it. So I squeezed the whole band on a stage built for a trio at best and now all we get is complaints from the staff about the volume. We brought in a drum shield, the drummer uses brushes, the sax player plays with a plexi shield on his horn and rarely goes through the system at all, and I play trough a little 15watt amp turned up to 3, facing me. And still, the waitresses are bitching because the tables go right up to the stage and people don't want to sit in their section when they see a 5 piece band crammed onto a tiny stage. They keep asking "is there any way you can make the drums quieter?" I finally said yes, pack them up and take them home. We're already at the lowest volume I've ever played. I can literally talk to my bandmates as if we were having diner while we're playing.

 

It's good for us in some ways- it helps find the trouble spots with the music you don't always hear when the stage volume is louder. It teaches us discipline as a band. And it makes us tighter. But it's almost no fun until the last set, so I'm hoping I can book other gigs and phase myself out. I don't want to lose the gig altogether because it keeps my name out there and it's keeping the band playing. But I see the days for it are numbered as far as I'm concerned. Sad, too, because I played there for years under the old ownership with a duo and got paid the same as bands get.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Not trying to pile on, but I think it bears asking so you think about things for the NEXT gig (and every one after that)...


In any of the time leading up to the show, from the date the gig was booked to the time you hit the first note of set 1/song 1, through the rest of the show...

Did anybody in the BAND ask about or try to confirm set times/length with anyone at the venue?


I see a couple comments in your posts above where you talk about how things are at 'most bars' around you, or the 'usual' start/finish times at them, when last call is, etc.

I would suggest you immediately stop thinking like that and make it a habit to include discussions about load-in, start time, set number and length, stop time, etc. in your show advance for each and every gig from now on, even if you've played there before. If a venue contact says "same deal as before" and leaves it at that, reply with the specifics and ask them to confirm.


Don't leave it up to chance or assumption is the lesson, I guess.

 

 

That's good advice. I wanted to start using contracts a while ago so none of the details would get missed. I was told that I was making too much out of it - by venues and bandmates.

 

The two bands that were left standing are locals (I mean "live right down the street" locals) that can pull in all of their local friends. They're both smaller acts that play classic rock songs. You can eat dinner to them. They are good fits.

 

It's all good. We played at what I call a "party compound" last night - two indoor stages (one band and one DJ) and an outside tiki bar complete with volleyball courts and an outdoor stage that housed another DJ. Every single time the head manager walked by he gave us two thumbs up (usually singing along) and they comped our bar tab at the end of the night (not part of our deal). We must be doing something right. We just have to keep doing it right and keep working on the rest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
Feedback,long breaks ,keeping the bartenders there late


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

yep, kinda what I was thinking too. Not to be too harsh, but you should know your hours of performing when you book the gig, and certainly be aware of them on the night of it so you can fit your sets accordingly. We always do 3 sets for 4 hour gigs with 2 breaks of 10 minutes or less. Can't stand taking long breaks. As for the feedback issue, it is pretty annoying, even from a musician's point of view. And Joe Typical absolutely hates it! I can't remember the last time we've had to deal with more than maybe a single slight squeal during a night. On its own, the feedback maybe would have been overlooked a bit. But pile a couple other issues on top of it and you create a possibility for the owner/booker to not want to mess with it again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

yep, kinda what I was thinking too. Not to be too harsh, but you should know your hours of performing when you book the gig, and certainly be aware of them on the night of it so you can fit your sets accordingly. We always do 3 sets for 4 hour gigs with 2 breaks of 10 minutes or less. Can't stand taking long breaks. As for the feedback issue, it is pretty annoying, even from a musician's point of view. And Joe Typical absolutely hates it! I can't remember the last time we've had to deal with more than maybe a single slight squeal during a night. On its own, the feedback maybe would have been overlooked a bit. But pile a couple other issues on top of it and you create a possibility for the owner/booker to not want to mess with it again.

 

 

Yes, and as an aside, in my experience feedback happens 99% of the time because the gains at the top of each channel on the board are up too high. Crank the gains down and boost the faders and generally problem solved.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Yes, and as an aside, in my experience feedback happens 99% of the time because the gains at the top of each channel on the board are up too high. Crank the gains down and boost the faders and generally problem solved.

 

 

So simple, yet I had to explain that to TWO soundmen in the past six months.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

This same exact thin happened at my acoustic wine restaurant gig. The new owners stopped hiring solos and duos on weekends and asked for the whole band. I told them we were too big for the place. They persisted, and informed me they weren't going to hire my duo anymore, because they wanted more 'higher energy stuff", so it was the band or nothing. Well, since it's a 2 night gig, I figured it would be a great place to at least rehearse our full sets at a low volume to tighten up and get paid for it. So I squeezed the whole band on a stage built for a trio at best and now all we get is complaints from the staff about the volume. We brought in a drum shield, the drummer uses brushes, the sax player plays with a plexi shield on his horn and rarely goes through the system at all, and I play trough a little 15watt amp turned up to 3, facing me. And still, the waitresses are bitching because the tables go right up to the stage and people don't want to sit in their section when they see a 5 piece band crammed onto a tiny stage. They keep asking "is there any way you can make the drums quieter?" I finally said yes, pack them up and take them home. We're already at the lowest volume I've ever played. I can literally talk to my bandmates as if we were having diner while we're playing.


It's good for us in some ways- it helps find the trouble spots with the music you don't always hear when the stage volume is louder. It teaches us discipline as a band. And it makes us tighter. But it's almost no fun until the last set, so I'm hoping I can book other gigs and phase myself out. I don't want to lose the gig altogether because it keeps my name out there and it's keeping the band playing. But I see the days for it are numbered as far as I'm concerned. Sad, too, because I played there for years under the old ownership with a duo and got paid the same as bands get.

 

 

Some people think a band is like a radio and can be turned down as such but a live band can only be so quiet.

 

Low volume gigs suck for a band, especially when there are unrealistic expectations. We were once told that our volume was unacceptable because people had to raise their voice to order drinks while standing in front of the band, if you want something that quiet a band, let alone one that plays hard rock, is never gonna be quiet enough. We were once asked, several times actually, to play Eichardts in Sandpoint but after going in there and seeing the place i told them no way could we play there, if youve ever been there i think youd understand why a fairly loud rock band that plays some pretty heavy stuff couldnt play there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Some people think a band is like a radio and can be turned down as such but a live band can only be so quiet.

 

 

Very true.

 

The modern player pianos - Yamaha disklavier et al - can be played as quietly as any pianist playing ppp, but even at that level, so many people still complain that it's too loud. They think it's cool to have a piano that plays itself, but they want to treat it like a radio. Back in 1920, when every house had a player piano and there were no radios, this wasn't a problem, IIRC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

When I read the reply email you received, I interpreted "feedback" to be "customer feedback", not "ear-piercing feedback". Obviously if you did have (sound) feedback issues, that could be what she's talking about... but it seems nobody in this thread is using the term in a way that a bar manager or waitress would likely be using it. Remember, as musicians we know it's called "feedback" but to someone on the bar staff it's just a {censored}ing loud annoying noise.

 

In my opinion, she was telling you that they received comments from their customers that were negative towards your band, not that they were booting you because the speakers were squealing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

When I read the reply email you received, I interpreted "feedback" to be "customer feedback", not "ear-piercing feedback". Obviously if you did have (sound) feedback issues, that could be what she's talking about... but it seems nobody in this thread is using the term in a way that a bar manager or waitress would likely be using it. Remember, as musicians we know it's called "feedback" but to someone on the bar staff it's just a {censored}ing loud annoying noise.


In my opinion, she was telling you that they received comments from their customers that were negative towards your band, not that they were booting you because the speakers were squealing.

 

 

I don't know... The girl who booked us is a musician and knows what PA feedback is. Everyone there was either dancing or telling us how great we were. There were boos when we announced that we had to stop around 12:15. I can usually tell when a crowd isn't into us - this wasn't one of those nights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×
×
  • Create New...