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Crowd/venue dynamics


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Our band has booked a number of gig's for the summer at a local venue. This place sees a lot of tourist traffic so the crowd changes every weekend. We were playing Saturday night doing the third of three sets when a drunk walks up and says: "If you play something good, people will come out and dance, if you don't they're just gonna stay in the bar" Which really is not bad advice even for a drunk.

 

Whenever we play we go by a set list. We've laid it out to try and make the most of dance tunes, slow songs, funky stuff, etc...There really seems to be no way to predict the crowd reaction from night to night or even from one set to the next. We have always been well received but it varies in degree with the crowd because the demographics can vary so much. Crowd dynamics play such a huge role and are so difficult to read. For the first set, there was a crowd that thought we were the hottest thing around. Second set a much younger group came in and most of the first group left. This group enjoyed what we did but I think they would have liked newer songs. Third set was mostly drunks (which was when we got our "advice")

 

At the end of the evening we came to the conclusion that we are who we are and we play what we play. We can't be everybodys favorite band playing their favorite tunes. We play well together and we have a 50 song set list that works well for most situations. The owner of the venue like us a great deal so I guess we're just going to do what we do best. Probably the only thing any band really can do.

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At the end of the evening we came to the conclusion that we are who we are and we play what we play. We can't be everybodys favorite band playing their favorite tunes.

 

 

Very true. Trying to please the crowd every night/venue will just result in chasing your tail. The answer is that it isn't about the WHAT you play nearly as much as the HOW. A good, danceable, familiar tune is always a sure-fire way to get a crowd's attention, but at the end of the day if you're selling the material to them well the songlist itself is secondary.

 

You can't be everybody's FAVORITE band, but what every band should strive for is the be the best band they can possibly be within the definitions of "who we are and what we play".

 

THE biggest problem I see with live music today is far, far, far too many bands are willing to settle for a very low standard of "who we are and what we play" and then are surprised when the crowd response is equally tepid. As if the fact that they simply are willing to get up on stage and play some music they personally enjoy should be enough to send a crowd into a frenzy. It isn't (and has never been and shouldn't be) that easy. A set that works is more than just a mix of nice tunes. Work the crowd; milk the songs; strive for high points; build excitement; create energy. The exact how of all those things varies from band-to-band, but every band needs to figure out how to do those things. Yeah, it takes a little bit of work, but that's how it's done.

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Learn how to shuffle your set list. Maybe put some alternates in and don't be afraid to repeat a song if requested. "Who we are and what we play" should be a band that is in control of the crowd, playing songs that the crowd responds to.

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There's a huge difference between responding to the crowd and catering to the crowd that most bands don't get. We can't cater to a crowd that wants to hear country tunes. We just don't have them in our repertoire. However, we can and do respond to crowds based on songs that are working during a given night. If "Summer of 69" gets a good reaction, I might call out "Your Love" and "Jesse's Girl". "Pour Some Sugar on Me" works, give 'em "Living on a Prayer" and "Sweet Child o' Mine".

 

The point is to follow the reaction of the crowd. I guess my question to Mr. Drunk Dude would have been "What's something good?" If I had it or something like that in my bag, I'd go with it. If no, I guess I'm playing to barflies all night.

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Very true. Trying to please the crowd every night/venue will just result in chasing your tail. The answer is that it isn't about the WHAT you play nearly as much as the HOW. A good, danceable, familiar tune is always a sure-fire way to get a crowd's attention, but at the end of the day if you're selling the material to them well the songlist itself is secondary.


You can't be everybody's FAVORITE band, but what every band should strive for is the be the best band they can possibly be within the definitions of "who we are and what we play".


THE biggest problem I see with live music today is far, far, far too many bands are willing to settle for a very low standard of "who we are and what we play" and then are surprised when the crowd response is equally tepid. As if the fact that they simply are willing to get up on stage and play some music they personally enjoy should be enough to send a crowd into a frenzy. It isn't (and has never been and shouldn't be) that easy. A set that works is more than just a mix of nice tunes. Work the crowd; milk the songs; strive for high points; build excitement; create energy. The exact how of all those things varies from band-to-band, but every band needs to figure out how to do those things. Yeah, it takes a little bit of work, but that's how it's done.

 

 

Resort towns are a little different. Most of them have been doing somthing else all day. Be it the beach , the golf course, the ski mountain , or site seeing or cruisin the gift shops, etc. When they hit the feed trough... they are there to relax, maybe grab some chow and drink. You wont see as many dancers. Its just how it is. What you want to look at is how long you can keep them in the place eating and drinking. No bar ever made a dime off of dancing ,, all the revenue comes from people consuming product. Dont sweat the fact that they are not up shaking their bootie ,, if their glass is full and the food keeps streaming out of the kitchen. If you want to judge your worth ,, watch the bartenders and wait staff. If they are really busy , you are doing good.

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Resort towns are a little different. Most of them have been doing somthing else all day. Be it the beach , the golf course, the ski mountain , or site seeing or cruisin the gift shops, etc. When they hit the feed trough... they are there to relax, maybe grab some chow and drink. You wont see as many dancers. Its just how it is. What you want to look at is how long you can keep them in the place eating and drinking. No bar ever made a dime off of dancing ,, all the revenue comes from people consuming product. Dont sweat the fact that they are not up shaking their bootie ,, if their glass is full and the food keeps streaming out of the kitchen. If you want to judge your worth ,, watch the bartenders and wait staff. If they are really busy , you are doing good.

 

 

 

Pretty much right on the money with that. We had our all-too-common Memorial Weekend snow storm that drove a lot of the tourists inside for something to do. The bar and grill did good business. It just kills me though to know we're tearing up some song and NOBODY is paying attention. Doesn't happen very often but when it does---OUCH. Another thing about this place is the bar is in a seperate room from the band so when folks go to get a drink, they disappear. All in all I'm really just bitching about small details. the night was a good one.

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Resort towns are a little different. Most of them have been doing somthing else all day. Be it the beach , the golf course, the ski mountain , or site seeing or cruisin the gift shops, etc. When they hit the feed trough... they are there to relax, maybe grab some chow and drink. You wont see as many dancers. Its just how it is. What you want to look at is how long you can keep them in the place eating and drinking. No bar ever made a dime off of dancing ,, all the revenue comes from people consuming product. Dont sweat the fact that they are not up shaking their bootie ,, if their glass is full and the food keeps streaming out of the kitchen. If you want to judge your worth ,, watch the bartenders and wait staff. If they are really busy , you are doing good.

 

 

Well, I think I might know just a little bit about resort towns myself. Do I need to point you towards a map of Lake Tahoe?

 

And I'm not really talking about dancing here. In fact, I don't think I said anything about dancing. Just talking in general terms about putting on an entertaining show. Everything I said applies to bands who play in front of sitting audiences just there to watch as well.

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Pretty much right on the money with that. We had our all-too-common Memorial Weekend snow storm that drove a lot of the tourists inside for something to do. The bar and grill did good business. It just kills me though to know we're tearing up some song and NOBODY is paying attention. Doesn't happen very often but when it does---OUCH. Another thing about this place is the bar is in a seperate room from the band so when folks go to get a drink, they disappear. All in all I'm really just bitching about small details. the night was a good one.

 

 

Well ,, i sure would not take is personal. Ya gotta figure people like to drink and talk. They many times cant talk in the same room with a rock band. I play 4 nights a week in a resort town in a house band. There are lots of nights where the tables fill up farthest from the band first. Why? because they can talk, listen to music and be comfortable about it. Its only logical. You just have to be willing to put yourself in their shoes and understand why they do what they do. If you keep being brought back to the club , dont sweat it. IF the product is moving , the owner is happy.

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Pretty much right on the money with that. We had our all-too-common Memorial Weekend snow storm that drove a lot of the tourists inside for something to do. The bar and grill did good business. It just kills me though to know we're tearing up some song and NOBODY is paying attention. Doesn't happen very often but when it does---OUCH. Another thing about this place is the bar is in a seperate room from the band so when folks go to get a drink, they disappear. All in all I'm really just bitching about small details. the night was a good one.

 

 

I've learned that "paying attention" is a very nebulous concept. If I'm playing a concert, then the band is the center of attention and I feel really bad if there's people doing stuff other than singing/dancing along. However if I'm playing a bar/restaurant, I have to know that the band is just part of the entertainment package. They are there talking to their friends, eating, drinking, maybe playing pool, etc. As Tim said, if they are staying and spending money, then you've done your job.

 

It's why when we play clubs (more of a concert setting), we turn up way louder than when we play bar/restaurants.

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Well, I think I might know just a little bit about resort towns myself. Do I need to point you towards a map of Lake Tahoe?


And I'm not really talking about dancing here. In fact, I don't think I said anything about dancing. Just talking in general terms about putting on an entertaining show. Everything I said applies to bands who play in front of sitting audiences just there to watch as well.

 

 

 

 

Dave you may know less about it than you think you do. You pretty well have always been on the outside of the venue side of the resort business. Being in the band doesnt get you into the inner circles of managment. I am sure you know the band side of the deal very well. You are right ,, a band has to put on a great show. A venue has to sell product at a profit.

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Dave you may know less about it than you think you do. You pretty well have always been on the outside of the venue side of the resort business. Being in the band doesnt get you into the inner circles of managment. I am sure you know the band side of the deal very well.

:facepalm:

 

I've owned and ran retail businesses for years. Including IN a resort town. I know quite a bit about the venue side of business as well.

 

You are right ,, a band has to put on a great show. A venue has to sell product at a profit.

And, all other things being equal, doing one will lead to the other. That's why venues HIRE bands in the first place. To help sell product. And those that put on great shows keep people in the house and more product is sold.

 

If the OP happens to being playing some joint where they want {censored}ty bands who bore people because, for whatever reason, that leads towards more profit, then why be concerned about whether you're entertaining the clientele? I assume he's asking questions and starting threads because he believes being more entertaining would be a GOOD thing where he works.

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:facepalm:

I've owned and ran retail businesses for years. Including IN a resort town. I know quite a bit about the venue side of business as well.



And, all other things being equal, doing one will lead to the other. That's why venues HIRE bands in the first place. To help sell product. And those that put on great shows keep people in the house and more product is sold.


If the OP happens to being playing some joint where they want {censored}ty bands who bore people because, for whatever reason, that leads towards more profit, then why be concerned about whether you're entertaining the clientele? I assume he's asking questions and starting threads because he believes being more entertaining would be a GOOD thing where he works.

 

Oh thats right ,,, i think I remember you saying you owned a video store. I dont think they are quite the same as being part of the managment team of a ski area ,, or being in position to really know whats going on inside a music venue. We are pretty tight with the owner of the venue. The band has his name on it, so we tend to know whats was a good night and what wasnt,and more of what goes on around there. Its a lot different relationship than just being a band that plays the venue. Do I know everything about this place ,, na , but I know alot more about it than outsiders and most of the hired help.

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Oh thats right ,,, i think I remember you saying you owned a video store. I dont think they are quite the same as being part of the managment team of a ski area ,, or being in position to really know whats going on inside a music venue.

 

 

Retail is retail to a large degree and many of the same principles apply whether you're selling beer or baubles. And the same unique dynamics that exist in resort towns and marketing towards tourists apply across different types of products being sold as well.

 

It's the same principle when discussing bands and music: good performances and good entertainment concepts work across many different bands, venues and genres. If you can't go see a good modern dance band and find things that they do successfully that would, on some level or another, work for your alt-country dinner-show act, then maybe you don't understand the "business" end of being in the live performance businiess as much as you think you do.

 

I think I've taken something of value from EVERY good band and show I've ever seen. Whether it be some lounge singer on a dinner cruise or a heavy-metal concert. Good performance skills are good performance skills.

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Retail is retail to a large degree and many of the same principles apply whether you're selling beer or baubles. And the same unique dynamics that exist in resort towns and marketing towards tourists apply across different types of products being sold as well.


It's the same principle when discussing bands and music: good performances and good entertainment concepts work across many different bands, venues and genres. If you can't go see a good modern dance band and find things that they do successfully that would, on some level or another, work for your alt-country dinner-show act, then maybe you don't understand the "business" end of being in the live performance businiess as much as you think you do.


I think I've taken something of value from EVERY good band and show I've ever seen. Whether it be some lounge singer on a dinner cruise or a heavy-metal concert. Good performance skills are good performance skills.

 

 

Retail isnt just retail. It you are just ringing up sales for a vid rental yea retail is retail. Bars and food joints are what you call a service industry,, so is a resort. There is a difference between actually selling a product or service and just ringing up a product a customer chooses off the shelf. There is a difference between taking orders and selling.

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Retail isnt just retail. It you are just ringing up sales for a vid rental yea retail is retail. Bars and food joints are what you call a service industry,, so is a resort. There is a difference between actually selling a product or service and just ringing up a product a customer chooses off the shelf. There is a difference between taking orders and selling.

 

Well, of COURSE there's differences. It's not the DIFFERENCES I'm alluding to, it's the SIMILARITIES. Of which there are many.

 

Sound business principles are sound business principles and most apply regardless of the type of business. Being in ANY sort of business that deals with the public means being flexible and quick-on-your-feet.

 

Why do you think so many CEOs are brought into corporations from businesses that had virtually nothing to do with the new job? Because, to a very large degree, business is business.

 

My three most recent businesses are the video store I used to own, my present real estate appraisal business, and running this band. I can't think of 3 more diverse endeavors, but every single day I employ principles I've learned from one to the others.

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Well, of COURSE there's differences. It's not the DIFFERENCES I'm alluding to, it's the SIMILARITIES. Of which there are many.


Sound business principles are sound business principles and most apply regardless of the type of business. Being in ANY sort of business that deals with the public means being flexible and quick-on-your-feet.


Why do you think so many CEOs are brought into corporations from businesses that had virtually nothing to do with the new job? Because, to a very large degree, business is business.


My three most recent businesses are the video store I used to own, my present real estate appraisal business, and running this band. I can't think of 3 more diverse endeavors, but every single day I employ principles I've learned from one to the others.

 

 

of the three ,, the band prolly requires the most sales and marketing ability. You have to get up to bat with strangers alot more and make the sale and market the product.

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of the three ,, the band prolly requires the most sales and marketing ability. You have to get up to bat with strangers alot more and make the sale and market the product.

 

 

All three do, but on completely different levels. The video store was about broad retailing to the general public: establish a local clientele, encourage their repeat business and, in Tahoe, bringing in the tourists off the street.

 

The appraisal business--my clients are almost solely national/regional banks. I have to establish a presence in a manner that will make somebody working for a bank in Pennsylvania call ME when they need an appraisal for a property in my area they are writing a loan on. And then I have to establish the type of relationship that will encourage repeat business.

 

With this band--it's all about drawing people into the website who are looking for a particular type of band, convincing them we are the right band for them at the right price, and then delivering on that promise.

 

Three completely different types of sales and marketing, but all involve many similar principles and skill-sets. (And many different ones as well).

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All three do, but on completely different levels. The video store was about broad retailing to the general public: establish a local clientele, encourage their repeat business and, in Tahoe, bringing in the tourists off the street.


The appraisal business--my clients are almost solely national/regional banks. I have to establish a presence in a manner that will make somebody working for a bank in Pennsylvania call ME when they need an appraisal for a property in my area they are writing a loan on. And then I have to establish the type of relationship that will encourage repeat business.
With this band--it's all about drawing people into the website who are looking for a particular type of band, convincing them we are the right band for them at the right price, and then delivering on that promise.


Three completely different types of sales and marketing, but all involve many similar principles and skill-sets. (And many different ones as well).

 

 

 

Yea they have to know that you are going to appraise the thing so they get to write the loan. they already know if the guy has the money to pay for the loan. Your biggest sales benifit is that you wont queer the deal ,,, its the same with a home inspector. A banker doesnt give a {censored} what kind of pile of crap house a guys buys if they know he will make the payments on it lol They dont want the property back ,, they want the loan to be a good one.

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Yea they have to know that you are going to appraise the thing so they get to write the loan. they already know if the guy has the money to pay for the loan. Your biggest sales benifit is that you wont queer the deal ,,,

 

 

Nah, it doesn't really work that way. (Not anymore, anyway). I "queer" a lot of deals--especially these days. The bank wants to know that if they have to take the house back that it might actually be worth the amount owed on it.

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Nah, it doesn't really work that way. (Not anymore, anyway). I "queer" a lot of deals--especially these days. The bank wants to know that if they have to take the house back that it might actually be worth the amount owed on it.

 

 

you start queering deals on gold plated customers as far as that bank is concerned and you might shoot you foot off. But then they can always send the buyer back in with a lower offer to make the ends meet. My guy I sold my house to on a fsbo qualified for 1.2 million bucks. Dont think they cared that much about the house lol. the guy will prolly knock it down. Still had to jump through the hoops though , a home inspection and appraisal . SOP prolly with a bank involved. NO way was anyone involved with that process gonna kill that deal, or it would have been their last deal lol.

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you start queering deals on gold plated customers as far as that bank is concerned and you might shoot you foot off. But then they can always send the buyer back in with a lower offer to make the ends meet. My guy I sold my house to on a fsbo qualified for 1.2 million bucks. Dont think they cared that much about the house lol. the guy will prolly knock it down. Still had to jump through the hoops though , a home inspection and appraisal . SOP prolly with a bank involved. NO way was anyone involved with that process gonna kill that deal, or it would have been their last deal lol.

 

 

One of the problems during the housing bubble was lenders pushing appraisers to make a house come in at a value needed to make the loan work. Usually under the threat of "if it doesn't come in at this value, then I don't need to order the appraisal" (which is putting the cart before the horse) or, as you noted, the implied threat of no future business from that client.

 

Most of that came from the subprime companies and independant mortgage brokers who are, by and large, out of the business now and the rules of been changed by the feds to prevent a lot of that: it's no longer legal for me to know the details of the loan on a refi, and on a sale--if I bring the house in lower, they'll most likely just renegotiate the price to my value. (Or find another appraiser with a hopefully different opinion.)

 

I never really played that game as I had enough work from legit lenders and it went hard against my grain anyway. (one of the things I like about this business is that, in a deal where everyone involved has incentive to "make the loan work", I'm often the only voice-of-reason in the whole transaction and I really couldn't give a {censored} if Mr. Gold Plate gets his new loan or not.) I sent a lot of guys packing during the boom who wanted to know if the house would "come in at value" BEFORE I did the appraisal. ("Uh, I have no IDEA what the value is. That's WHY you are hiring me to do an appraisal, remember?") Most of the guys are long gone now. Good riddance. My only complaint is none of 'em are in jail.

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Our band has 5 full hour sets that we use. 1 laid back, lounge type set with things like moondance and fool for your stockings and so on, 3 full on dance sets with all the upbeat stuff and 1-2 slow dance tunes mixed in, and 1 fully blues set. We mix and match based upon the venue we're playing and the crowd reaction. We usually start with the laid back set when we're playing an early resturant gig. If it's a pure dance club, we stick to the 3 dance sets. if it's a blues club, we mix and match but of course use our blues set. If we're playing the same venue 2 nights in a row we'll do the same sort of sets but in different order. We're also constantly swapping new songs in and old songs out, partly for the crowd and partly for ourselves, so we don't get too bored. It works really well for the most part.

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We see this kind of thing in one of the casinos we play. One weekend the place will be jumping, people dancing to everything. A couple months later, it's like pulling teeth to get people on the floor. I don't really worry about it any more- we do our thing and leave it at that. The crowds turn over and are different from night to night so you can't worry about why people aren't dancing to a song that last night's crowd went nuts for.

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