Band at the wrong gig :(

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Mini rant:

Ok, straight into the meat of it: We played at a new venue (for us) last night. I do all the band bookings, & I was contacted by this venue last year. The manager/owner said he'd heard good reports from other venue owners & wanted to book us. I gave him the same script that I give all new booking enquiries, "we're a rock band, not a function band. We produce a big full sound. Not loud, powerful. We don't do requests, we offer a show based on 70's & 80's rock songs." So, pretty clear you would think. He says, "that's not a problem, we've had rock bands here before", so, cool, or at least you would think so.

Anyhow, we get there & the first complaint from the manager is he's worried about how much gear we're bringing in (red flag already). We set up. & start the foldback & monitors sound check. No FOH sound. He runs over & complains that it's too loud, so I stop the guys, & take this manager politely to one side. I reminded him of the conversation we had at booking. After some questioning, it turns out that the nearest thing he's ever booked to a rock band was a duo playing Elton John covers with backing tracks. I offer to pull the gig, pay off, pack up, & go home. He panics & says it's ok, & really wants us to play. We carry on with the sound check, & I've got everything on whisper tickover setting, literally as low as you can get without switching everything off.

We open the first set with a brief keyboard intro. He rushes up to me as I'm about to hit the first cymbal & tells me it's too loud & distorted! WTF, distorted, yeah, right, & what the hell do you expect me to do about it from the drum kit?

We finish the first set, it goes down very well, the venue is almost full & his bar is crowded. I'm expecting him to rush over & complain again, but no show. So we take a 15 minute break & start the second set. Well FM, he does it again! He's bending my cymbals out of the way so he can stick his head through the kit to speak to me. He now tells me that it's much louder than the first set & very distorted (the only thing playing at this stage is a bloody sax!!!!). No settings changed from the first set BTW. We finish the night, second set goes down well with the audience, & we received some nice complements from a few audience members.

Now here's the icing on the cake, he comes over to me after a few minutes, says how much his customers enjoyed the act, but wants to introduce me to a friend of his who's a "live music expert" apparently. This so called "expert" dick then proceeds to pull every aspect of the sound apart, & even starts suggesting alternative material. Then he really pulled my string, he told me that "if you want to play loud, you should have brought a bigger PA, at least 1000 watts, maybe more, because your sound was distorted". "I have a friend who runs a professional sound company who has a superb 2,000 Watt system that's much more suited". Sensing this guy is totally full of it, I asked him what make his friend's professional system was, his answer "Berringer"!!!!!!!! By this time, my anger has turned to a combination of amusement & bemusement, I informed him that his friend's PA system is "hobby gear", that our monitor system is 2,000 Watts, and our FOH 7,000 Watts of top touring pro grade setup that wasn't even on tickover, & I suggested that "if you want to impress people, you should go find a band who haven't got a clue what they're doing", & promptly walked off.

The best of it is, when it came to pay time, the owner had obviously canvassed opinion from his customers, & was super keen to book us again. I thanked him for the money, & politely suggested he may wish to book a function band or duo in future.

I know there's some here who'll say, "you should be more flexible", or, "it's your job to do what the venue & audience ask of you", but I repeat, that's the job of a function band. Given it was a mixed audience who didn't know what to expect, I'd say job done. The venue was full, the bar takings excellent, & the floor filled with people having a good time. Not the best audience reaction we've ever had, but good enough to let us know we got it right for a good portion of them. We're not going back.
 
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Naigewron

Platinum Member
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this place probably doesn't get many bands coming in more than once.

I know there's some here who'll say, "you should be more flexible", or, "it's your job to do what the venue & audience ask of you", but I repeat, that's the job of a function band.
+1
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
You guys are middle aged and in it for the enjoyment with no thoughts of making a living from the band. The guy was preventing the occasion from being enjoyable so I think your perspective is just fine.
 
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Toolate

Platinum Member
I used to be a roadie for my buddys band in high school and we had that all the time. People always thought it was too loud and I think the biggest issue was that the people booking the band were not fans of nor did they know or understand the music the band played. It was classic rock and some 90's grunge.

My point is that I am suprised that there is not a desired db setting for live music. A db meter is cheap and would solve these issues? I do feel that many bands are waaay too loud in small bars and restaurants. I heard a great band a month ago and they were just right for this little bar (drummer played jazz kit with blasticks) and it was so incredible. Hard to achieve but was a pleasure to witness.

Do you think you were too loud and is a band member ever downstream of the PA speakers druing soundcheck ever? Just wondering how you know. Seems to me if the dance floor was full, you did it right. Just asking about the sound levels for my own purposes.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
In my younger years i never heard its to loud. At my current age 40's all of a sudden I am hearing " its to loud" I am not a heavy hitter and never have been. I'm not liking this age group. IF ITS TO LOUD YOUR TO OLD !!! LOL
 

bog_72

Senior Member
Yea I cant stand this.Someone hires you on knowing youre a rock band,and then picks you apart.Its like hiring a roofing crew and then staying home to read a book.Then having the nerve to step outside every five minutes to ask them to keep it down.Its absolute ignorance.

A buddy just had a birthday party at a local VFW,and his family paid for a Karaoke guy to come in.The VFW didnt have to pay a penny,it was all free to them,just take in money from drinks,yet it didnt stop the manager from coming up every ten minutes to ask them to turn it down.Eventually you could hear the person singing over the volume of the PA.Thats so wrong.

Best way to book gigs is to ask ahead of time if the manager or owner is going to be there during the gig.If they are and youre unsure of the venue because its not a "rock" venue,then you may consider passing.Its never the audience,or the bartenders,or security that has the issue.Its the owner who wants things done a particular way in his house.

Most successful bars ive seen gigs at have managers that wont go near the place at night.They understand that their personal taste will get in the way of making money.You find them bars and youll never have this experience again.
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
I didnt mean to say you were too loud but some times its mroe than your ears can handle. I am 37 and I just like to hear what the band is doing and not be past distortion levels on the equipment or my ears. I know you were at lowest settings so I get it but I think you know what I mean.

I guess for me I think that most bars with bands lately (maybe I am getting old) are past the point where the bartender can hear your drink order. Am I too old or is this fun? Maybe I am.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
For the tech's amongst you. Powererd stacks on 0db, accurately set channel gains. Highest channel fader on -12db, master on -10 db. For any rig, that's barely above functioning.

Agree on harsh sounding bar bands with clipping cheap gear. Not great. I walk out of such gigs within minutes. You'll have to trust me here, our sound is clear, sweet, & full. Punters didn't even have to raise their voices to order drinks. For any rock band, it was a very quiet gig.

This place, although frequented by "bands", isn't used to a full & rich sound. The management simply couldn't differentiate between a big sound at very reasonable volume & a loud sound. They're not used to hearing bands with a full & rich bass sound. I don't mind that, each to his own, but when the act has been described accurately, & you book the act on that basis, then tough crap.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
The venue was full, the bar takings excellent, & the floor filled with people having a good time. Not the best audience reaction we've ever had, but good enough to let us know we got it right for a good portion of them. We're not going back.
All the successful gigging set ups I know are led by an uncompromising hard assed SOB who is willing to let go of a few gigs jut so that he gets the right ones, and mostly on his terms. A formula that appears to be extremely successful in my experience. Sound like u dah mn, Andy.

Musically challenged club managers are a horse of a different feather as Groucho would say. An imbecelic exchange is guaranteed every time! : )

You did the right, thing.


...
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Punters didn't even have to raise their voices to order drinks. For any rock band, it was a very quiet gig.
Punters, huh? I always enjoy hearing English slang from you guys and the folks Down Under. Is it slang? I don't know.

Anyway, at least he will know what he's getting into next time. If he really begs you guys to play again, just charge him more for the hassle of dealing with him.
 

Thud

Senior Member
This reminds me so much of the early days of rock n roll. If you don't want to see the result close your eyes now.

The first rock n roll gigs in this country were played in coffee bars, then a new experience. They quickly moved to pubs (public houses where alcohol was sold) who very often had large rooms where once they had musical acts. When they booked rock n roll bands they had absolutely no idea what to expect.

As you can imagine the boys would go steaming in with everything turned up to 11, even with puny 50 watt amps you can make a helluva noise in a small space. So it wasn't uncommon for the anguished pub manager to come rushing up and stop the gig because of the loud noise. Rock bands got themselves a bad reputation because gigs got stopped due to the noise and then the punters (crowd) turned angry and wrecked the place.

It wasn't all that unusual for someone to rush on the stage and literally pull all the plugs out and end the gig. There were also irate guys who would grab the mic and announce that the gig was over. I saw one or two get decked like that.
The early days could be pretty turbulent like that...
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
This reminds me so much of the early days of rock n roll.
... and my youth :) Lost count of the number of times I was shut down. My first band - a garage band - was playing a private party in a space in one of our cultural institutions. After one song the director stormed into the place and I ended up playing our Deep Purple, ACDC and Black Sabbath covers with brushes lol

Ironically, 10 years later I ended up working there. Same director too - fortunately he never recognised me.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
We're not going back.
And rightly so. Life is too short to deal with, jack-***s, punters, and control freaks ... at least more than once. You guys have plenty of places to play. Who needs the aggravation, or needs to look for more aggravation. Life has a tendency to supply enough crow and annoyance on it's own, without you having to go back for seconds.​
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
At you state, KIS, bands really should be more flexible. And you were, cranking down your volume as low as you could. That's about all anyone could be expected to do.

The venue owner sounds really high-strung. I hate dealing with people like that. You handled the situation with a lot more grace and accommodation than a lot of other bands would have.

Regarding the mental midget giving you advice about the sound system. In cases like this, I like to puff the person up and strengthen their delusion. "Yeah, Behringer is top-of-the-line. Your friends sure knows his stuff, none of that Mackie and JBL junk. Our sound system is just 20 watts, although it looks bigger."
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
Andy- I feel your pain brother. It's happened to us a few times over the years too. We always try to match our sound levels to the bar and to the clientèle, but there are some managers/ staff who you just can't please. One gig springs to mind though- a bar where we were always on the bill with a disco to fill the holes when we took a break and who would play from the end of our second set until closing time. When we arrived it wasn't their usual guy, but a total *rse with a huge set of speakers, which when we looked at them were really low quality and sounded like they cast about £3 each. Trouble was, it was a small bar and he had taken up about every inch of room that there was. We spoke to the manager, but this clown was a mate of his so nothing really changed. I was all for heading out there and then, but was over-ruled by the rest of the band- we've always prided ourselves on always being professional and never pulled out of a gig, so we went on with it that night, but suffice to say that we never went back. I had a bad shoulder for weeks after because I was crammed into a corner with most of my gear not where it should have been. Needless to say, we never went back!
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Now here's the icing on the cake, he comes over to me after a few minutes, says how much his customers enjoyed the act, but wants to introduce me to a friend of his who's a "live music expert" apparently. This so called "expert" dick then proceeds to pull every aspect of the sound apart, & even starts suggesting alternative material.
Wow! That's the thing I hate the most in those situations. And there are a lot
of those people it seems...
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
All the successful gigging set ups I know are led by an uncompromising hard assed SOB who is willing to let go of a few gigs jut so that he gets the right ones, and mostly on his terms. A formula that appears to be extremely successful in my experience. Sound like u dah mn, Andy.

Musically challenged club managers are a horse of a different feather as Groucho would say. An imbecelic exchange is guaranteed every time! : )

You did the right, thing.
.
Cheers Abe, & yes, if you have the financial luxury of being able to turn gigs down, & frankly, even if you don't, aligning your band to the right venues is a good way to go.

Punters, huh? I always enjoy hearing English slang from you guys and the folks Down Under. Is it slang? I don't know.

Anyway, at least he will know what he's getting into next time. If he really begs you guys to play again, just charge him more for the hassle of dealing with him.
Yes, it's slang for paying customers. TBH, not interested in going back, even for an increased fee. We gig regularly for double this venue's standard fee anyhow, so if we want an earner, there's plenty of choices that are much more satisfying.

Wish I was there to have a few and tap my foot.
....
Would be great to see you!

This reminds me so much of the early days of rock n roll.
Ha, yes, if only we were a part of something so pivotal :)

...
I ended up playing our Deep Purple, ACDC and Black Sabbath covers with brushes lol
.
Now THAT I'd pay to see!!!!

. Life is too short to deal with, jack-***s, punters, and control freaks ...​
So true Ian. I'm well past the age where I put up with those levels of BS more than once.

Regarding the mental midget giving you advice about the sound system. In cases like this, I like to puff the person up and strengthen their delusion. "Yeah, Behringer is top-of-the-line. Your friends sure knows his stuff, none of that Mackie and JBL junk. Our sound system is just 20 watts, although it looks bigger."
Now THAT I like!!! Wish I'd thought of that at the time. Frankly, he had no idea of the gear he was looking at. It's way above JBL/Mackie gear, so he probably didn't recognise the names.

but a total *rse with a huge set of speakers, which when we looked at them were really low quality and sounded like they cast about £3 each.
!
Haha, yes, I know the kind of character you mean. I call them BBBB (big black box brigade)!
 
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