The 'Set'-List?

braincramp

Gold Member
Being in a 3 piece democracy band we alternate picking new songs and writing the set list..though it has been pretty much the same for the past 2 months with a couple songs juggled and new ones plugged in. When we reformed the band after a 10+ year lay-off we decided to be a total democracy with 2 having veto power over 1...ect...so far so good going on 2 years now...probably helps that we are all staring down 50 and have "chilled" a bit. ....No more drunken drug fueled brawls between sets ...in fact no more drinking or drugging period... life and music is much better now needless to say...
 

Travis22

Senior Member
Our sets are already pretty set in stone. We have written lil filler songs so that the show never stops. Do to key changes, tempo changes, guitar changes, etc...the sets do not change. We can drop songs and add them on the fly, but usually choose not to in order to keep our show the way we want...consistant music. Depending on the crowd, venue, and other variables, we will decide which set to use.

I find it very helpful on stage to already know what's going to happen and in what order. We don't talk to one another, everything is cued by looks and movements, so it's important to know what's coming next. It took us many hours of practice, but we are now at the point no set-list is on stage anywhere. It may not be the best approach, but it works great for us.
 

PreppieNerd

Silver Member
It depends on the group. Right now, I'm home from school for the holidays and my band is playing a few gigs. We usually do gigs with 30-45 minute sets. We always talk through and nail down a setlist for each show.

Back at school there's this singer-songwritier I play percussion with and we do a lot of coffee shop type gigs, he has a dozen or so originals and a lot of covers he knows, he just decides what songs to play as we go along, feeling the atmosphere of the room, etc.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Question for you Denis, since your list has tempos too - Do you ever change the tempo of the song depending on the vibe.

I used to play in a quasi-reggae band a while ago and we'd usually open with Marley's 'Get up Stand up'. But we'd do it faster/slower/fatter/skinnier depending on the crowd.
Our list also has tempos. The tempos vary depending on how well our heads are screwed on haha

We also include reminders of the keyboard patch used or if the keys players is playing the guitar as well as what adjustments I have to make with the drums, eg:

Song.................Tempo.........Keys...........Drums
Walk On By.........110..............2:01.............brushes
In My Life.............105..............2:02.............normal
Wild Is the Wind....-.................5:03.............snares off, mallets

It's a bugger if a song starts and a "boomp" sound tells you that the snares are still off :)
 

ambientgreg

Senior Member
As far as set lists go I just thought I would share for your amusement how my band approaches this.Up until recently me and the guitarist and the female vocalist in my cover band were at the mercy of our A.D.D. singer and inexperienced Bassist to handle set lists, song order etc, for each gig and it was a nightmare.I would get a set list 2 or three days before rehearsal,we have over 100 songs on our master list,and out of 46 tunes there would be 10 to 15 songs that A,we had not done in 6 months or longer,B We had rehearsed once and were nowhere near stage ready and/ or both, and C, New songs we had not rehearsed yet.Then I would get a set list 1 or two days before the gig.If we rehearsed a new song once and it was horrible you can guarantee not only would it be on the set list, you could be sure it would open or close a set.If I actually got them to rehearse said new song(s) enough to be stage ready you could be sure they would not be on the new set list,and relegated to the aforementioned A or B status,not only that most of the songs that we actually rehearsed from A and B from the original set list would have disappeared and been replaced by new songs,yep you guessed it,from categories A and B.They would also be clustered together in evil little groups of 3 or 4 to ensure that they were flow/confidence/set killers and do the absolute maximum amount of damage to the show/gig.
THAT is truely awesome. I can only come slightly close to that. The band previous to the gig I'm on now categorized all songs by whether they were dance oriented or not, by who sang the lead vocal and upon which of 5 !! different guitars they would be played,as our guitarist had a huge rack of guitars He brought to EVERY gig and so changing guitars/ tweasing knobs on his massive pedal board could mean up 5 minutes between songs. So each song had like 3 odd suffixes next to the title & God help you if you'd slept since the previous gig,or done any other thing to otherwise cloud your memory as to what these hieroglyphics meant. Here's to Spinal Tap!
 

eamesuser

Silver Member
As far as set lists go I just thought I would share for your amusement how my band approaches this.Up until recently me and the guitarist and the female vocalist in my cover band were at the mercy of our A.D.D. singer and inexperienced Bassist to handle set lists, song order etc, for each gig and it was a nightmare.I would get a set list 2 or three days before rehearsal,we have over 100 songs on our master list,and out of 46 tunes there would be 10 to 15 songs that A,we had not done in 6 months or longer,B We had rehearsed once and were nowhere near stage ready and/ or both, and C, New songs we had not rehearsed yet.Then I would get a set list 1 or two days before the gig.If we rehearsed a new song once and it was horrible you can guarantee not only would it be on the set list, you could be sure it would open or close a set.If I actually got them to rehearse said new song(s) enough to be stage ready you could be sure they would not be on the new set list,and relegated to the aforementioned A or B status,not only that most of the songs that we actually rehearsed from A and B from the original set list would have disappeared and been replaced by new songs,yep you guessed it,from categories A and B.They would also be clustered together in evil little groups of 3 or 4 to ensure that they were flow/confidence/set killers and do the absolute maximum amount of damage to the show/gig.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
In the originals band I used to play in, we would construct a setlist for every show and rehearse it at least once, at least for the first six months we were together. After that, we got lazy and good at playing together and tended to do call-outs. However, there were some parts of our set that stayed fairly fixed (favorite opening songs, closers, encores, etc.)

The cover band I play with now does mostly call-outs based on a huge list of songs and the crowd reaction.

The singer/songwriter I play for makes setlists days in advance. Since this band just started playing again together, there have been more rehearsals to get me in on the ground floor, but generally speaking this is a "show up and play" band. Setlists can change if the singer decides to change for some reason (like switching two songs around so as not to go from the guitar, to the piano, back to the guitar, then back to the piano).
 

Frank

Gold Member
I have played in dance-oriented cover bands where it's essential to not have a setlist set in stone. The leader reads the crowd and calls the tunes - quickly. That always worked for us.

For some types of bands, you Have to be able to read the crowd and play accordingly. In those cases, the setlist is only a suggestion.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
How set is yours? We have a hundred or so songs to choose from, of which we usually play 50 or so a gig.

When do you you nail it down? the night before? How often do you change it? We set it up during the week before a weekend gig. every set list is different to we always change it.

Do you always stick to it no matter what? Or do you change it at the gig, depending on the mood of the audience? Who decides when to change it? Does it throw you sometimes when someone changes it on stage? Do you change it sometimes, because you might be too tired or too wired?

We will change up the setlist if we realize that the audience is noticeable older or younger than we had thought. we have places we play where we know which songs work better going in. We have a "band leader" so to speak in out rhythm guitarist. We all trust him and will follow the changes he makes. We play all of the songs often enough that changing the setlist makes little difference.

Do you have issues with the set list being a drummer? I.e. playing 2 or three 'very demanding songs back to back? I am really the least of the concerns when making a setlist. Other guys switch instruments or settings, I just count off and go. While I am involved in the process, I have never asked to make a change due to the demands of playing the songs.

Am I asking too many questions? Not if you learn something.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
The set list is sent out via e-mail the night before in one of my groups. In my other groups, the set list is set virtually in stone.
 

ambientgreg

Senior Member
No set lists ever on my gig. The guitar or guitarist/vocalist calls'em on the spot every night. And this gig is a band who's name is that of the aforementioned guitarist vocalist,so He does what He wants. Period. And I'm good with that ( wiping the tears as I pour another drink.....just kidding).
 

Masheanhed

Senior Member
How set is yours? Pretty well set,
When do you you nail it down? Usually the week before the gig.
the night before? Sometimes.
How often do you change it?Sometimes we rotate the first and second set around. Sometimes if a new song didn't seem to fit we may move it before the next gig.
Do you always stick to it no matter what? We may skip a song if someone has last minute jitters about a new song i.e. " really don't have that solo down as well as I'd like"
Or do you change it at the gig, depending on the mood of the audience? Yes...if the place seems to be rocking we may skip a slow song.
Who decides when to change it? Usually the lead guitar player/singer
Does it throw you sometimes when someone changes it on stage? Nah..I am pretty well unorganized anyway
Do you change it sometimes, because you might be too tired or too wired?Yes...especially when we discovered putting some new song with a really fast tempo in the last set when everyone was worn out was a mistake
Do you have issues with the set list being a drummer? I.e. playing 2 or three 'very demanding songs back to back?No...if I do I tell the guys and they move it. They are really cool about stuff
Am I asking too many questions?Absolutely not!!!
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Our singer and guitar player pick our set list because they like to mix up the keys that we play in.
They then send it to me and I tell them if I have a problem.
Then we go to the gig and the order almost always changes on a few tunes.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Hi Aydee
I develop and maintain the set-list. I also count off the songs. We will vary from the list if the crowd/gig requires.
The set list includes tempo and key of the song.Large type.
I find since I'm sitting(I also run the sound system,set list sits on the sound mixer to the left of the HI-Hat) I'm paying more attention to the pace of the show and what the next song is...
Denis
Question for you Denis, since your list has tempos too - Do you ever change the tempo of the song depending on the vibe.

I used to play in a quasi-reggae band a while ago and we'd usually open with Marley's 'Get up Stand up'. But we'd do it faster/slower/fatter/skinnier depending on the crowd.
 

denisri

Silver Member
Hi Aydee
I develop and maintain the set-list. I also count off the songs. We will vary from the list if the crowd/gig requires.
The set list includes tempo and key of the song.Large type.
I find since I'm sitting(I also run the sound system,set list sits on the sound mixer to the left of the HI-Hat) I'm paying more attention to the pace of the show and what the next song is...
Denis
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Yeah, it can be brutal when a couple of intense songs butt up against each other.

More than once with the old bands I'd feel guilty when pleading for mercy but the crowd sure didn't want to give it once they were seriously drunk on the dance floor - more more faster harder! - umm, I'd better stop there but you know what I mean ...
 

aydee

Platinum Member
How set is yours?
How about you, Abe?
All of the above are issues that have come up with me, Pol which is why I brought it up. SInce I 'sleep' around a bit-different kinds of gigs/different set ups- I'm usually a good adapter. Some of the jazzier improvisational gigs stuff with a head and AB sections is what sometimes gets to me into trouble because each night could go a different way.

Sometimes when a ballad heats up, and goes into a marathon double- time frenzy only to be followed by something at an insane tempo, I plead with the others to reconsider.

Crowd vibe is also something I always seen go different ways. Hard for bands to predict. The opening kicker works one night and a nebulous warm up bluesy woozy is the prudent choice the next, even if its the same venue - Fridays its Gorillas, Saturday night is Baboon night.

...
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
How set is yours?
We swap around depending on the occasion and how long we're playing. There's two songs we'll always start with and a blues instrumental that's a specialist second set opener.

A few songs stick together so our keys/guitar player doesn't have to swap around too much. This NYE our singer's going to do his drag show for the first two sets so we've had to push some of the more "masculine" songs into the third set so it's not incongruous haha
.
When do you you nail it down? the night before? How often do you change it?

Do you always stick to it no matter what? Or do you change it at the gig, depending on the mood of the audience? Who decides when to change it? Does it throw you sometimes when someone changes it on stage? Do you change it sometimes, because you might be too tired or too wired?
Usually a night or two before playing and we stick to it unless there's more than one encore. We might wing it a bit more tomorrow night, depending on the reaction. If we do it will probably be a suggestion by the singer or bassist. In my old bands I'd occasionally plead for mercy.
.
Do you have issues with the set list being a drummer? I.e. playing 2 or three 'very demanding songs back to back?
That used to spin me out in the old days - a few fast ones towards the end. I'd be trashed. Current band is cool, nicely paced for us respectable middle aged folks ...

How about you, Abe?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
All answers have varied somewhat from band to band, but "for the most part", I can give it a shot.

...

How set is yours?
Usually pretty set. There's always exceptions though.


...
When do you you nail it down? the night before? How often do you change it?
The set list could change from night to night. Some songs in/out, some songs the order can change and others will always be grouped together (a variable depending on the gig/band/song/crowd vibe etc etc).....hopefully we've done our homework and learnt them well enough that it doesn't matter where they show up.


Do you always stick to it no matter what? Or do you change it at the gig, depending on the mood of the audience?
Usually it rolls as we've written it, but there have been many times when it's been chopped and changed. Mood of the audience has a hell of a lot to do with it. As does a poor song selection for the gig.


Who decides when to change it?
One of the front guys. Singer usually, guitarist often times as well. I'm happy with this. They're closer to the "vibe", they should be able to read it and adapt if necessary.


Does it throw you sometimes when someone changes it on stage?
I can recall a few times, but usually I'm good to roll with it. As I said, I make every effort to know my stuff before I get on stage.....and if I really don't know it, then I make every effort to look like I do as I bluff my way through it.


Do you change it sometimes, because you might be too tired or too wired?
No. From memory, it's always been because of a lack of vibe or poor song selection......or the dreaded, running over time.


Do you have issues with the set list being a drummer? I.e. playing 2 or three 'very demanding songs back to back?
Generally no issues. Sometimes I help determine the order, sometimes I don't. Either way I try to remain gripe free (I save that part for anything relating to pay!). That said, there has been the odd time when I've asked for changes to the running order.....sometimes I've been accomodated, sometimes I have not.

These days I'm doing bugger all gigs though, so when I get the odd one or two, I'm just happy for that set list, period.....whichever way it comes. :)


Am I asking too many questions?
Yes, but it's been a fun journey. :)
 
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