A little worried about upcoming gig with new band...

zambizzi

Platinum Member
So, I hooked up with this band about a month ago. They're all *excellent* players with a hell of a lot more experience than I have. They really like what I've been doing and I've done a fairly good job at "inserting" myself into their original music. I'm thrilled that they asked me to join up with the band. It's very groovy, catchy music based on a mixture of Funk, Latin, and traditional African rhythms and singing. Prior to my arrival, there were 3 African hand drummers...never a kit drummer.

Anyhow, I was tossed right into the action. There's a gig this weekend at a popular local outdoor festival event. We'll have the "small" stage for an hour, on Sunday. The thing is; they only have 3 or 4 songs and the arrangement seems to change on them every time we play. The continuous, flowing parts of the song sound great, but no one seems to agree when the breaks and changes occur in the music. Despite everyone's raging positivity, I'm not so sure that we're ready to perform in front of a large audience by this weekend. We'll get one more rehearsal in before Sunday...but that's *it*.

Part of the problem is; it's a large band. There are 6-8 guys and at least a few people miss every practice...or at least they have in the last month, since I've been around.

Anyone ever been thrown into a situation like this? Any tips? My suggestion last night, was that we run through the set straight through, as many times as it takes to get it right. If we can do this tomorrow night, we might have a chance of not sounding completely chaotic, at the gig.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My advice is: Hold the F on!

Sounds like it's gonna be a fun ride, like trying to surf on porpoises on a leash. I just have this great feeling like this is going to be a blast for you!

Zam, you will be the keeper of the light in a world gone mad ha ha!

They obviously have the confidence in you so just be yourself, no apologies.

When onstage feel don't think.

A little nervousness usually means a good gig is coming.

But, yeah, run the setlist.

As long as there is passion, people will find it intriguing. It won't matter if it's imperfect. Perfection in Nature does not exist anyway. Except perhaps Monique.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
My advice is: Hold the F on!

Sounds like it's gonna be a fun ride, like trying to surf on porpoises on a leash. I just have this great feeling like this is going to be a blast for you!

Zam, you will be the keeper of the light in a world gone mad ha ha!

They obviously have the confidence in you so just be yourself, no apologies.

When onstage feel don't think.

A little nervousness usually means a good gig is coming.

But, yeah, run the setlist.

As long as there is passion, people will find it intriguing. It won't matter if it's imperfect. Perfection in Nature does not exist anyway. Except perhaps Monique.
Haha...thanks man. I LOVE the music and have never been so excited about a band. I've been working my ass off. However, it just feel so...incomplete? I just don't feel like we're even close to prepared for this thing. I'm still excited about it and fully intend to show up and play my ass off, either way. If I play right through a break or vice versa...so be it. Full steam ahead.

I still fully expect to see people shaking their asses like there's no tomorrow, regardless. By the time we do the same event next year, it'll be excellent.

Thanks for the nudge, Larry. ;)
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
So, I hooked up with this band about a month ago. They're all *excellent* players with a hell of a lot more experience than I have. They really like what I've been doing and I've done a fairly good job at "inserting" myself into their original music. I'm thrilled that they asked me to join up with the band. It's very groovy, catchy music based on a mixture of Funk, Latin, and traditional African rhythms and singing. Prior to my arrival, there were 3 African hand drummers...never a kit drummer.

Anyhow, I was tossed right into the action. There's a gig this weekend at a popular local outdoor festival event. We'll have the "small" stage for an hour, on Sunday. The thing is; they only have 3 or 4 songs and the arrangement seems to change on them every time we play. The continuous, flowing parts of the song sound great, but no one seems to agree when the breaks and changes occur in the music. Despite everyone's raging positivity, I'm not so sure that we're ready to perform in front of a large audience by this weekend. We'll get one more rehearsal in before Sunday...but that's *it*.

Part of the problem is; it's a large band. There are 6-8 guys and at least a few people miss every practice...or at least they have in the last month, since I've been around.

Anyone ever been thrown into a situation like this? Any tips? My suggestion last night, was that we run through the set straight through, as many times as it takes to get it right. If we can do this tomorrow night, we might have a chance of not sounding completely chaotic, at the gig.

Have fun, and just keep in constant visual and non-verbal contact with the key players so everyone knows what's going on!!

And while you think that they are better than you now, I think you will find that playing alongside people "above your level" will cause to you discover new things about your playing. You may even suddenly find yourself trying out things that you didn't know you could do, or even suddenly thinking to yourself in the middle of a song during rehearsal or on stage "WTF? Did *I* just play that?? That was awesome!!".
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Is this the Hyde Park Fair? I have played there many times. DM me the band as I may know some of the people.

Yes, you sound unprepared. The good thing is that it's a low stress, low-pay gig. Just make it sound decent and you'll do fine. These kinds of situations happen more than you think and as you play more you'll get more comfortable with being only partially prepared.

With that many people playing, you'll be lucky if you can get them all to show up at a gig, much less practices. Think of it as the core people in the band and there are some other musicians who sit in periodically. Have fun!
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Is this the Hyde Park Fair? I have played there many times. DM me the band as I may know some of the people.

Yes, you sound unprepared. The good thing is that it's a low stress, low-pay gig. Just make it sound decent and you'll do fine. These kinds of situations happen more than you think and as you play more you'll get more comfortable with being only partially prepared.

With that many people playing, you'll be lucky if you can get them all to show up at a gig, much less practices. Think of it as the core people in the band and there are some other musicians who sit in periodically. Have fun!
Yep, you nailed it, man! The keys, bass, guitar, singer/percussionist & band leader, and myself are the core. Two other African percussionist/singers are supposed to be part of the core band, but haven't been as reliable as they should be. The guitar seat seems to be a revolving...seat. I guess he's going to make a better effort though, going forward.

The bassist is amazing and I'm using him as my guide, basically. He's the only one who's using visual cues, so I'm paying the most attention to him, overall.

I know for a fact we have a couple of mutual friends here! :) I'll shoot you a message about it.
 

jim_gregory

Senior Member
It's hard to be in a large band but it's fun when it comes together. I started playing only a couple of years ago and just found myself in a throw together band at a benefit the other night. These guys were SO good and directed the show with looks and nods. Not one mistake and everybody loved "my" band. I don't even know their names! Most of the tunes were shuffles or something I have been hearing for 30 years so really pretty easy.
But anyway, I used to worry going in to shows with my regular guys cuz of our questionable talent and lack of organization, but it always worked out fine or at least fine enough. Go in loose and push the worry aside. Your gonna have fun.
I was the practice nazi of our band. Now I just bang away. So much easier!
 

Vipercussionist

Silver Member
So, I hooked up with this band about a month ago. They're all *excellent* players with a hell of a lot more experience than I have. They really like what I've been doing and I've done a fairly good job at "inserting" myself into their original music. I'm thrilled that they asked me to join up with the band. It's very groovy, catchy music based on a mixture of Funk, Latin, and traditional African rhythms and singing. Prior to my arrival, there were 3 African hand drummers...never a kit drummer.

Anyhow, I was tossed right into the action. There's a gig this weekend at a popular local outdoor festival event. We'll have the "small" stage for an hour, on Sunday. The thing is; they only have 3 or 4 songs and the arrangement seems to change on them every time we play. The continuous, flowing parts of the song sound great, but no one seems to agree when the breaks and changes occur in the music. Despite everyone's raging positivity, I'm not so sure that we're ready to perform in front of a large audience by this weekend. We'll get one more rehearsal in before Sunday...but that's *it*.

Part of the problem is; it's a large band. There are 6-8 guys and at least a few people miss every practice...or at least they have in the last month, since I've been around.

Anyone ever been thrown into a situation like this? Any tips? My suggestion last night, was that we run through the set straight through, as many times as it takes to get it right. If we can do this tomorrow night, we might have a chance of not sounding completely chaotic, at the gig.
When at the gig, RELAX, be loose and don't get tense, keeping your wits about you so if you DO miss the changes you'll be able to cover. It's really not a big deal if you cover well.

If you get nervous it will just make things worse, so DON'T!!

(I know, "easier said than done", but really there's no secret, it just makes life easier if you stay calm.)
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I once played with a band where the leader just never would nail down a structure.
Every time, the chorus, the verses, and such would just change when ever he felt like it, with no barring on the last time.

On one hand, it's annoying because it's impossible to feel prepared. On the other hand, it's nice because there is nothing to memorize, and you just go with the flow.

The Greatful Dead made a whole career, and spurred the whole jam band genre on the basis of not having a specific structure or set list. Bob Dylan is said to not only not use a set list, but he'll change the key of a song, or make a straight song a shuffle, or vise versa, all on the fly. So it's not as if this concept is totally unheard of.

Relax, and have fun with it!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I've done a few totally unstructured performances in the past. As someone who wants everything nailed down, I found it difficult to cope with at first. Such an event falls part way between a fully scripted show & a jam. Most of us have no problem jamming, & recognise the totally different mindset required. It's that hybrid mental transition that holds the key here. Pushing the performance mindset into the background, & allowing the jamming instinct to prevail. Let's face it, you stand no chance of scripting the show at this stage, so turn it around & make it a structured jam. Have fun with it, roll with the vibe, & be seen to have a good time. An audience will always pick up on a mood and a vibe, way before they pick up on structure. If the band portrays "hey, let's party", the audience will lower their show expectations & buy into the fun. Always remember, only musicians will pick up on lack of preparation, & you should never play to musicians. As you already know, your biggest critic will be you. Get past that, & you'll have a blast!
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

Vin first off, great news that you are playing with really good musicians. I think its great to always strive to play with people better than yourself.

On the lack of rehearsals, there are enough stories on the flip side that make it all look not so bad.
Miles Davis loved to keep musicians off balance about what exactly was going to happen on stage and nobody ever really knew for sure.

He'd lick his lips, and the guys would go " look out, here comes the head". Great story about Robben Ford being hired for a gig and meeting Miles at the venue itself, nervous as hell, he asked him what they were going to play, and if Miles had anything to tell him. So Miles asks him " What are you going to wear on stage? ".
Robben had absolutely no idea of the set list, tunes, chords, solos .. nothing- and he was on stage, playing with him. And he played. And Miles loved it. He would pull this stunt with almost everyone he ever played with. McLaughlin is known to do that too. He just looks at a player and that is the signal for him to go.

I think -that they think- it brings out the 'deeper, truer musician' within you.

I was talking to a drummer last night who did a gig with bass player Jonas Hellborg for a Turkish piano player in Istanbul. The piano player was an amazing musician and had charts for all 6 tunes they were to play the next day. Now this drummer cant read charts, and Jonas thought 6 tunes were too many to rehearse in a day, so they 'delicately' suggested to him that they should do fewer tunes. The piano man resisted so the other two said 'ok, well learn them up, dont worry'.

Come sound check, which got very late and an audience of 2000 people was already in, Jonas asked they piano player to just noodle something and they would jam with it, for the sound check. So they did..... And they didn't stop for an hour.

They threw in some of the heads from the piano player tunes and free formed around them. And it was incredible. The energy was awesome, the piano player said he'd never done a better gig, the audience was in raptures, everyone was happy. etc etc...

... so 2 sides to dis coin ; )

...
 
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TFITTING942

Guest
Aydee nailed what could happen as best case scenario. On the face of it though it sounds like you guys are not really ready for this with so few songs. Talent wise, no question but the length of your set list just isn't there. It's like saying " I took up jogging today and this weekend I'm in a marathon". Good luck but I would question getting any more gigs until you build a bigger set list.
 

Dedworx

Senior Member
Anyone ever been thrown into a situation like this? Any tips? My suggestion last night, was that we run through the set straight through, as many times as it takes to get it right. If we can do this tomorrow night, we might have a chance of not sounding completely chaotic, at the gig.
you'll be fine man, the other guys clearly know it too. if they can play, and you can play (and you can), it'll work out. just stay positive and it will turn out loads of fun for you. just make a lot of eye contact and be aware of what everyone else is doing and im sure if things go a little different than rehearsal you'll all move together around it.

i got called to fill in for a gig a month ago on a day's notice. no set list, never player with the guys before or met them, no rehearsal. but you just have to tell yourself you'll be fine, you will play great and the gig will go smoothly. just fake it until you make it, haha.

anyway, it did go great and they've booked me for shows until the end of the year with a residency on the cards for a casino in the city where i live next year. so the same good things could grow out of this performance with your band, opportunities will find you.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Everyone...thanks for the tips and insights!

Great stories, Abe. Since there's only roughly 25 minutes of material and we'll have 60 min. on stage, much improvisation will be had. I'm actually more comfortable with that than structure! I get the feeling most of the rest of the band is the same way.

That's a great way to look at it - as an unstructured jam with occasional signals to change. Listening back to our past couple rehearsals makes me very optimistic. Even the flubs sound cool and add some flavor to it.

Thanks again guys! I'll post video if I have it, later.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
The gig went really well, even though there were some sound (man) issues. He couldn't seem to get me to come through the PA system so he kept switching my mics around. I was cutting out periodically, so I tried to compensate by whacking the drums, furiously. The vocals weren't coming through the monitors either, so I did a few inappropriate fills...but it still worked.

We were supposed to have an hour too, but everyone was running 20 min. late, so we got cut that much, unfortunately.

Had a great time! Here's a few pics. I'll put some YouTube vids up when I get time to edit what I've got.
 

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Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Glad to hear it went well for you. I played on this stage last year and the sound man was absolutely worthless, totally uninvolved, unresponsive and apparently drugged. I think he worked for Rick Schroeder. They even took one of my mic cables and kept it; Rick did not return my repeated calls to see if I could get the cable back. Terrible, terrible job and it reflects poorly on the organizers.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Glad to hear it went well for you. I played on this stage last year and the sound man was absolutely worthless, totally uninvolved, unresponsive and apparently drugged. I think he worked for Rick Schroeder. They even took one of my mic cables and kept it; Rick did not return my repeated calls to see if I could get the cable back. Terrible, terrible job and it reflects poorly on the organizers.
Holy wow, are you serious!? What band were you there with? We only went down for Saturday, last year, I think. I'm not sure if we even made it over to the small stage.

This guy was clearly exhausted, since we were the last act of the last day...and he was probably three sheets to the wind. He was a super nice guy and was really excited that I had brought my own mics. Not sure why, he didn't have any to provide for me...he didn't even have enough working cables for the 5 vocal mics that we needed. I had a small dedicated mixer for myself but his power strip was shorted. When the power finally crapped out, he plugged me into the main board, but only the overheads worked. I was dropping my foot on the bass drum pedal like the floor was on fire...and still, no one could hear it, unless they were on stage. My snare mic was out completely...all subtlety in my playing was lost. Most folks could only hear rim shots and fills.

But...oh well...it was a great time and a good first gig for the band. Everyone is pretty happy, regardless. We're going to hunt for a dedicated sound guy though...it took this dude 30 minutes to get us "working".
 
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