dead time on stage?

bonzolead

Platinum Member
it usually always happens with us...

so my question is:

How do you guys prevent having dead time on stage?

Alex
The best way is a set list and stick too it. that way everybody knows the next tune.

"Dead Air" that's what I call it will kill a crowd keep the tunes going that way nobody can request a song LOL.

Bonzolead
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
In all the years I've been playing, I've NEVER found any of that to be a problem. We've always "been back" without issue.

Venues are always happy when the patrons are happy, keeping them from getting bored is never a bad thing as bored people LEAVE and spend their money elsewhere. Dead air and "noodling" will chase them out of a club faster than a fire in the men's room. Keeping the patrons focused on the band is what keeps them in their seats and on the dance floor. And when they are interested in the band, they'll belly up to the bar, the REAL reason for a nightclub.

Agreed though, if there's too much dead air it's time to rethink your setlist flow, equipment problems and other distractions.
It also depends on the venues you are playing. Local bars won't care. A rooms will. But I have actually (twice now) seen this happen with my band's manager at places we were playing for the first time:

Club owner: Hey, you guys were great.
Band manager: Thanks.
Club owner: I love how you guys never stopped...bands don't do that enough.
Band manager: Thanks, man. That's what we do.
Club owner: Look, I'm already booked through the end of the year, but I want bump a few of those dates so that we can get you back a bunch more this year.

The number one rule at a club is that if you have people dancing, they are thirsty. If there is always music, people are always dancing, thus going and getting more drinks. I agree that "noodling" is a bad idea, but I think that stopping music and talking a few times during each set is not much better. You make some good points about how it keeps people focused on the band...but nothing keeps the focus on the band more than playing good tune after good tune.
 
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michael drums

Guest
Yep...


Story/joke telling is what I find that works to fill in the spaces. I agree with one of the above posts that you need a bandmate who has good people skills and feels comfortable taking the mic and interacting with the crowd.

Though, you certainly don't want to over-do this, and under-do the music.


And always remember...Have Fun! ;-)
 
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diosdude

Silver Member
It amazes me that lead vocalists aren't trained on this most basic skill. Plug the band, plug the band's merchandise, myspace page, tell them about upcoming gigs. I can just strangle my lead vocalist when he does nothing when my guys break a string. Also, if ten seconds go by and nothing is happening, first make sure that it is an emergency pit stop by making eye contact with your band mates and then do what i do. Bust out, Neil-Peart style with the impromptu drum solo. I've seen mike portnoy do that when petrucci's guitar rig took a big time crap-out, Portnoy just ripped out a 12 minute solo and half the audience didn't even realize that it was totally an emergency impromptu jam.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
It amazes me that lead vocalists aren't trained on this most basic skill. Plug the band, plug the band's merchandise, myspace page, tell them about upcoming gigs. I can just strangle my lead vocalist when he does nothing when my guys break a string. Also, if ten seconds go by and nothing is happening, first make sure that it is an emergency pit stop by making eye contact with your band mates and then do what i do. Bust out, Neil-Peart style with the impromptu drum solo. I've seen mike portnoy do that when petrucci's guitar rig took a big time crap-out, Portnoy just ripped out a 12 minute solo and half the audience didn't even realize that it was totally an emergency impromptu jam.
I've had to do this at smaller venues when the power went out (our lighting rig was a bit much for a while). Always a good time!
 

drummerchick435

Silver Member
Bring hoola hoops and have hoola hoop contests with audience members. Give a free t-shirt, cd, or whatever to the winner.

Just an idea.
 

techristian

Senior Member
Having a good "front man" helps, one that talks or tells jokes while your equipment gets fixed or set up properly.

Dan
 
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DamoSyzygy

Guest
it usually always happens with us...

so my question is:

How do you guys prevent having dead time on stage?

Alex
My advice would be to learn the set as a SHOW, and not just a collection of songs. Figure out how to minimize breaks between songs by working at joining some of them together and keeping the flow of the music going. This is particularly important if you are playing and everyone is dancing. Keep it going!
 

stevo

Senior Member
In our band, we have a guitar player who plays: Keyboards, mandolin, banjo, bass, harmonica; and our other guitar player who plays: keyboards, guitar, bass... we have major down time in between songs due to switching instruments, different amp set-ups, moving to the keyboards, a lot of different music styles. Some days are smoothe,some are not. One thing we did devise is, we collected all the "song facts" on the songs we play, so we can fill these gaps with who originally wrote the song, who all played in it, year, etc...
This is good for a while, but the crowd wants to hear music.
 

The Colonel

Silver Member
I have seen a lot of "write a set list" - but not (and forgive me if I missed it) "Practice that set list as if you were doing the gig"

A lot if times you have 35-45 minutes for your set and then it's "GET OFF THE STAGE" so to avoid having to drop a song (or two) you should play the set at practice with a stopwatch. I'm playing a gig tomorrow at the ViperRoom in H-Wood tomorrow night and they are strict with the times so the band is coming over tonight to time the set and see if we can do 6 or 7 songs.

We are in the iPod era of playlists and how fast we expect to hear the next song so a seamless transition is always best. I see lots I bands try the comedy route and most if the time you see why that guy isn't getting offered a sitcom... My old band's front man - totally personable and charming and funny in person but on stage he came off as a real jerk. And there was a lot of dead time because his guitar never stayed in tune so it was up to do something which ended up being some sort of DJ Shadow kinda beat or something like that. I hate dead time. Easily avoided with planning and practice of execution.
 

Vipercussionist

Silver Member
I'm seeing a bit of stress from this . . . It's important, but it's not SOOO important that the relaxed atmosphere of the band be compromised.

We kind of meet it in the middle. It's a Guitar based show, SOOOO, there HAS to be time for Guitar changing, so the bass player has his things to say.

Also, no set lists. A MASTER list does the trick for us. The leader of the band knows what he's ready for as the next tune, he also takes the crowd into account. He pretty much knows the next tune before we end the one we're on. We know to expect SOMETHING, so we're ready. It makes for a different show every night. Ends the "staleness" of the same old set list.
 

Bryan77

Member
If you guys have dead stage time and don't know what to do, like in between a song or something then any member in the band with a microphone can say "so are you guys having a good time tonight?!" or "Hello ___" and say the city and state you're in. I've seen bands live do this all the time. I don't see why it wouldn't work at small and large venues.
 
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michael drums

Guest
If you guys have dead stage time and don't know what to do, like in between a song or something then any member in the band with a microphone can say "so are you guys having a good time tonight?!" or "Hello ___" and say the city and state you're in. I've seen bands live do this all the time. I don't see why it wouldn't work at small and large venues.
Yes, but most, if not all, bands do that already and have since the beginning of time. But you just can't keep doing that over and over again, can you?

That would get very repetitious and awkward after the first couple of times. I know, cause it's happened to me and my band mates in the past. You need to change it up quite frequently, especially when you have some really dedicated fans that follow you to each show.

Though, it shouldn't become a major factor if you just try to keep an "even flow" on stage. It's like most everything else...it gets easier, the more you do it. ;-)
 

DrummerDavid

Senior Member
If your guitarist needs to change a string or something, you could always play some lame song like Some Kind Of Wonderful, just drums bass and vocals..essentially.

Or you could host a wet t-shirt contest....
 

Muckster

Platinum Member
One band i was in would always have some dead time so the guitarist would always start playing the opening riff to "Are you gonna go my way?" so i started in as well with the drums, which irritated the singer (which made it more fun to do). Eventually, we worked up the entire song and added itto the set list. Our keyboard player then started to play organ music like you hear at a baseball game in between pitches.
 

bonzolead

Platinum Member
One band i was in would always have some dead time so the guitarist would always start playing the opening riff to "Are you gonna go my way?" so i started in as well with the drums, which irritated the singer (which made it more fun to do). Eventually, we worked up the entire song and added itto the set list. Our keyboard player then started to play organ music like you hear at a baseball game in between pitches.
That's cool but I hate it when guitar players play the opening riff of the next tune.

Sell the song don't. give it away.

Bonzolead
 
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