First sub gig advise

braincramp

Gold Member
I just agreed to sub for a drummer in two weeks..sounds like plenty of time but I got to learn 40 songs. I know about 10 of them, heard or fimiliar with about 20 more and the last 10 have never heard before. I know for you pro's this is probably easy, but I have never played with a band all night, with people I never met before. Any advise? Its classic rock for the most part with some indie (the 10 I never heard) stuff thrown in.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I write out the arrangements..verse/chorus/bridge solo etc. for all the songs on paper, 1 sheet per song, and if you can get a set list beforehand, I put the papers in order. On the paper I write who starts the song, what kind of beat, tempo notes of course the arrangement, and any other thing I can think of to help me remember the details of the song. So I do my homework and I use cheat sheets, that way I don't have to ask anyone, because I know. Mental preparation. Plus I listen to all the songs I am unfamiliar with.

I'm lucky in that if I know a song, you know, heard it a hundred times, but never played it before, as long as I've heard it enough, I can usually play it no problem. Hopefully you're like that too and you don't have to notate the songs you already know. That way you can focus on the songs you don't know.

You could also practice drumming to all the songs from YT. So it's all mental prep, notating, listening to the unfamiliar ones and playing along to the covers. Be like a Boy Scout, prepared.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
I write out the arrangements..verse/chorus/bridge solo etc. for all the songs on paper, 1 sheet per song, and if you can get a set list beforehand, I put the papers in order. On the paper I write who starts the song, what kind of beat, tempo notes of course the arrangement, and any other thing I can think of to help me remember the details of the song. So I do my homework and I use cheat sheets, that way I don't have to ask anyone, because I know. Mental preparation. Plus I listen to all the songs I am unfamiliar with.

I'm lucky in that if I know a song, you know, heard it a hundred times, but never played it before, as long as I've heard it enough, I can usually play it no problem. Hopefully you're like that too and you don't have to notate the songs you already know. That way you can focus on the songs you don't know.

You could also practice drumming to all the songs from YT. So it's all mental prep, notating, listening to the unfamiliar ones and playing along to the covers. Be like a Boy Scout, prepared.

Larry nailed it to the wall

plus 2 weeks is an eternity

I've been called for gigs like this the night before and pulled it off so I have faith that 2 weeks will allow you to kill the gig

listen to the ones you have never heard first and map them out.

I always try to compare a song I have never heard before to a song I know well that is similar to help me remember certain hits or changes ....like...."oh thats the All Along the Watchtower part." ....or whatever

another thing I have done is bring my ipod to the stage with me .....leave my in ears in the whole gig and in between tunes when I get a second I would listen to a few bars of one or two of the songs I am unfamiliar with just to get the vibe in my head .....has worked well for me .
there have been times where I was staring at my lead sheet and cannot for the life of me remember the tune.....in those cases the ipod saved the gig

I wish I did more cover gigs ....I enjoy very much doing things like you will be doing for the next two weeks
 

rtliquid

Senior Member
Sometime between now and the gig, get an agreement on whom you'll be looking to (one person) for visual cues. Also, watching when the singer steps away from / up to the mic, and when the guitarist is ready to stomp on his pedals are cues that the song is ready to move.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I like Anthony's IPOD suggestion. You could have a playlist of the set list. I would think you could really utilize the IPOD in this situation. Technology is amazing. The technology to cue up a song lickety split for a quick reminder just wasn't here like it is now. Use it for all it's worth.
 

skod

Senior Member
Just did this: had a sub gig and very little time to prepare, 36 tunes with a horn-driven blues band. I use an iPhone/iPod/iPad app called "Set List Maker" ( http://www.arlomedia.com/apps/setlistmaker/main/home.html ), and IMNSHO it is worth its freakin' weight in gold for the sub drummer.

It allows you to put the songs in set order, of course (such as importing them from a playlist)- but when imported from a playlist it automatically links in the recording of the tune, as well as providing an optional visual metronome for setting the tempo. You can then listen to the first few bars through your buds just as Anthony recommended, then just leave the visual click going as a tempo reminder if you like. In performance mode, the font displayed is big enough that I can read it on my iPhone (in a holder clipped to a cymbal stand) without needing my reading glasses, thank Gawd... Reordering tunes (for the inevitable last-minute changes) is trivial as well. Very flexible, and well worth the couple of bucks it costs.

Standard disclaimer applies: I have no relationship with the vendor other than as a very satisfied customer. But after trying a lot of setlist apps, this is my go-to now- and it surely did help in this short notice sub deal. Your mileage may vary, but I would have to say "check it out"...
 
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braincramp

Gold Member
Thanks for all the great advise..I spent a few hours today, made notes of every song on the first 2 sets and got it down..I'm half way there already.. I think my biggest concern is playing all night with a new band for the first time..one good thing is its a club I've played at many times with an old band..I'm going to ask if I can sit in on a practice if possible... The next question I guess is I need to tell the guys I'm playing with now? Its a new project thats been together a couple months.. everyone has busy careers so its low pressure 2-3 times a month practices..not looking to get out of the basement until summer type band.. but I think they should know.. right?
 

lsits

Gold Member
Find a person in the band who you can make visual contact with (usually the bass guitar or the rhythm guitar). Look to them during the gig to get your cues as to when the changes are coming.

The band wants you to do well so that they don't look bad. If you have any questions about a particular arrangement, ask beforehand. Try to avoid train wrecks. Again, visual contact is a must.
 
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