How much thought do you put into what you play at a gig?

danondrums

Well-known member
After seeing the other thread about thinking about what we wear, what about we play at a gig?

Is just about every note premeditated? Could your live performances be basically cut and pasted over each other and there's be no difference?
Do you always play the same thing but without a whole bunch of thought beforehand?
What about the opposite? Does your choice of playing style and notes change from night to night based on mood or some other influence?
 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
In orchestra each performance exactly the same, small jazz group pretty much same-though some flexibility, big band jazz the dang horns always got into solo wars so it was hang on who knows what's coming. That's why I like playing to recordings now cause I don't have to play exactly the same thing. I can experiment and try things I can't do lol. I don't really like covers so much-if I wanted that I'd see the original. I like to see a group keep enough to pay homage but then make it their own. Various jam bands do some awesome refreshing covers of old stuff. If you've played together a long time and really know the songs it seems like ESP sometimes when the band will take a new turn (magical moments I guess).
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
This raises the question if most drummers actually think at all about what they will play at a gig..😄

I mean, imagine that the guitar/bass/key player would change a chord just as often as the drummer plays a different fill or when the guitar/bass/key player would play a slightly (lol) different chord as often as the drummer plays a slightly different groove (different placement of ghostnotes/accents/etc)..
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I don't consciously think about songs and parts, although I'm certainly aware of what I'm playing. I apply the same contexts to the same songs or type of song, so I'm very consistent - my "Brown Eyed Girl" from last Saturday night sounds like it did 6 months ago, 6 years ago, and like it will 6 months from now. If someone asked that I play something radically different than what I normally play, I suppose I'd have to think about it in that instance. But that's never happened. The music leads me, and I follow without questioning where it takes me.

Bermuda
 

gish

Senior Member
If a song has a signature fill or groove then I’ll make sure I’m faithful to it. Other than that, I sort of try to empty my head and react to the music. Trust that I know what I’m doing and play with taste (although I’m not certain that’s always the case lol).
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I don't consciously think about songs and parts, although I'm certainly aware of what I'm playing. I apply the same contexts to the same songs or type of song, so I'm very consistent - my "Brown Eyed Girl" from last Saturday night sounds like it did 6 months ago, 6 years ago, and like it will 6 months from now. If someone asked that I play something radically different than what I normally play, I suppose I'd have to think about it in that instance. But that's never happened. The music leads me, and I follow without questioning where it takes me.

Bermuda
You wise old sage you!
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
After seeing the other thread about thinking about what we wear, what about we play at a gig?

Is just about every note premeditated? Could your live performances be basically cut and pasted over each other and there's be no difference?
Do you always play the same thing but without a whole bunch of thought beforehand?
What about the opposite? Does your choice of playing style and notes change from night to night based on mood or some other influence?
I have the philosophy that I should master at-least-one simple/economic/goto rendition for a song. Something I can play even when I'm having a horrible night. From there, I can add finesse and complexity with hat lifts, grace notes, accents, etc. I also try to have several improvisational tidbits lined up, and act upon them when I choose. Sometimes, Ya feel like a nut, sometimes ya don't. Prepare for the worst case and aspire for the best.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
I was on auto pilot. There were a lot of shows I didn't remember what I played afterwards. Listening back to recordings, those were usually the best.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I play for the song and the situation every time. If the gig is feeling more subdued I will follow suit; if it's on fire I will throw some logs on the fire.
 
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Rock Salad

Junior Member
I go over the set list, make sure I am not drawing any blanks on anything, then just hope for the best!
Right before is not a good time for me to rearrange anything too much, that is for practice time.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
I don't improvise live. I play metal, and that can go wrong very quickly. Improv is for when I'm developing parts for the song. Once it's done not too much changes.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Just so long as I'm giving the band the framework they need and the signature stuff to the song, I may or may not interject myself into some of the more open parts in a song. But the rule of thumb is, don't MESS with the time.

I like when people make songs their own, but it's a fine line between playing the song and making it feel good and completely disrupting it. You don't want the guys on the bandstand to turn around and go "what the heck was that?"
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
I usually play though each song 10+ times to get used to the feel and form of the song. Then I generally know what I am doing after a full band practice.
 

KEEF

Senior Member
As a drummer in a cover band I try to play to the original as close as my ability will allow. I also play it exactly the same way every time - that's the job imo. Rock solid time and consistency throughout. It can get boring sometimes- but nailing a mistake free performance is the reward for me and compliments from the audience and my band mates suggest I'm doing the right thing.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
None whatsoever.
If I make the mistake of actually thinking about my playing while I’m playing I start to mess up.
Broadly speaking once a song has been gigged a few times, the beat, fills and “signature” parts are there pretty consistently.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Autopilot engaged, like Bermuda said I'm consistent and will play the same thing every time, you just keep an ear open for anything unexpected that someone might play. Only thing I think about is the audience and what gets/keeps them dancing.

A good crowd makes time go faster, a bad one vice versa. I play exactly the same whether it's a good or a bad gig. You're only as good as the crowd you're playing to.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Yup, I don't think too much. I think the only thing I premeditate on is the venue itself and what kind of level I need to play at. While I'm not Captain Caveman behind a kit, it's rare that I get to play at even a moderate noise level. I use Hot Rods and brushes more than anything.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
It really depends on the gig. If its a jazz gig I won’t know in advance what the songs are, so its very much made up on the spot.
At the other extreme, I’ve just been asked to play the Carole King ‘Tapestry’ album for a ticketed show next year - I’m already listening and notating the songs so I can play as accurately as possible.
My regular bands - I have carefully planned each song, and will play a very similar groove every time.
 
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